Monday, 5 December marked the return of Van cats to Charlton after a gap of six months, the first time in twenty-two years when the house has been without a Van cat. We made our first contact with Suzann Lloyd of Tansdale Cattery at Chieveley, Newbury, Berkshire, when her beautiful Vankedisi, Hanim, was just pregnant and we were delighted when she gave birth to six kittens on 4 September. Sadly only three survived and as we couldn’t decide which two to have, we decided on all three, especially as the only female Vankedisi was deaf and we felt she should stay with her siblings. Suzann has been a great support and even let us visit the kittens when they were only a month old as we were off to Australia during October. While we were abroad she stayed in touch, sending updated photos of the kittens, so we could see how they were progressing. We felt really happy to have chosen our kittens from the Tansdale Cattery as the cats are wonderfully cared for and she has a well deserved reputation as an experienced and professional breeder. She also gave us a huge “goody” bag, full of toys which the kittens love.
As with all our cats, they have been given Armenian names. The white & auburn boy is Senekerim, after a tenth century Prince of Vaspurakan (the area around Lake Van) of the Artsruni dynasty; the white & auburn female is Hripsime, after the third-century Roman virgin who became the protomartyr of Armenia and our Vankedisi female is Shoushan, the Armenian name for Lily. Trevor has taken to calling Hripsime Ripley for short. Shoushan takes after her mother, Hanim, in being blue-eyed although both her grandmothers were odd-eyed Vans. Although three months old, they were still close to their mother and she will clearly miss them.
Until they get used to us and their new home we are confining them to the kitchen and the adjacent breakfast room. Shoushan is very adventurous and clearly the leader with a keen desire to clamber on things, whether our backs or tables & chairs. The bookshelves around the walls are very inviting although too narrow for a secure perch ! She has a purr like a motor engine revving and loves to be petted, but her two siblings are gradually growing in confidence. Whilst Shoushan is a little clumsy when climbing, Ripley demonstrates greater skill and balance, especially on the backs and under-seat spindles of chairs.