Thursday, 31 May 2012

A special birthday for Impromptu

This week, Imp was seventeen years old.  I'm glad to say he is in good health and spirits still.  He has more or less given up grooming himself (he never was very keen on that) so I have given him a few thorough combings lately, getting rid of old fur so he has lost his ruff but looks a lot smarter and whiter!
Premier Vieuxtemps Impromptu in old age
Imp is one of the most loving cats imaginable.  He adores his fellow feline housemates, and makes a big fuss of visitors.  He only has to see Bob or me looking at him to set up a loud purr.

He was one of our 'piano litter' born in May 1995; mum was Tarrakatt Tahnee, daughter of the first stud cat imported into the UK, and dad was my own first NFC stud cat, the very wonderful Kyrrekatt Kistrand.  The kittens were all either pure white or black smoke or solid black and white.  They frequently arranged themselves at Tahnee's milk bar in the manner of piano keys - black then white then black then white - so we gave them names related to the piano in general, and Chopin in particular.  Imp's siblings' names were Vieuxtemps Nocturne, Scherzo, Mazurka, Prelude and Ivory.
Mum Tahnee, with her piano litter
Impromptu stood out as a very fine example of a Norwegian Forest Cat from a young age.  He was a good size, had beautiful expression, fantastic straight profile and firm chin, and such a gentle temperament that he made a great show cat.   At that time, Norwegian Forest Cats were relatively unknown in Britain and had not yet achieved Championship status in the UK.  But two years later, NFCs were able to gain titles for the first time.  Everyone took out their best cats to the shows, and it was with great pride and delight that we watched Impromptu win large classes - in double figures - to gain the title of  Premier Vieuxtemps Impromptu.  He had made history and become the first Forest Cat to gain a title in the UK.
Imp (left) and his dad, odd-eyed Kistrand who died a few years ago, were literally inseparable
Impromptu went on to gain two Grand certificates almost immediately, but as we had also succeeded in gaining the first Champion NFC title with another cat of ours it seemed greedy to continue so we stepped back and retired Impromptu at his prime so others could share a bit of the glory of those first titles.
Imp as a kitten
The only problems we have had as Imp has aged, are that his claws need careful clipping because they have become long and curved, and would hurt his pads if allowed to grow too long.  He has had a few teeth out and his coat isn't in as good condition as it once was, but overall the vet says he is a good weight for his age and he seems to enjoy life as much as ever.  He has an excellent appetite - his favourite food being raw minced rabbit, although he'll eat anything we give him with great gusto.   Long may he continue to reign over our hearts!
Premier Vieuxtemps Impromptu in his prime: photo by Alan Robinson