=^..^= Finnishline is the cattery name that I registered in 1998 with the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) and The International Cat Association (TICA). I became interested in this breed in 1996 when I had the chance to see Norwegian Forest Cats in person at the home of Linda Krall, Naturskat Norwegian Forest Cats. Before I contacted Linda Krall I had read different books and articles on the breed in various publications. After meeting these enchanting cats in person, my soulmate, Naturskat Heidi of Finnishline, joined my home later that year!
=^..^= In October 1996 I helped with the raffle at Linda Krall's TICA-sponsored Hudson Valley Cat Show. The proceeds from this raffle benefitted the homeless cats at the Dutchess County SPCA. I realized that cat shows were about so much more than putting cats in cages for judges to evaluate. We had cats from the shelter in cages on the stage and each time one was adopted, we would ring a bell! This cat fancy was not all about competition, this show helped to find forever homes for those cats less fortunate.
=^..^= I never intended to get into breeding or showing cats, but as time went by I found myself researching pedigrees and delving more into the history of the breed. My first show cats, Naturskat Guinevere of Finnishline and Naturskat Victoria of Finnishline, were born on 10 April 1998. The decision to have these girls join Heidi in my home would forever change the course of my life.
=^..^= I became involved with Mohawk Valley Cat Fanciers, a local CFA club, where mom and I helped run a silent auction which benefitted homeless cats from shelters in our area. Guinevere attended her very first cat show here in September 1999 and showed very well but was a little reserved about this cat show stuff :-) Cats do not like change so I slowly acclimated Guinevere to all of the bathing and blow drying and travel, always keeping her welfare as top priority. Guinevere became a grand premier in 2 shows in CFA and became a supreme grand champion alter in 5 shows in TICA. We had a blast on the road during the 2000-2001 show season and she earned 2 regional wins - 5th best allbreed alter in TICA and 10th best allbreed premier in CFA.
=^..^= I brought Guinevere's littermate sister out the following 2001-2002 show season. Naturskat Victoria of Finnishline was not as reserved as her sister - Vicki loved to show and quickly granded! We traveled all over the east coast and took scenic drives to Canada, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, and one flight to Texas where Vicki attended the CFA International Show and participated in the judge's workshop. Vicki earned a nice regional win in CFA - 6th best allbreed cat in premiership in the North Atlantic Region. Vicki also earned Mid-Michigan Cat Fanciers 2001-2002 11th best allbreed cat in premiership. Vicki also earned a grand champion alter title in TICA in one show and was TICA Northeast Regions 2nd Best Norwegian Forest Cat Alter during the 2004-2005 show season.
=^..^= My first Norwegian Forest Cat, Naturskat Heidi of Finnishline, granded in CFA just shy of her 6th birthday on 10 Aug 2002. Heidi had never been in a showhall before and I was so very proud of her! These wonderful cats amaze me as they are all so trusting, self-confident and the bond I share with them is like no other.
=^..^= NEVER SAY NEVER! After saying NEVER to owning a pedigreed cat as I was involved in rescue, after saying NEVER to showing a pedigreed cat, after saying NEVER to breeding a pedigreed cat, Linda Stebner of Epona Cattery entrusted me with Epona Aine of Finnishline whom I brought home in Oct 2001. After 5 years of being in the cat fancy I did not feel ready. Breeding is a huge commitment as our breeding decisions affect the welfare of this natural breed. I had wonderful breeders who guided me along the way and allowed me to use their males for Aine until the day came when I was ready for the commitment of housing my own male.
=^..^= Morgan av Skara Brae, my first breeding male, joined our home in Feb 2005. Morgan’s breeder, Sarah Runzis, welcomed me into her home in the beautiful country of Switzerland. I returned to Sarah’s 4 years later in Feb 2009 with one of Morgan’s kittens, Finnishline Jaclyn who was born in the same month as Sarah’s daughter Tamara. Jaclyn and Tamara are best friends! This litter would not have been possible without beautiful Winterfyre Fiona from my best friend Cheryl Sarges who maintains this website, and her host family Susan and Jon Johansen.
=^..^= Breeding is not for the faint of heart. I hold the lives of these precious cats in the palm of my hands. I try my best to make educated decisions when breeding, conduct all the necessary DNA and screening tests, and Mother Nature has taught me that no matter how hard I try, sometimes she has other plans. And as I enter my second decade I will always feel like a “newbie” as there is so much left to learn!
=^..^= Finnishline Norwegian Forest Cats abides by the CFA Code of Ethics and TICA Voluntary Code of Ethics.
Colleen M. McGrady