Aby-a-Day – 12 Mars: Origin of the species (Photoshop Friday)

The origin of the Singapura breed is not without controversy. While some people say that the breed occurred naturally, on the island nation of Singapore, others believe the breed is a deliberate hybrid. And it creates a bit of a rift in the Singapura community; not unlike, say, mask-wearing, both factions can be rather…attached to their viewpoints.

Where do I land on the subject? I have been following Singapuras since I first learned about the breed in the early 1980’s. I even wrote a letter to Tommy Meadows, the founder of the breed when I was in high school (and which I wish I could find, because I’m sure I have it somewhere), even though I have only recently joined the Singa community, I have a lot of book knowledge about the breed. So, I lean towards the Burmese/Aby hybrid theory.

This is not without a lot of though, so let me explain: First point: Tommy Meadow’s cattery name, USAF, is attached to both Abys and Singas; she worked with both breeds. She also had Burmese (haven’t been able to figure out if she bred them, too). She imported some cats when she moved from Texas to Singapore, and these were listed as Burmese and “brown Abyssinians” on the import manifest.

Second point: Singapore is an island, and, like mosts cats native to islands (Japan, the Isle of Man), the majority of Singapore street cats have some sort of tail deformation. Singas occasionally have tail deformation, but no more so than appear in other breeds (Siamese, for example). Of course, some long tailed Singapore street cats may have been used in breeding programmes, but that’s quite a bit different from an actual native breed (In Japan, you see feral cats that look almost exactly like purebred Japanese Bobtails).

Third point: Singapore was a British possession colonized in the early 1800’s. Given the British interest in exotic cats from foreign lands (Siamese, Burmese, and particularly the Abyssinian, purported to have been brought back from soldiers after the Abyssinian Wars) and the increasing Victorian interest in creating purebred animals and the Fancy, if the Singapura really was a native breed running around Singapore, don’t you think the British would have jumped on them and exported them back to England they way they did with other cat breeds?

At the end of the day, this is just my opinion. I know there is a romance in the “party line,” but honestly, so what if they ARE a Burmese/Aby hybrid? What’s so awful about that? Ocicats are Aby/Siamese/American Shorthairs, and that’s okay. Pointed Persians (Once the Himalayan breed) are Persians bred with Siamese. Burmillas are Chinchilla Persians bred with European Burmese. That’s all okay. You believe the origin story you feel most comfortable with.

All of this backstory has a point: Last week, I got the newest issue of Kattliv, featuring the (European) Burmese. I was struck by how much some of the photos reminded me of Singas, and I got an idea. I took a photo of Jacoby, and a photo of Butters, the cream EuroBurm we met at a show in Groton.

Aby layer

First, I reduced opacity on Jake and softened some edges.

Burmese layer

Then I did the same with Butters, and erased his eyes.

Aby-BurmMerge

Then I superimposed the two layers, and added a Sepia (of course) photo filter. But the eyes still just weren’t quite right.

SingaEyes

So, I made a layer with Izaak’s eyes, reduced their opacity, and added a green photo filter.

Aby-BurmSingamerge

And…Voilà! Okay, so it doesn’t look exactly like a Singapura…but it looks like it could be a computer-generated witness-descibed wanted poster image of a Singa.

Aby-a-Day – 5 September 2020: Singapuras make a lasting impression (Singapura Saturday)

Izaak loves to sit on my legs. He sleeps on my legs, and he seems to prefer skin contact, which is a trait of many Singas, I have noticed.

zaklap_4782

I posted a couple of these photos to a Singapura Facebook group. One person commented, “I always find for such a small/lightweight breed they have the ability to become 100% heavier!” Another added, “Cats can control their relationship with gravity. They can land as light as a feather or as heavy as a bag of potatoes.”

zaklap_4783

Sounds about right. Like their cousins, the Burmese, Singas are “bricks wrapped in silk.”

zakpaw_4780

Zak sat so heavily, he left a pawprint on my leg! And he isn’t that heavy, either; last week he weighed in at 3.6 kg.

zakpaw1hour_4784

And it was still visible an hour later!

Aby-a-Day – 23 Juni 2020: A quick editorial sketch (Cartoon Tuesday)

Chatting with a group of friends yesterday evening, I had a sudden thought that I needed to draw immediately, because I knew it would amuse them. I drew this in almost exactly an hour; I asked for a breed suggestion at 19:33 and shared it with my friends at 20:31. I am not going to explain it here…if you get it, you get it. That’s the nature of editorial cartoons.

MCGA

I also exported the drawing stream, because they are so much fun to watch. Remember that this is all one hour, and you can see my idea evolving as I draw it (Click on the image to watch it in Flickr).

Abby’s in Need: Abby in Orange County, CA

Okay, so she’s not an Abyssinian. But her name is Abby. And she looks to me like a cream European Burmese, and that’s Tessie’s base breed, so…she’s sort of a relative.

The official listing:

ABBY (A1293162) OC Animal Care
SPAYED FEMLE , ORG TABBY DOMESTIC SH, Age: 12 YEARS
Intake Condition: VET – TREATING URI
This animal has been at the shelter since 12/20/2013. Review Date: 01/13/2014

Abby’s in the OC Animal Care shelter in Orange County, CA, and she’s currently being treated for an upper respiratory infection. She’s supposed to be 12 years old and she’s been in the shelter since 20 December. According to Facebook, she’s safe as of yesterday, but it never hurts to boost a signal…