It’s unbelievable but five years ago today we welcomed into the world the first Pendraig litter. Born out of our foundation cat female that came straight from Russia we had a gorgeous litter of reds and torbies. One of the two red females is Pendraig Red Sonja SunFire who became the foundation cat for our red line of Siberian cats.
Though we bought our first Siberian cat in 2003 and started making plans for our cattery in the summer of 2003 the true date I consider having “started” my cattery is the day this litter was born. So Sonja’s birthday is also the anniversary of our cattery’s first litter and a very important day for us indeed.
Only one boy was born in the litter, an odd event for most breeders who seem overwhelmed with males we have always had predominantly females from the very start. Pendraig Ivan SunFire is a beast of a cat, weighing easily over 18 lbs and filling up your arms when you pick him up for a cuddle. He lives a life of love and luxury with my brother.
He was always sweet and affectionate but a bit shy like his mother. He would never make a show cat despite his handsome good looks, amazing coat and huge size but he is a most loved and adored cat by our family.
Sonja had the best type to my novice eye and she was already promising to have an outrageously good coat and the most beautiful green eyes but she was not the biggest boned of the kittens. I had decided to pass on a kitten though I loved them all and breed Sonja’s mother again to keep a kitten for myself. Sonja had other plans though.
She latched onto me and would not be swayed from her choice in family. She would follow me around like a puppy, chirp and call to me and always wanted my attention. It was a good thing I decided to keep her because she is the most wonderful companion and an important part of our lives. She has been a favorite pet of my son since he was just a few months old and she took great interest helping “babysit” him even as an infant. When I was pregnant she would try and sleep for hours if I let her purring on top of my belly (and the baby inside). She loved that I was pregnant and I know in her eyes my son is as much hers as he is mine.
Happy Birthday Sonja and Ivan, and your litter mates. You have brought much joy to our lives and in the case of Sonja you have brought further generation of wonderful Siberian cats into the hearts and homes of pet owners all over the country.
When people ask, “Is it true that the Siberian Cat breed is dog-like?” I have to laugh. The reason is that the description is entirely accurate of most of the breed but especially of Sonja. She follows me, and my son, around just as a dog would from room to room wanting to be a part of our every activity. She greets us at the door when we come home finding a perch as high as possible so she will be at eye level. She will chirrup a hello as soon as we make eye contact and start purring. One is expected to put down whatever one is carrying in order to pet her and say a proper hello. Sonja plays fetch and sometimes even brings the toy back. She is very protective of people and our property and has been known to growl at strangers, or my husband when she doesn’t recognize him, climbing on a ladder outside the window. Her growl is quite serious and you know she is not to be trifled with! In one incident she was slapping the window hard and growling as loud as she could to deter this intruder from assaulting her home. She didn’t realize the intruder was my husband.
Sonja can be territorial as any dog not wanting to share my lap with the new golden tabby we imported from Russia but eventually that has yielded to a grudging respect and I hope they will find friendship one day.
I can say that I fell in love with this breed reading about them and seeing photos, I loved them more when I greeted Sonja’s father at the airport and her mother as well. But my true devotion started when I was staring into those green eyes of a little red tabby female I called “Pendraig Red Sonja SunFire”. Happy Birthday my quirky, fiery, devoted and beautiful little friend. I love you.
Photo of Sonja by Helmi Flick taken on Valentine’s Day of her 5th year.