Arpege Cats - a review

In October 2015 we had to euthanase our beloved Siamese, Misty, who had kidney failure. We wanted to replace her - though we knew she was special.

We wanted a traditional Siamese - Misty was a modern Siamese and the show requirements have made the triangular face rather too elongated for our liking.

We eventually found suitable kittens at Arpege cats and went to see them in October 2015. They were lovely kittens - although we were a little disturbed when the breeder would not let us handle them, as they had not been vaccinated. We collected them in November 2015. Although they were content to sit on our children's laps in the car, when we got them home they were frightened of us!

In retrospect - we should not have bought the kittens. For early handling is fundamental in establishing a cat's character. However we reserved a kitten. A month later we got a call from the breeder, Lorna Lyons, to say they were ready. We could not make our minds up which kitten to take - so we took both of those which were available - two females.

The breeder, Lorna Lyons, used to be a vet's assistant. Which is why she is very protective of her kittens - vets see the very sickest of cats. However she is over-protective and the lack of early handling does show in the kittens characters. Our two, which we named Flora and Fauna, sat on laps in the car on the way home and seemed very relaxed and contented. But when we got them home, they behaved much more like wild kittens, having a tendency to hide and not wanting us to pick them up.

Only gradually did they acclimatise. They were, however, not at all scared of our dog (they were brought up with dogs) who they very soon took to as a surrogate mother. We were watching TV one night when Poppy, our dog, woke up with a yelp. One of the kittens had surprised her by trying to suckle.

We wanted two cats we could take for walks. Initially Flora and Fauna looked perfect. But they soon proved too headstrong. They will indeed follow us, but relatively soon get bored and want to stop. They will not let us carry them. So it is too much work to take them for walks.

Nevertheless, despite this lack of early handling, they are both Siamese so have the instinct to work well with humans. Fauna actually seems to like being handled and Flora, although she isn't so keen, is not difficult. Both of them clearly enjoy human company and like to sit on our laps - when they are in the mood.

They seem to be very healthy cats. Lorna Lyons says she has had reports of several of her kittens living to over 20 years.

Afterword 2018

In June 2018 I received an email from a lady who had bought from Lorna and was surprised at the savage way the kittens fought over a piece of chicken! The tom she purchased from Lorna was very nervous. It all points to a lack of early acclimatization to humans.

However - they are Siamese and it is the nature of a Siamese to bond to their humans. In the late half of 2019 they really started to do so and now they are four years old they are lovely, affectionate cats. But with adequate early handling they would have developed their characters much sooner.

Lorna raises good, healthy kittens - but do not expect the kittens to be properly socialised with humans! That is something you will have to do and it may take time!

January 2020

In January 2020 I received an email that outlines the same experiences we had:

I am looking for a kitten and whilst looking around for a good breeder I came across the lady who bred my parents' cat, Willow. Out of interest I searched their breeding suffix and came across your post which was very interesting. When we got Willow she spent the first few years being frightened to death of anyone and anything, her own shadow included. My mother has owned many Siamese in her time and said that this was rather bizarre behaviour for the breed, and she had an inkling that she hadn't been properly socialised as a kitten. Her view was that the breeder's St Bernards were her pride and joy whilst the kittens took a back seat and she was just far less interested in them.

Fortunately as time has gone by Willow has become quite sociable. It's all well and good until she jumps on your face whilst you're sleeping! Regardless though, it's interesting to know that it isn't just us who have had this experience.

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