LA IW SGC MTNest Midnight Cowboy

For gosh sakes! Holy cow(boy)!! How did this happen?!? Best solid (black) cat, best longhair cat, best Maine Coon cat, best International cat…we are amazed and grateful to all whose advice, support and admiration have made this possible - friends, club members, competitors and judges, alike!!! But how did this happen?!? Truth is, a handful of rumors not withstanding, we really are not sure, though good luck, good timing and, hopefully, good science may have contributed.

Every story has a beginning and so does “Cowboy’s.” Full understanding requires skipping ahead to the tumultuous birth of his older brother, Nevermore (“Nemo”), on the evening of September 23, 2005, when “Nemo” presented as a tail breech that led to uterine torsion, a 25 mile high speed trip to our veterinarian’s office and emergency C-section. Mark Bronstein, VMD, Mark’s wife Nina (a CVT), Jennifer Sable and Judy were in attendance. A long and arduous, but eventually successful resuscitation of six out of seven kittens ensued. On day two, David pronounced “Nemo” and Rive Gauche (“RG”) to have excellent conformation. (No one believed him). As the weeks passed and David was proved to be correct, the collective opinion of multiple individuals more experienced than he was that “you’d have to be nuts to campaign a black solid Maine Coon cat.”

Timeline: New Years” Eve, December 31, 1963, Judy and David meet at party. Judy thinks David is a jerk; David makes note to ask Judy out on date. July 22, 1964, first date. Tidbit: While Judy’s parents only permitted her to have a parakeet won on a TV show, David grew up with dogs, mice, hamsters, gerbils, canaries and fish. March, 1966, Judy and David see their first Maine Coon cat that belonged to their high school girlfriend’s younger brother. Timeline: July, 1970, prior to starting medical school, Judy and David acquire first rescue kitten, a brown mackerel tabby and white female, to keep Judy company while David and future best man drive around country for six weeks. After a whirlwind 10,000 miles on the road, including two sets of new tires and a speeding arrest in Texas, David returns home and gets engaged to Judy. December 20, 1970, Judy and David wed. May, 1971, Judy and David acquire their second rescue, a six week old silver mack tabby male, who was picked-up off the curb in West Philadelphia after having been thrown out of a moving car, breaking his right femur. Christmas, 1971, Judy and David’s first litter arrives (vet at the time had assured that five month old male kitten was “only feeling his oats”). David keeps both kittens. Later, during third year of medical school, on a five degree night, two days prior to the premature death of Judy’s dad, and again, two years later during internship (when a colleague’s divorce left a kitten without a home), Judy and David expand their cat population to five and six, respectively.

Timeline: January 13, 1978, our son Joshua Michael is born. Three golden retrievers and about ten years later, after having visited two cat shows, brother and sister Maine Coon littermates (a male brown mack and a female blue solid), offspring of MTKittery Katahdin of Donnahugh, are acquired from Donna and Hugh Richbourg. Timeline: September, 1996, Josh goes to college. In 1995, two more golden retrievers, brother and sister littermates, had joined our one golden remaining from the first group of three. After Josh departs, David sees Barbara (“Bunty”) Washburn outside of Petco, recognizing her from cat shows attended years earlier, and begins a series of phone conversations and visits that result in the acquisition of two Maine Coon kitten littermates, all without having consulted Judy. One additional hitch: Bunty requires showing the boys for one year! As a result, MTNest Maine Coons (“empty nest”) is founded, exciting weekend getaways enjoyed, many new friendships kindled and the show careers of IW SGA Dexter and RW QGA Rockport launched. The die was cast…

Timeline: February, 1998, Ch Cooncreole Magnolia Belle is acquired from Judy Chappetta, and with her guidance, breeds to Ch Broadsway Burnham, producing three surviving kittens in June, 1999, including MTNest Jumpin’ Jack Flash (“JJ”). “Bernie’s” breeder/owners, Jennifer Sable and Jean Thompson, immediately become our closest friends and mentors. In January, 2000, Barbara Ray’s prescient advice regarding chin and muzzle structure support David in his desire to keep “JJ” whole. By this time, D’Nette and Dave Musser (Mainette Maine Coons) have joined our very special small group of best friends and mentors, and in 2001, they graciously extend themselves by permitting RW SGC Celticpride Black Irish to live with us in order to breed to “JJ.” Later in 2003, they provide Mainette Into the Mystic, allowing her to live, breed and deliver (the latter, with D’Nette’s assistance) at MTNest, all as part of our learning experience. On August 23, 2003, OD IW SGC Mainette PS I Love You (“Squeaky”) is born, a runt who requires almost two weeks of hand supplementation. Remarkably, she grows into a beautiful young female, possessing (among other things) “JJ’s” great muzzle. In 2004, “Squeaky” is bred to IW SGC Oldestage Doc Holiday of Mainette producing RW MTNest Lone Star.

Timeline: In 2005, “Squeaky” is bred for the first of three times with OS IW SGC Broadsway Redding, producing an amazing litter, delivering by emergency C-section, with six out of seven surviving, including IW SGC MTNest Nevermore, IW SGC MTNest Rive Gauche, RW DGC MTNest Eliza, RW MTNest Brandy Pond of Broadsway, DGC MTNest Sally Elly of Atlastcats and MTNest Otis of Redding, the latter owned by Judge and Amy Reinhold. In the spring of 2006, “Squeaky” is bred to “Redding” for the second time, producing a litter of three on August 3, 2006, including “Cowboy,” RW DGC MTNest Jackman, and MTNest Monticore of Tribalcats. Amazingly, “Cowboy” has better conformation than “Nemo” and goes on to achieve 16th best IW Kitten and 8th best RW Champion wins in 2006-2007, with Karen Stinson awarding his SGC Best Cat at the Coatimondi show in April. In 2007-2008, this past show year, “Cowboy” is many times blessed, maturing nicely, staying healthy, happy and favorably impressing judges the entire year!!

“Cowboy’s” win would not have occurred without the support of our friends and the judges who admired him. We are forever indebted. A thank you, spanning our TICA career for all of your advice, goes to Doris Blakely, Becky Brown, Vanadis Crawford and Chris Unangst, Marilyn Keith and Cathy Wolfe, the McAllister clan and mom, Susan Steen, Bonnie and Mike Pilar, and Linda Swierczynski. A special thanks goes to Emmons Brown, Phillipa Holmes, Gloria Mahan, Pat and Ernie Marengo, Susan and Blair Milburn, Kathy Owens, Peggy and Hugh Price and Donna Syverson for reminding us of how much fun showing in TICA can be. We have the fondest of memories of Madeline and Hewitt Lovelace, and we thank them for always insisting that one day we would have the very best cat in TICA. A “we owe you one, big guy” goes to Harley Devilbiss for helping David to twist Judy’s typically stubborn arm regarding going to the Annual in Hanover, as well as for bringing both “Nemo” and “RG.” Thank you to Sharon Lund and Royal Canin for their wonderful support of TICA (MTNest used your products prior to our having met). Kanpai! to all of our sushi mates in all of the cities, over all of the years. A special heartfelt thanks goes to D’Nette Musser for her love and friendship both when RW SGA MTNest Major Tom met his unnecessary sad fate, as well as now and always. The most special of thanks goes to Kay and Terry Devilbiss for their love and friendship during our toughest of personal times (we will never forget). And to Jennifer Sable and Jean Thompson, truly our extended family, we share “Cowboy’s” win with you (as well as the rest of our complex life baggage).

For gosh sakes! Holy cow(boy)!! How does this story end?!? Well, we hope that it will not. On June 1, 2007, “Squeaky” delivered her third “Redding” litter, this time by planned C-section with spay. Among the four kittens was another black solid male, IW SGC MTNest Dark Side o’ the Moon (“Floyd”), who was clinically dead at birth, survived an extremely long and complicated resuscitation and was pronounced by David on day two to be the very best of all three black boys, by far

Judy/David Bernbaum, breeder/owners