The Cats of Gatti Calanda are featured in the
December 2020 issue of the Swiss magazine, Tierwelt!

The cover of the magazine announces,

"Persian Cats Are Addictive"

They Are Real Life Garfields
by Angela Barnetta

"Our cats are part of the family," says Anne-Louise Köhl of Gatti Calanda Cattery. 

Together with her four-legged friends and her husband Kurt, she lives in a town house with a garden in Lachen, Switzerland. 

“The Gatti Calanda Cattery is rather small with around 9 animals plus 3 kittens,” she adds.  "But the house and the garden belong to our cats." While our cats are not allowed on the dining table or the kitchen countertops, they do like to cuddle at the foot of our double bed at night.

"When we were living in France, I met a neighbor who bred cats," says Anne-Louise Köhl.  For over 40 years, the native Canadian and her retired husband have looked after the fluffy Persian cats and their no less attractive short-haired relative called Exotic Shorthairs. 

"The Exotic breed is the result of a mating between Persians and British or American Shorthair cats," she explains.  "They have all the same character traits as Persians, but because of their short, plush coat, are easier to care for. They may be more playful them Persians -- an influence inherited from their short-haired breed ancestry ." ​​

At cat shows, Exotics judged using same breed standard as Persians and are considered to be the shorthair variant of the Persian cat.  Caballero, an impressive Exotic Shorthair weighing five and a half kilos joins us at the table.  Those who like Garfield will adore this Exotic Shorthair breed.

“I love the roundness in the appearance of our cats,” says Anne-Louise Köhl.  The round eyes, the massive, round head with low set, small round ears and the small, flat nose in the flat face are characteristic of the animals.  Their bodies are compact, their legs are rather short and strong and end in large, round paws.  The tail is rather short but bushy.  “Their physiology reminds me of a rugby player,” she says with a laugh. 

The breed can wear all coat colors from black to gray to red.  Often they are tabby, brindle, or spotted.  Even if their typical face shape and flat nose sometimes gives them a grump expression, Persians and Exotic Shorthairs are friendly, sociable and mostly very loving companions. 

“Their personality makes them ideal family pets,” adds Anne-Louise Köhl.  “However, they need company.” That is why we  usually do not place our kittens in a new family without another kitty.  "Cats have a social structure and can also get along with dogs."

While people looking for a pet pay between 950 and 1200 francs for a kitty, the value for a breeding animal is between 2500 and 3000 francs.  Kurt Köhl puts it into perspective: “Breeding cats involves a lot of effort and work.  For us it is not a business but a passion. "

Meanwhile, Francey has joined us;  a lively and playful black spotted tabby Exotic Shorthair.  She caresses us trustingly without being intrusive.  This female cat gave birth to 3 young kittens for the first time in mid-October. 

"Three kittens are doing well, we did lose two," said Anne-Louise Köhl.  Good timing is everything to a successful birth, so she regularly supervises when the mother cat goes into labor.  “The line between life and death is very narrow.”

Sometimes Anne-Louise administers homeopathic medicines to aid in a delivery.  In an emergency, veterinarians from the region are on hand.  "Our breeding cats give birth about twice a year." There is a waiting list for her kittens.  Persians often live between 12 and 14 years, and occasionally up to 18 years old when kept and cared for appropriately. 

“Cats need a safe home and environment,” says Anne-Louise Köhl.  "Then they develop well both physically and emotionally." Their diet is also important, which should be of a minced consistency for this breed.  Twice a day, the four-legged friends receive finely chopped beef, poultry and tuna.  “That's a total of around 1.5 kilograms of feed per day.”

The Köhls also give their protégés food supplements to ensure good health and a beautiful coat.  However, caring for the Persians' long, silky fur requires additional time and care.  Anne-Louise Köhl is pursuing a time-saving strategy.  “I bathe the cats 3 or 4 times a year and clean their fur with degreasing and care soap.” In spring, she combs out their undercoat and after the bath they are blown dry with a hair dryer.  "Then combing twice a week and occasionally clipping your claws is sufficient." Of course show grooming is necessary for every cat show.

Anne-Louise and Kurt Köhl are proud of the many awards their kitties have won at cat shows.  Numerous ribbons and trophies on their wall are evidence of the many triumphs.  Dante, a black Exotic Shorthair with copper-colored eyes, won at the shows regularly.  Ayla, a white Persian cat, was even named the most Best Swiss Cat of 2015. 

“At cat shows you immerse yourself in another world,” says Kurt Köhl.  “There are sometimes more 'experts' than spectators, and everyone has different opinions.” Still, they are good places to meet other cat breeders and network with fellow cat lovers, she adds.  And most cats enjoy the experience of being groomed for shows and being the center of attention.

Our cat breeding philosophy is based on following the official breed standards ”, says Anne-Louise Köhl.  “Our cats breathe, eat and play without any problem because of having a flat face.” When choosing breeding cats, it is essential to ensure that they neither deviate from the breed standards nor are genetic carriers of PKD or other hereditary diseases.  "That's why our cats are so healthy."

Responsible cat breeders follow the official breed standards and thus contribute to the the future of the Persian and Exotic Shorthair breed. 

“You should be grateful that there are cat breeders in the world,” says Anne-Louise Köhl in conclusion.  "Because without them, some cat breeds would no longer exist."

Below are scans of the actual Tierwelt article in German

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