- continuation of the revival programme of the German Rex
- by Ilona
Jänicke and Andrea Edel (2003)
To start with we would like to comment that the maintenance programme did not create the breed. This programme began after the discovery of this race and was interrupted until now. Previously there were few bred around the world, and the breed was always rare. By the end of the 1990's the breed had died out almost completely. The last breeders were Frau Hackmann ("von Assindia") and Mr. Hamann ("vom Hause Hamann") in Germany and also Frau Schwarzenbach in Switzerland (The Frizzled Frolic").
In the following, we explain how we came to GRX-breeding, what we jointly achieved and what were our goals.
THE FIRST THOUGHTS
I was already, in 1998, for health reasons, in search of a Rex cat. At that time it was not important to me whether it should be a Devon Rex, Cornish Rex or German Rex. Essentially, a cat with curls.
I started my first attempt with Mr. Hamann in Erfurt. He had been breeding GRX since about 1985. Unfortunately my inquiry after a boy kitten was unsuccessful. Mr. Hamann recommended me to a GRX owner near Zittau, Mr. Schmidt (von Sitavia). But I also had no luck there. Of the almost extinction of the German Rex, I knew nothing as yet.
Independently of my enquiries there was also another breeder interested and in search of a Sphynx or Rex cat - Mrs. Andrea Edel.
THE IDEA DID NOT LET US REST
In the summer 1999, I repeatedly undertook, together with Mrs. Edel, further investigations after these attractive beauties. Only through chance, I learned on the telephone that this pretty and only German cat breed was threatened by extinction. After a short discussion, we were resolved that we would like to work immediately on a maintenance programme for this breed. We did not want to just own rarities, but rather help to rescue the unique German cat breed.
We learned, after many detours and through exchanges of information, about the breeding intentions of a Swiss. Mrs. Schwarzenbach had in 1995 two of the last GRX cats, Ra Sitara, and Schirin von Assindia, from Mrs. Hackmann, that by 1997 to 1999 was already a rarity. Unfortunately Mrs. Schwarzenbach, for many reasons, in this period had not been breeding.
In the meanwhile, she had published several breed articles in cat periodicals with the first warnings of the extinction of the breed.
Now a further problem appeared: Nobody here knew the phone number and/or the address of Mrs. Schwarzenbach in Germany. Unfortunately at that time we did not have an Internet connection. Nevertheless we searched further and eventually had some success.
THE FIRST HYBRID
We eventually made contact and received at the beginning of November 1999 a black Hybrid "Lump Sugar the Frizzled Frolic" with great joy. "Lump" was transferred per contract to us both, but she lived, for reasons of space, with Mrs. Edel. Yet often all ones plans do not work so well. Our Hybrid was very shy and was not so happy to settle in with Mrs. Edel. With grown-up animals, is not always so simple. So the black velvet paw pulled already after Saxons cattery!
So once again back
into Switzerland: From the breeding of Frau
Schwarzenbach we were allowed to get the first skin to
skin contact with two young curled cats, Chuba Chups and
Bonsai the Frizzled Frolic. It was a wonderful
feeling! The kittens were similar to a Persian lamb
and they were cotton wadding soft. Mrs. Edel would
gladly have "abducted" such a
"Lämmchen". However no chance.
That was understandable.
THE MAINTENANCE PROGRAMME COULD BEGIN...
With our black Hybrid, we were happy and satisfied. The beginning was made and "Süßi" was also a very attached, easygoing lap cat.
... BUT PROBLEMS FOLLOWED
Yet how should it go on now? We now had a Hybrid with the recessive GRX gene. As a partner for Lump, only a Rex male should be used or maybe another hybrid; the question being, very urgently whether a Cornish Rex or German Rex, for both breeds carry that same curl possibility. They differ mainly in the type. We remembered the GRX cat owner in Zittau. Unfortunately no stud was available, for private reasons, for our Hybrid. We advertised in German cat magazines, telephoned round and discovered to our great joy an owner in Duisburg. The hybrid cat (out of CRX and Maine Coon) naturally did not correspond absolutely to our planned breeding programme, but we had no choice. We were, in spite of it all very happy, at least a stud with the rare gene would be available. Finally, a tomcat, even if at the other end of Germany.
... YET PROBLEMS FOLLOWED THE FIRST "WEDDING"
At the beginning of January 2000 "Samson" (blue-white) came to Dresden on a wedding trip. The marking functioned faultlessly. It left behind its perfume not only on doors and walls, but also I was 'watered'! To remove it I used in one week two bottles of "Febreze" and an enormous quantity of vinegar around its strong aroma on my four walls. Each scrub was unsuccessful. Also unsuccessful unfortunately was the mating. For me, that was almost a trauma, for this "aristocratic-plaster-action" had to be repeated. Lump soon rolled again. Samson again came to Dresden on a wedding trip and he made it. :-( ((
Finally! A successful wedding trip! Lump had conceived. 67 days of great tension followed. Will a first Rexbaby be there? We did not expect many Rex for according to Mendel's law we had only a 25% chance of a 'curled' animal. Lump followed this rule exactly. Two normal hair females, a normal hair tomcat, and at last, with big birthing problems, a black and white Rex maiden, our "Amarella First Curlyhead vom Batu" (unfortunately partly long haired).
The beginning for more cats with the important Rex gene was nevertheless on the way. That Swiss breeder helped us with the further pairing with Amarella.
THE SEARCH FOR GERMAN REX AND WITH BREEDING CAME EXPANSION
We advertised in German cat magazines and printed leaflets for shows and for notices in animal homes and veterinarian practices. We searched for more "hidden" beauties in our own and foreign countries and also for healthy house cats for breeding to expand our breeding programme. The gene pool had to be expanded. We considered moreover that we had to be patient with breeding and showing to keep up the maintenance programme. With the latter, I had a Felina show success at Werbe. I made the acquaintance of the Hein family (Cattery: von den Katzentreppen). They possessed a very beautiful, yet uncastrated house cat by the name of "Schara". Family Hein decided after a small introduction to immediately join in the GRX- breeding. The pleasure was on both sides. With Schara we later got some success with the GRX-tom-cat "Ephraim vom Hause Hamann".
The Swiss breeder Frau Schwarzenbach in the year 2000 said she admired us both from our first visit to see her Rex cats and to our astonishment made us an offer. Her other cats should be exported to Germany because her breeding would eventually stop there and we could better go forward. We already had three breedings. That was perhaps one reason, but nevertheless we were not able to imagine that the good intentions of Frau Schwarzenbach, that had striven until then to expand breeding, should have already come to an end. Later she sold Schirin and Ra-Sitara of Assindia and her breeding was ended.
The GRX breeding started again in 2002. It recovered after this breeding potential was available, two new kittens from Family Hein (parents: Chuba Chups The Frizzled Frolic and Boogy-Curlyhead von Batu) and we all jointly formed an interest group. Wonderful that here the breeding should go on.
For our own breeding plans we were not both at first offered suitable kittens. One requires much place for a breeding programme because permanent "fresh blood" on to cross must become available. Both cat girls, Chuba Chups and Bonsai, were daughters of our Lump, and those out of a mating between a full brother and sister. We passed on the kittens to family Hein. From me, the Hein's received Boogy Curlyhead von Batu. Thus they had a good start.
Mrs. Edel and I did not shrink from any costs of "our" race. We advertised non-stop in cat magazines. Whereupon a young woman from the animal protection, who had read our search announcements, contacted us in June 2000. They had taken in two GRX females and she knew of an address, where were still more German Rex cats - male. The owner was by then overburdened with the cattery, after he had bred cats with success in earlier years. He wanted to deliver two cats or more for our breeding. We agreed upon a date with the leader and the owner.
So in the same month our journey, only dreamed of until then, could begin. We should receive finally new Rex blood. We hoped for a stud, or more. Andrea herself wished "only" a cat. And I...? I did not want anything in particular. Or perhaps nevertheless a cat? Look at least and see what happened.
Under great strain we arrived at Mannheim, where we were given a friendly welcome and could finally examine the hotly desired animals. We looked through Perspex into the cat room. We thought, we could hardly trust our eyes. Before us were sitting predominantly SI-Rex-cats. Up to then we knew nothing of their existence. They were grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the first SI-GRX "DIANE II von Zeitz". Cats with an old family tree, where were to be found Rex cats from the 1970's. Sadly we could only inspect these rare copies from a distance. The cats did not know how to contact people. Sad but true.
Now happened something that we had never anticipated: Mr. Glück, the owner of the GRX cats, had got animal protection leader to catch all his cats. We should take all the animals immediately. That came spontaneously, but probably for the best. That was great for us, but suddenly we had a new problem: What to do with so many animals? None of us had planned that. Our options were limited.
The animal protection leader kept the SI-Rex-girl for herself. Mrs. Edel took "Gretel-Rex vom Glücksklee" and "Brahma-Rex vom Glücksanger"" and a son of both, which we "tentatively" baptised. It was a red point. We called the shiny black, fantastically waved Rex, "Lämmchen".
I kept indiscriminately, and almost unseen, a girl. She got the name "Happy" spontaneously from me. I wished her to have "happy" future with us. She was a daughter of Gretel and Brahma.
Unfortunately the first four animals mentioned soon died for different reasons, partly by the sudden moving stress, partly by an unnoticed pregnancy of the aged "Gretel". Mrs. Edel was understandably very sad. It was not anyhow their fault.
I however had better luck. Although Happy for over 1 1/2 years was terribly fearful and I crept around on all fours for months "by her bedroom". I was the subtenant and expected to be in the room only at night. Only in the darkness could my "Mimose" stand contact with me. My subjection however bore fruit.
Eventually Happy came exactly the same as Lump, to snuggle on my lap. That is nevertheless the best proof that "Happy" would allow her contribution to be made for the extension of the breed. From her we got the first very important hybrids and thus also the first stud.
Our Happy, first regenerated rex, gave us in 2001 a beautiful litter (caesarean, 1/2 GRX and 1/0 hybrid). From it a girl was exported into Switzerland. There it, together with one further GRX male and two hybrids from our breed, now live with Family Weckerle (Cattery: De Woracanose). A Rex girl remained in Germany and lives with Family Wehmeyer (Cattery: Goblin's). A further mating in the year 2002 with Amarella ended after two caesareans and dead young animals with a castration.
mother, "Lump Sugar the Frizzled Frolic", gave
us three further Rex kittens. Of them one was sold as
described into the Woracanose Cattery (Switzerland) and a
Rex girl flew
CONTACT WITH THE FOUNDER OF THE GRX BREED
Over those two years I made some very interesting contacts with former breeders. Owing to Family Weckerle in the year 2000, we were introduced to the founder of the GRX breed, Dr. Rose Scheur-Karpin. We are still in contact with her and she has been very helpful.
The Swiss breeder family Weckerle also wished to get for itself a German Rex and set an attempt in motion. Unfortunately they were refused by a compatriot so continued to look for breeders and/or the German Rex cats. Since end of 1999 they contacted me regularly. Also they took up telephone contacts with Dr. Rose Scheuer-Karpin and asked for her assistance to find GRX breeders in Germany. The lady doctor arranged in her circle of friends to research through their computers PC after breeders and so came quickly by email contact with the Family Hein.
I found the telephone number of the founder from the directory. Then we made an active and friendly contact with her. Mrs. Edel and I received archives of the German Rex in the year 2000. Some members of our club now visit Dr. Rose Scheuer-Karpin annually.
FURTHER BREEDER CONTACTS FROM "THE OLDEN DAYS"
I further made contact with the following former GRX breeders: Mrs. Woellner ("of Zeitz") and Mrs. Kania. From those former breeders I received photos, family trees and other useful informative material from the beginnings of the German Rex breed. To all a most cordial thank you.
ESTABLISHMENT OF A GERMAN REX CAT CLUB (GRXCC)
Very soon the first prospective customers of the GRX breed united in 2000 as a breed community. Parallel to it a Yahoo! discussion group was established. Unfortunately this group recently had to be dissolved, since again a breeder’s intolerable and egoistic behaviour manifested itself, logged in under wrong names (for example, Italian) and started other pressurising campaigns.
The idea of starting an industrial union was suggested by a breeder in Switzerland, because it could achieve the goal of preventing the group being taken over and make it better able to govern itself.
Also, in Germany, the "old" breeders came together. They were allowed to decide for themselves, in which group they would like to remain. Some announced themselves in both breed communities. But finally the decision was settled. They returned, every single breeder, to Germany. Thank you.
One "breeder" only was excluded, since he did not adhere to the breeding line.
At the end of 2002 our group formally became a registered association/club according to German law.
In October the situation was then as follows.
We created the German Rex Cat Club e.V..
The executive committee was elected.
Up to the current time (2003) we are active, very breed-experienced, and also the inexperienced have found many interested cat friends. The club grows slowly.
Mr. Thomas Hamann (Cattery: von Hause Hamann/Erfurt) a long-time GRX breeder and judge, is active as our Cat Club vice Chairman. Mrs. Andrea Edel (Cattery: von Quiomme/Marktredwitz) is at present active as breed registrar. I (Ilona Jänicke, Cattery: "Batu's"/Dresden) am Chairman.
If you would like to know more about our club and members, then our executive committee was pleased to help you.
You can find more on our breed guidelines here. Of course, mainly it is to ensure that all our cats leave the house as healthy, wormed and inoculated animals with a pedigree. The family trees (pedigrees) are registered by the responsible associations to which our members belong, for example, 1.DEKZV/FIFe, Deutsche Edelkatze, BPK, CFG, FD etc. etc.
We are at present working on obtaining entry into the register of associations.
Finally we hope and wish that the GERMAN REX might take its justified place in the cat fancy.
Please make your own contribution and decide that you too will become a GRX breeder!
Ilona Jänicke & Andrea Edel.