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  • Nancy Bathurst


Two Born; Two Arrive; Two Leave

It has been a very busy time at Semper Fi Siberians and for some reason, things seem to be happening in twos!

On September 29, Zhaklin gave birth to two handsome boys:

DSC_0084 DSC_0126

Next, I would like to introduce you to our two new Siberian Princesses in Waiting:

We thank Sherrie from Slava Cattery in Missouri for our beautiful future queen: Magdalena.  Magdalena is named after my maternal grandmother.  We are calling her Maggie.  She is a Golden Mackerel Tabby.


We thank Andrea from Tuney Siberians in Minnesota for our beautiful future queen: Anastasia.  We are calling her Ana. She is a Black Amber Silver Torbie


In a year or so we will be happy to see the beautiful kittens they bring to us, but in the meantime, we are enjoying their kitten antics and loving personalities.  They are great additions to our Semper Fi family!

And last but definitely not least, Izabella’s two babies have now gone to their forever homes:

I met Angelica (the bride from my previous blog) at O’Hare to give her Anastasiya for the long plane ride to JFK and then another long ride by car to join Jackie and her Siberians at Inspurrations Cattery in East Stroudsburg, PA.  Anastasiya is a princess in waiting and will be giving Jackie and Angelica some beautiful (hopefully silver) kittens in the future.

Angelica picks up Anastaysia

Leo is loving his new family Tubba and Zaman:

Zaman and Tubba with Leo 002

So those are the stories of our twos!  Luckily for future pet parents, we still have Liliya’s five kittens and Sophia’s seven kittens who we are training and getting ready to join their forever homes in November and December

What did I do with the raspberries pictured in my last blog?  Raspberry Lemon Muffins!



Grape Pie, Mmmm Good!

Once a year we have grape pie!  So you ask…”why only once a year?”  Have you ever peeled grapes? If you have, you know the answer. If you haven’t, I am going to show you!

When we moved to our current house Jim wanted to plant grapes.  He thought he was planting the seedless variety but, alas, that was not the case.  Although he envisioned sitting around eating freshly picked grapes from the vine, the varieties with seeds make this more of a task than it is worth.  I said not to worry, my mom always made one grape pie a year and I will do the same. He said he had never had grape pie before and I told him that is because they are a lot of work.

Up until this year we have not had much luck with our grapes. The birds got to them before we did.  One year we had enough for one pie.  This year we out-fooled the birds with bird netting placed over the vines and there were enough grapes for three pies.

Peeling grapes is not exactly how I had planned to spend my Sunday afternoon, but the pie beckoned and we went to work. After Jim picked, the grapes, we washed them. DSC_0019 DSC_0011









Then comes the fun part… peeling! You have to put the skins in one bowl and the fleshy part that contain the seeds in a saucepan. DSC_0021 DSC_0009 DSC_0010



Place the saucepan on the burner over medium low heat and bring to a boil. Then comes another fun part…separating the pulp from the seeds! You do this with a food mill.   DSC_0013   Combine the pulp and the skins with a teaspoon of lemon juice and stir in a mixture of sugar, flour and salt. Pour into the bottom crust, dot with butter and add the top crust.  Sprinkle with sparkling sugar. DSC_0014 DSC_0015 DSC_0017             Bake at for 50 minutes. DSC_0018     Cool.   DSC_0024   Enjoy!   DSC_0026   Today I picked some raspberries from our vines.  What should I make with these?  I’m thinking Raspberry Lemon Muffins! DSC_0029

Good News/Bad News

What is your answer when someone says to you, “I have good news and bad news. Which do you want first?”  I always say I want the bad news first so we can get it over.  So that is what I am going to do in this post.

And the bad news isn’t about us or any of our kittens. It is a sad story from a fellow breeder that I felt needed to be shared.  Those of you with small children may want to read this first before sharing with them.  We care deeply about our kittens and continue to care as they grow and prosper in their forever homes.  I try to keep all my posts upbeat something you look forward to receiving. This time I have to include some bad with the good – if I can save one kitten’s life, it will be worth it.

Email from a fellow breeder:

“I had a phone call last night that all of us dread… news of the passing of a kitten that wasn’t quite yet six months old.  He’d climbed into the clothes dryer (apparently a habit he had) and this one time she forgot to check before turning it on.  It was only a few minutes before she realized, but by then it was too late… he passed on his way to the emergency vet.

This kitten was one of my bottle babies from my first litter of 2014, and I was particularly attached to him.  I know it was an accident and so didn’t scream and yell at her… I could tell she was wracked with guilt and she will have to live with it for the rest of her life.  I do give a ‘Kitten Care Sheet’ to buyers and that is one of the dangers I mention; she says she always checked except for this once.

I am simply devastated by this news… from now on I will not only give the Care Sheet, but I am going to talk about it with new owners using this first hand experience as an example.  It won’t bring back my precious little boy, but it might save another baby.”
Comments from Nancy:
With the busy lives we lead, it is so easy to get distracted.  We have learned to multi-task. While doing one thing, we are thinking about what we need to do next.  This was an accident and my heart goes out to the breeder but especially to the owner of this dear kitten.
After the breeder posted this on a site I belong to, unfortunately many more stories came through.  We all agreed we need to do something positive with this sad news and that is to send a safety reminder to all of our pet parents.
 Accidents such as these are rare, however, we must all  take precautions for the health, safety, and well- being of our kittens.  Check over your home for potential kitty hazards: venetian blind cords  (a kitten could hang herself, so tie them up if she can reach them), possible escapes to unprotected areas, attention to keeping the lid down on the toilet, don’t turn the washer or dryer on without checking inside first. Kittens will jump into the refrigerator and they absolutely LOVE the dishwasher so take care with closing these doors.  Don’t use your recliner if you have one – underneath is often a kitten’s favorite place to take a nap. Other dangers include rubber bands, pony tail holders, string, plastic bags, dental floss, pins, holiday tinsel and ornaments—these things should never be left lying around.  Make sure that everyone in the family is well trained to CLOSE THE OUTSIDE DOOR and monitor it for a tiny escapee when going in and out.  Designate someone to guard the door and/or the cat whenever guests or workers are going in and out.  I will often lock all of my cats in a safe room when this kind of work is being done.  I can absolutely guarantee that guests/workers WILL leave the  door gaping open without a thought to your kitty.  Be particularly vigilant if you have children coming and going.  The list goes on and on so keep a watchful eye out towards safety. THERE’S A BABY IN THE HOUSE!”

 Hopefully, ending this post on a positive note will make all of us feel better:
And now for the good news.  The pictures below are of the babies from Liliya’s and Sophia’s recent deliveries. Precious little bundles of love.  We will do everything in our power to protect them until we can put them in the arms of their forever families.
Liliya’s Kittens:
Lincoln, reserved for Amy and family

Lincoln, reserved for Amy and family

Nikolai, reserved for Randy

Nikolai, reserved for Randy

Mischief reserved for Barbara

Mischief reserved for Barbara

Zoey has been reserved for Sara and family

Zoey has been reserved for Sara and family

Kazimir reserved for John

Kazimir reserved for John

At 2:50 last Saturday morning Sophie jumped up on the bed and woke me up 10 minutes before my alarm was due to go off!  She said “it’s time.” And I said, “Finally!”
Her first baby was born at 3:12 a.m.  I was able to be with her for this one but then I had to turn everything over to Jim since I needed to leave the house by 4:00 a.m. for my flight to Minneapolis.
Jim and Sophie handled everything very well – we have seven gorgeous babies!  True to form, as soon as they were all born, Sophie moved them under the bed.  This is ingrained into their personalities – what she is doing is protecting them from predators!
Sophia's babies born September 20, 2014.

Sophia’s babies born September 20, 2014.

Five more babies born to Sophie on September 20, 2014.

Five more babies born to Sophie on September 20, 2014.

 The next seven people on the waiting list will be making their selections from this litter in the next several weeks.

A Wonderful Thing is a Tigger!

I received another delightful email from one of our pet parents last week that I just had to share with you.





Was looking at your blog and saw all the cute new kittens.  I assume they are reserved, but I’m wondering about Zhaklin’s upcoming litter?  All spoken for yet?  My boisterous boy, Sasha, is crying out for a playmate.  Thought it would be cute to have a full brother or sister for him, but of course any half sibling would do as well!  The only stipulation is that the baby fits the description given in the lyrics of the Tigger Song:
A wonderful thing is a Tigger;
A Tigger’s a wonderful thing.
Their tops are made out of rubber,
their bottoms are made out of springs
They’re bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, bouncy,
fun, fun, fun, fun, fun,
The most wonderful thing
about Tiggers is:
I’m the only one!

That is Sasha’s theme song.  He just bounces all over the place, all the time.  He’s incredibly athletic, graceful, cute, babyish, stubborn, and sassy. Very intelligent, too, and somewhat obedient when he doesn’t have his mind set on something.  He’s also extremely vocal.  I’m only just beginning to learn what each meow means.  He tells me off every day when I come home from work, and I do know what that means!

I’m going to take him to the vet soon for his annual physical and also to find out his weight.  He went “off his feed” for a bit this summer (he was eating, but was very finicky and never finished anything), but as of right now is sitting down and eating an entire 3 ounces of cat food at a single sitting.  He does have a slight pouch on his belly but I think he’s too active to become fat.  He’s rarely still.  I’m guessing his weight right now at about 14 lbs.  He’s big!  Not rangy like a Maine Coon, but round and solid and big boned.

For the future I’d like to have Sasha, another Semper Fi Siberian, and when we get to the permanent home we’ll round out our family with a Maine Coon.  I’ve never quite forgotten dear Gideon (my MC who lived from 1982-2001), and would like to have just one more MC in my life.  However, I don’t think an MC could keep up with a Siberian, so I’m figuring on having two bouncy Siberians and eventually one laid-back Maine Coon.  That’s the plan, anyway.

Hope everyone is well!


Sounds like a good plan to me, Sandy! 

Too Cute!

Did any of you see Saturday’s episode of Too Cute on Animal Planet?  It was adorable!  Siberians Coorah and Boris from Inspurrations Cattery in Pennsylvania were featured.  And who are Coorah and Boris? None other than the parents of our first queen, Nadeah, and our current queen, Zhaklin.  If you missed it, it is available on-line: Season 5 Episode 4, First Aired: August 23, 2014.

And we had our own “episode” of too cute on Saturday also, although ours was only open for viewing between the hours of 3:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. – yes that is a.m.!  When else would Liliya decide it is time to give birth! Please meet the five beautiful additions to our Semper Fi family (the names are temporary until names are selected by their forever families.)


Kira - Colorpoint Girl

Kira – Colorpoint Girl

Stefan - Black with White Boy

Stefan – Black with White Boy

Katarina - Blue with White Girl

Katarina – Blue with White Girl

Kazimir - Blue with White Boy

Kazimir – Blue with White Boy

Nicolai - Black with White Boy

Nicolai – Black with White Boy

So what am I, chopped liver?

When I show Mr. Silver my latest blog entry, he gets really upset.  “What am I, chopped liver? he says.  “I mean, really, if it weren’t for me, none of these lovely ladies would be in the family way.  And, YOU, would have nothing to write about.  Don’t you think everyone would like to see a picture of me?”

He then proceeded to go out the pet door to the catio* and pout for a while.

I said Mr. Silver, you know you’re my main man!  I will post your picture in my next blog and it will be only you!  Will that make up for my mistake?


Am I forgiven?


DSC_0006 DSC_0005



* Jim built this fantastic enclosed area on our deck. The adult cats can come and go from inside the house to the outside via a pet door.  They can enjoy seeing the birds, climbing up and down a tree limb and being with us when we are outside. At the same time, they are safe and they can go back inside anytime they want to eat and go potty!

It’s Baby Time at Semper Fi

Babies, Babies, Babies!  We love them and that’s a good thing.  Izabella recently gave birth to two beautiful kittens:




The silver torbie female is being evaluated as a possible breeder.  The red tabby male has been selected by Zaman and Tubba and they have already named him Leo.

The silver torbie female is being evaluated as a possible breeder. The red tabby male has been selected by Zaman and Tubba and they have already named him Leo.


Liliya is due to give birth on or around August 21.  This will be her first litter so we will be watching her constantly in the next two weeks.


Liliya - personality plus!

Liliya – personality plus!


Sophia is expecting and due on September 14.

Our beautiful Sophia is a seal lynx point.

Our beautiful Sophia is a seal lynx point.


And last, but never least, is Zhaklin who is expecting on September 25.

Zhaklin is happiest when she is expecting or nursing kittens.

Zhaklin is happiest when she is expecting or nursing kittens.


As you can see, Mr. Silver is still faithfully fulfilling his job description!



New York sky line taken from outside our hotel in Weehawken, New Jersey.

New York sky line taken from outside our hotel in Weehawken, New Jersey.

Jim and I – just the two of us – have not been on a vacation for over three years. Yes, we go to Florida every year, but that is always accompanied by a dog or two and a minimum of seven cats! We sometimes go individually while the other one stays home to be with our pet family.

We were invited to a wedding which was going to take place on a boat in New York Harbor.  And although this invitation came through our mentor, Jacqueline Margulies of Inspurrations Cattery, the invitation did not mention if cats were welcome!

Our daughter, SueEllen, said “You deserve to take the time and experience this once in a lifetime opportunity. I will come to Girard and take care of the pet family. Tell them you will be there!”

We did! And we were! And we are so very happy we said yes!

First, the wedding: Friday evening we boarded the Royal Princess and were ushered to the top deck to witness Jackie’s son,Franklin, and his beautiful bride,  Angelica, recite their vows.

The Bride and Groom reciting their vows.

The Bride and Groom reciting their vows.


The rest of the evening followed traditional wedding procedure, hors d’oeuvres, dinner, dancing and cake.  Each done on different levels of the boat and done with perfection.


Happy to be at this wonderful wedding

Happy to be at this wonderful wedding

Jim with Jackie, mother of the groom, and me



But then it happened! Jim and I were sitting down watching the young people dance when Jim decided to walk to the other side of the boat. I looked up and he is motioning me to come join him.  By this time my feet are hurting: my new shoes have started rubbing blisters on top of my toes! I hobble over. He points to the skyline and there she is in all her glory: the Statue of Liberty. She is surrounded by light, the waves dancing and sparkling around her. The sight was breathtaking!

Lady Liberty


Both of my grandmothers immigrated to this country many years ago and now I was gazing at the Lady who welcomed them to this country!

I had never spent any time in New York City so we had made plans to stay a few days extra to see the sights. I am a very detail oriented person and always believe in researching an area before visiting. This trip was no exception. I researched the best places to visit, the recommended places to eat, the weather and what to wear.

After my research I told Jim “do not pack any shorts; shorts are tabu in Manhattan.” Understand that this man lives in shorts so although I got “the look”, he obeyed.  Saturday we are waiting at the ferry stop to take us to Manhattan and Times Square. Lots of people in shorts! Jim looks at me and questions my advice. I say “well, we are in New Jersey (our hotel is in Weehawken); when we get to Times Square, you will see.” And see we did – lots of people in shorts!  So then I say, “well the article said if you don’t want to look like a tourist, don’t wear shorts. If you want to blend in with New Yorkers, wear long pants and the pants need to be dark.” So now Jim says “why didn’t you tell me that; I don’t think anyone is going to mistake us for New Yorkers!”

And he is right. It was obvious we were tourists. And how do I know that? Because we repeatedly were asked if we needed help. We would be standing on a corner, map in hand, looking at street signs or down in the subway trying to figure out if we wanted N, R or Q.  But we never had to wait long because someone would say “where do you want to go?” and would then proceed to give us great directions.  And they say New Yorkers are not friendly! Please let me put that fallacy to rest.

There was no way we could see all the sights we wanted to; that would have taken weeks.  We did visit Times Square, saw an off-Broadway play, visited Wall Street and the Bull, and spent three hours at the 911 Memorial Museum. And ate at some wonderful restaurants. The cannoli from Rocco’s brings a smile to my face just thinking of it.

The Bull of Wall Street

The Bull of Wall Street

911 Memorial

911 Memorial

Quilt made in honor of those who died on 9/11. On display in the 911 Memorial Museum.

Quilt made in honor of those who died on 9/11. On display in the 911 Memorial Museum.





We are both so grateful to our wonderful mentor, Jackie, who invited us to be a part of her family for an evening. And for giving us the opportunity to experience the city that never sleeps.

So if you have never been to New York City and have the opportunity to go….go. And if you go in July, pack your shorts!

A Cheerful Heart

Hope each of you are enjoying a delightful Independence Day week-end.  Ours started out yesterday with the wonderful experience of placing two kittens in the arms of their new parents Deb and Dan.


Deb is holding Katya; Dan is holding Pashka (kittens were born on Easter and Pashka is the Russian name for Easter).

Deb is holding Katya; Dan is holding Pashka (kittens were born on Easter and Pashka is the Russian name for Easter).


Deb said her son was traveling two hours to their home so he could see the two new additions to the family.  Later that evening Deb sent us photos of the kittens already enjoying life at their forever home.  We especially enjoyed seeing the gleeful expression on their granddaughter’s face as she played with Katya and Pashka.

Granddaughter giggles delightfully while playing with Pashka and Katya.

Granddaughter giggles delightfully while playing with Pashka and Katya.





Earlier I travelled to our daughter’s home in Palatine to meet the new pet parents of the other two kittens from this litter.  First I met Caitlin who named her kitten Elsa. I was informed Elsa is the Snow Queen of Arendelle in Disney’s Academy Award-winning 2013 animated feature film Frozen. How very appropriate for a Siberian cat’s name! Caitlin’s grandmother is a judge in the cat fancy in Australia. She will be travelling to the United States for a visit this month. I am so anxious to hear how she judges Elsa.


Caitlin with Elsa all snug in her take-home blanket.

Caitlin with Elsa all snug in her take-home blanket.



After Elsa left, Stanley let me know he was not happy being alone! But it wasn’t long before Mitchell and Tina arrived to meet him. They were thrilled. Tears in the eyes of the new pet parent when they see their kitten for the first time is not uncommon. Tina and I both had tears!


Mitchell and Tina are excited to take home Stanley as a companion to Siberian, Spartacus, and their Havanesse dog, Sammy.

Mitchell and Tina are excited to take home Stanley as a companion to Siberian, Spartacus, and their Havanese dog, Sammy.


This note from Tina made me HAPPY!  “I have to tell you how incredibly HAPPY we are with Stanley.  He is absolutely the sweetest little angel :o)  I spent the day at home yesterday getting to know him and fell more and more in love with him by the minute.  He is eating and playing beautifully and he seems really comfortable in his new surroundings.”


Jim an I both have gone through surgeries in the last few weeks, Jim’s being the most recent.  We are both doing well.  How can we help but get well with the blessings we receive from our pets and our new pet parents that we welcome into our family.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine.”  Proverbs 17:22



So You Think You Want a Siberian!

When prospective pet parents fill out our adoption questionnaire, I give them a call so we can get to know each other. They have questions and I also have questions. They want to make sure we are the breeders they can trust. And we want to make sure they are the pet parents we feel we can trust to provide years of love and care for one of our precious kittens.

Just recently, I have added a new question – are you sure you want a Siberian? I then offer the caveat—Siberians are not going to lay on the couch all day; they want – no demand – to be a part of your life – whether it is helping you open your mail, type on the computer or prepare dinner.

This week we received a delightful email from pet parents, Stephanie and Brian, whose Siberian, Keisel, just turned one. After reading this, tell me – are you ready for a Siberian?
Keisel 1 year

Keisel 1 year - 2

Keisel 1 year - 3

Keisel 1 year - 4





Hi Nancy,

Hope all is well at Semper Fi Siberians! I saw Jim was having surgery on his neck. I hope it is nothing serious and many prayers and well wishes passed his way.

Well our little Keisel turned 1 today! I know you often get to see pictures of him on Facebook, but I wanted to pass some of our favorites along for the blog!

Keisel is such a great cat. We love him so so much, he’s like our child and often acts like one. He’s grown to be a big boy so far, 13 pounds! He’s our cuddle buddy and wildly spirited cat! He is quite a talker, we often have conversations with him through chortling and squeaking. I can’t say it’s quite meowing, it’s his own sort of language. We call him Keisel “The Weasel” sometimes because while he can be the sweetest cat in the world he can also be a stinker sometimes too.

He loves to eat anything and everything so we have to be very careful what is out around the house. His favorite thing to play with, when he can find them, are Q-Tips. We have to take it away from him because he tries to eat the ends. He loves cotton for some reason. We have to lock them up, along with the cotton balls, in another room in a cabinet, because he has managed to open the cabinets and open the bag to get to them. We also got a foot-press garbage can to throw them away, but being as smart as he is, he has managed to figure out how to press on the foot-press and open the garbage lid just enough to weasel a Q-Tip out. You know when he has one, because he runs as fast as he can and tries to hide it under the rug. He loves to grab raw chicken out of my hands when I’m washing it and has even dipped his paw into guacamole!

But beside his weaselly moments, we can’t get enough of our cuddle bug. We have been letting him sleep with us lately and he loves to climb on to my chest and plop his entire body on my face. We have slept cheek to cheek on many occasions. If he is not on my chest, he sleeps in between us, feet up in the air on his back. Or he cuddles with one of our legs. He loves to sleep on Brian’s lap when Brian is on the computer or will often lay in front of the computer screen. The cheaper the toy the better. He loves paper bags and crumpled up pieces of paper. His new sleeping spot is on top of our entertainment system.

In the morning like a child would, he runs into the room and bounces on the bed to wake us up. He tries to get our attention my chirping and scratching at the edge of our bed, only to run out of the room when we tell him no, just to try and get us out to play with him. He has his many bouts of energy where he spontaneously runs around the room so fast across the hard wood floors that his feet slide from under him. He loves to cross his paws on the window sill and watch out for his doggy friend outside. His favorite laying position lately is laying on his back arms and feet up in the air. He lets us give him baths relatively pleasantly once a month. Brian has had no issues with allergies.

Keisel is such a great addition to our family. Everyone who meets him loves him, as do we.

Stephanie and Brian


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