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  • Nancy Bathurst

  • May 2017
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The Lord blessed me with three children: Mark, Sue Ellen and Gene. He then blessed me again when I married Jim to receive into my heart his two children David and Kelly. Then He heaped on the blessings by giving us nine grandchildren Lindsay, Ryan, Keegan, Morgan, Tyler, Neah, Emma, Mary, and Jack. And then….add in the blessings of spouses and significant others: Mike, Eric, Julie, Caroline, Scott, Alyssa, another Kelly, and Casey.

So what do I want for Mother’s Day? Absolutely nothing. I have been given blessings to last a lifetime.

But God wasn’t through. He introduced us to our beautiful Siberians and gave us the opportunity to pass those blessings on to our pet parents. And those pet parents bless us every time they send us a photo and update of our grandkittens:


Life’s Abundance Gourmet for Sly!

“I want my birthday hat!”

Happy Birthday, Sly!

So how many times did I say a form of the word blessing in this post. Unnecessary repetition? No. Because God’s blessings have a way of multiplying as we get older.

I wish each of you beautiful ladies a Happy Mother’s Day and may your blessings continue to multiply.

New Kittens * Old Music

Sophie gave birth to six kittens on April 17. ¬†There are four boys and two girls. ¬†They are doing fantastic. This blog post will allow you to meet them while at the same time enjoying music from the 50’s ¬†– the age of teen idols and doo-wop!

One of the many fun things about raising kittens is selecting the temporary names they will have during the selection process. ¬†For several years I stuck with Russian names to be true to their heritage. ¬†After a while, that became a little boring so I started searching for other avenues of inspiration. ¬†The last couple of litters were names taken from literature, either authors or characters in a novel. ¬†Literature is my passion; Jim’s is music. We get in the car, the first thing Jim does, is put on the radio and turn up the volume. ¬†If I get in the car without Jim, the first thing I do is turn off the radio! ¬†I love peace and quiet; Jim likes noise. ¬†In fact, noise is the reason I knew Jim even existed. ¬†In the early 80’s my son and I moved into an apartment in Glen Ellyn. ¬†Every Sunday we would hear this loud marching music coming through the wall from the next apartment. This went on for weeks with us wondering who in the world would play that kind of music every Sunday. ¬†Then one night I was walking down the stairs from the second floor community laundry room and at the bottom of the stairs stood this handsome Marine in dress blues….our question was answered! ¬†And as they say, the rest is history.

Last week Jim said why don’t you name the new kittens after musicians. In fact, take the names of the performers from “the decade that started it all” — the 50’s. ¬†My first reaction was no; the majority of our pet parents think oldies are music from the 80’s! ¬†But the more we talked about it, the more fun we were having . ¬†We both were teenagers in the late fifties. Jim was born and raised on the East Coast and I am a Midwesterner through and through so our views are a little different on the music of our time but we both knew all the same songs and danced to the same beat.

So join with us, as we take a musical trip down memory lane!

Of course, we have to start out with the king – Elvis and Don’t Be Cruel ¬† ¬† ¬†https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViMF510wqWA

Elvis Presley


Yes, I liked Elvis, too. But the one I swooned over was Pat Boone. ¬†Jim says there were two kind of teenagers – Elvis lovers and Pat Boone lovers and he definitely was not the latter. ¬†He said he wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing white bucks. ¬†And I tell him I would never have dated a guy who had¬†Lucky Strikes rolled up in the sleeve of his white T-shirt! ¬† Here is Pat singing Love Letters In The Sand ¬† https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ENzT9k1LRs

Pat Boone

We did both agree on the female singers; Teresa Brewer was everyone’s darling! We both loved Music, Music, Music ¬† https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NY-L-NurhX8

Teresa Brewer

The couple everyone loved was Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin.   Here is his fun song, Splish Splash   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KmKkV3ddAo

Bobby Darin

Jim was more into slow dancing (yes that is what we called it) while I loved to rock and roll!  We would go to Les-Buzz in Spring Valley and dance to the likes of Fats Domino and my very favorite, Bill Haley and the Comets.

Bill Haley

Connie Franconero used to sing and play the accordion. During the rehearsals for her appearance on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts, she was advised by Godfrey to change her stage name to Connie Francis for the sake of easier pronunciation. Godfrey also told her to drop the accordion ‚Äď advice she gladly followed, as she had begun to hate the large and heavy instrument. ¬†Connie singing Where The Boys Are ¬† ¬†https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqgl0VRJW0E

Connie Francis


Let me know your favorite songs and your favorite kittens!

Little Women Go To Their Forever Homes

It was a great week-end here at Semper Fi Siberians.  Jim arrived home with the Cat House on Wheels and our Little Women were greeted by their new families.

Meg is now named Natasha.

Deanne adopted Boris from us in December and was excited to bring a sister home for him to play with.  As of this morning, they are already rubbing noses!

Beth is now named Lola.

Laura picked up Lola on Friday after work. The first night Lola¬†spent lots of time keeping Laura awake! ¬†The second night was better and now she declares Lola a “sweetie”!

Jo is now named Katrina.

Andrea is the owner/breeder of Tunies Siberians in Minnesota. When Katrina grows up she will be in her breeding program. Andrea loves her gorgeous coloring.

We are happy to announce that Sophia had six kittens on April 17. The next post will feature these beautiful babies.

Available Adult Siberian

Before I have Jim post this on our website, I want to let my blog followers know about the availability of one of our adults.

We decided to retire our Zhaklin, affectionately called Jackie, because she had reached the age of 5. We felt that was a good age to stop breeding even though our vet said she was in excellent physical condition. She was spayed in December but we decided to take her to Florida with us where we spend the winter. Jackie has always been our least social Siberian and we wanted to see if spaying her would have a positive effect on her personality. It definitely did–she spent a lot of time on my lap while we were in Florida. She still does not like to be picked up and will often dash away if she thinks you are going to do so. She is best if you let her come to you. She absolutely loves Life’s Abundance treats and will come running when we shake the bag!

We feel with the right home she will become a loving member of the family. When we retire a breeding female we always want to place them in a home with no children and preferably no other animals, although a laid back dog would probably be fine. The reason is we want them to have a home where they are the center of attention. We want them to spend the rest of their lives living like a queen!

Jackie will be 6 in October of this year. Her adoption price is $450.

If you think you might be interested or would like to make an appointment to meet Jackie, please give me a call. We can then discuss the adoption to see if you and we feel it will be a good fit.



(217) 823-5482

Cat House on Wheels 2017

Do you miss the Cat House on Wheels stories? Well, here is a doozy!

We usually leave Florida sometime during the last week in March which gives us plenty of time to get home for the litters born while in Florida to go to their forever homes back in Illinois. As you know, this year we had to delay our return until I was released by my eye surgeon. This happened on April 10 and we were on the road by 9:00 a.m. on the 11th. On our way out of Fort Myers we had to stop by the RV dealership who had our coach almost the entire time we were in Florida fixing a myriad of things, putting on new tires, re-painting the front and changing the oil in the generator…and there lies problem No. 1. They took the old oil out but when Jim checked it, the dip stick was dry! Obviously, they forgot to put in the new oil, or so they told us.

Okay, so they put in the oil, and we were on our way!

First night we pull into a Cracker Barrel parking lot where we like to spend the night. They have parking for us but no electricity. But that is fine because we have the generator to run whatever is needed, like the furnace or air conditioning. But guess what? No oil in the generator! So now it is obvious, they had stripped the plug and the oil leaked out. We weren’t concerned the first night because the weather was beautiful and we needed neither heat nor air. We would worry about it when we got further north.

Well, we didn’t need to worry because we weren’t going to get much further north! As we entered Tennessee, just over the line from Alabama, the check engine light came on. Within seconds, the red stop engine light came on. So at mile marker #2 on I-65 Jim pulled the motorhome over to the very narrow shoulder off the interstate and turned the key to off. We called our road service and seven (yes I said 7) hours later the motor home was being towed to the nearest repair shop, back in Alabama! And this repair shop informed us they could not get to inspect it to find out the problem until Friday – this was Wednesday!

We (by ‚Äúwe‚ÄĚ, I mean Jim!) decided we could not delay our trip home for an undetermined amount of time – one main reason: what hotel would let us come in with seven cats, nine kittens and a dog!

While Jim was waiting for the tow, I took our Mini Cooper and drove to the nearest Enterprise Car Rental, also back in Alabama, to rent a vehicle large enough to transport us all home. (Now realize, I just had eye surgery, and I can’t see well enough to read any signs. Aren’t you happy you weren’t on I-65 in Alabama that day!)

We loaded everyone into the rental vehicle, one litter and their mom in one playpen, the other litter and their mom in a second play pen. Two cats are in carriers and the other three plus Zeke, the dog, are lying in the back. It is about 9:30 pm and Jim starts the vehicle and we head north.

About 20 miles down the road Jim stops the car and says “I cannot handle the meowing. We are letting these kittens out of the playpens!” For those of you who already have kittens from us, you know Jim and I totally disagree on this issue. I believe they have to be enclosed to keep them safe in the event of an accident. Jim, on the other hand, is such an animal lover, he cannot bear to hear them cry and feels they can just be left loose in the car.

After the day Jim had just gone through, I knew there was absolutely no point in arguing with him. I sent up a fervent prayer asking God to keep us all safe.

The kittens were fine, several slept on my lap or Jim’s. The cats were fine too. I believe driving at night was the right choice — yes, Jim, another good decision by you! You were right!

We pulled into the driveway of our home in Crystal Lake at 10:00 the next morning – Jim drove the entire 12 hours.

And there are 6 very happy families who are glad Jim safely transported their precious kittens back home so they could pick them up on Friday and Saturday.


Justin, Megan, Jack and Kate loving SkippyJon who will become a great friend to their two dogs, both yellow labs.


Nikki and Sierra taking home Buttercup to meet their two cats, Gwen and Diego and dog, Charlie.


Chris and Jessica wanted a companion for their dog, Maddy, and we think Jasper is the perfect choice.


Jami with sons, Christian and Kellen selected the only girl in this litter and appropriately named her Sugar because she is so sweet!


Bryan and Jami are from Wisconsin. We met when they were attending chiropractor college in Illinois. They adopted Tia from us several years ago and now were ready to add a second Siberian, Winston, to their family.


Beth and Justin selected Berlioz for their precious children, Elijah and Margaret. Beth reports that Berlioz settled right in by lying next to her and taking a nap after the ride home.

We thank each and every one of these families and will be anxious to see photos as the kittens grow.


So what is wrong with the motor home? It is an alternator which is on order and will hopefully be installed later this week so Jim can drive all the way back to Alabama and then turn around and drive back to Illinois!

I think next year we will forget Florida and just stay home!

On The Mend!

Thank you to all ¬†who sent get well wishes in the time of my convalescence. During the many hours of lying flat on my back I thought of each of you with love and gratitude in my heart! I also had some warm, fuzzy company! I was in our guest bedroom where Lily and her “little women” kept me company. My eyesight is not better; in fact, it is worse than before the surgery. But this is to be expected. ¬†It will improve over time as the healing continues.

One of our pet parents, Erin, sent me a note accompanied with some great photos

“Because cat pictures make everything better! Get well soon!”


Maui loves to watch TV.





Don’t you agree? Cat pictures do make everything better! So here are a few more sent to us recently. Let me know if they, indeed, cause¬†you to have a better day.


Two year old Dexter. Thank you Samantha.


Percy sleeping yoga or napping with a smile! Thank you Kristina!


Percy wrestling with his Kickeroo on the beanbag chair.




“Kona M. is awesome and the boys just adore her. They lovingly refer to her as their sister. They tried to sneak her into a suitcase to come with us on our last vacation.” Thank you Michelle!



Lulu the Musician!  Thank you Sue!



Traci says Sebastian is the sweetest cat ever!



Deanne is telling Boris he will soon have a new sister, Natasha.


Deanne said Boris was not pleased with the bunny ears but forgave her eventually.

This gives me another opportunity to remind everyone – NO Lilies this Easter!


“Hello! Sending greetings from Lana, the birthday girl. 2 years old. Hope you are both doing well.” Thank you Julie!


We were scheduled to return to Illinois this week but my doctor wants to rule on the side of caution so he has asked me to come back to see him on April 10 for a check-up to make sure there is no rejection of the cornea transplant. Our plan is optimistic: we will have the motor home all packed and sitting in the driveway. The morning of the 11th we will all get on board and the Cat House on Wheels will head north for Illinois!

See you soon!






Nancy Update

Hi Folks, Jim here, the other half of Semper Fi Siberians. So many of you have expressed well wishes and prayers for Nancy and her surgery, so I wanted to sneak into her computer and post something on her blog Shhhh, don’t tell her I did this. LOL. Oh well, she’ll find out once she is up and around.

Anyway, she came threw the surgery fine, and she slept¬†well Thursday night. She’s been a real trooper (Oops, I meant Marine). We went back to the Dr’s yesterday for a check up to make sure the “bubble” was still there and slowly dissipating as it should be. All was well. They place a bubble of liquid (I think) in the cornea and it is should dissipate over three to four days. During that time she must lay on her back with her head tilted back slightly so the chin is up. I assume that’s to keep the bubble level throughout the cornea.

This lying on her back is the toughest part of it all. I cannot imagine having to lay on my back for 3-4 days. When I had my heart surgery, I had to remain on my back for twenty-four hours and it darned near killed me, so I have some idea of what she is going through now.

We return to the Dr’s this coming Wednesday to see if the bubble is gone and he will at that time give us some instructions as to when she needs her next checkup. If we are able to leave the end of this month as planned, the intent is for her to fly back here whenever for the¬†appointment rather than seeing someone¬†up in Chicago.

This Dr. is amazing. I met him for the first time yesterday. Walks in wearing running pants, shoes, and an Under Armour T-shirt. Spent no more than 4-5 minutes with us; looked at her eye, said good, remain on your back, see you next Wednesday. He is one busy fellow. As he was leaving I jokingly asked if there was anyone keeping track of how many of these operations he has performed. He laughed and said “Thousands, I am probably number two in the world.” Trust me, I can believe him by the number of foreign languages I heard spoken in the waiting room.

Anyway, that’s it for the update on my bride. She remains in good spirits and we both sincerely appreciate and are humbled by the outpouring of wishes and prayers we have received and continue to receive from so many¬†of you. Thank you!


Semper Fi,


Closed For Vacation

When my friend, Susan, learned of my upcoming surgery, she said you need to tell all your pet parents you are closed for vacation!  I guess, in a way, it will be a vacation. I am a glass half full kind of person so that is how I am going to look at this time off from the cattery.

I have a date with an eye surgeon! Two years ago I was diagnosed with Fuchs Dystrophy which is a rare eye disease where the cells in the cornea die more rapidly than normal. It is called a fickle disease because you never know when or if your sight will deteriorate enough to require a transplant. I was told by one doctor he did not think I would ever reach the point where this was necessary. But guess what? It has. I feel very fortunate that our home in Fort Myers is only three miles from the office of a world-renowned surgeon for this disease. During my initial appointment with him, I was told I need a cornea transplant in my right eye. My left eye is fine at this time. I am having this surgery on March 16. At least for three to four days I will have to be flat on my back with my eyes to the ceiling, only up for bathroom breaks and meals. The remainder of the recuperation period will be determined after the doctor sees how I respond.

I am telling you all of this because it will affect my communication with you. There will be no texting or computer usage. ¬†And I probably won’t feel like talking on the phone. If you do have questions that cannot wait for a couple of weeks, you can contact Jim but please remember Jim will be busy taking care of the kittens, the cats and dogs and the house ‚Äď plus waiting on me! ¬†His telephone number is (217) 823-5483. He will read emails as time permits.

I know many of you have been waiting to see photos of Liliya’s kittens born February 7 so here they are: Three Little Women!







To end this post on a fun note, I thought you might enjoy the following:

Since Jim and I have separate offices (in the same house!), we often communicate during the day via email. ¬†He sent me this and I thought you all might get a laugh! ¬†She referred to her husband with not a very nice name in the last line, but I deleted it to make it “child friendly.”.

When Love Fades

Last night I was sitting on the sofa watching TV.

When I heard my wife’s voice from the kitchen ask…

“What would you like for dinner, my love? Chicken, Beef or Lamb?”

I said, “Thank you, dear, I think I’ll have chicken.”

She replied , “You’re having soup, XXX. I was talking to the cat.”


Tomorrow, March 1, marks the beginning of Lent. Every year, right before Easter, I post a warning about the dangers of Easter Lilies to your cat.

I am sure you have all read warnings on many things and sometimes we pay little attention, thinking that won’t happen to us. But then it does happen to us and now we take notice!


One of our pet parents gave me permission to share their story to hopefully save you from going through the same thing they experienced.

I received a text a week ago “Well I found out today that lilies are toxic.” The husband had purchased a Valentines Day bouquet that contained a lily. One morning they found¬†yellow pollen all over their kitten’s face and nose. They immediately contacted their vet and poison control who confirmed the pollen was from an Easter Lily. Even though the kitten did not eat any of the flower, the vet wanted her on fluids for 48 hours. This is done intravenously so she had to stay under vet care.

He told me “I’ve been careful with plants and researched them deliberately but with Valentines Day around the corner, on impulse, I bought some flowers and it turns out, the $20 bouquet will end up costing possibly around $1300.”

I wonder why a florist would put an Easter Lily in a Valentine bouquet!

Tests showed there was a slight elevation in the numbers for kidney function.  They kept checking and when it was stable, the kitten was able to come home, but this was 72 hours later and you can imagine the fear those parents had to go through during that time. The vet said her prognosis is great.  Because our pet parents acted immediately, there is happy ending to this story.

One positive thing that came out of this, we started talking about the need for pet insurance. ¬†Our pet parent said he was definitely planning on getting a policy. ¬†Both he and I did some checking around.¬†I checked into Trupanion and Hartville. Hartville is the one recommended on the Life’s Abundance site. Our pet parent checked into Healthy Paws and Figo which is a Chicago based company. ¬†He was impressed with the quote he received from Figo.

If you get a policy that covers accidents and illnesses and not routine care, the prices appear reasonable. We recommend you take the time to research various companies, paying attention to reviews, and then decide if you can provide your pet with protection.  We would greatly appreciate learning about your experiences and what company you select so we can share this with all my blog followers.

We are thankful to our pet parents for allowing me to share their story with all of you.

Let’s all say NO to lilies!






One Special Family

“How and why did you start breeding Siberian kittens?” is our most frequently asked question. ¬† If you would like the answer, you can read all about it on our website: http://www.semperfisiberians.com.

What it doesn’t answer is “Why do we continue to keep breeding?”. My daughter, SueEllen, asks this question frequently. She sees beyond the joy of playing with another litter of kittens to the amount of work , worry and occasional heartbreak breeding entails. She worries about her mom! ¬†There are days, Sweetheart, when I worry about me too!

But then there are days like this one when we receive an email that makes it all worthwhile.

Kelly sent lots of photos of Goose and Gunner and this note:

We seriously couldn’t be happier!!

I may have sent some of these… but i ¬†can’t help it!!!

They both got fixed last Monday and did fabulous! ¬†Everyone at the vet loved them!! ¬†The vet even named his new dog, Goose ūüėČ

Thank you (and yes, I’ll tell you that every time!!)

Just a few of the photos!

So you might be thinking, well that’s nice; the family is enjoying their new kittens. ¬†But this is one special family…mom, dad and three children plus they open their home and their hearts to foster children. The phone rings, they answer and within a few hours they leave to bring a child or children into their home. They do not know how long the child will be with them but the same love and caring is given whether it is for a few days or a few years.

This was an email from Kelly received in early January:

G&G are doing awesome!!!!!!! ¬† They are both extremely loving and talkative…. ¬†they love to snuggle!!! ¬† They seriously talk all the time! The springs are their absolute favorite toys, and will play with anything and everything they can get their paws on… Goose loves to “wrestle” with small blankets of the kids ūüôā

They are the perfect addition to our family.

One week to the day they came home, (so this past Thursday) we expanded our family again ūüėČ ¬†two and three year old siblings…. ¬†and we still have¬†the baby ¬†(3 months)…. ¬†what was really crazy, it’s the kittens immediately took to them… no fear no skittishness… they play with the three year old’s race cars and the two year old’s barbies and they love them! I was so worried about G&G being scared and overwhelmed , and i couldn’t have been more wrong ūüôā



To be able to bring a smile to a child’s face is the mission of Goose and Gunner and if we were able to play a small part in this, we feel humbled and blessed.


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