Cherie Davies and Clive Bennett

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R.I.P. European Premier Kittycoonz Taro Moonshadow

6 January 1999 - 5 November 2010

R.I.P. European Premier Kittycoonz Taro Moonshadow

6 January 1999 - 5 November 2010


A Giant, even among Maine Coons

European Premier Kittycoonz Taro Moonshadow Taro for short [that's a Japanese word meaning 'Big Boy'] was a blue classic tabby born on 6 January 1999  He rapidly grew to match his name 'Big Boy', being over one metre long from nose to the tip of his tail and weighing just over 2 stone [12.5kg].

On 5 Nov 2010 with heavy hearts and much sorrow we had to let him go after a mercifully short illness suffering from lymphoma [Cancer].

Late September he had a limp and a lump on his rear leg. X Rays revealed he had arthritis in all four legs but a suspected tumour as well. A biopsy confirmed anaemia and Cancer but highly unusual lymphoma in the soft tissue which would normally be associated with internal organs. He started on chemotherapy with some optimism but the second week revealed the anaemia was worse so he had a blood transfusion but by the third week it was again poor and a second lump appeared this time on his front leg. It was then clear there was to be no recovery and he left us on the 5 November. Even as he took his last breath he was still purring away in Cherie’s arms.

A truly wonderful friend, pet and unique cat.
Gone but not forgotten and greatly missed by us and his friend Kanati.  R.I.P. Taro Moonshadow.

He had come to us as a 3 month old pet and companion for Saree. While she never quite came to accept him just politely tolerated him for the next 11 years and 7 months he became the most wonderful pet. He was head of the household. Always at the door to greet us when we came home, always a purr of pleasure to see us and first to the door to greet visitors - including the post man, who he would hear approaching long before we did. He’d sit and watch for the letters to come through the box, sniff them and sit ‘guard’ on them until we picked them up. As our pet household increased so he ‘adopted’ each in turn. As kittens he washed and cleaned them firmly establishing who was the master and as they grew up any rough and tumble was met with a ‘look’ or a slow amble over to see what was happening both of which resulted in instant calm. The only time he appeared to feel a slight ‘threat’ was when Kanati arrive. Kanati - who was just a tiny ball of fur - growled at him and he and Saree took up residence in the bottom of the wardrobe for two days. Once he ventured out he ‘adopted’ Kanati and washed him. They became friends and for the next nine years Kanati would often be found sitting next to Taro.

When we first saw Taro he was a small bundle of fur but with very very large paws. Once we got him home he grew and grew very rapidly but was always ‘laid back’ and relaxed about every situation. He enjoyed being groomed and could sense things that you were doing for his benefit. He would allow you to clean litter from between the pads oh his paws or trim knots out of his fur with nothing more than a purr. Should you do something that hurt he would grab your hand in his mouth - firmly but not hard and not a bite, just to let you know that was as far as you were to go.

Undemanding he nevertheless quietly attracted the attention and fussing he loved. He slept on the bed at night and in the morning purred until he got a stroke or fuss. He’d lie under your legs as you sat in the lounge - just as a dog would - and then sit back and look at you - a long and steady look until you moved so he could get up on the chair. Wherever you went he would be there just to be close to you - even following you on a visit to the loo. He loved to ‘play’ with a toy mouse and, holding it firmly in his mouth, would growl like a dog to warn everyone it was his. He also carried his mouse with him to eat at his food bowl, carefully placing it alongside the dish. During the night he would bring it into the bedroom and when you got up in the morning it was lying there on the rug beside the bed.

He was first and foremost a pet and when he arrived we had no thought of showing but the breeder encouraged us to take him to a show to reunite him with his brother Feathers McGraw and that proved to be his forte. On the show bench he was outstanding. A natural showman he loved attention and was the archetypal ‘Gentle Giant’ being at the time the largest cat on the show circuit.  He was always ‘laid back’ and relaxed, he’d just sit [he never stood for anyone] while judges poked and prodded him. But a light stroke and he’d arch his neck, hold his head high - almost arrogant - and ‘survey’ all his ‘subjects’ and admirers - accompanied by a very loud [and squeaky] purr - he managed to make it sound like a door in need of oiling!

Although encouraging us to continue showing his breeder also warned us not to expect too much as he was a blue [the only one showing at that time] which was not a ‘classic’ colour and not the most popular with judges - although the public always loved him aided by his size and disposition.. Success was at first a little slow but as time passed more ‘blues’ appeared on the show table and the colour became more acceptable to judges.  Taro was not always the best traveller nevertheless over a period of four years he attended thirty-eight shows, some well beyond the Southeast region including trips to Lincoln [twice], Stratford on Avon, Milton Keynes, Burton on Trent and Godmanchester.

In 1999 as a kitten he went to three shows, securing an Excellent 1 each time. Next year there were six shows - 3 Excellent 2’s and three Certificates to become a Premier - the last one also gaining a Best In Variety.  2001 was eight shows - the first securing a second BIV, Nomination, Best Neuter in Group and Best Neuter in Show - going on eventually to gain five Certificates and his International Premier. In 2002 he was off to nine shows securing his Grand International Premier title after seven Certificates and two Excellent 2’s. Finally from 2003 to 2004 he went to ten shows gaining a Certificate at each one to become a European Premier. Two further shows both securing POH to end his career at Worthing ‘All Winners’ show where he gained a BIV, Nomination and the Coonawarra Trophy for Best Main Coon Neuter in Show.

It shouldn’t really have been a surprise as his family had something of a show tradition. His Grandfather: the exalted European Champion Guldfakse’s Phoenix was Cat of the Year 1999, his outstanding brother: Grand International Premier Kittycoonz Feather McGraw was Cat of the Year 2000 and his cousin European Premier Kittycoonz Chewbacca was Cat of the Year 2001  His mother was ‘International Champion Kittycoonz Bitsalena'.

Life wasn’t always smooth however, along the way he had two major traumas. First in March 2001 when Kittycoonz Kumar Khan, his young brother, died suddenly at the age of 15 months and he clearly missed him until Kanati arrived to keep him company.  Then in February 2003 he was very ill with what appears to have been some kind of virus and had to spend five days in hospital at Caterham. He lost a lot of weight very quickly and after extensive but inconclusive X Rays, biopsies and other tests he came home - the only place he ever really wanted to be - and purred all the way back in the car. His pleasure at being home and with us was so obvious and almost unbelievable.  Recovery was slow and it took six months before he could return to showing but from then he won every show he attended.

Growing up:

 . .

May 1999 aged 4 months

 . .

           April 2000 aged 15 months

Feb 2004 - aged 5 years - at home


Feb 2004 - aged 5 years
at  Worthing Show
[ photo Robert Fox - photographer]

           ..       ..

  Sept 2010 - aged 11 years  Lunch with his ‘mouse’ friend                                                   Taro & Kanati 2001 & 2003 [above]  and 2008 & 2010 [below]


 Tato’s Show awards :
[1] ..          [2]  ..

[1] Two cups : Best Neuter in Group and Best Neuter in Show                                     [2] THE Title: European Premier                   .
[Tonbridge] 2000                                                                                               [Maidstone] 29 Feb 2004

                          [3]. .       [4]. .       [5]

[3] : Coonawarra Trophy [Worthing] 15 Aug 2004 - Best Maine Coon Neuter in Show
[4] : At home with the Coonawarra Trophy     "What's all the fuss about?" - Nov 2004
[5] : On the road to a Title: Taro [25 months - Feb 2001] Bognor show being held by Clive while Cherie gets him ready for the judges to assess.
[  Photos 1,2, & 5 above courtesy Robert Fox - photographer  ]

.5. .  .6. .  .7. .  .8. .   .9. .

5. Junior:  Three Ex1's and one Nomination, Adult: Three CAP's and one BIV, FIFe Premier
6.  Five CAPIB's, one BIV and Nomination, FIFe International Premier, Best Neuter in Group and Best Neuter in Show
7. Seven CAGPIB's, one BIV and Nomination, FIFe Grand International Premier
8 Ten CAPE's, three BIV's and two Nominations, FIFe European Premier, Best Opposite Sex Neuter in Show and Prize of Honour
9. Prize of Honour, BIV and Nomination,  Coonawarra Trophy: Best Neuter Maine Coon in All Winners Show [Worthing]

Maine Coon Cats … 'The gentle giants'