Emberhearth Hershey Nugget LTD of Amorino
This is my beloved Nugget. His story begins in September 2001, when he was born into the Emberhearth Cattery in West Virginia. This photo was taken when Nugget was just coming into his prime; he is now 12 years old and enjoying retirement. Of course, he never really had to ‘work’. His ‘job’ was to play with the judges at the shows, and to make beautiful babies. He did both jobs in exemplary fashion, and with great flair.
What’s in a name? To those that may be new to how registered names work, the ‘first’ name, in this case Emberhearth, is always the Cattery the kitten was born into. Then the actual name follows, in this case, Hershey Nugget LTD. The ‘last’ name of the cat, beginning with ‘of’ is always the Cattery into which the kitten is going into, in this case Amorino.
Many people through the years think that the LTD part of Nugget’s name means Limited. It does not. Nugget was born into a litter of several kittens, none of which had been given names. It takes time to name a show kitten as the kitten’s name will be in pedigrees for decades to come. During conversations revolving around Nugget, it was difficult to know exactly which kitten we were discussing, as Nugget was not the only kitten with stripes in his litter, nor was he the only boy.
The time came that Nugget needed a designation as he did not yet have a name. It was decided that since he was striped, we would refer to him as Tabby. Also, since he was a boy, it seemed logical to attach ‘Dude’ to Tabby. Well, okay, let’s take this one step further. Since he was a baby, the term Little seemed to fit.
Since Nugget had been known for several weeks as Little Tabby Dude, I thought it only fitting that his earliest designation should follow him into his registered name. Obviously, Little Tabby Dude would not fit within the allotted blocks on the registration form, so I shortened Little Tabby Dude to LTD.
At the time Nugget was born, I lived in southern Illinois. It was decided that when he was finally old enough to come home, we would drive to WV. I did no driving on the way home, which was about a 12 hour trip. Instead, I sat in the passenger seat with my new found love cradled in my arms. By the time we arrived home, Nugget would not allow me to put him down. I learned to do my housework with one hand. When I did try to put him down on the couch, I would get his front feet on the couch, but before his back feet would touch the couch, his front feet were already up on my shoulder. Finally, I purchased a human baby sling, the type where the baby is held in the front. Nugget grew up in the sling, right on my bosom. He slept with me each night, curling his little self into a tight ball so he could sleep in the palm of my hand. As he grew, he was content with the fact that only his head fit into my palm.
Nugget, as typical Chantilly do, bonded very tightly with me. When he was about seven months old, we brought a new Chantilly into our lives. This one was a beautiful solid blue little girl. I chose Cadeautje as her registered name. Loosely, it translates to Little Blue Present. Since we were unable to pronounce her Dutch name, we dubbed her as Katie. Not long after Katie came to us, we arranged for another female, Nuage. Within Nugget’s tenth month of life, Amorino was born.
However, there was soon to be trouble on the horizon. When Nuage and Katie reached breeding age, Nugget ignored them, wanting only to be with me. The girls would call, trill, roll in front of Nugget, and even push themselves against him. Nugget ignored them, wanting only to be with me. At the girls’ second heat, I knew Nugget would want to mate. The girls wiggled, writhed, trilled, and begged. Nugget ignored them, wanting only to be with me.
When Nugget reached 14 months of age, and still ignoring the girls, we took a little trip to the vet. After exam, the vet announced that Nugget was physically intact, but just not yet emotionally ready. At 16 months of age, again with two rolling, begging, but alas ignored females, Nugget and I took another little trip to the vet. Again, the exam revealed the same results. Nugget was physically ready, just not emotionally ready.
When Nugget reached the ripe old age of 18 months, and again, with writhing, trilling, rolling, begging females, we took a third trip to the vet. Again, I was reassured that all was well physically with Nugget.
Three weeks later, Katie was pregnant, as well as Nuage. About 45 days later, there were ten babies born, five each to my girls. Four weeks later, there were ten babies weaning, ten babies litter training, and eight babies throwing up because their new little systems were having difficulties adjusting to food away from Mom.
Never will I again make such an error! From that point forward, I have been careful to be sure that there are at least two to four weeks between litters! What a mess!
Nugget was so wonderful. When each ‘wife’ went into labor, he stayed right there with her. He washed her forehead, gave chirps of encouragement, and kept the newly born babies warm while she continued to birth. Always, however, when babies were nursing, he kept his distance and allowed babies and Mother to have their bonding time.
As the babies gained their feet and mobility, Nugget would hide toys and teach his babies how to hunt. It was just so cute to watch him teach his babies. He would help Mom by slapping a foot atop a baby, pinning the baby to the floor, and proceed, usually with loud protest, to give the baby a bath. Sometimes, Nugget and Moms would have a regular bath assembly line in production!
Nugget helped to raise many of his litters. He was an amazing Dad, and an attentive and caring mate.
Shortly after we lost Katie and Nuage, he began keeping his distance from my Norwegian Forest Cat babies. Sometimes he would become quite cranky. There finally came that day when I had to remove him from the common room, providing him with his own quarters.
So, a new chapter has begun. My girls are gone, and my beloved is aging. With deep thanks and gratitude to three veterinarians, and two friends, Gale Anderson and Kendra Geiger, Nugget is currently and successfully recovering from a near fatal bout of pneumonia.