Cactusway Cattery

by Kathy Durdick, Ristokat Himalayans & Persians

Originally published by - reprinted with permission

Toni Renzacci, of Cactusway Cattery, was one of the pioneers in the challenging colors of Chocolate & Lilac Persians.

Toni originally gained experience in the world of breeding and showing in the dog fancy. She was a dog handler and breeder, raising her own Poodles and Samoyeds. Learning the necessary skills for kennel management and grooming with the dogs prepared her well for venturing into the cat fancy.

Her first Himalayan was purchased in 1971, and she started breeding. Toni was lucky enough to live nearby to 2 Himalayan breeders, one of which was Georgia Rowe, of Royal Row cattery. Toni went to work for Georgia, helping out in the cattery, and that decision shaped the future of Cactusway. It was here, in the Royal Row cattery, that Toni first discovered and fell in love with the Chocolates.

Chocolate is a difficult color to work with, because it is recessive to black, and so improving type can take several generations. At this time, Chocolates were even more difficult to work with due to personality problems - as Toni once said "Chocolates had rotten personalities because the pedigrees at the time were showing shorthairs in the third generation!" However, the difficulty only made her more determined to continue.

She scrimped and saved to acquire some top Persian & Himalayan lines to bring into her Chocolates, working with lines such as Simbelair, Jeanine, and Jolee.

As CFA judge Jean Grimm noted, "Toni was very heavy into using good Persians. She began to improve type a lot quicker than those of us that didn't want to hybridize. She wasn't afraid to take two steps forward and one step back."

Unfortunately, Toni died of cancer 4/2/1993 - however, her legacy lives on in the Chocolate and Lilac family of cats and Cactusway cats can be found behind many of today's successful breeders.

Below are photos of some noted Grand Champions and Grand Premiers produced by Cactusway:

GC, RW Cactusway's Chocolate Dream
Chocolate Point Female
Toni's first Chocolate Point GC,
CFA's 3rd Chocolate Point GC
CFA's first Chocolate Point Regional Winner
Granded 1980
7th Best Cat in the SW region, 1980-81
GC Cactusway's Chocolate Jackpot
Chocolate Point Male
CFA's 4th Chocolate Point GC,
Granded 1988
GC Cactusway's Chocolate Obsession
Chocolate Point Female
CFA's 5th Chocolate Point GC,
Granded 1989
GC Cactusway's Chocolate Bruiser
Chocolate Male
CFA's first solid Chocolate GC,
Granded 1992
GC Cactusway's Chocolate Memories
of Featherland

Chocolate Female
Granded 1994
CH, GP Cactusway's Brown Sugar
of Kissncats

Chocolate Female
Granded 1997


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