Chestermere Cattery

by Kathy Durdick, Ristokat Himalayans & Persians

Originally published by - reprinted with permission

Ben & Ann Borrett, of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, are considered by many to be among the great pioneers of the Himalayan cat.

The Chestermere cattery name is an integral part of the history of the Himalayan. This is their story...

In the 1940's and 50's, Ben Borrett was an international cattle judge, and together with his wife, Ann, owned and bred cattle actively on their Chestermere cattle ranch in western Canada. As well as their dedication to cattle breeding, they were also attracted to Siamese cats.

It was through their interest in Siamese that the Borretts first became aware of some of the early experimental breedings being conducted in England by Brian Stirling-Webb, of Briarry cattery. Brian was working to produce a cat with Persian type and long hair, but with the Siamese color pattern - a dream that would lead to the development of the Himalayan breed. Eventually, the Borretts traveled to England to visit Brian and purchased several of his cats to start their own breeding program.

Fortunately for the future of the breed, the Borretts realized how much work would be needed to to establish the Himalayan as a breed, and they weren't afraid to accept the challenge.

Applying the principles they had developed as cattle breeders, they established what we would today consider a very large cattery.

The large numbers allowed them to develop several different and totally separate bloodlines with which they could work to establish the Chestermere Himalayans. This was a necessity, as there was no one nearby that they could work with. In addition to keeping several separate lines, the Borretts were very particular and disciplined, keeping only the absolute best cats to continue the breeding program.

In 1957, the Borretts exhibited two of their imported cats at an ACFA show in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The admiration of their cats was immediate. After this show, they were asked to draw up the breed standard for the Himalayan for ACFA. This same standard was later used by Mrs. Goforth when requesting recognition from CFA.

Both ACFA and CFA granted recognition to the Himalayan at that time.

Once the Himalayan breed was officially accepted, the Borretts showed them extensively, and Ann could often be found at shows promoting the breed.

GC, BW Chestermere Kinuba
of Nevah-Tep

One of the best examples of their dedication to perfecting the breed was the history-making cat,
GC, BW Chestermere Kinuba of Nevah-Tep, a blue point male Himalayan.

Born in January 1962, he was the first Himalayan to win Best Cat in an AB CFA show - this feat happened in Salt Lake City in 1962. In 1964, he was sold to Boris Teron & Larry Keely, of Nevah-Tep Cattery.

Under their campaigning, he made breed history - and in 1966 became the very first CFA Grand Champion. With that win, he also became the first Himalayan to become a Grand Champion in 4 separate associations - CFA, ACFA, CFF, and ACA.

He continued to be shown, and was the top Himalayan in the country in both 1966 and 1967. He retired from the show ring in 1968, and then unfortunately passed away in 1969.

Another great cat was GC Chestermere Chen-Soo, a blue point male born in 1963.

Chen-Soo had the distinction of being the first Himalayan to win 4 Bests in Show in one weekend - first accomplished in 1965 at a show in Winnipeg, Canada, and repeated several times during his career. In 1967, he also became the second Himalayan to become a Grand Champion in CFA.

GC Chestermere Chen-Soo

GC, BW Chestermere Kannika-Minga

In 1968, two Himalayans earned their Grand Champion title in CFA - one of them was again a Chestermere cat, GC, BW Chestermere Kannika-Minga, a seal point female.

She was also the top Himalayan in the country that year.


Soon after that accomplishment, another stunning Chestermere cat came on the scene... A blue point female, GC, BW Chestermere Chahila was owned by Will Thompson.

She became a Grand Champion in 1969, and was the best Himalayan cat in North America for 2 years in a row (1968-69, and 1969-70).

She became the top winning Himalayan cat of all time at that point, winning best cat in show a record 41 times!

GC, BW Chestermere Chahila

Other noteworthy Chestermere grands include:

  • 1970 - GC Chestermere Cajun of Sa-Bon
    (blue point male)
  • GC Chestermere Chi Chi of Hima-Tab
    (blue point male)
  • GC Chestermere Chu-Woo
    (seal point male)
  • GC Chestermere Kulan of Samarkland
    (blue point female)
  • 1971 - GC Chestermere Chareta of Hima-Tab
    (seal point female)

GC Chestermere Chu-Woo


GC Chestermere Cajun of Sa-Bon

GC Chestermere Kulan of Samarkland

The Himalayan breed owes a great debt of gratitude to the dedication of this husband and wife team of Canadian cattle ranchers. Their legacy can be found in the pedigrees of most of the Himalayans in our modern show rings.


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