After Diva’s fantastic litter of 6, she will be taking a break in 2024, with the arrival of a new lilac boy!

Those who know me know I am Dutch although I have lived in the UK since 2001. Many years ago I stayed with friends near Rotterdam on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Bored as we were we decided to visit a local cat show. If nothing else at least we would be out and while away the time. Little did I know I was about to fall in love head over heels with a majestic fox-like cat with bright eyes and a friendly smile. But it happened; I caught the Somali virus and never ‘recovered’! Jaina van de Veer, a sweet sorrel Somali girl, entered my house and became mother of a litter of kittens in 1992. Cattery Van Gelre (after the Duke of Gelre in the province I lived in at the time) had started.

I have always been interested in biology, genetics and when I discovered the then so rare and non-existent in the Netherlands ‘diluted’ version of sorrel and usual I decided I would make it my goal to breed these in the Netherlands.
While I was researching the best way to do this I was offered a very generous helping hand. A friend decided she would not continue with Somalis and her hidden treasure, The Dorsai’s Cenedra, a fawn Somali girl born in Belgium moved in with me. She was duly mated to a blue silver Somali stud in Belgium and the result was a rainbow litter: a fawn boy and girl, a blue girl, a blue silver boy and a fawn silver boy were born in 1995. Four of this special litter were bred and shown and they became the foundation of dilute colours in many catteries in the Netherlands.

Once these colours were established my eye fell on the chocolate and its diluted partner the lilac Somali. Yet again a challenge! My first step was breeding a lilac variant, Van Gelre’s Lerato Adimu aka Bailey. He sired many litters – if he liked his bride! Pyrite de la Chacolaterie, a chocolate silver girl with a Moulin Rouge attitude, came from France and helped us on our way. She gave birth to a very precious chocolate silver girl Van Gelre’s Lerato After Eight and became foundation queen for Van Gelre’s Finest Chocolates. The cattery now had to change name; I had moved to the UK and my cattery name was already in (non-active) use. I decided to swap syllables to stay to the original name as closely as I could. Van Gelre became Van Regel in FIFe and, after shortsighted prohibiting of chocolate in Somalis, I moved to the GCCF which registered us as Vanregel.

After my move to the UK a period of upheaval followed and showing and breeding was put on a back burner for many years. But as stated above, I had been infected with the Somali virus and I had to make a decision: have my last breeding queen spayed or……
So what was I going to do with Mousse? I have to admit the combination of Somali and chocolate is simply impossible to ignore!

Mousse, sweet soft maternal Mousse needed a litter. So she got a litter. She gave birth to a pair of hooligans, usual and black silver. And to a chocolate girl, Truffle. That was a difficult birth of a singleton kitten and she was spayed. She now lives as the residential Babysitter and Office Manager. She is still soft and maternal, helping out other queens but you don’t mess around with La Mousse because those velvety paws can whack!

Vanregel’s Truffle met her husband from France with a familiar cattery name: Nougat de la Chacolaterie (NouNou) moved in with us and together they have produced a gorgeous all chocolate litter of 5. A boy, Vanregel’s Cadbury and a girl, Vanregel’s Wispa are now the latest generation in showing and breeding.

My ultimate goal is to breed healthy, beautiful chocolate (silver) Somalis with that famous Somali character.