Is pleased to recognize
Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
GC, NW Thaibok Teriyaki, DM
CFA's Best Cat 1976
Donna Davis has spent over 35 years breeding, exhibiting and judging Siamese cats. It is very rare to find a Siamese pedigree that does not contain at least one Thaibok ancestor. Donna's contributions and influence on the Siamese cats of today is obvious to all Siamese enthusiasts familiar with our pedigrees.
Donna and Ed Davis registered Thaibok Cattery with CFA in the mid-1960s. Donna remembers she and Ed discussed their cattery name on their wedding night. The inspiration for the cattery name came from a salon on Fifth Avenue in New York City where exotic fabrics and artifacts imported from the Far East were sold. The name Thaibok was derived from the current name of the country where our Siamese originated, Thailand, and that country's capital city, Bangkok. Little did they know what a delightful journey awaited them in the many years ahead.
In the early 1960's, Ed was a Broadway show producer. One of the women who worked for him also owned a blue point queen and when she had to go on the road with a show, Ed agreed to take the cat, Ma Blue-De ('Dede'). Donna remembers, "We did some research even before getting her and found a male to breed her to. Even then we knew what she needed." The breeding between Ma Blue-De and Nan-Zel Choco San produced the first Thaibok litter, which included a seal point female named Thaibok Shalimar.
Donna laughs about one of her experiences breeding Shalimar. "We had been to several shows and had seen cats we liked out of Alray's Angus of Sherwood." Angus, a seal point male, was bred by Aline Walrath (Alray) and owned by Florence Kanoffe (Sherwood), of Connecticut. "When Shalimar came in heat I went to Florence's home that night." It was a memorable trip.
Like many residents of New York City, Donna and Ed didn't own a car, so she loaded Shalimar and their two children, Greg (6 years old) and Kate (6 months old) into a rental car. Baby Kate had just had her DPT vaccination and wasn't feeling her best. Shalimar, of course, was calling. The adventurous foursome drove from New York City to Connecticut through a torrential downpour. "We stepped out into four or five inches of mud." Florence graciously welcomed the semi-drowned visitors into her home. Florence and Donna visited a bit, looked at pedigrees, then went to see the boys in the cattery leaving Greg and Kate upstairs. When they returned they found Kate had gotten sick and made quite a mess of the papers (registrations, pedigrees, etc.). Donna says, "I was so embarrassed! Florence was so gracious. We cleaned up the papers and I called Ed at work to tell him about the males I had seen. He replied, 'You went there for Angus, breed to Angus.'"
Fortunately for us all, neither rain, nor mud, nor a sick Kate kept Donna from getting that screaming queen bred. On April 23, 1967, the mating of Angus to Shalimar produced a litter of eight kittens. One of these kittens was GC, NW Thaibok's Ruby Foo, DM. Ruby Foo became Thaibok's foundation stud and all his offspring carried his trademark brilliant blue eyes. He achieved national wins for three consecutive years, first as a kitten and then two consecutive years as an adult. In 1969, Ruby Foo won national honors as an adult and Thaibok Whiskey au Go-Go, another kitten sired by Angus, won Best All-Breed Kitten nationally.
Donna is justifiably proud of the health and vitality of her cats. "Ruby Foo lived 18 years and 3 weeks. He was immune to everything. We made serum from his blood. His mother, Shalimar, was a wonderful breeder and lived to be over 21 years old. His father, Angus, was still breeding at 15 years old."
There have been many special cats in Donna's life, and two who became her soul mates - Lymekiln's Cassala of Thaibok ('Cassie') and Singa Concerto of Thaibok ('Concho'). "Concho was huggie and would sit on my shoulder and purr and watch Jay Leno. Even as a whole male he wouldn't go running off checking out the other cats. He was a very healthy cat and lived to be 17 years old." Another key cat in the Thaibok lines was CH Lymekilns Lochinvar; a male Donna imported from Scotland. Lochinvar gave Thaibok cattery the huge ears that we value so highly today.
In 1976, Thaibok cattery set a CFA record that still stands and may stand for all time. That year GC, NW Thaibok Teriyaki, DM, was CFA's Cat of the Year and GC, NW Thaibok Tyrone was CFA's 3rd Best Cat. Never before or since in CFA's history has one Siamese cattery achieved such a feat.
Donna recalls one experience while showing Teriyaki as a champion. "I was showing Teriyaki and splitting breed ribbons with a female lilac point grand champion. Suddenly this cute little pipsqueak of a girl (a 13-year-old Betsy Arnold) came up to me and told me she had a cat as pretty as mine but it was lilac. I replied, 'Well, take me over and show me your cat.' She was right. The little lilac girl was beautiful and over the years we bred Ruby Foo to GC Gaidon Windsong of Shera Len many times."
Donna has been a long-time member of the National Siamese Cat Club (NSCC) and served as President after Jeanne Singer. Over the years Donna has mentored many new exhibitors and breeders, often not charging stud fees just to help them produce good kittens and get their programs off to a good start. Donna's advice for current and future breeders of Siamese is, "I would quote Jeanne Singer, 'There have been over 30 breeds of cats derived from the Siamese. If we do not keep the Siamese pure what will all those other breeds have to come back to?'" To Jeanne's words Donna adds, "Keep the wonderful disposition of your Siamese. In thirty years of judging I've never had to ask a handler to help with a Siamese in my ring."
Over the years, Donna has written numerous articles on Siamese. Many articles were published in the quarterly NSCC newsletter. Donna also wrote a keynote article for the 1976 CFA Yearbook, "The Thaibok and Teriyaki Story." Her interest in pedigrees caused Donna to seek out older breeders' pedigrees, which she refers to as "The Dead Sea Scrolls." Donna has shared these pedigrees with all of us in the fancy, and the information contained in them can now be found in most Siamese fanciers' pedigree databases.
Donna's discerning eye for high quality cats naturally led her to become an extremely well-qualified CFA judge. She was honored at the 2001 CFA Annual Awards banquet with her 30-year judging pin. We couldn't be more proud of her!
Donna's breeding program and contributions to the Siamese transcend several generations and span over four decades. Fortunately for us she continues producing high quality Siamese today. Last season a breeding between Thaibok Teresa and GC Thaifong Starry, Starry Night produced two seal point female Grand Champions - GC Thaibok Tsunami of Thaifong and GC, RW Thaibok Tiara of Davisiam. Tiara, a one-show grand, was the Southwest Region's 17th Best Cat and CFA's 10th Best Siamese nationally for the 2000-2001 show season.
Donna is successful in other areas of her life, too. She has three grown children, Greg, Kate, and Teddy, two grandchildren, and owns and manages her own store, "The Cat Lady Antiques," in Port Washington, NY. The rigors and responsibilities of this demanding job, along with numerous judging assignments each year have made it impossible for Donna to continue exhibiting. She continues to breed beautiful cats and shares them with many others.
Donna's love for the Siamese, great mentoring ability, wonderful eye in the judging ring, and vast accomplishments and contributions to the Cat Fancy are why we're proud to present the Siamese Breed Council's Lifetime Achievement Award to this great lady.
Questions or problems using this site?