Ms. Margot Mellies

I'm a pediatrician who spent most of my professional career involved in lipid research. After doing nutrition treatment studies in kids, I moved on to drug treatment studies. Dietary changes really don't do a lot for severe cases of high cholesterol and drugs are needed, even in kids. Also it is critical to document the safety of treating kids. That led me to getting involved in drug studies at the clinical level (running the studies at the University of Cincinnati) then going to work for "big pharma" on developmental evaluation of new drugs. At that time the "statins" were the new drug and I was part of several of the early studies. After joining Squibb (Bristol-Myers Squibb), I managed their long-term intervention studies (atherosclerosis regression and prevention programs) until I retired ~2 years ago.

Regarding my cat avocation, I got my first pedigreed cat during my internship in 1967. The first cat "of known ancestry" was a female Siamese-Burmese cross which is now known as a Tonkinese. I loved the Burmese and purchased two additional Burmese, one a male, and then lots of kittens came along. At that time I knew absolutely nothing about cat health, nutrition or cattery management and I learned the hard way by making lots of mistakes.

While a resident in pediatrics, I attended and exhibited at my first cat show. I had carefully read a book on Burmese and what the judges looked for in a show cat. Unfortunately the book was written in England where the Burmese is a "foreign-body-type" cat and I dieted my poor cat for the weeks before the show, succeeding in taking at least 1.5 lb. off him for the show. He did win one yellow ribbon (in a class of 6 male opens) and I was hooked! At the show, I did talk with other breeders and learned that I should have tried to get him to gain 1.5 lb. rather than lose that amount; in the US Burmese are a "cobby" heavy bodied cat! I don't think he ever really re-gained that weight until he was altered. At that first show I saw and fell in love with the champagne Burmese and was determined to raise these lovely sand-colored cats. Another error as the dilute Burmese were not recognized for championship status and were classified as AOVs.

I also saw blue cats for the first time and decided to get involved with the Korat. I later was able to obtain some excellent Russian Blues from Diane Seidel (now Doernberg) and with those cats had my first real success in showing. A male from my first litter, GC Miribu's Silver Lining, did extremely well at the shows, and was shown extensively. I had no idea what regional or national awards were, or as they were called then, the Hyman-Goodwin awards. It was so much fun that I just went to shows whenever I could, or had the cats shown by friends when I had to work. Silver Lining was agented by people such as Mark Hannon, Haine Gramling, Judith Shaw (aka Kelly Tanner) were kind enough to help the eager newbee. The Annual was held in Cincinnati that year and so I went to the dinner. Maybe some of the people who had helped me show "Silly" knew how well he had done but I was clewless and totally taken by surprise when he received the award of Best SH Male Kitten (the Top 5 Kittens that year were all longhairs).

Now I was really hooked. I now knew there were big rosettes to be won in finals, and also there were awards beyond the individual shows. Now I decided to deliberately try to win one of the overall end-of- the-year awards by showing Miribu's Promises Promises. Ed and Donna Davis were showing Teri and Tyrone (#1 & #3 that year) "tracked" points on the winning cats, the first such effort I had heard of. The "system" in place at that time was total cumulative points, so, it was important to get to as many large shows as possible. Promises was shown at about 30 shows that year, 1976. This was a major effort since there weren't multiple shows in each region as there is now. The shows were large and
competition was tough for the Top Five awards. Promises finished the year #5 and I vowed to never do it again!

I branched out after that, deciding I wanted to have experience with other breeds. I worked with Abyssinians, American Shorthairs, C.Rex, Exotic SHs, Persians, Manx, Bombays in addition to the Burmese, Korats and Russian Blues. I became close and lifelong friends with breeders in all those breeds.

In 1979 I decided to apply for the judging program; I wanted to be able to handle all the cats and learn about all the breeds. At the time I wanted to gain a better understanding of why some cats would win and others wouldn't--it had to be something that the judges could see/feel that I perhaps couldn't see from the audience. I have to admit that I sometimes still am puzzled, but strongly defend the judges right to make their own decision!

Since 1986 I have worked exclusively with the American Shorthair and have focused my attention on perfecting colors within the breed. I find the breed suits me best for their easy going temperament and sturdy good health. I believe Miribu ASH have helped establish top quality and color in brown and blue tabbies and in tabby and white patterns. For more information on American shorthairs, I refer interested parties to the CFA Yearbook articles on the breed {reference year & pages}.