Thursday, September 4, 2008

A not-so-happy birthday to the Savannahs sold as Ashera cats

Chris Shirk posted that his Savannah kittens turned one year old yesterday (September 3rd). These kittens are are stuck in a legal custody dispute over in the Netherlands after being illegally imported into the country as Ashera cats (not disclosing their actual heritage).

It's horribly sad that these cats have been the ones to really suffer here. No lovely pet home for these guys, being held in a facility while the authorities decide what to do.

I hope there is a resolution soon, and that these cats can be placed in good homes at some stage not too far into the future!

Monday, June 30, 2008

DNA evidence proves that the Ashera is a Savannah cat

Finally, the news we were waiting for. We knew the result, we just wanted it officially confirmed. The three Ashera kittens confiscated at Schiphol Airport months ago are F1 Savannahs bred by Chris Shirk of Cutting Edge Savannahs. His post today to the Savannah cat community:

I have received official word today that it has been confirmed all three Savannah kittens confiscated in the Netherlands are from my cattery!!!
The court is still proceeding and the decision has not yet been made as to where the kittens will go. I have requested their return but it's up to the judge. However, their forensic labs have all confirmed they are from parent cats owned by me, Christopher Shirk of Cutting Edge Cats. They are Savannahs produced by my cats, not Ashera cats from Simon Brodie's scamming Life Style Pets business.
I guess Simon Brodie, if you're reading this, you'll do what you do best....disappear. ...But you will face the consequences of what you did to my kittens. CHRIS

Friday, April 18, 2008

Finally some news to report!

From the breeder of the Savannah currently labeled "Ashera cat" in the Netherlands:

US Fish and Wildlife met with me at my veterinarian's to extract blood from my Serval and egyptian mau. The blood samples went directly from my vet's hands into the hands of US Fish and Wildlife who packaged and sent express to Netherlands government. I was notified yesterday by Netherlands officials that the blood samples have arrived safely and their Forensic labs are busy at work. Patience is a virtue, as they said it may take up to two months for them to extract all the information they need from the DNA to resolve all the issues of this case.
I also received more photos of my kittens they have and they look well taken care of, clean and happy and in good weight.
I will keep you up to speed on this case as facts come in.
Cutting Edge Cats.

Let's hope that soon there is a definitive answer to this whole mess.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

US newspaper picks up the story

Penni Crabtree is a reporter that has followed Simon Brodie's business practices for some time, talking to Savannah breeders back in 2006 about the possibility that Ashera cats were in fact Savannahs being resold as a hyped new product. This story in today's paper is a wonderful recap of the situation so I thought it well-worth posting the link here.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

DNA Parentage Testing

It seems to me that the simplest and most foolproof way to determine if this cat is an Ashera cat as claimed, or an F1 Savannah as the breeder of the kitten is claiming, is to do a simple scientific test. I don't know if there is a laboratory in Europe that offers this, but here in the United States, the University of California Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, , is available to send swabs to. A simple cheek swab of the kitten in question, and swabs of the Serval and Egyptian Mau parents, and a little time should prove it pretty nicely?

Of course, one would want the Dutch Authorities to be doing the swabbing of the kitten, not some representative of Lifestyle Pets...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"Straight from the Horse's Mouth" - an email from the Breeder

I am Christopher Shirk, owner of Cutting Edge Cats.
I was recently made aware of the supposed Ashera cat confiscated and being held at the Schiphol Airport, Netherlands. Upon viewing the pictures of him, both stretched out on the black blanket and in the carrier I can POSITIVELY identify him as an F1 Savannah bred and raised here by me at my home. He was born Sept 3, 2007 out of 'Ace Man' my Serval cat and 'Jazz' my Egyptian Mau. He is registered as a domestic Savannah cat with The International Cat Association (TICA). The picture of him stretched out on the black blanket was taken by me here at my home.
In NO WAY was he to be sold to Life Style Pets as an Ashera cat. He is a Savannah cat. He was sold to A1 Savannahs to be sold within the USA as a pet and has ended up in the wrong hands that he was resold overseas. I am very distraught over this and only wish for this kitten's safe return. He was loved, held, and cuddled and a part of my family. I can't imagine how stressed he is. He is a sweet sweet guy and I pray for his safe return. I have enclosed a picture of him taken here at my home. Sincerely, Christopher Shirk
Compare the picture above sent by the breeder to the Photoshopped pic on the website... the alien eyes have been fixed but it is the same picture.

The Actual Breeder of the Ashera Cat Confiscated in the Netherlands Finds Out!

This post is forwarded with permission from the SavannahKittens YahooGroup email forum:
I was recently made aware of the supposed Ashera cat siezed at Schiphol Airport. This kitten is a domestic savannah cat bred by me here at CUTTING EDGE CATS. I sold this cat to A1 Savannahs and he was to be resold to a private client in the USA. He was not sold by me to Life Style pets (and as told by A1 Savannahs) was not sold to Life Style Pets as an Ashera cat. I'm very distraught over this whole thing. Anyone with more info please contact me at or my cell # 717-669-1765. Chris

Chris Shirk is the breeder of the F1 Savannah kitten in the picture of the newspaper article about the Ashera cat confiscated at Schiphol airport. He took the very picture used in the story and positively identifies the cat from further pictures on the website of the buyers as his kitten. He is doing all he can to retrieve that kitten as it was NOT sold as an Ashera cat.

Ashera Cat Confiscated at Schiphol airport in the Netherlands,1

It seems that Lifestyle Pets might want to get an exporter's license and apply for CITES permits when exporting their "Ashera cats" around the world from the United States. Paperwork needs to be filed for any cat descending from an exotic cat, whether or not it is a registered Savannah or Bengal or an unregistered hybrid mutt labeled Ashera.

One would think that if they are being paid $22K for a cat then they could afford to file the appropriate paperwork! Oops!

On a serious note, it is very sad that the poor cat is the one to suffer. It has to be stressful and frightening for a kitten/cat to be shipped internationally, then to be held likely in a shelter or caged setting while its fate is determined, well that is terrifying for the animal.

And really, what kind of ridiculous hype is this, the cat is described in the news story as growing to the size of a "large dog"? Even an African Serval is not that large (generally 30-40lbs) and the Asian Leopard Cat is domestic cat sized...