Who or what the hell is Folie à Deux?

Back in 1988, B. Iris Tanner and her first husband, the late Robert Hoffman, decided to buy a show quality purebred kitten. (This was the result of buying a bargain-basement Maine Coon lookalike from a backyard breeder; it did not have papers and grew up to be a shorthaired cat.)

When they picked up their Russian Blue kitten, CH Meowsky’s Rachmaninoff, the breeder said, “You wanted a show quality kitten, why don’t you try taking it to a cat show?” This sounded like fun. So off they went to a CFA show in Rhode Island. They knew enough to bathe the cat first, but never even thought to bring things like cage curtains, litter box, food, etc. Thanks to the help of several experienced exhibitors, they managed to get through the show without further embarrassment and had the thrill and excitement of receiving a 10th Best Kitten award in one of the judging rings.

There was no going back, especially after Iris saw her first Turkish Angora and fell head over heels in love. Bob and Iris registered a cattery name: “Silverlock,” taken from a fantasy novel of the same name by John Meyers Meyers. Their first litter of Turkish Angoras was born in 1990, the first Russian Blue litter in 1991.

The world of Silverlock is inhabited by an eclectic assortment of characters from myth, legend and literature. All were sources of inspiration for the names of many Silverlock cats (Boreas, Ishtar, Loki, Gilgamesh, and Titania, for example). Music was another rich source of names. Silverlock cats were named after Grateful Dead songs, jazz classics, Gilbert and Sullivan characters, titles from the American Songbook, and composers, including the Russian Blue “S” series of composers, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Sibelius, and Smetana .

After Bob Hoffman died in 1993, Iris kept his Russian Blue breeding program going as long as she could, but her first love was always the Turkish Angoras. Although she bred and/or exhibited three regional winning Russian Blues, a Distinguished Merit female and numerous grand champion and grand premiers, Silverlock Turkish Angoras were far more successful in the show ring. This explains why, when Iris began working toward admission to the CFA Judging Program, she found it easier to qualify as a Longhair applicant than a Shorthair. She was accepted as a Longhair Trainee in 2002 and judged her first show in 2003.

In 2006, Iris (now a double-specialty judge) met another Bob — Robert Zinck, who had never lived with or been owned by a cat. Their second date was a dinner date at her place to see how he would react to them. Things went so well that he moved in about a month later! In 2007, they decided to retire Silverlock and registered a new cattery name for their new joint endeavor: Folie à Deux. They also acquired their first Siberian, CH Siberkots Anapurrna of Folie à Deux. The first Siberian litter came in June, 2008.

In December of 2009, Bob and Iris were married in northern California, with a few friends and one very special cat in attendance. Concurrent with this name change, she legally amputated the initial “B.”  So, when Iris was advanced to a CFA Approved Allbreed Judge in October 2010, it was not as B. Iris Tanner, but just plain Iris Zinck.