Scrubbing The Gene Pool
Cattery & Communities
Diet & Disposal
Future Plans
Questions & Answers
The "Minx" Discovery
About The Breeder


Welcome! .

To Johnny HiHat Cats tm
From an inital purpose of naturally "perfecting" -- as a new breed -- polydactyl, tuxedo cats, has developed a 15-year longitudinal study of feline behavior of animals which all sharing a common genetic origin.  Remarkable breeding results have occurred.  More remarkable has been the natural behaviors that have been observed of which many counter held opinions or have not been documented in media.  And, there are far more understandings to be discovered. 
In all, The Johnny HiHat Cattery represents a controlled environment of harty, multi-generational HiHat Cats having a common genetic origin and living in enclosed open-air communities with heating/cooling provided below 20 and above 80 degrees.   Physically, these are rugged-cats... not pussy-cats.  Behaviorally, however, their personalities range from pussy-cats to wild-cats despite all being afforded the same care and atempted nuturing.
Looking forward, I anticipate the study of determining whether there are identifiable links between the genetic variations and behaviors.  Visually, there appears to be.  However, the eventual outcome of a cat from an adorable kitten in communities is fascinating with its progress and reversals to the degree that "zeta" cats leap-frog other "betas' even with the removal of another "zeta"cat. 
When "alpha" is removed, there is no telling the new order. 
More than fascinating will be one's future ability to better predict the eventual personality outcome based on science rather than a hunch about the tom or queen.  At the end of the day, the better matched  a domestic animal is to its owner, the greater the assurance that it will have a home for life with proper care. 
John David Sottile
 Owner & Breeder

Tuxedos  -  Creative Black Ties  -  White Dinner Jackets  - HiHat Himalayians

My fascination with tuxedo cats began years ago... when I was just 4 years old.  A next door neighbor had a black and white cat called, "Buzzy."  Ol' Buz was a very large guy... and terribly spoiled. 

Fast-forward to high school:  A friend was moving... She had a tux that could not go with her.  To my house he came, unannounced. (Hey, I was a teen; assumed that everything is cool.)   He was dubbed,  "Kookie."

Then my cat life took a turn as I became fascinated with Siamese cats.  Picked up a pair, "Choco and Gigi."  Bred Gigi twice while living in apartments.  This worked well, because the space limitations curtailed any ideas of keeping the kittens! And Gigi's Siamese heat screams threatened a permanent loss of hearing and apartment friends.  That was the end of Gigi's breeding days.

Once in a home with acreage, it was time for horses.  Bred Thoroughbreds for years; then drove Standardbreds pulling four light, open carriages around the mansions and downtown of Newport RI under the livery name Newport Coach & Carriage.

In 1990, a queen (a female cat) decided that my barn was an ideal place for her early March delivery of five polydactyl (more toes than normal) kittens. She had white masking her gray tiger stripes. Two of her litter looked like her. Another was white with butterscotch colored tiger stripes. And then there were two tuxedos which you see to the right.

I knew then that I would eventually breed them. Dubbed the kittens "Fred and Ginger" after Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers... and decided that this tux/dance theme would continue with future generations. 

By the way, the name "HiHat Cats" comes from my tuxedo-attired gig called "Johnny HiHat & His Status Cymbals of which the main playing cymbal is the "hihat."  Oh, you know this cymbal but probably not by name.  It is the set of two cymbals -- top and bottom -- that go up from action on a foot pedal.

Due to another business life, the breeding program did not start until years latter when I acquired another tux.  Called him Sammy after Sammy Davis.  Sammy has a gorgeous coat of a slightly longer staple.  Unfortunately, Sammy is single toed.  Finding an un-neiter polydactyl male tuxedo cats at the time was monumental, due to Massachusetts requirement that all cats, male and female, leaving a shelter be "fixed."  Regardless, the cattery was on its way; and the single /poly toe marriage has had its educational benefits.  

Unfortunately, I was not able to keep "Freddie" whole due to the usual tom (male) cat problems.  So, while my "conceptual" foundation cats are Fred and Ginger... the real foundation cats are Ginger and Sammy. Nonetheless, Freddie constantly fought Sammy for control.  Solution: Freddie became the king of the queens-out-of-heat when placed with them.

The Goal...

In my non-cat life, I have had a career in marketing.  I enjoy "making" markets.  I also have a bio-science background.  Oddly, though tuxedo cats grace everything from greeting cards to decorative flags, they are not an official breed, just American Shorthairs.  Of course, this was financially unfortunate, for had I started with a registered breed, I'd have a valuable cattery.  But, it would also be a boring one, for I'm not about "me-too" anything...  Isolating genes to perfect a breed was ideal.

My parameters going into the program were to develop a breed of double-toed tuxes, period.   Four white boots or spats, a white underbelly and bib, a white stripe down the snout, green eyes, black pads, and nose.  Seemed simple enough.  I had two in front of me.  Ah, but Mother Nature and cat genetics are devious, especially with an unknown gene-pool.

The Challenge... Starting with Unknowns

Ginger came from a tiger queen described.  Her tom was unknown.  Sammy came from an all black queen with a litter of all black cats -- some with a little white. There was another black queen at the same location, also with kittens; they were black and white as well. The owners reported that the tom was all black, since a cat fitting this description prowled the premises.

My Initial Mission...

Scrub the gene pool! And develop a breed of polydactyl tuxedo cats known as Johnny HiHat Cats.

My  Revised Mission...

After the initial two generations of breeding from which I retained all kittens, I became more curious about the behaviors of the separate cat communities -- friendly to down-right feral despite equal care -- which brings my study to the present.

My First Tuxedo

Ginger and Fred with Yours Truly

Ginger As A Kitten 1990
Now A Great-Great-Great Queen

Mitsie Luxuriating

Young Toms Grabbing Sun-Time

Freddie As A Kitten

Sun Time

Young Toms Relaxing

"Smush" - Mr DoubleToes

Copyright 1998 to present.     John David Sottile
Johnny HiHat, Johnny HiHat Cats, and HiHat Cats 
are trademarks of John David Sottile