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When looking for a breeder from whom to purchase a new kitten, it was truly our lucky day to have happened upon Shelly. It was apparent upon first meeting that she loved each and every one of her kittens as much as we knew we would. Our beautiful, healthy kittens from Shelly each had an affectionate, confident personality that is a witness to the loving attention and socialization that Shelly and her family give to every individual kitten they raise. Thanks to the Finleys, our boys are truly amazing companions and very valued family members that continue to fill our lives with humor and joy on a daily basis.
I met Shelly in 2004 under the worst of circumstances. I had just put down one of my two beloved cats and I was grieving his loss. The timing was awful, but the annual local cat show was the next day, so off I went. I thought I could keep my composure, but as I started talking about why I was looking for a kitten, I lost control. And that's how I met Shelly. She was kind, gentle, and supportive. She encouraged me to do whatever felt right. She had a litter of kittens. She invited me to come to her house and meet the kittens. She told me that some of the kittens were already spoken for, but there might be one available for me. And, if not, there was another litter due soon. I was at her house the next weekend and as soon as I held one of the baby kitties, I started the healing process. Shelly knew I was still very fragile. She told me if I wanted the baby kitty, as soon as he was old enough to leave his mom, he was mine; but that if I changed my mind, that was OK too. This was an example of the worst of times and the best of times. Soon, much sooner that I ever would have planned, I was on my way home with a very active kitten. He was great medicine. Shelly followed up with me to make sure that both of us, and my other cat, were doing well.
My kitten has now grown into a furry, friendly buddy. I'd like to take all of the credit for his great purrsonality, but I know genetics and early kittenhood play a role. Shelly started him off in a wonderful environment. He was raised in a household setting surrounded by Shelly and her husband, other cats, dogs, son, and daughter. It is an active house so my kitten was accustomed to household sounds. Shelly feeds her kittens a varied diet so that when you bring a kitten home, you have several food choices that will be familiar to the kitten. Shelly's house is spotless and animal-safe. All of the environmental factors are important, but by far the most important factor is the commitment Shelly makes to her kittens. She treats all of them with the same loving care each of us would give to our kittens. She usually has only one litter of kittens at a time. With the help of all of her family members, each kitten gets lots and lots of love and playtime. Shelly's daughter had slept with my kitten for weeks. So, he was pre-spoiled for me.
I have enjoyed staying in touch with Shelly and would refer anyone looking for a kitten or a retired breeding cat to Shelly.
We have raised and shown top winning, Best in Show dogs for 30 years and have dealt with many breeders. We purchased a Birman kitty from Shelly 1-1/2 years ago. We were astounded at the "goody bag" she sent home with us....pedigree & health record, which one expects, but also toys, individual photo album, picture frames, treats etc. Her house where the kitties played in was clean and had no odor whatsoever. I am very sensitive to that, having had puppies in my house frequently. She has kept in touch regularly to see how KC was doing, and we have visited her at cat shows. Even though we only bought a pet quality kitty, she treats us as if we bought a Best in Show cat. I would recommend her without reservations.
Joyce Fahlsing, J-Len's Alaskan Malamutes & KC (Birman), Squeaky (ASH), and Dickens (BSH)
I met Shelly at a cat show in Neenah, WI. I was missing having a cat as several years earlier I was involved in a major car accident and had to find a new home for the two cats I had. Giving them up was devastating for me. Shelly was very understanding and kind and I was impressed with her knowledge and love for her cats. She stayed in touch with me and when she had a litter of kittens available she called me and thought I should come down and see them for myself.
After seeing Shelly's beautiful kittens, I knew one wouldn't be enough. We now have two gorgeous Birman boys in our home and I couldn't be happier.
Thank you, Shelly!
Mary Ellen B.
Shelly Finley is unique amongst cat breeders in her commitment and dedication to her cattery. Her passionate approach provides the finest and most authentic examples of the breed possible. Her strong belief in socialization results in well-adjusted, delightful companions. Shelly's personal integrity, exceptionally high standards, and careful placement practices lead to successful relationships with her clients.
Thank you so much for our new addition. He's brought a lot of joy to our house. He's happy and healthy and gorgeous! I get so many compliments on how beautiful he is. You can tell you spent a lot of time with him unlike a lot of kittens I have met. He is very well socialized with kids, dogs, and other cats. He fit in almost immediately! I appreciate the follow up calls and time you spent making sure he was right for us. It let me know you really care about these cats and not just run a business. This is definitely a passion for you and I wish you well as you begin a Siberian cattery. I just know everyone will fall in love with your cats just like we did! I will definitely recommend you to everyone I know!
Thank you from the Otis family, and of course Ba Kittah.
I bought my kitten from Shelly and I could not be happier with him. From the start, I knew I had a very special kitty. When I took him home, I was all set to wait several days for him to be hiding under the bed and avoiding everyone, but this did not happen! From the start, he sought out the company of people. He doesn't want to be alone. Also, when I have company, he runs right up to them in greeting and allows them to pick him up and cuddle. I've never had a cat who wanted to be with strangers. He is also not shy around my German shepherd- he plays with and teases him. I don't know what Shelly does to make her kittens so sociable, but whatever it is, it works. I whole-heartedly recommend her cattery to anyone who wants a cat with a great personality. Shelly herself was also absolutely wonderful throughout the entire adoption process. I am so glad that I got my kitten from her!
I had dreamed for a number of years of getting a Birman kitten & the time was finally right. I went to a cat show in Stoughton WI & walked up to Shelly & said "convince me that I want a Birman kitten". She could not have been more enthusiastic about the breed & how much she enjoyed breeding & meeting all the new people that came into her life - her goal is to provide wonderful kittens to loving families & to enrich the families lives by having such a wonderful pet. Shelly invited us to her home to visit with the cats & kittens - after a couple visits we were sold. Shelly's cattery is spotless - the entire family is involved in raising & socializing the babies - it's a busy fun place filled with lots of love. We now have two wonderful Birman cats & I would highly recommend Shelly to anyone wanting to get a purebred kitten - Shelly will always be there for you to answer any questions & help with any issues that come up while raising your pets. Shelly is truly a wonderful breeder & wants nothing but the best for her kittens & the families that get them. I'm sure you will be as pleased as we are with our cats!!
“I can’t imagine a better breeder than Shelly Finley. She is truly the best. She is so knowledgeable, reliable, responsive, and caring. Shelly was 100% dedicated to keeping us up to date after our baby was born and has been a part of our lives ever since we took him home. Shelly knows everything there is to know about Siberians and loves to share her knowledge. She is extremely caring and thorough when it comes to raising the babies before they leave her home. Shelly and her family are so loving and nurturing to each and every kitten. We love our boy so much, and we strongly believe that his amazing personality is due to the way he was cared for and played with when he was first born. We strongly recommend working with Shelly and her exquisitely beautiful kittens! We can’t wait to get our second Siberian from Shelly soon!”
Scott and Melissa L.
I can recommend buying a kitten from Shelly Finley without any reservations. Shelly loves her cats and handles the kittens from day one so they are all wonderfully socialized by the time they go to their new homes. In the 20 years I have owned cats, I have to say that my Heavnsent Siberian, Gizmo, has the best personality I've ever encountered. I credit Shelly for this for two reasons: (1) he was so well-socialized as a kitten, (2) his parents have exceptional personalities with no history of health problems. You should also be aware that when you buy a kitten from Shelly, you can rest assured that she will remain available to you long after your kitten goes home in the event you have any questions or problems. There is no question in my mind that kittens from Heavnsent Cattery are indeed heaven sent!
When our sweet red tabby Russell died in 2008 after 17 loving years, my
husband John’s allergies to cats had gotten bad enough that we were
pretty sure we’d just said goodbye to our last cat. We thought we
were facing the decision whether not to have a pet at all, or to get a
dog. I love dogs and dogs seem to love John, but he is not as fond of
them as they are of him. We are both still working full time and were
not sure that was fair to a dog. Our cats over the years had been
mostly in pairs and did fine on their own with a lot of love and
attention from us when we were home.
I’d heard of hypoallergenic cats and once had mentioned them to John.
He wasn’t interested, then. But when Russell died, that changed
things. John reviewed an article I’d saved about Siberian Cats and
promptly went into internet high gear looking for breeders near us.
After one or two false starts we found Shelly Finley and knew our
search was over.
Responses from other breeders ranged from, “Oh yeah, I can ship you one
today,” to “I’ve got a few left if you want one come and get one.”
Shelly’s response was a long informative email telling all about
Siberians in general, her Raja in particular and everything about
herself and her Heavnzsent Siberians cattery, including all about the
“allergy test” which sounded amusing in its simplicity. That was all
we needed to realize that whether or not we actually got a Siberian
kitten, if we did it would only be from Shelly.
Since we live in Chicago, Shelly is very close to us which was also
nice. We made our date early in September to visit and take the
allergy test. We rang the door bell and Shelly ushered us out to the
van. Then she brought Raja out and turned on the air conditioner.
We’d seen his picture on the website but nothing prepared us for how
gorgeous, laid back and friendly he was. He sniffed around us and
around the van, graciously allowed us to stroke his silky fur and
promptly flopped on his back for a belly rub and a nap.
The fur flew in the breeze from the air conditioner. We took pictures,
got better acquainted with Shelly, told her about us and our previous
cats and showed pictures of them. At about the two hour mark Shelly
looked at her watch and said, “My goodness!” We’d become good friends.
And Raja? He had a nice nap.
It was then that John realized he’d not reacted even a little bit to
Raja. Our hopes soared. Shelly invited us in to meet some of her
mamma cats, look at pictures of previous and current kittens and meet
her human family. The afternoon ended with us leaving a deposit for
two, not one, kittens and hoping her girls had lots of babies so our
numbers 12 and 13 on the wait list would come up soon.
We went home happily to wait. Early in January 2009, Trinity had six
babies. Shelly called us to tell us our numbers were up for two from
this litter. We were ecstatic. And just to put the icing on the cake,
she indicated that our wish for a red boy just might be fulfilled.
Eight months from the day Russell, our red American Shorthair tabby,
passed on, we brought home two of the most beautiful, fluffy, sweet,
loving three month old Silberian kittens. One was the promised red boy
whose litter name had been Ande but whom we renamed Robin Hood. The
other was a gorgeous cream and white boy with a to die for coat and a
personality to match. Snickers became Friar Tuck. And they promptly
stole our hearts.
John and Sherry B.
Steve and Kristina have two Bergamasco (Sheepdogs) and have had their Siberian kitten, Dexter, for less than two weeks:
I think Dexter is integrating into the "pack" well. He's starting to eat and drink at the same time as the dogs from their bowls. He eats a few of their kibble and he's done though. He definitely prefers his own food. We've noticed he is a more social eater, in that he prefers to eat when we're there or the dogs are there. He doesn't like to do anything alone. He really does seem kind of like a dog.
He's stopped hissing at them and actually they all try to play together now. The dogs, especially our girl, have modified their playing style doing a lot more swatting and light grabbing. We'll have one of those toys dangling from a stick and they all sit around in a circle swatting it around to each other. He still likes to bolt by them a lot so they chase to play with him but it doesn't really scare him anymore. He's even started sleeping on the floor by them instead of in bed with us at night sometimes.
Dexter has really been great. He is so sweet!!! Follows us and the dogs everywhere. They all follow us up and down the stairs. He loves to cuddle and be carried. The closer to your face the better. He looks like a scarf half the time around my wife's neck!
As for my allergies I've been able to keep them at bay pretty well. I switched back to my old antihistamine Zyrtec, from my current one. I also wash my hands and/or face after handling him. I got some homeopathic stuff for pet dander allergies too it seems to help (got great reviews online) and some stuff called Allerpet C that you put on them once a week to help keep dander down. Allerpet has some great reviews as well, I guess many vets will recommend it as well.
Each day it seems like he bothers me less and less. I don't know if I'm building up an immunity to him already or if it is all the other things I've mentioned. Nothing was ever severe with him but now it is almost unnoticeable. I know I should build up an immunity as allergy shots have worked for me in the past. I figured I'd share some of my findings in case anyone else could use these techniques as well.
We really couldn't be happier with him. He's been on my lap the whole time I am writing this purring away. I just remembered, as they just did it now, Bella likes to lick him like he is her puppy, he licks her back sometimes too. She cleans off his face and ears a lot. It's really quite cute.
Steve and Kristina L.
Shelly doesn't just breed Siberians, although she's incredibly good at that. She carefully places each kitten with the best family, then acts as an ongoing guardian angel, advising new owners as needed on such matters as:
- setting up a safe and fun environment
- helping the kitten settle in its new home
- good health care, including necessary and unnecessary vaccinations, finding a vet, neutering and spaying
- dental hygiene and the best wet and dry foods
- training the little critters
- growth and development
- nervous owners who aren't sure they know what they're doing
- much more.
Shelly quickly and cheerfully responds to numerous questions and provides detailed and incredibly helpful answers.
I may be my kitten's new mother. Shelly is our godmother, supporting and watching over us both.
Thank you Shelly, for all your help and kindness.
We have been a cat family for several years. We lost our last cat Bandit after many enjoyable years and decided we were going to continue to have cats in our lives. A decision was made to purchase a pair of kittens that were a large breed and unique in their makeup. So the research began and after many conversations we decided that Siberian’s might fit our criteria.
When we searched for a breeder we were surprised to find one in our home town. Moving ahead we made contact and were invited to meet Shelly and see a Siberian for the first time. We met Shelly and her family and viewed her cattery Heavnzsent for the first time. It was immediately evident that the entire family is part of the cat breeding process as her house is full of all the essentials for bringing up cats. All essentials were there, abundant toys, places to roam and sheltered areas for sleeping. But after spending time with Shelly her true love for her kittens was what we experienced.
The interaction that we saw with the cats and the entire family sold us immediately and the decision was a simple one that this is where we wanted to adopt our new kittens. So where do we sign up? Shelly’s process is thorough but simple as the intent is to make sure a good home will be provided to the kitten/kittens and the new parents will also be satisfied with their new babies. We proceeded to get on Shelly’s waiting list and continued to communicate while our number came closer and closer. Finally the call came and we went over to see our new babies, 2 females which we named Sophie and Abby were going to be ours!
It has been 1 year and 2 months we have had our gorgeous girl’s home and without any reservations. It has been an enjoyable and complete adoption. Shelly’s love and the environment that is provided by her family I feel imprints a fantastic well rounded beginning to the young kittens. The description I have seen on Siberians is “doglike” and this fits pretty well. While independent and curious as all cats are they are truly more loyal than other breeds. They meet you at the door while arriving and are truly excited to see you. Also they will never be far away as they want to be part of what you are doing or a least within sight of what you are doing. Shelly has our full endorsement and we would adopt again from her in a heartbeat.
Tom & Mary Oconomowoc, Wisconsin