PUSSIES, PLEBEIAN AND ROYAL
Years ago, we knew only the short-haired common cat, but nowadays the exquisitely beautiful Angoras are the favoured pets. The breeding of them has become an important industry, duly recognised by the government at Washington, which provides means for their registration and permits their import free of duty as thoroughbred animals.
A great many women find the breeding of Angoras or Persian cats to be a most lucrative and pleasing industry. The fad was started about twenty-five years ago in England when the ladies of the royal family became interested in the beautiful creatures from the East. The Princess Christian, sister of King Edward, still has a flourishing cattery, and exhibits at all the great English shows.
Lady Marcus Beresford was the first to import the wonderful Siamese cats. She brought a pair to England nineteen years ago from Siam. They were given to her by a prince of the royal family, and until then these cats had not been permitted to be taken from the country, being owned only by royalty. They are perhaps the most remarkable cats in the world, and are always of the same appearance, white with black tails, ears, paws, and nose, the black being smutted into the white as if done by human hands. They are creatures of great intelligence and wonderfully loyal and affectionate. Lady Beresford says they seem almost human in their intelligence at times.
Two of these Siamese royal cats are shown in a photograph here. In this picture are to be seen also three other distinct species of cats, the Hindu, the Angora, and the common, short-haired house cat, familiar to us all.
For sheer beauty and loveliness, however, the long-haired cat, usually called Angora or Persian, is the most desirable. They are not only from Persian, but from China, India, and Arabia. They make the most satisfactory of pets, for they are exquisitely gentle and loving, and are as well bred and aristocratic as animals can be.
The idea has gone abroad that Angora cats are exceedingly delicate to raise; that they have only one-ninth of a life instead of the proverbial nine; and that they require infinite care to rear. This is not true. They must be understood, however, and treated in a methodical manner, but they are very easy to rear if one will but learn to follow a few rules.
In the first place they should be combed and brushed frequently to prevent them from swallowing so much of their own long, fluffy hair in making their toilet. They should be given a tablespoon of oil twice a week at least. That rids the stomach of any balls of hair that may have collected there from pussyís tongue. They learn to be very fond of the oil. It is indeed a wise thing to feed oil to any and all cats, as it keeps them in the pink of condition and makes their coats beautifully glossy and fine.
Angora kittens should be fed on fresh milk. Let them drink as much as they will of it and then remove the saucer and throw away the remaining milk. Do not let kittens have access to food at any and all times. When the kitten is old enough, say three months, commence to feed it meat very finely chopped, but continue, too, with the milk. When the kitten is eight months old feed it milk only twice a week.
Never give cats bread. The gases generated by yeast and baking powders will in time prove fatal. Puppy biscuits are excellent to feed cats two or three times a week as a change. The biscuit should be soaked in warm water till soft and then mixed with a little chopped meat. One of the best of meat diets for pussy is formed of liver, sheepís heart and kidneys well boiled and cut up fine. Angora cats should not be fed fatty meats, as they will not agree with them. If pussy is troubled with constipation an almost certain remedy is to feed her nothing but raw liver for a few days and then combine with other foods for a day or two longer.
With cats there is always the question of fleas, but one should be very careful about buying patent flea powders and lotions. Some of them are very injurious and often prove fatal. The simplest and surest way to rid pussy of fleas is to use old-fashioned Persian insect powder in this way: Place the cat on a large piece of paper and cover her thickly and thoroughly with the powder, dusting it deeply into her fur. In a very few minutes the half suffocated fleas will jump off on the paper. Then let the cat out-of-doors and she will shake herself. Have ready a warm bath with tincture of green soap, and before she can have a chance to lick herself, give pussy a bath. This will finish the remaining half-dead fleas. Wipe the catís fur very dry.
The cat has a most remarkable personality Ė any cat has; all cats have. If you do not like cats just try the experiment of being loving and tender and gentle with them and see for yourself what a pronounced individuality you will discover. Someone has said that you must give of yourself to a cat before she would give of herself. She never begs your love; you must make yourself worthy of hers. This imperious characteristic may have been generated within her ages ago when she was worshiped in Egypt or in Siam. The catís nature is always more or less inscrutable. She is a mystery, but you can always win her confidence and love.