THE ANGORA CAT.
HOW TO BREED, TRAIN AND KEEP IT;
WITH ADDITIONAL CHAPTERS ON THE HISTORY, PECULIARITIES AND DISEASES OF THE ANIMAL
ROBERT KENT JAMES
WITH THIRTY-FIVE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM LIFE
[Note: "Angora" refers here to the predecessor of the Persian and the cats depicted would be considered "domestic longhairs" today.]
The purpose of this volume is not to dwell upon the scientific breeding of cats, or to discuss their detailed anatomy. It is the aim instead to present a book which shall by simple statement and ample illustration guide the amateur in the care of the Angora cat There are many excellent authorities on the cat, and many books on the subject, notably those by St. George Mivart, Ph. D., and A. Chauveau, but there has seemed to lack a book which should meet the requests and inquiries of lovers and owners of high-bred cats, not thoroughly acquainted with the history, description and peculiarities of this animal. The Angora cat-book is intended to fill this demand in a modest way.
The book has been divided into several chapters, properly indexed for convenience sake. The origin and history of the cat has been briefly touched upon. How to train a cat and the care of a cat are amply discussed, and the chapters on breeding and mating will be of especial interest and value. The diseases most common to the Angoras and directions for their treatment are also given, and additional information upon feeding, transportation and preparation for exhibition, has been carefully prepared.
The value of the book is greatly increased by the introduction of thirty-five photographs of the Angora cat from life, for which the authors are indebted to the Walnut Ridge Farms Co.
ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE CAT
HOW TO TRAIN A CAT
CARE OF THE CAT
Housing for Breeding
Housing for Pleasure Feed
BREEDING AND MATING
The Law of Variation
Breeding for Color
Breeding for Form
Breeding in Line
EXHIBITION AND TRANSPORTATION
On the Bench
Washing and Grooming
DISEASES OF THE CAT
Fleas and Lice
THE CORRECT ANGORA
DIFFERENT COLORS OF ANGORAS
TABLE TO DETERMINE PERFECTION IN CATS
ENTRY FORM FOR EXHIBITIONS
RULES AND REGULATONS FOR EXHIBITIONS
FACTS AND FANCIES OF THE CAT
A Cat Letter
How A Cat Falls
Cats and Sentiment
A Forgotten Prisoner
Her Want Supplied
Queer Things About Cats
Attentive to Cats
The Homeless Cat
Emblematic Signification of the Cat
My Cat Tom
Foreign Cat Shows
A Cat Story
Beauty of the Cat
A Child's Discrimination
Best of all Fads
The Subway Cats
A Hospitable Cat
Electrical Character of the Cat
ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE CAT.
Our common cat, familiar in many varieties of coloring, is not a tamed descendant of the Wild Cat, but seems, like other domestic animals, to have come from the East. It is usually, though not indeed with absolute certainty, regarded as the descendant of the Egyptian cat, which was certainly domesticated in Egypt thirteen centuries B. C. From Egypt the domestic cat spread through Europe, certainly before the Christian era, but at first sparsely, and confined to those who could afford a high price for the pet. It is quite possible that other species may have been domesticated elsewhere and have mingled with the Egyptian breed. Rolleston and others have believed that the domestic mouse-killer of the ancient Greeks and Romans was not the cat at all, but the white breasted Martin, for which felis is good Latin.
The fur of the cat is longer than that of the other feline tribes and it bears a greater resemblance to leopards than to lions. The idea of majesty is not connected with it, however. There is yet a wild species in existence which inhabits the mountainous and wooded districts of the northern part of England, as well as sections of our own country.
Dr. Huidekoper writes in his book on the cat that " it can now be accepted that the so-called domestic cat of to-day is the descendant of certain wild species existing on the several continents ages ago, when the first members were subdued, subjugated, and by handling, reduced to house-pets, or at least to that semi-domestication which renders them familiar with man, and useful in stables and granaries for the destruction of small vermin, or to be petted in dwellings as companions."
The Angora cat is but one of the many species of the feline tribe, including the tiger, the lion, the leopard, the ounce, and the jaguar, not to mention numerous other supposed variations. The history of the cat is the history of the Angora, its most aristocratic representative. The Angora cat is one of the most beautiful animals in the world. Those of us who are familiar with this cat's markings will remember its long silky hair and superb ruffy tail. The Angora originally came from Angora, not from Angola, though the animal often gets called the " Angola" cat. Its native place, however, is not Angola in Africa, but Angora in Asia Minor, which is also well-known for its goats.
HOW TO TRAIN A CAT.
It is not an easy matter to train a cat. Much patience and perseverance is required to bring about the performance of even the simplest of tricks. The most satisfying results may be reached by taking the kitten at a very early age, three months old not being too soon. To begin with, however, the first trick is no trick at all. It is rather the formation of good habits in the little kitten. The house is a natural abode of the fashionable cat, and she is very much at home in her surroundings. To make her a clean cat and perfectly housebroken comes only by thorough patient teaching on the part of the mistress.
For the cat's convenience arrange somewhere in the cellar or washroom a shallow box, a foot and a half square, filled with sand or sawdust. This she must be taught is the proper place to perform certain functions of Nature. In order to impress this fact upon the feline, at the first offence, the cat's nose must be rubbed, not gently but severely in the place where she has trespassed. After this she should be carried without delay to the box and held there a minute or two, patting her gently the meanwhile. This is an infallible rule, and never fails of success if persistently followed for a week or ten days.
The cat is by nature an excessively cleanly animal and if not allowed to exercise at will out of doors should be provided with means for remaining so.
Then again, by nature, cats are afraid of dogs. They take a sudden terror at the sight of them, and look upon canines as common enemies. This aversion to dogs can be overcome, to a marked degree, if the kitten is taught gently and firmly that the dog after all is disposed to make friends. It is not possible to make the Angora friendly to every dog it meets, but it is comparatively easy to keep the house dog and cat on intimate terms. When the kitten is very young she should be placed constantly near the dog, on his front paws, on his back, and across his tail. The dog is by far the more intelligent animal of the two and he will immediately understand what is expected of him. The kitten will " spit " and ruffle her fur, but if the dog is made to endure these preliminaries to a firm friendship, the tendencies to show fight on the part of the cat will wear away soon enough. If once an attachment is made between a dog and a cat the friendship is cemented forever, and the remainder of their existence will be passed in friendly rivalry for their mistress's attention.
It is nature, again, that makes a housed Angora equal to a common cat in its tendency to destroy without provocation every Canary bird in the house. It may as well be impressed first as last upon the cat that " Polly," the parrot, and " Dick," the canary, have equal shares on life with herself. The flitting and chirping of a canary is madness itself to the cat, and the only efficacious means of killing this desire is harsh and severe. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound "of cure " is an old saying, but in this case the ounce must be stretched to a baker's dozen. There are three ways in which to break the cat of this evil, the first of which is perhaps the simplest. The first time the cat is discovered watching the movements of the canary in the cage, a severe slap across the head will bring pussy to her senses. A repetition of this chastisement each time she is caught will soon teach the cat that the nursery or dining-room is not for her exclusive benefit. Another manner of procedure is to hold the cat in your arms close to the side of the cage near enough for the canary to peck at her. Still another, and the most effective of all, is to take a cat inclined to disturb the house birds and tie about its neck a dead canary, or a stuffed artificial substitute, and leave it in that position for a couple of days. The cat is so thoroughly frightened that ever afterwards she is inclined to leave the bird pets alone. It must be borne in mind, however, that in order to train a cat properly the utmost patience and persistence must be practised. If the animal is rightfully and kindly treated while young, the same nature will follow it along in life and make it always a delightful pet.
The above three suggestions are essential to the well training of all Angoras. We now come to the subject of tricks. In teaching the Angora one or more tricks, a great deal depends upon the person who has the matter in charge. It requires patience again and yet, after all, the kitten is quick to learn. Some cunning tricks, those of lying down, sitting upon the hind legs, giving front paw, kissing, jumping through one's arms, jumping rope, crying, praying, and sitting at the table, can be taught to a bright intelligent Angora with but very little difficulty. There are others that might be added, including ringing a bell, playing dead, shutting a door, or opening one with a latch to it and making pussy follow you about the house or street. After each performance you should reward the cat either by caresses or by giving her a morsel to eat.
CARE OF THE CAT.
Housing for Breeding
The fact of housing cats has not been generally understood, because of their scarcity and the few people who have interested themselves large enough to get together more than a few specimens. This point then is one that depends greatly upon circumstances and conditions. If one is to keep only a few cats it is not necessary to provide any special house or buildings for them, because the owner himself has better accommodations in his own house, his kitchen, or his cellar, than if he had built for him a cattery or special building. Then again, if one is to keep a large number of cats, he runs great risk in housing many together, because of their liability to become sick, or the chances of their fighting which is quite sure to occur as in a poultry yard. Cats are more likely to fight than roosters, and it is certain that where a number of males are confined together that one male is likely to become "cock of the walk," and in doing so he scrimmages greatly with others, either injuring them or knocking them about so as to harm their beauty and general usefulness. Should a house, or any quarters be provided for cats it is best that they be water tight, as rheumatism, colds, and other diseases follow dampness and exposure.
The best housing that we have noticed is one built on the same general plans and principles as that of a hen house. If six or a dozen cats are to be kept together, a house fifty feet long by thirty feet wide and seven feet high with a slope of one foot, with plenty of windows to admit sunlight, is very comfortable and serviceable. Be careful, however, that the house is water proof and wind proof. Racks can be made so that cats can "roost." Shelves may be put about with straw or hay for bedding. If a yard is necessary we would advise wiring it like that of a poultry yard, with the exceptions of a top netting in order that the cat will not climb up and get out. Cats should not run much during the intense heat of the day, and should always have access to fresh water and, if possible, be allowed to run about in the grass. The animal does not perspire through the skin at all, but wholly through the tongue. We believe that it a fancier intends erecting: a building for catteries, it would be best for him to investigate the matter thoroughly and to find out the best hygienic and sanitary conditions under which cats may be housed and kept successfully. There is no rule by which one can be governed in these matters.
Housing for Pleasure
The question has often been asked us " How " are we to care for our cat when in the house ? If I have one or two cats, how must I house them ? " This question is a very simple one to answer, because the only thing to do is to allow the animal the same freedom that you would an ordinary cat. To an ordinary cat you do not give much attention, nor should one give too much attention to an Angora. The less done in some points the stronger and more healthy the animal. We do not deem it necessary to have any special quarters for a cat, where there are but two or three of them, still, of course, it is well to provide a small box and place it either in the kitchen or the cellar, or in any warm place, so that the cat can go there when it likes and feel that it is his bed. The cat is very intelligent in some things, and if you teach it to go there nights you will always find it seeking that spot whenever it has occasion to sleep. The cat usually likes to steal away some part of the day, and when a box is near at hand it is very likely to take refuge in that.
It has often been asked us if we advise keeping the cat in the cellar, or must it be kept where it is warm. This question is more difficult to answer, as the temperature of some cellars is different from others. Still the natural tendency is that an Angora should not always be kept where it is warm, because a long furred animal usually hails from a cold climate ; and while we do not recommend always to keep the cat in a cold place, still the fur is liable to increase in length where the cat is kept in a cool place. The cold produces more hair, and with the Angora the more hair better the animal. If a cat has an opportunity of resting occasionally in some warm place, there will be no harm in allowing it to roam about in the cold cellar, or out of doors for that matter, but we would not advise letting one of these expensive little pets be obliged to stay in a cold cellar where it is liable to be damp and chilly. Give it freedom ; if it chooses to go there do not interfere.
We should also advise people to allow their cat as much out-of-door exercise as possible. It is very injurious to keep a cat in the house, not allowing it to roam about and play as it has been in the habit of doing before it reached the age when it was purchased by some city person and made a pet. If one could see the frolics of a young cat, running about catching grasshoppers, climbing trees and going out to the tiniest branches to get a peep at a little bird, he would not be surprised when we advise allowing the cat as much out-of-door exercise as possible.
The value of the Angora rather prevents it from having the usual freedom an ordinary cat enjoys. Where it cannot be allowed to roam about, as in busy cities and towns where it is likely to be stolen or to stray away, we would suggest that during some part of the day it be allowed to sit in an open window. A well trained animal will behave himself and enjoy the privilege of watching objects, and during this time it gets a great deal of fresh air and is a great deal better for having it. We would not advise one, of course, to let the animal stay in the window in severe weather, still we leave that to the judgment of the owner.
A variety of methods of feeding cats is prevalent among fanciers, and it would be quite difficult for us to lay out any special diet which would be considered the proper and only method. But a beginner can easily improve on what is said and regulate his cat's diet and habits by what experience has taught some of us. The cat, however, should never be allowed to gorge himself, for it will disorder his digestion as well as bring about a host of other diseases.
A kitten for the first three months after he is weaned should be fed four times a day. After five or six months three times a day is enough until the age of one year is reached, when two a day is sufficient, a light meal in the morning and the principal meal in the evening. There are many kinds of food that one can feed successfully, and it is quite difficult for us to state which one would be the best for an individual specimen. Still, where there is one or two kittens we would suggest that you give them the leavings from the table, nicely cut up and prepared in a dainty manner. Raw meat and raw fish are most injurious. They are apt to cause humor and worms. Cooked meat and cooked fish, if cut up, can be fed with great success. A little goes a great ways, and we would not advise one to feed this oftener than once a day. Young kittens, if brought up from wee little things by the owner, can be taught never to eat meat, but when an animal has become a year old it is necessary to allow it to grow as it should and then it will have the life and snap which belongs to a cat. Too much meat is apt to have a bad effect on the hair. For that reason we advise feeding
Really the best food to place before a cat is milk and oatmeal. Other cereals can be fed with great success, but oatmeal is more apt to be found in the homes of the people, and while the cat has been brought up on it for generations it is something that they take to very quickly and can thrive on. An over-fed cat is easily detected from its habits. Better keep your cat hungry than to gorge him. A hungry cat is more likely to be lively and will do some hunting, but an over-fed cat will never catch mice or rats, especially if he has all the meat he wants. Some fanciers say that where a cat is wanted for the catching of mice and rats it is best to feed cereals, because the animal has naturally a taste for meat, and when he does not have it brought to him he is inclined to get hungry for it and when he finds a rat he is satisfied. A little fresh fish may be given occasionally, and now and then a morsel of uncooked liver or other meat, care being taken to remove the fat. Any vegetable for which the animal shows a fondness may be given with discretion. Remember to see that the cat always has access to plenty of fresh water and fresh grass, grass being a genuine panacea for all their minor troubles. Some people recommend giving the cat its food only in the morning, as it makes it more wakeful and fresh at night when it is hungry. Where the animal is not doing well, a change of diet is often beneficial. Close observation has shown that cats will eat certain kinds of grass at certain times to purge themselves voluntarily. There is no question but that grass is a mild physic. In most kennels it is a habit to feed cats twice a day, which is advisable rather than to feed the animal only in the morning, as it is too long for them to go without food otherwise. It is, however, a matter of dispute among the best breeders. Perhaps a heavy meal at night and a light meal in the morning is more to the taste of many. The simplest rule to go by is to feed clean, wholesome food, and never allow the animal to stuff, or let it have food between meals, except that which it gets itself.
Food for kittens should be prepared more carefully than for cats. We advise the warming of milk. In young kittens milk is inclined to cause worms, but if it is heated, any trouble of this kind is avoided and the kitten is benefitted from the same. In cats it does not specially matter about the food being warm, yet a pet cat always enjoys a little attention being shown in the preparation of his meals. We do not advise leaving food about continually so that the kitten can eat whenever it chooses. It is best always to remove the dish when the cat has finished. When the little kitten is about to commence eating, milk should first be given. It is a wise plan to scald the milk, allowing the same to cool off before feeding. In warm weather a spoonful of lime water should be added to the milk ration, unless new milk is used. Milk is a sufficient diet up to three months, then oatmeal and milk, with leavings from the table, well seasoned.
Never give raw meat or fish. Cooked fish is always good in small proportions, and the animal thrives better on fish than any other substance. Meat should only be given in small quantities, and not too often in warm weather, except in extreme cases, where an animal cannot thrive unless it has it. Warm food is most beneficial.
BREEDING AND MATING
The systematic breeding of cats may and should be carried out upon the same general principles as that of our other domestic animals. The natural laws are the same for all, and only need to be carefully observed to make success reasonably sure in establishing and fixing any particular type desired upon a family or strain. The first and most important of these great laws of Nature is the law of
" Like produces like " is the old proverb. The offspring will resemble one or the other of its parents, or to a certain extent both of them, modifying the peculiar characteristics of one by dissimilar traits in the other.
Usually, all other things being equal, it is the stronger and more vigorous parent that will have the greater influence in determining the character of the offspring, but this is not always the case. An animal whose ancestry have been bred to a particular type, or for an especial purpose through several generations acquires what is known as prepotency, or a power to transmit down to its posterity the qualities which it has inherited from those before it.
This fact is well known to the breeders of other animals, and they are exceedingly careful to select their breeding stock, but particularly the male, because of a supposed possession of this prepotent or dominant power. To obtain fast travelling colts, the sire must come from a family noted for speed through several generations, and butter producing cows with great records can in the same way be traced back through a long pedigree of cows bred for many years with the production of butter as the main object.
But beside this law of hereditary influence, there is what is sometimes called
The Law of Variation
This is manifested first in the effect which the one parent may have in modifying the influences of the other. This is often taken advantage of by breeders in changing the shape or markings of that which they desire to produce, by so mating the parents that the fault of one will be counteracted or modified by the opposite fault in another.
If one animal is too heavy and coarse in head, neck or forequarters, they mate it with another that is correspondingly light, and if one is too light in the hindquarters the other should be exceptionally well built in that point. If the same fault exists in both parents it becomes intensified in the offspring until it becomes a serious deformity.
But in mating for this purpose it is not well to make too violent a cross at first. Keep within the same lines of blood, and modify by degrees perhaps through several generations. If the difference between the parents is too great it is probable that the offspring will take entirely to one or the other parent, and possibly so much so as to exaggerate the very defect which it was intended to correct.
There are also the variations known as "sports," in which there appears no strong trace of either parent, but a reverting back to some distant ancestor, possibly long forgotten. Thus we have known an Ayrshire cow, a breed whose color is usually a light red and white, pied or mixed, or a red roan, to produce a calf that was pure white with red ears and muzzle - the type of a breed known in Wales as long ago as the year 1200, and a few of which are said to be allowed to run wild in the woods of a certain park in Great Britain but never to be sold or allowed to be intermingled with other cattle. Whether she went back six hundred and fifty years or a shorter time to some ancestor of that breed for her color and marking we know not. Her calves when she was mated with an Ayrshire bull, took the regular Ayrshire type and color without more of white than usual among that breed. But in an animal so prolific as the cat, it would be better to avoid breeding from such a " sport " or variation, unless it was desired to perpetuate and fix the new type, which might be done by selecting another sport of the same kind to cross with it, if it could be found.
Some variations or sports are produced by accidental causes, or by the effects of impressions strong upon the minds of the female parent before the offspring were born. Bible readers are familiar with the history of the ring-streaked, spotted and speckled cattle, goats and sheep, which Jacob produced among the herds of Laban, by placing before the mothers his sticks peeled in stripes, and the history of horses and cattle contain many instances of calves and colts which resembled neither of the parents, but some animal in an adjoining yard or pasture, where it was in sight of the mother daily. But this properly belongs to the question of
Breeding for Color.
This is a matter which has been given but little attention by the breeders of cats, until very recently. We think some progress has been made, and more will be when more care is taken in the mating for that purpose.
All who have attended a Poultry Exhibition know how much has been accomplished in this line among our domestic fowl. We have many breeds in which black, white and buff varieties are as distinct as if they were separate breeds. We have the variegated plumage of the Barred Plymouth Rocks, the Silver and the Golden Laced Wyandottes, the Partridge Cochin, the Dominique, and the beautiful Golden and Silver Laced Seabright Bantams, each reproducing their own colors as surely as they do their own kind.
This has not been done by accident, nor in one or two generations. It has required many generations of careful selection and mating to fix these colors permanently, and a rejection for breeding purposes of all that showed a tendency to revert or sport back to any other color.
We believe the same care can fix the colors of cats as well, and we can breed at will the solid colors, white, black, yellow or maltese, or the varied markings of the tortoise shell, or the stripes of the tiger, if we give our care to it for a few generations.
We know now a white cat, whose mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother were pure white, without a colored hair on them, and we believe none of the four have ever dropped a litter of kittens in which there was not at least one pure white, and often another of peculiar marking, white with the exception of a black or dark stripe between the ears, from an inch and a half to two inches long, and from a half inch to an inch wide. This where no pains has been taken in mating, but where they have been allowed to mate promiscuously with such cats as they met in their midnight rambles. This then shows a prepotency or power of reproducing itself in color, which we think might have been greatly increased if care had been taken and efforts made to mate only with males that were white or nearly so.
Breeding for Form
and for size or for peculiar markings may be effected in the same manner. We will once more refer to the instances in the Poultry Show. The stately Brahmas and Cochins nearly as large as a turkey, and the diminutive Bantams of but a few ounces in weight have been brought to what they now are by selection of the largest or the smallest specimens of the breeds, as might be desired, to be mated together. The size and shape of the comb, and even the number of points it may have, the length of the wattles, the feathers on the toes, or the crest on the head, and all the general shape of the bird are matters upon which arbitrary standards have been established, and which are controlled by the breeder.
Thus we have the Single Comb, the Rose or Pea Comb, the erect comb or that which lops over to one side ; the five toes of the Dorking, the feathered legs and toes of the Brahma and the Cochin, or the bare legs of other breeds, as the standard calls for.
That certain types may be fixed upon the cat we know, because certain families or strains of blood are locally notorious for peculiar markings. The double paw, or the having of eight or ten toes upon each forefoot and in some cases upon all the feet, are hereditary and reappears in every generation, even without care in mating. With care they could be fixed and perpetuated as surely as the long hair of the favorite Angora, or the pendulous ears of the less well known Chinese variety, or the lack of a tail upon the Manx.
But there is yet another point to which breeders of cats may turn their attention, which is that of maintaining or increasing certain
Some people who have not made a study of the cat as a domestic animal may smile at the idea of there being a difference in their mental or intellectual capacity, or even deny their possessing any mental powers at all. They cannot deny the possession of what is known as instinct, though they might doubt that the cat possesses it in the same degree as the dog.
The ability of the dog to follow the track of his master among the thousand footsteps of a crowded city ; of the hound to follow its prey ; of the pointer to assume a certain position when it scents its game ; of the collie to herd cattle and sheep or even poultry, and of the Newfoundland to rescue the drowning, sometimes manifested by bringing ashore against his will some unlucky swimmer taking his morning bath, they would call instinct, and not a mental power capable of being taught, and much less of a reasoning faculty.
But even this which they call instinct is but an hereditary power or faculty increased by years and generations of special training, and if not lost by disuse is certainly weakened if the animal is not given opportunity to exercise it. The collie after being kept only as a house dog for a few generations is not much easier trained to herding than another dog, and the hound or pointer is but a poor hunter if its mother has never been used for that purpose.
But there is as much difference in dogs and cats in regard to their capability of being taught or trained as there is in children. Particularly is this the case when they are to be learned something for which they have not an inherited faculty or instinct. Some learn readily almost anything, understanding all that is said to them, while others seem absolutely stupid.
One need not go to menageries to see the effects of training animals, even to do that which is contrary to their natural instincts or propensities. Almost every one has seen dogs which would bring hat, cane or slippers, or carry and bring messages at the word of command with as much appearance of intelligence as human beings.
The cat is naturally a beast of prey, and cats are usually considered as unsafe companions for birds and chickens, and as having an undying enmity to dogs, but dogs and cats are often trained to live together in harmony, often becoming much attached to each other. We have seen a cat whose favorite resting place when he could get it, was to crawl in between the forelegs of a large English mastiff, with his head under the dog's chin, and who would allow a litter of puppies to run around or climb over him without resenting it, though he allowed no familiarities from other dogs.
We have known a cat so well trained that its mistress would not only allow it to remain in the room with a litter of small chickens playing about the floor, but would leave it in the yard with them for hours, when it would allow the chickens to climb on its back, nestle down in its fur, or pick at its tail, but it would also at once drive away any other cat which came into the yard, with as much vigor as a cat would attack a dog when she had kittens in the shed.
We believe this capability of learning easily and quickly can be transmitted by inheritance, as well as docility and gentleness of disposition. Every breeder of experience knows that an animal of vicious propensities though made so by bad management and harsh treatment, will be very apt to transmit those qualities to its descendants, though they may be modified some by the influence of the other parent, and more perhaps, by kind treatment.
Certain tricks and ways in the cat seem to be inherited by the kittens, or to be more easily learned by them than by kittens whose parents had never been taught such tricks, but this may in part be due to the imitative faculty. An old cat which had been taught by a boy to perch on his shoulder, instead of taking the position more usual among cats, in his lap, has had several kittens, all of which climb to the shoulders of the members of the family as soon as they can climb at all. Jumping through hoops or over obstacles are tricks often taught to cats, and if female cats their kittens soon learn to perform the same feats.
The breeders of cats will find not only much amusement in educating their pets in various ways, but more in watching to see how far the influence of such teaching will extend to the next or later generations, until the task laboriously learned by the first may become an instinct or an inherited quality.
In breeding to fix or establish a certain type in cats as in other animals or in poultry, some breeders have felt obliged to resort to
Or mating together of close relations as being more alike in the point to be fixed than two would be from different families. While in such cases it sometimes seems to accomplish the desired result as can be done in no other way, it should be avoided whenever possible. It has a tendency to weaken the constitution of the offspring and to impair the health and vigor, even sometimes to the extent of causing barrenness. A more preferable way of reaching the same result of fixing the type or characteristics of a breed is what is called
Breeding in Line.
This differs from inbreeding, in that three or more generations are allowed to pass before breeding back into the same blood, and then it is only upon the side of one parent.
The most noted of the fast trotters or pacers of the present day have been bred in this way. Their owners point with pride to the number of times they can trace back in their pedigree to some noted animal of the olden time. If seven or nine crosses of Hamiltonian or Mambrino or Messenger blood can be discovered, separated by having had one or two out-crosses of other good blood between the coming together again, they feel that they have inherited from their ancestry both the nerve, the muscle, and the lung power necessary to attain high speed and maintain it to the end of the race.
The famous cow, 8th Duchess of Geneva, which was sold at auction a few years ago for $40,600, was an example of breeding in line, from a strain which we think first had its type or character established by inbreeding, and she was valued at that enormous sum because she was thought to be the most thoroughly representative of that particular blood that was known.
The most noted butter producers among the cows of the present day are examples of breeding in line, and often of very close breeding, and many of them can be traced back through their sires and dams, several times to cows of established records years ago.
It is because they are supposed to have inherited the butter-producing quality and to be able to transmit it to their descendants that they are valued at thousands of dollars, and their calves will sell readily for hundreds of dollars, as soon as old enough to be moved.
Whether we shall see the time when the breeding of cats of pure blood in any of the breeds will ever attain the dignity that has been reached by the breeding of horses, cattle and dogs, or whether higher prices are to be obtained in the near future for those which have been bred by intelligent breeders, with a fixed purpose in view, we will not attempt to predict.
Some indications point that way now. Already more, care is being taken in mating them for breeding purposes than ever before. The pedigrees of those which can be traced back to prize winners in the show room are being carefully recorded, and prices have been advancing under such conditions.
Some breeders are paying more attention to breeding for particular colors and markings than they have done, and are meeting with as good a share of success as at first rewarded those who began to try years ago to breed poultry "true to feather," and to the requirements of an arbitrary standard.
They will need patience to follow it out upon these lines, and to continue in the face of many disappointments, and also the courage to reject for breeding purpose many which are so good as to be very near right, yet not quite up to their ideal.
If to color, shape, and other markings, they add as essential to a house pet docility and intelligence, or capability of being taught, they will make their task even more difficult, and yet more pleasant when they approach to success, while to reach it will be to have become almost the creator of a perfect animal.
We will not do more than to hint at the future possibilities in the breeding of cats as a business, or as a pleasure.
The fixing of colors and of peculiar markings so that they will be reproduced with almost absolute certainty, and the ensuring of desirable qualities as a household pet have been spoken of. We believe they can be reached by a few generations of careful mating and selection, and with them will come also certain other characteristics according to the fancy of the breeder.
To return once more to our illustration from the poultry yard. Among the Light Brahmas the Felch, the Williams and the Corney strains are, or were once, so fixed that while all conformed to the requirements of the poultry standard, and were so much alike that the inexperienced eye would see no difference in them, the expert readily distinguished them almost at a glance. The same thing may be said of other strains of popular breeds, as the Hawkins strain of Plymouth Rocks, the Bonney strain of Brown Leghorns, and others that might be named.
This is that indescribable something known as
which a stranger will sometimes notice between two brothers who might be thought by their intimate friends to be entirely unlike in complexion or feature, but which would be plainly apparent to one seeing them for the first time, particularly if he had been previously acquainted with the father and grandfather. This resemblance is often marked between cousins, and sometimes appears after the lapse of several generations.
To the founder of a strain or family of cats there will be much of pleasure in seeing the results of their care, something perhaps of fame, and surely a remuneration in money when the desired type is fixed and becomes popular, as does almost any type of any animal that can be reproduced with uniformity.
All this may be attained by care in intelligent and systematic mating and breeding - in the cat as it has among other animals or among poultry, or so we confidently believe.
EXHIBITION AND TRANSPORTATION.
To prepare a cat for exhibition is not an easy task. The interest in competitive exhibitions has been steadily growing, and so great is the pleasure they afford and their value in furnishing abundant material for critical study of the cat in its improved state that they may confidently be expected to multiply and each year bring to us newer developments and incite us to further study.
The average exhibitor, having decided to enter his Angora, at once sets about getting it into condition to appear at its best. There are two ways of performing this, one being right and the other wrong. Unfortunately, the latter is by far the more popular, yet as far as form goes, the only legitimate way to put an Angora rightly into condition is to rely upon proper management. When the condition for honors is badly ''off," being under weight, out of coat, bad disposition, and with poor health, it is well to start in with proper medicines and training, which will have such action on the animal as to overcome all unnecessary and disagreeable elements which any prize-winning animal must possess.
It is well to take the Angora when it is young and enter upon a systematic training. Exercise is one of the principal things, and with a rigid diet, if they are conducted under hygienic rules, are very essential and beneficial. Steady, slow work should be the rule at first in all instances. The amount of exercise required depends upon the existing conditions, the state of health, the endurance, and the individual peculiarities. Obviously the matter of exercising is one that requires knowledge and care. It will certainly be necessary to understand the nature of cats thoroughly, their limit of endurance, and to study them intelligently for the purpose of determining where they are weak and need development.
Some think that Angoras can be conditioned quite as well by medicine as by proper hygienic methods. Arsenic, the most popular agent for this purpose, is both a tonic and a deadly poison, and can only be given moderately and carefully with safety. This is far from being suitable for conditioning cats, for although they seem to fatten after taking it, the rounding out is not occasioned by a healthy deposit of fat.
When all these suggestions have been carefully carried out, it is well for the owner to get his Angora accustomed to himself so that it will know him and become fond of him. These points are valuable in many ways, more especially if the animal is to be exhibited where the owner can visit his cage and attend to the cat himself. Cats being prepared for exhibition should be kept away from other cats and made to get accustomed to confinement.
In sending cats to exhibitions or shows, comfortable crates, or boxes should be provided large enough to permit them to stand and turn about with ease. The boxes should be constructed so that air may be freely admitted at the top and sides. The crates should be as light as possible, very strong and durable. Avoid drafts in boxing. If the cats are to go only a short distance, place milk-soaked bread in tin cups rather than bread and water, for fear that the water might be tipped over, thus soiling the crate and injuring the cat's fur in transit. Excelsior is a suitable bedding to place in the box, and especially desirable, when it can be obtained, for health and sanitary reasons. There should be destination cards tacked on both sides and the top of the box. Be sure to put into the box plenty of food on long journeys, so that it will last a longer period than it will take the cat to reach its destination. Never let a cat enter upon a journey with a full stomach. A hungry cat is in better condition to travel than an over-fed one. Another important thing for the shipper to observe is not to put a padlock on the basket, as so many people are inclined to do, enclosing the key in a letter to the secretary of the exhibition. Now there are many chances that this key will not arrive, and the poor kitten remains in the basket awaiting the arrival of the secretary and the key. Should neither come, or the former without the latter, the animal is obliged to remain in the basket longer than he ought, remaining there until some other method is adopted to release him.
On the Bench.
After the cat has arrived at the exhibition and is placed on the bench by the attendant, he should be given a proper location and not placed in an unsuitable spot where it is likely to come in contact with drafts and cold. If a kitten is attended by its owner, or a friend, it is more likely to receive better attention and be placed in more desirable places than if a kitten is allowed to go unattended. The appearance of your cat is everything at a show. Judges are attracted to your cat by its fine manners, condition, and breeding. A soiled specimen, no matter how beautiful it may be, is greatly disqualified, if allowed to remain so. When the cat is on the bench, it should be fed sparingly until it is back home again. Those who are unaccustomed to dog cakes, biscuits, and other food provided by the exhibition should be fed on their regular diet or their appetite will fail them and the animal will soon be on the decline. It is noticed, however, that there are only a few cats taken from their homes and placed on exhibition that have a regular sharp appetite, nor do they appear in as fine condition because of their strained senses, which make them think that they are in a lost world. Bear in mind not to allow your cat to be handled, nor let him be fed out of cups or saucers which are likely to come in contact with other cats during the exhibition.
It is a wise policy for owners of valuable cats to provide their own cups for feeding, and should any improper treatment be the rule of the day at the exhibition an exhibitor has a perfect right to remove his animal from the show if he believes the animal is endangered or injured while it is remaining. Another important thing to consider in the return of the cat is to see that it is placed in its own box or basket, and that the labels are properly attached and but one address is given. A great many of these small matters, which have been mentioned and others which might have been mentioned, are specially valuable in the sending and returning of cats to shows or any other places.
Washing and Grooming.
The care of the hair is very important. From the birth of the kitten the skin should be watched and not allowed to get dry or humory. A small soft brush should be used for the first ten weeks, and then a stronger one. Never comb the hair. It will greatly pull the hair and break it, which will in time cause the cat to lose much and shorten the remainder. Snarls will never appear if a cat is groomed each day.
The hair may be long and yet not silky. To make soft, silky hair brushing is necessary. Much sickness is caused by bathing the animal with medicated soaps, as it is natural for a cat to go over its body afterwards with its tongue, thus causing the poison to enter the stomach. In washing the cat, it is not specially necessary more than once a month, unless it be a white specimen. When the hair becomes blackened, the cat should be taken to a warm place, and if not accustomed to water, should be gradually made to understand that the water will not harm it. Then bathe it a little with a soft sponge, lathered with some good castile soap, bearing in mind always to rub down instead of up, thus preventing the ruffling of the hair and breaking it. Apply until the animal is soaked that the soap and water may reach the skin.
If a mild tonic is necessary to soften the skin and make it a little healthier, it would be well to apply when the cat has been soaked, so that it will reach the pores of the skin and not remain on the outer hair. Be careful not to allow the cat to get at any place where it is likely to become dirty again, because the hair when wet is likely to catch dirt, and in this state it will be buried underneath the outer hair and this will become matted, thus causing little snarls to be created. It is well for one if they desire the cat to be in perfect condition, and to have a soft, silky fur, to rub the hair dry with some soft towel. After this has been performed, allow the cat to remain in a box near the stove where it can get dry before it is allowed to enter into the cold or wander about the house. Many people are apt to use perfumery on their cats, and while it does not injure the animal specially, still if the perfumery is not of the very best it is apt to injure the skin, lodging on the pores and causing an unhealthy skin. Too frequent washings of the hair are apt to cause it to come out, and too vigorous rubbing is apt to break off the hair, which is very tender, and special pains should be taken in this respect.
To prevent the loss of the hair, and to restore it when lost, circulation should be stimulated by washing every morning the affected part with cold water, drying by the friction of a rough towel, and afterwards brushing with a stiff hair brush.
DISEASES OF THE CAT.
Diseases of cats are not unlike those of a human being. Besides being subject to common diseases, like Catarrh, Diarrhoea, Distemper, Fits, etc., cats are not unfrequently infested by parasites either external, as by the itch mite, causing walling and baldness, and by fleas, or internally by threadworms and tapeworms. Fits of vomiting are often due to small threadworms in the stomach. The bladder worms of mice and rats become the tapeworms of the cat. Whenever a cat becomes ill from a disease which is more than trivial, whether it be a fever, inflammation of one of the organs, or an injury from some source, it shows its illness more decidedly than most other animals. With the commencing illness a cat loses its appetite and seeks a dark, quiet spot where it wants to remain out of sight. The nose becomes warm. There is inappetence, or total loss of appetite. The coat becomes dry and harsh. The animal lies quiet, sleeping most of the time, unless there is some degree of pain, when it gives evidence of trouble by constant crying.
At first symptoms of digestive trouble and even in fever and other illnesses, if the cat can reach a grass plot it immediately eats a quantity of grass, which is swallowed and retained in the stomach until it is irritated, producing vomiting, showing an action of the intestines. Many have expressed surprise that a cat kept constantly in the house does not thrive better than one that is allowed to rove uncared for, subjected to all irregularities and abusive treatment. It can be readily seen that the nourishment and medicine obtained from the small blades of green grass has a decided stimulating and effective action on the system of the cat.
The diseases of cats, like those of other animals, are divided into diseases of the respiratory system, which include cold, catarrh, bronchial troubles, and other diseases of the lungs ; diseases of the digestive system, including those of the stomach, intestines, and the liver ; constitutional diseases, such as fever, distemper, glanders ; and external parasitic diseases, such as fleas, mange, and worms ; nervous troubles ; and local diseases of the eyes, teeth, and claws. There is a science in the administration of medicine. To well broken cats, fond of their owners, the administration is sometimes an easy matter, but again in one equally well broken and affectionate disposition, it is an excessively difficult matter. A pill, or powder, forming the substance usually used, can oftentimes be included in a small piece of meat, or other food, which the animal will easily swallow. Liquid medicine must be poured into the mouth, and it is oftentimes a difficult task to do this as the cat is bound to allow some of it to escape, and the full dose is not swallowed. It is necessary to repeat in order that the cat has proper dose stimulant. Sometimes medicines and stimulants can be given in water or milk, but where the medicine has a bad taste, the cat is sure not to patronize the liquid. If one is careful to provide a warm quiet place for a cat when it is sick, it will be found that this will add much to the comfort and speedy recovery of the animal. A cat never makes an apology for intrusions, or asks favors other than as a matter of consequence.
Never scold, frighten, or shake a sick cat. It matters not how cross they may be at first, they soon come to understand that the treatment is for their comfort and will quietly submit after a short while. Care must be taken to guard against their bite, however, as the bite of a cat is always a serious thing. For treatment, taking medicine, etc., the sick cat should be snugly rolled in a sheet, its paws at its side, mouth pressed open and a bit of wood laid across the lower jaw, behind the eye teeth, will prove all that is necessary. The following paragraphs on diseases, carefully prepared, and in many respects quite brief, will tend to help the lover of the cat in administering medicine and caring for his pet when sick.
Fleas and Lice.
It is not necessary that cats should have fleas or lice and| where one or two animals are kept it is more the neglect of the owner than the fault of the animal at the appearance of such parasites. Lice are caused by dirt, and if cleanliness is thoroughly looked after they will disappear. Fleas will breed when the animal is not properly looked after, or if it is allowed to run about with other animals, or if it is permitted to roll in the ground injudiciously. The long hair of the Angora makes a nice resting-place for all such parasites, and if the cats are not properly groomed or washed in time, they will increase and cause the animal much trouble and make it a miserable looking subject. Oftentimes we have noticed that a beautiful specimen will get a single flea, and in a short period the animal will be completely covered with fleas and its body a mass of blotches and sores where the fleas have destroyed the hair. The animal in scratching will either pull out its own hair or seriously injure the skin from constant biting.
It is well in cases of this kind, in order to thoroughly remove the fleas or lice, to first wash the animal thoroughly with some carbolic soap, or other wash that is recommended. Be specially careful that the preparation is not liable to poison the cat, because in licking itself dry the kitten is apt to swallow the substance and get the drug into its stomach, upsetting this organ and causing an internal trouble. Any ordinary soap and water makes a good wash, and while the animal is wet a person is better able to go over the body with a fine tooth comb and remove any of the parasites which may be on the animal This done thoroughly once will prevent many washings and also trouble sure to follow.
Fleas and lice are more frequent in summer than at any other season of the year, still if the animal is not properly cared for at all times they are liable to make their appearance. It is known that some cats are never free from them. This is occasioned more by lack of care than anything else. A cat that is well groomed and washed frequently never has any trouble in this way, and is usually made to look beautiful with the simplest remedies.
Every cat and kitten has worms. It seems as though they were bred with the cat. To rid the cat of worms is quite like keeping hair from growing on its body. You can give it all kinds of medicine and treat it with the best attention, but worms are sure to be with the kitten. The only thing to do is to prevent them from increasing. They are the cause of many serious and fatal diseases, which destroy a great many kittens every year, and are a source of disease constantly. There are three general kinds of worms, the maw worm, the round worm, and the tape-worm. The symptoms of the presence of worms are generally a depraved appetite, a harsh, unhealthy state of skin, and irregularities of the bowels.
The maw worm is from one-half to one inch long, of a milky white color. The round worm is of a pale pink color, six to eight inches long, and is either passed in the faeces, or is vomited from the stomach in considerable numbers coiled together in a ball. The tape-worm is a flat, tape-like worm, often many feet in length, consisting of short joints, making it difficult to eject entirely. Tape worms in kittens are numerous, and no animal is free from them until the head is passed, for as long as this remains it will develop fresh egg-producing segments, which are passed, and prove the means of the diffusion of the parasite. The best agent for ordinary use to expel the tape-worm is areca nut in doses of one half a drachm to two drachms, according to the size of the patient, which should be combined with cathartic. Oil of Turpentine is always available, and can be freely used. About three fluid drachms is the maximum dose. It acts thoroughly and effectively. Worms irritate the stomach and intestines, producing indigestion, constipation, inflammation of the bowels, and death. They interfere with the appetite and wreck the system generally, and oftentimes reduce the cat to a living skeleton. Fits, which frighten people, are traceable to the presence of worms, although in rare cases a cat infested with these parasites keeps fat and sleek, but it is a miserable bag of bones. There are other remedies for worms, such as calomel and similar drastic purgatives. The linseed oil drench is exceedingly valuable.
A great many people would think that rheumatism was not frequent with cats, but it is quite so. Although it is very apt to make its appearance in the spring and when the animal is aged, the disease will also come if the animal is allowed to be over-fed. To come in contact with wet and dampness is also liable to bring on rheumatism. Rheumatism, however, is generally due to damp, ill ventilated places where the cat has to lie close to the ground. If the cat runs all day long in the wet grass, or is in the house a great deal, and is obliged at night to lie in damp, low places, illy ventilated, rheumatism will generally result. This disease is confined principally to the muscular system, which sometimes causes the animal to become paralyzed, more generally in the hind legs. Usually if rheumatism attacks a young kitten it is very apt to remain and become chronic. The only remedy one can suggest is to keep the animal in a warm, dry place, feed regularly, and give plenty of exercise.
It is not necessary that a cat should have distemper, nor is it likely that one will have the disease before it dies. Everyone knows distemper, at least, by name, and there is no more necessity for a cat to have distemper than for every child to have the measles or typhus fever. Good food, comfortable quarters, and other judicious treatment render attacks less likely to occur. Distemper kills many cats in the course of the season if not properly handled. It is claimed that damp, poor housing, lack of proper care, and unsuitable food are specific causes. However, the essence of the disease is probably from some poison admitted from without. The disease is very contagious. It is always best if one has a large number of cats that are subject to distemper to either remove them, or remove the invalid. In cases where the distemper is very serious, and a fancier has other valuable cats, it would pay him to have the specimen killed. Distemper is more likely to happen in young animals than in old ones. Almost always the first thing noticed in an animal coming down with distemper is the loss of appetite, and husky cough, sounding as if the cat was trying to get a piece of straw out of its throat. There is also a tendency to sneeze, but not as often as the husk which may come with a common cold or influenza.
In distemper the strength and flesh rapidly fail and waste, while in a common cold the cough may continue for days without much alteration in either. The white of the eyes is more or less reddened, the color being of a bluish red cast. When the brain is attacked, the eyes are more injected than when the bowels or lungs are the seat of complication. The corners of the eyes have a small drop of mucus, the nose runs more or less, which sometimes as the disease goes on is much aggravated by filling up with a brownish matter. Such are the regular symptoms of an attack of distemper, which gradually increase in severity until a convalescence is effected, or death ensues. The disease usually has a run of three or four weeks. When the head is attacked, there is a running from the nose and eyes. If there is a fit it is a good evidence of brain affection. A raving madness sometimes comes on, which latter is a fatal complication.
The cat is oftentimes when in this weak state a victim of palsy, which will remain with it the rest of its life. Should inflammation of the lungs intervene the danger is very great, and characterized by rapid breathing with a cough, running from the nose and eyes, and the expectoration of a thick, filthy mucus. However, if the skin is attacked, it is considered a more favorable sign, and is followed by a breaking out of pustules on the thigh and stomach. The cat should be kept very quiet and not annoyed. There should be no exercise of any kind. The diet should be very carefully considered. Warmth, cleanliness, and care will cure more cats than anything else. In the early stages the bowels should be gotten in good order by a mild dose of physic, and after the violent symptoms are abated it is well to give a good tonic. This disease is more apt to occur when there are three or four cats kept together, or allowed to run about in the neighborhood. It will also occur should an animal be boxed and shipped to some distant destination and subjected to all kinds of weather and treatment. Good care and proper food generally brings the animal round to good health again.
The food must be nourishing. Well boiled oatmeal, milk, or beef-tea are good. Beginning in the early stages, and following the directions above, the poisoning of the blood, which is the essence of distemper, is completely neutralized and destroyed by this nursing.
Mange is very common with the Angora, and if it once gets the best of the skin, it will increase and disfigure the cat and make life miserable. Mange is a parasitic disease, and can be communicated from one animal to another. It is also troublesome to get rid of. The skin of the back and neck is generally attacked first, the disease extending to other parts of the body and bringing on local troubles when it affects the eyelids, ears, and feet. The cat's appetite can be good, but from exhaustion, scratching, and irritating it, especially when the skin is excited by warmth or after eating or drinking, the animal becomes thin. As the cat scratches itself, it conveys the parasites by its claws and paws to other parts of the body and communicates the disease to other surfaces. In this way the hair generally drops out in patches. Mange is sudden in its appearance, and is often found in young kittens, or kittens after having the distemper, while cats are very apt to have it and are harder to cure than when young. Mange is also caused by some digestive derangement. The cat suffers very much from irritation and does not aid itself by letting the sores alone, but constantly bites, scratches, and tears itself in every possible way. Various modes of treatment are recommended by different authorities.
Undoubtedly the cause is filthy surroundings, dirt, damp, and poor living. The only sure way to rid cats of the mange where the disease has taken a stronghold, forming sores and scabs on the surface, is to remove the scabs and be careful that there is not remaining any bits of diseased flesh, which is liable to crop out again and cover the animal with sores. The feet and ears should be especially examined. The diet must be attended to at once and a laxative dose given the cat. Follicular mange is less contagious, originating in patches over the head and about the cheeks and lips. It invades the whole body, especially the legs, stomach, and sides, rendering the cat a loathsome object. There is some scratching and loss of hair, as in the true mange. A good treatment is to thoroughly wash the cat in resin ointment thickened with sublimed of sulphur and then diluted with oil of juniper. Another good preparation is a dressing consisting of sixteen parts each of sublimed sulphur and whale oil blended with one part each of mercurial ointment and oil of turpentine. Of course, in using such preparations one has to be specially careful that the ointments are not allowed to remain too thick or too long on the cat without removing, because the animal is very apt to lick itself dry and is sure to take into its stomach any washes, etc., that may be on its body. Thus, if possible, if one wishes these ointments to remain on the cat for some time, it would be well to muzzle the cat for a time each day that the sores may heal without running the chances of the cat being sick from swallowing the preparations. In feeding, we would suggest the simplest diet, such as cereals well cooked, and a little fish, cooked. Meat would be injurious, as it tends to heat the system, which of course at this time is dangerous. Allow the cat as much fresh air and exercise as possible, and keep its face cool and its eyes thoroughly washed out in warm water. There are many things one could use to speedily cure mange and other skin diseases, but in treating a cat it is quite unlike a dog because one must be cautious that he does not poison the cat from putting on preparations which would injure it if allowed to get into the stomach.
Where the presence of any kind of poison is suspected, prompt and energetic action is necessary. The first thing to be done is to excite vomiting so as to eject the poison as soon as possible from the stomach, or to neutralize its action by the use of antidotes, A liberal dose of luke-warm water, slightly salted, generally has a good effect, but it is safest to use at once sweet oil or melted lard. After such an experience a course of cod liver oil is advised with a generous diet. There are so many kinds of poisonings that it would be quite difficult to give a treatise on them all, but one can act wisely and treat the animal the same as if it were a human being.
Fits is a disease probably more dreaded by people than any other on account of the terrible appearance which is presented by the cat and the suddenness of the attack. By fits we mean a violent and involuntary contraction of the muscles of the whole, or part, of the body which consists in some affection of the spinal system of nerves. Convulsions and fits are dangerous, some are very dangerous, and some even fatal. The ones to be feared the most are those which occur after dropsy of the brain has set in, several falls or bruises, or after any acute attack of brain or bowel diseases. They are very likely to occur between the age of two and seven months. The cause of fits is irritation of the bowels from indigestible food, worms, excessive crying, pains, anger, or joy. A dangerous form develops from overloading the stomach with indigestible food. The effect generally commences in the eyes, which are first fixed in one position staring, but as the case advances, they become agitated and turn up beneath the upper eyelid, leaving only the whites visible. The eyelids are sometimes open and sometimes shut. The eyes are frequently crossed. The muscles of the face next become affected and the mouth is distorted into various shapes. The jaw is firmly fixed and there is foaming at the mouth. In severe cases the body is violently convulsed, the head is drawn backward or to either side. The body may become stiff and rigid
A fit may last but for a few minutes, or it may continue for several hours. The first thing to be done is to prepare a warm bath and submerge the cat as soon as possible. Cold water poured on the animal has a desired effect, and after it has come out of the fit no other treatment is necessary. The cat should be wrapped in a warm flannel or woolen blanket. If the patient does not improve under this treatment give an injection of tepid water which may be mixed with a table-spoonful of sweet oil with a little castile soap-suds. Repeat this as often as necessary to produce an evacuation of the bowels.
Old cats are usually the worst sufferers from this disease, the wheezing and spasmodic breathing being very painful, not only for themselves but for their owner's feelings. Over-feeding or sweet and unsuitable food, is very often the cause in other cats. A dose of from five to ten drops, according to age of cat, of spirit of sulphuric ether, given in milk, gives immediate relief. Asthma is prevalent among cats which have been kept as pets and over-fed without proper exercise. The trouble is sometimes very dangerous, because it tends to wreck the system and causes the cat to lose flesh. If an old cat has asthma the best way to relieve her is to put her to rest. There is really no cure in the last stages, especially where a cat has become very fat and old.
Diarrhoea is a very serious ailment with Angoras. If not properly treated and handled the disease will cause the death of the animal quicker than almost anything else. Diarrhoea is caused by an inflammation of the mucous membrane of the bowels and often comes on through change of diet, exposure to cold and wet, or by some improper food, irritating the canal, or by an epidemic influence. Kittens are very liable to diarrhoea after being weaned, and they suffer from it through eating portions of food which have turned sour from being allowed to stand. A dose of castor oil will generally produce a decided evacuation of the bowels and carry away the irritating substance. If taken in time, diarrhoea may be easily checked. If allowed to run on, it will terminate in dysentery. Strengthen the animal by giving a spoonful of brandy. Feed on bread and milk with no meat. If looseness continues give a half-spoonful of paregoric.
There are two kinds of canker to which cats are subject, one canker of the mouth and the second canker of the ear. Probably the former is more serious and troublesome, owing to the difficulty in reaching the canker. Cats are stubborn things to doctor, especially those that are not pets. One has to be very patient and quick to administer successfully. Canker in either case is caused by the blood, the impurities of the system showing themselves in this manner. A good cure is to physic the cat, feed light food, wash the mouth in listerene or alcohol diluted. Canker of the ear is caused by exposure, lack of cleanliness or injury to the ear. The disease produces an inflammation of the membrane of the ear. This makes the cat continually scratch at its ear and shake its head. Upon examination a red, inflamed appearance of the ears, which has a hot, feverish feeling, is found. There is in advanced stages a dark brown discharge of blood or pus, foul smelling and offensive. External canker is an ulcerous sore, which forms on the edge of the ear, which is associated with internal canker, but is often caused by the ears being torn or bruised by brush or twigs, when it exists alone. It is recommended in the latter case to lance the canker when soft enough, washing clean in all cases with luke-warm water, sponging out the ear well, adding to the water a little disinfectant, and drying with a cloth. A thin cap should be placed over the cat's head to keep it from shaking its ears. When the system is very much reduced a good tonic should be given, and the cat fed liberally with nourishing food, and the bowels regulated with a mild physic.
If cats or kittens become constipated it generally comes from their not being properly exercised or fed. It is likely to appear when they are fed upon bread and meat without vegetable food. Their bowels are apt to become very costive, and a mild dose of physic is efficacious. This will usually prove effective and no further treatment is necessary. Castor oil or olive oil are good to use, also calomel. Let the cats have green grass, if possible. This is nature's medicine for them.
The usual cause of colds and coughs is exposure to cold and wet, as well as damp, unwholesome quarters. Symptoms are sneezing, watering of the eyes, with a slimy discharge from the nose. The cat usually walks about lifeless, being very anxious to coddle near a fire or in some dark place. The urine is quite scanty and high colored, while there is considerable fever, the bowels being very costive. The cat should be removed to a warm, dry place where it can also obtain rest and quiet, and a dose of physic given to operate the bowels. All cats are susceptible to coughs and colds at every stage of their career, most generally those that are made pets. A good remedy is to put a little seasoning in the food, such as pepper, while allowing the animal a diet that will furnish strength, such as cooked meat, or even warm milk, or warm beef soup. Bathe the head frequently with a soft sponge and warm water or alcohol. Keep the eyes clean and the nostrils free. Groom the cat often and see that the bowels are moved regularly.
THE CORRECT ANGORA
An Angora is judged by practically the same points as a dog. Cats are of two classes, long haired and short haired. The points to be considered first in an Angora are its hair and coat, then the eye, tail, body and ears. The coat includes the mane, and frill, as well as the ear tufts, which last show plainest of all perhaps any admixtures of short haired blood. These mixtures of short haired blood are often purposely made, since the short haired cat is imposing. The head should be orange shaped and show breadth between the eyes and be strong boned. The eyes should be round and open. The nose should be short and tapering. The teeth should be good, and the claws flat. The upper leg should lay at close angles. The lower leg should be straight. The feet should be small and round, and a good cat should be deep chested, but light framed. The neck should be slim and graceful. The ears should be medium in size with rounded points. The back should be square and high, the tail long and tapering. In judging more particularly the fur, it is well to consider the length, quality, and the thickness. The Queen Elizabeth ruffle, which name is often given to the fur about the neck, should be exceedingly long and wavy. Another important point is the color of the coat, which means its richness and purity, and the tail, which includes size and carriage. The eyes again are given considerable importance, especially in the white and self-colored ones.
Angoras vary in form, color, and disposition, the quality of their hair, which is more wooly on some specimens than on others. They vary also in the shape and length of their tail, the ears, and the size of their eyes. The body should be long and graceful and covered with long, silky hair with a curly tendency. The legs should be of moderate length in proportion with the body. The claws should be sparsely covered with hair, still a tuft of hair growing out between the toes is an indication of high breeding. The tail should be long and flat with a broom-like hair, which if abundant, correspondingly increases the cat's value. The richness of the coloring is another important point of the animal. One of the most essential matters, however, in selecting an Angora is its disposition, and that should be carefully considered. The Angora is at its prime at fifteen months of age. Before this age its hair is not sufficiently developed to give full beauty and grace, which is characteristic of the animal. Probably no animal of its size possesses more of the qualities just mentioned. It is petted and cared for like a child and lives like a king or queen in the new home to which it is welcomed.
In selecting an Angora it is best to buy one about three months to six months old. For the first two months the kittens are subject to indigestion and milk fever, and from the second into the third distemper, which is the greatest danger. After the kitten reaches six months and has kept well, there is little danger of its getting sick and dying from the effect of anything that would not come to the ordinary house cat.
DIFFERENT COLORS OF ANGORAS.
In speaking of the colors of the original Angora, there can be but three distinct shades traced, that is, the white, the black, and the buff. Yet to-day we have as many combinations and colors as there are cats, but scientific breeding has caused many of these colors to be created, and they are a vast improvement over some of the original colors, allowing the white to creep in and forming a very beautiful combination. Judges claim that the solid colored cat is to be preferred rather than the mixed colored cat, but the fancy of the people is for a mixed colored cat with regular markings, thus the coloring is very artistic and is not at all confining as in the solid colored cats like black and buff.
The colors now that predominate are the black, brown, blue, maltese, buff, and gray, which are called solid colors, and the black and white, brown and white, blue and white, maltese and white, buff and white, ermine (white with black spots), tiger and white, and tortoise shell, which are termed mixed colors.
A cat to be called a black or a buff cat must have a very rich coloring clear and distinct. There is much difference in the shades, which in one animal becomes it better than in others. The black with the white, while it is exceedingly pretty, would not look as well as if the cat was a tawny black and white. Probably one of the hardest colors to produce clearly is the buff. There are as many as six different shades, still the richest coloring is the one which bears closely on to a rich fawn shade. A streaked buff cat, although sometimes richly marked, has not the value that a clear colored one has. The color of the animal is the most important thing for one to consider. Oftentimes a very beautiful and graceful specimen is discarded owing to its color and markings. For this reason in breeding one cannot give too much care and attention in making such selections as he, himself, believes would be stylish and correct.
The hardest colors to produce are the solids, and while at present the price is much higher for these specimens, it is believed that as soon as the public gets educated to the fact that other colors containing a small portion of white, mixed correctly, the mixed colors will be quite as popular. The color and breeding, while in many instances will come true in the kittens, is not always a safe rule to rely upon, because it is known that a pair of white cats have bred three kittens representing the different colors of the rainbow. It would naturally be supposed that the mother and father were inbred, but this is not so. It is a peculiar characteristic of the animal. It is, however, best, if one is following the breeding of cats for colors, to have the mother and father of the same color, and if the kitten comes of the same color as its parents it can be safely selected to mate again with the same color, and so on, until finally a distinct family of that color will be created. Now, it is important for the fancier to know that while the mother may be of one color and the father of the same color, if the mother is allowed intimacy with another male during pregnancy it is liable to produce the color of the third for her kittens. It is well then for one to keep the pairs separated as much as possible.
TABLE TO DETERMINE PERFECTION IN CATS.
The following table, arranged by Mr. Huidekoper, shows the points which determine in the eyes of judges what constitutes perfection in feline beauty :
RULES AND REGULATIONS.
Adopted by National Cat Show for Exhibitions held by the Society.
I. Competition is open to all.
II. Prize lists and entry forms may be had on application to the Secretary, National Cat Show. No entries will be received unless made on the regular entry form.
III. A charge of two dollars ($2) will be made on every cat or pair of kittens entered in the several classes. The form of entry, properly filled out, together with entrance fees, must be sent to the Secretary, National Cat Show. If the entry is accepted, a receipt will be sent to the exhibitor, which receipt must be produced at the close of the show, or cats will not be delivered.
IV. An address label and circular of instructions will be forwarded to each exhibitor, together with a metal number, which must be attached by a collar or ribbon to the neck of each cat, and which number will agree with the cat's cage and with its number in the catalogue of entries.
V. Each cat must be securely packed in a separate basket, except in the case of pairs of kittens, which must be sent together.
VI. Cats will be fed and attended to during the exhibition, and cages will be provided. But cats are received for exhibition only upon the express condition that the show will not be responsible for any loss of or damage to cats, boxes, baskets, cages, etc., that may happen from any cause whatever during the exhibition, or to cats whilst being unpacked, penned or packed, or in transit to or from the show.
VII. Exhibitors will be responsible for the correct description of the cats they show, and must be careful to enter them in their proper classes.
VIII. Each cat shown must be the bona fide property of the exhibitor, and each cat or pair of kittens can be shown in one class only, except for special prizes.
IX. Exhibitors desirous of selling their cats must state the price, including basket, etc., and the price must be stated on the entry form, which price will be printed in the catalogue of entries. Ten per cent, will be deducted from all sales made. In case of any loss or damage to cats sold, it must be borne by the purchaser. Cats must be paid for at the time they are claimed, and the money for the same must be paid to the manager of the show..
X. Labels, properly addressed, will be sent to each exhibitor. The address for the return of the cat must be written on the other side of the label by the exhibitor. The carriage or expressage of cats, must, in all cases, be prepaid.
XI. One badge of free admission will be sent to every exhibitor. In case of transfer or other improper use of said badge the same will be forfeited.
XII. Exhibitors of cats may, if they wish, take them home each day after the close of the show on the deposit of $5 with the manager and the production of the receipt for entrance fees, which deposit will be forfeited if the cat be not returned by nine o'clock each morning. If a prize cat be taken away and not returned, the prize will also be forfeited.
As it is difficult to get at the baskets in which the cats have been sent to the show when packed away, it is requested that exhibitors wishing to remove their cats for the night will bring a basket for that purpose.
XIII. Any exhibitor in any way interfering with or removing any cat from its cage during the show, without the consent of the Superintendent, will forfeit any prize that may have been awarded.
XIV. The judges will be empowered to withhold any prize or prizes in any class if, in their opinion, the cats exhibited do not possess sufficient merit. The decision of the judges will, in all cases, be final.
FACTS AND FANCIES OF THE CAT.
A Cat Letter.
The following imaginative letter written by a cat to a former mistress will be better appreciated when it is known that the facts are based upon an actual experience of a homesick little kitten :
To " Miss Edith":- At last I have found a place to rest and write in. Am in an old shed, or part of one, facing the cold Charles River near Exeter Street. I am grateful for this ray of sun that falls upon me, and the quietude of the old shanty. I think it must be Sunday, for all the people that pass have solemn faces. How I wish I could hear some one laugh again.
But what a time I had wandering to this spot, and shall I ever forget my first sad night out in the cold world all alone. But I prefer it to the grand home on Commonwealth Avenue.
O ! such a reception ! Those black people that seemed to control the house made such a noise, and acted so strangely I had to cry. Everything, they thought, was too nice for me to smell of, or even step on. I was driven from room to room, at last to the cellar, to wait until my new Mistress came. O, what a feeling of intense horror when I first beheld her. I tried so hard to go to her, for I did want kindness so much from someone, but she was so homely, and had such grand things on, that I was afraid. Just as I had mustered up my courage and resolved to meet her, I heard her say, " that I was a dirty, miserable, wild cat" and then she turned on her heel and slammed the cellar door on my poor foot, (for I, like a fool, tried to follow her.) O ! such pain ! How I did stand on three legs and moan, but no one heard me, and I was so hungry, sleepy and disappointed. How I did wish my good Grandma Ellis had never gone away to stay all night again, and again wished I had been born a common cat. This being sold for dollars is too much. I fully resolved then and there if I ever could I would make my escape. O to get away from these terrible people - my poor foot, it hurt me so. I began to wonder how I could run. I think it must have been three hours I sat, moaning with pain, before anyone came into the cellar, and how I started, for I must have had a short nap. Then a big mouthed black woman, with a white cap on, sat a dish of hard bread and potato skins down to me. She flew up-stairs asthough I was going to bite her. O ! I was so disgusted and homesick I could eat nothing, it was so unlike Grandma Ellis's food. The door opened into the back yard (how good the world seemed to me I longed so for the open air.)
An old man came in, bringing on his shoulder a basket of coal. Now came the chance. I shook in every limb. Should I run or stay in this horrible place over night ? I tried to run away, but my poor foot was too sore. Then the door closed ; when the old man had emptied his basket he came to me and kindly said, " You poor kittie." How gratefully I purred to him, for the touch of his dirty hand did me good. I did not care how dirty I was. I did wish I could follow him, but he was too busy bringing in the coal to take me away, so I quietly skulked off into a dark corner to bide my time.
Night came - everything grew dark (still we cats can see only colors change). I had to eat a piece of hard bread. At last I was taken into the kitchen and looked over. A big fat man with a red face took me. He was in full dress, and had little time to look at me. He seemed to blame my new mistress for getting me, and said the children would kill me. O ! horrors ! Then I was pushed down cellar again. Some old milk that was half water was turned into a rusty tin dish, but I was too homesick to relish it. When all was quiet I heard a little sound like a mouse. Yes ! My grandma should have seen me eat that mouse. Then I slept on the top of an ash barrel until morning came. I had fully made up my mind to escape, come what might. Soon I found my opportunity, for the black man was slow in taking in the milk, and as my foot was nearly well I ran and jumped past him. How I did go, and it seemed to me he made no attempt to catch me. Over fences and down alleys I ran. It was quite early. I met a few cats going home, they looked at me but did no harm. I had just time to climb a high fence when a big black dog came along. He had a nice bone in his mouth, it did smell so good it made me hungry. Well, I walked, skulked and crept, had to avoid many small boys, but I went on, till at last I heard a cry. How sorry I was to meet a poor, disabled cat. She had one leg badly hurt. I felt I must be friendly to her, and am so glad I was, for she proved to be a good friend to me. She told me of this dear old shed, and how to get here, and who to avoid. O ! if she had lived to come with me, I might have been a happy fellow at last, but it was not to be.
As we were creeping along on the fence, a bad boy came along, and a stone hit poor tabby and she fell. Then I don't know how it all happened, for I jumped and ran under a slanting board to wait my time. When all was quiet I looked for my poor friend Tabby, and she was dead before me. O, how I cried then ! The only friend I had met to go so soon. But I had to move on, for I feared the boy. I heard a cry of " Old rags or bottles." I looked around to see if it was anyone I knew. I only saw a kindly man, who said something to me I did not understand. I wondered if he had food in the big bag thrown over his shoulder. I wanted to follow him, I was so dazed and hungry. At that moment I thought how I had refused the dry bread and potato skins. How I did long for them, but I had to hurry on hoping to meet some swill men, as Tabby suggested we should. I soon came across some food.
Many cats had been there before me, but I was so hungry I could eat anything. Anyway, I felt I had more strength, and if I did suffer I was glad to run away. Then I thought of my old home on Thatcher Street, in Medford, and the false kisses Miss Edith gave me. O! if I could only have made my hair grow faster perhaps I might have stayed. But still something else might have been wrong with me. I may not have been the finest specimen in the world, but I do know I had fine parents, and after all I am glad I left her, for she was always telling people around that I had such short hair, and seemed so disgusted with me. I only hope she will find another little Max as true and loyal to her as I was.
I don't really know what is to become of me. I only know I have found this nice shed that dead Tabby told me about, and shall watch and listen for the little ragged girl with dirty hands to feed and caress me as she did old Tabby, and bring me milk. But I shall not cry for milk, as Tabby said she was very poor. If I could only catch that sparrow, but it's too far away. This would not have happened if I had been born a common cat, would it ? Because common cats are not bought and sold. I am so cold I cannot write any more.
My love to Grandma Ellis and Mr. Roger. And Miss Edith, if you ever hear a noise like a splash in the water, then a cry, it is poor short-haired Max - hungry, cold, and tired of life.
Teddy was only five years old when he began to use slang, copying it from the "big" boys at school.
His mamma was much concerned about this habit and on one occasion had washed out his mouth most thoroughly with soap suds ; but this did no good, for that very afternoon he came home and told her that a boy had "swiped " his slate pencil.
"Teddy," she said that night, after tucking him into bed and hearing his prayers, " wont you try to stop this dreadful slang ?"
But Teddy, unmindful of his mamma's anxious face, turned his curly head away, and in a very sleepy voice, said, " O, wats."
What do you suppose happened next ?
He heard a hurrying, scurrying and squeaking, and then a sharp little voice said, " Here we are." He rubbed his eyes and looked all around, and there, sitting upon the footboard, were two great rats.
Now Teddy, never a brave boy, had a great fear of bears and rats, although he had seen neither alive. Jimmie Bett's white mouse was the nearest to a real wild animal that he had seen ; but then, he had seen them in books, plenty of them, and knew just how they looked, but he never remembered such big rats as these, "really and truly as big as our Tabby," he afterwards told his sister Susie.
He was so frightened he couldn't say a word, even call his mamma.
" Here we are," repeated the rat, looking straight at poor Teddy.
" Go 'way," said Teddy at last in a frightened little voice.
" But you called us," said the second rat ; perhaps you wanted more than two," and the small creature gave three loud squeaks.
In a twinkling, more rats began to spring from every direction until the room fairly swarmed with them ; they hung from the pictures and curtains, scampered over the furniture and even peeped into the water pitcher; they raced under the bed, and he felt sure they were sitting upon the headboard, but he dared not turn to look.
Oh ! it was dreadful the way they squeaked and jumped, their funny little tails frisking about and their eyes gleaming like tiny coals of fire in the dark.
Teddy's eyes popped out in terror, and his curls seemed curls no longer, but as straight and bristly as Tabby's fur when Carlo chases her. He expected every moment the ugly things would run over him, perhaps eat him up. He had heard the big boys talk of such things.
"Ugh !" he said, and he pulled the bed clothes over his head. Just then he felt them running up the spread, and with a shriek of terror he sprang up and - awoke, to find his mamma holding a lamp above him, and saying, " Whatever is the matter, Teddy ?"
"Oh ! mamma, drive 'em out ! drive 'em out ! he said, still hiding his head.
" Drive what out, Teddy ? There's nothing here."
" The wats, can't you see 'em ? There's hundwards and hundwards."
" Teddy, dear, you've been dreaming," said his mamma, as she cuddled the trembling little fellow in her arms, " it's that boiled ham, I ought not to have allowed you to eat it at night. See, there are no rats here."
Teddy looked, and sure enough there wasn't a rat to be seen. " I know there's one in the pitcher, I saw him fall in," he said.
"Not one, dear, see?" and she brought the water pitcher to the bed, "you've had a bad dream, that is all." Teddy said nothing, but then and there decided he would never say " rats " again, and he never has.
How a Cat Falls.
M. Marey has been studying this problem, by taking sixty instantaneous photographs per second of a falling cat, from different points of view. He finds that a cat always falls on its feet, provided it has a distance of a yard to fall in, and enable it to make a half turn in the air, so as to get its feet undermost. It holds its paws vertically, and manages to preserve this position during the rest of its fall, in spite of the initial movement of rotation taken by its body. The mechanical explanation is simply that the animal, by thrusting forward its left limb, shifts the centre of gravity of the whole body, so as to make it revolve upon the axis of the spine, until the feet reach the ground. An old solution of the question is that the legs of a cat are so long that when stretched out they over-balance the body.
Moreover, a cat does not hurt itself by a fall from a height, not only because it invariably falls on its feet, but because the structure of the cat's back and spine is extremely flexible. The muscles of its legs, also, are extraordinarily strong and numerous, and further, it has elastic pads or cushions consisting of a mass of fibrous tissue and fat on all its feet, seven in each forepaw and five in each hind paw. The cat nearly always alights on these pads, which, by reason of their elasticity, break the force of its fall.
The anatomical structure of the cats is indicative of great strength and activity; the jaws are very powerful, bearing teeth shaped like wedges thin and sharp, requiring but little force to cut through the flesh on which they feed; the structure of the joint admits of no lateral motion, and the whole force of the immense temporal and masseter muscles is exerted in a perpendicular or cutting direction. To assist in tearing their food, the surface of the tongue is covered with numerous horny papillae. These may be felt, on a small scale, on the tongue of the domestic cat. The tongue is rather an organ for removing muscular fibres from bones, and for retaining flesh in the mouth than the organ of taste.
Cats and Sentiment.
When Sancho-Panza said, " ' Yo no estoy para dar migas a un gato " - "I am not fit to give crumbs to a cat " - he was thinking of his own humiliation, and not of the diet proper to cats. It seems, however, that cats ought not to be fed with crumbs. This we learn, and many other useful things, from an excellent little treatise on " The Cat : Her Place in Society and Treatment," by Miss Edith Carrington (George Bell and Sons). Miss Carrington champions the cause of the domestic cat, and makes out a very strong case, if her anecdotes are to be trusted, for its sagacity, its manners, and even its morals. She thinks, with Chateaubriand, that the human race has hitherto done scant justice to the sterling qualities of this animal. There is the old libel, for instance, that the cat attaches itself to places, but not to persons. Yet cats have been known to die of grief at the death of their owner. Nor is the cat the "faddling hedonist" that a vain people imagineth. It is simply an Idealist, and therein is it distinguished from that crass Realist, the dog. Cats make stepping-stones of their dead selves to higher things, and, according to the late Professor Romanes, will sometimes place crumbs on the snow as a bait for birds. One bad quality is to be admitted against them ; they are slow to forgive, and have been known to keep the memory of a dose of cayenne pepper rankling for weeks. But put a little butter on their paws, and all will be well. This reference to anointing the feet, to our mind, clearly shows the Eastern origin of the cat.
The hygiene of the cat is a rather complicated subject, but Dr. Gordon Stables has simplified it by arranging a " Cat's Medicine Chest," which maybe had for one guinea, with directions for use. When you have cured your sick cat, he will very likely show his gratitude by bringing you dead mice to eat. A cat Miss Carrington knows arranged no less than six corpses on the mat for the benefit of his preserver - a mouse, a sparrow, a butterfly, and three cockroaches. Full justice is done in this little book to the cat's conversational powers, but its tendency to pass from the ordinary tone of conversation to unearthly yells is rather disingenuously passed over. From a recently published letter of Coleridge - which we recommend to Miss Carrington for her next edition - it would seem, however, that in this respect we are luckier in England than they are in Malta. " He who has only heard caterwauling on English roofs can have no idea of a cat-serenade in Malta," writes S. T. C. "In England it has often a close and painful resemblance to the distressful cries of young children ; but in Malta it is identical with the wide range of screams uttered by imps while they are dragging each other into hotter and still hotter pools of brimstone and fire. It is the discord of torment and of rage and of hate, of paroxysms of revenge, and every note grumbles away into despair."
This reminds us of the cognate subject of cat-calls, once so valuable an aid to theatrical enjoyment, and the theme of a delightful paper in the Spectator. "A Fellow of the Royal Society," writes Addison, "who is my good friend, and a great proficient in the mathematical part of music, observes very well that musical instruments took their first rise from the notes of birds and other melodious animals ; and what, says he, was more natural than for the first ages of mankind to imitate the voice of a cat that lived under the same roof with them ? He added that the cat had contributed more to harmony than any other animal, as we are not only beholden to her for this wind instrument, but for our string music in general." Here is a field of inquiry which Miss Carrington neglects.
Much might be said about the cat in literature. Sedentary in its habits and given to placid meditation, it is peculiarly the author's companion. And so we find the poets singing its praises, from Cowper and Wordsworth to Mr. Lewis Morris, of Pen-bryn. There is not a more delectable page in all Boswell than that which tells of Johnson's fondness for his cat Hodge - "for whom he himself used to go and buy oysters, lest the servants having that trouble should take a dislike to the poor creature." "I recollect him one day scrambling up Dr. Johnson's breast, apparently with much satisfaction, while my friend, smiling and half whistling, rubbed down his back and pulled him by the tail ; and when I observed he was a fine cat, saying, 'Why, yes, sir, but I have had cats whom I liked better than this,' and then, as if perceiving Hodge to be out of countenance, adding, ' but he is a very fine cat, a very fine cat, indeed.'"
A very different sort of writer, Theophile Gautier, surrounded himself with a veritable menagerie of cats ; and Pierre Loti even goes so far as to provide his cats with visiting cards - "Madame Moumoutte Chinoise, Deuxieme Chatte, chez M. Pierre Loti." Sterne, weeping over his dead donkey, is not one tithe as sentimental as M. Pierre Loti over the death of his beloved Moumoutte. Without sentimentalizing, we may all do something to check the abominable cruelty of leaving cats to die of starvation in empty houses.
A Forgotten Prisoner.
Last night I could not go to sleep for thinking about my little kitten, which disappeared some time during the afternoon. While lying in bed wondering what had become of her, I heard a long, pitiful wail, which sounded like the half-smothered cry of a frightened child. My papa went out to see what it was, and found that the cry came from a neighboring cottage, which had been closed for the season and vacated by the people who had lived in it. He also found that the cry did not come from a child, but from a cat which had been forgotten and locked up in that deserted house. The doors and windows had been boarded up, and there was no way to get in or let the poor frightened cat out. There was nothing to do but to break open a door, and this was done with as little damage as possible, and the poor, hungry pussy released, and the door nailed up again. That cat seemed to understand what had been done for it, and showed its gratitude as plainly as if it could talk. Of course no one would intentionally leave a pet shut up in a house to die from hunger and thirst, but some one who love their pets are careless and forgetful.
Her Want Supplied.
An amusing rebuke was recently administered in England to one of those sharp bargainers who are always on the alert to get more than their money's worth. The offender in the present instance was a woman, who sent the following advertisement to a London paper : " A lady in delicate health wishes to meet with a useful companion. She must be domestic, musical, an early riser, amiable, of good appearance and have some experience in nursing. A total abstainer preferred. Comfortable home. No salary." A few days afterward the advertiser received by express a basket labeled : "This side up - with care - perishable." On opening it she found a tabby cat, with a letter tied to its tail. It ran thus : "Madame - In response to your advertisement, I am happy to furnish you with a very useful companion, which you will find exactly suited to your requirements. She is domestic, a good vocalist, an early riser, possesses an amiable disposition, and is considered handsome. She has had a great experience as a nurse, having brought up a large family. I need scarcely add that she is a total abstainer. As salary is no object to her, she will serve you faithfully in return for a comfortable home."
In enthusiasm for cats the shah of Persia surpasses all other royal devotees. He has fifty of them ; and they have attendants of their own, with special rooms for meals. When the shah goes away, they go, too, carried by men on horseback. The late czar of Russia was very fond of the feline tribe. When visiting the King of Denmark on one occasion, he alarmed the menials by rushing out very early in the morning to the gardens. From the window of his sleeping- room he had seen a big dog attack his favorite black cat, and, without staying to complete his toilet, he had fled to her rescue. The famous royal cat of Siam is a large, white, short-haired variety, with black face, and a peculiar formation of ear. Its preciousness may be judged from the fact that it once took three gentlemen of influence three months to procure one for an Englishman at Bangkok.
Queer Things about Cats.
Perfectly white cats are invariably deaf; they are sure to be if they have blue eyes. The Egyptians considered the cat a sacred animal and usually mummified its remains. The cats of the Isle of Man and those of North Borneo are all tailless. All of the mummy cats unearthed in Egyptian tombs have red hair. There are three times as many muscles in the tail of a cat as there are in the human hand and wrist. At the end of each hair of a cat's whiskers is a bulb of nerve fibre which makes that particular hair a very delicate " feeler." A cat's head has a regular partition wall projecting from its sides inward, which, naturalists say, is a provision against concussion of the brain.
Attentive to Cats.
A lady who lives near the Jardin des Plantes, or old Parisian Zoo, is a providence to the stray cats of her neighborhood She feeds daily a hundred at the Bercy wine market, where they are allowed to live in the cellars. This lady believes in the transmigration of souls, and says she feels as if she was formerly incarnate in a woman who hated animals. Her extreme sensibility to their sufferings is, she also feels, the punishment meted to her. She has in an outhouse a number of mutilated and sick cats that she rescued. Another lady attends to the cats in the Palais de Justice, the Central markets, the prefecture of police and the Sorbonne. There are thirty cats at the Palais de Justice. They are in the habit of being regularly fed. When anything prevents their benefactress coming in the nick of time they go out to meet her, and follow her to the court at the west side of the Palais. A number of policemen witness her arrival, and help. She is pleased to think that she has awakened a spirit of humanity in the police force. Policemen who know her are loth to destroy cats, or to pass them on to vivisectors.
Falstaff once declared that he was " as melancholy as a gib cat " - that is to say, an old cat. The cat is supposed to have originated in Persia, and some have assigned "pers" as the origin of " puss." In Lorraine, if parents wish to discourage the addresses of a young man to their daughter, they send him a kitten. But sometimes love laughs at kittens as well as locksmiths. Shylock lived at a time when there was a very strong prejudice against pussy, yet he seems not to have been tinged with the superstition of the period, for
he speaks of her as the "harmless, necessary cat." According to Australian mythology, the moon was formerly a cat, which fell in love with a man's wife, was discovered and beaten by the injured husband and ran away and has been wandering ever since. It is a popular but wholly erroneous notion that the cats suck the breath of children, thereby causing their destruction. As late as 1791 a coroner's jury in England found that a babyeighteen months old came to its death from this cause.
Many thousand cats were burned to death in the great fire in London in 1666. Pepys, writing in his diary of that terrible event, says, " I also did see a poor cat taken out of a hole in a chimney joining on to the exchange with the hair all burned off the body and yet alive." It portends great misfortune if the cat leaps over a corpse, and in some countries the cats are locked up while the body remains in the house. It is thought this superstition gave rise to the custom of sitting up with the dead. In some parts of England, however, it is believed that a cat will not remain in a house where there is a corpse.
The Homeliest Cat.
" For goodness' sake ! what's that you have got now ?" asked a tired-looking woman as she saw her small daughter come panting into the kitchen of the tenement flat, clutching something apparently all frantic legs.
''Jus' a kitty," said Maysie, simply, disentangling it, and setting it upright on the floor.
''Well, I never did!" exclaimed the mother in dismay.
" Why, Marg'ret Williams ! are you crazy ? I never saw such a homely creature in all my born days. It'll bring us bad luck, sure, with that wicked green eye, and that mean, yeller one. Ugh! You just take it straight back to the gutter that you fished it out of."
At this, I regret to say, Maysie began to cry.
"Oh, well," relented Mrs. Williams, "I reckon we'll keep her till she's all cured up, anyway."
So Maysie kept her cat ; and pity blossomed so quickly into love that she was perfectly blind to its peculiar ugliness, and fondly fancied it the dearest, sweetest, and loveliest kitty in all the world, when on the very next Sunday Mrs. Williams read out suddenly from her great big newspaper " A National Cat Show at Madison Square."
" What's that ? " asked Maysie, who was sitting at her feet, playing with Rags, as she had called her poor little foundling.
" What 's a national cat show?" repeated Mrs. Williams, uncertainly. " Why, it's - it's a show of cats, I suppose ; and it's to be held next Wednesday in Madison Square Garden."
''Oh, yes," cried Maysie, excitedly, "that must be where that bad boy in the street told me to send Rags ; but I thought, o' course, that he was just foolin'. He said that maybe I'd get a prize for her. Do you - do you think that I might, mother? "
Mrs. Williams hid a smile behind her newspaper as she read of the gorgeous Angora, Maltese, Persian, and other rare and beautiful cats that were to be exhibited by the richest and most fashionable ladies in New York; but she only answered absently, " I shouldn't wonder."
This was enough. In the course of ten seconds Maysie had decided in her own mind that she would take Rags to the show.
So early Wednesday morning Mrs. Williams stood calmly and unsuspiciously tying her bonnet strings before the glass, and said : " Good-by, deary. I'm going to sew at the Jones's to-day; and, if all those Jones babies don't kill me with their noise and fretting, I'll be back home by the usual time."
"Good-by, mother," said Maysie, kissing her, as she thought, "If she only knew what Rags and me's going to do, she'd be mos' as 'cited as I am."
Then she skipped into a nice fresh little calico dress, caught her hair back with an old yellow ribbon, so she could tie the new red one around Rags' neck in a fascinating bow, which, however, would slide around right under her chewed-off ear ; then, cramming her into the market basket, she set off with a light heart, if a heavy load, for Madison Square.
It was a long walk, many blocks north, and many more west of where she lived. She had gone only a very little way when Rags poked her head through a hole in the old basket, and Maysie was obliged to take her out entirely ; and, with kitty under one arm and the basket on the other, she plodded painfully along. At last the beautiful yellow tower of the garden cheered her sight.
Even then, however, although it seemed hours since she had left home, she was still too early to be admitted, and so had to stand and wait near the side door marked " Entrance for Cats," as the big policeman told her.
At last a carriage drove up to the great front door of the building ; and a lady descended from it, followed by a maid in a white cap, carrying a basket. She was such a very pretty lady, and so beautifully dressed, that Maysie liked her on the spot, and thought it would be only kind to inform her that she was not at the right entrance for cats, and must wait at the side door with her.
The lady smiled when she told her, and she said : " Oh, thank you ! you are very good. I see that you have a cat, too. Is it to be in the show ? "
''Oh, yes!" answered Maysie, decidedly. "Don't you think she'll get a prize ? "
"' Pro-probably," said the lady, turning away for an instant, and shaking so strangely that Maysie thought she was cold.
" Suppose we go into the show together ?"
"Why, we can't, can we ? " asked Maysie. " It ain't open yet, is it? "
"Not to every one," said the lady ; "but I am one of the patronesses, and I fancy they will let us in."
And sure enough they did.
" Here is a little girl who has a cat that she would like to exhibit," said the lady to a gentle-looking man inside, who seemed to be managing everything. "I know it's rather late to enter it, but " - And she whispered something which made him smile and look almost as queerly at Maysie as the lady had done. However, he gave Rags a nice cage, with soft straw in it, and a little medal with a number on it to hang around her neck by a scarlet ribbon.
"Now you had better go upstairs and wait," he said, " while I see to what class she belongs. The show won't be on for an hour yet, and the judges cannot award the prizes until then."
Soon the lady joined her there, and chatted with her so very delightfully about cats and dolls and Christmas trees, and all the dearest and loveliest things, that she hardly realized how time was passing, until suddenly she heard a great crash in the room behind her.
"It's only the band," explained the lady. "They play to open the show. Come, we can go in now."
Oh, wasn't it beautiful? All lit up with " 'lectric " light ! Row after row of cages crossed the floor, in each of which blinked and stretched and softly purred a lovely, lovely kitty.
In fact, they kept getting more and more wonderful and beautiful as Maysie and the lady went on and on ; but in her loyal little soul Rags's mistress would not admit that any one of them was prettier or sweeter or half as clever as Rags.
"You know," she cried, looking up innocently into the lady's face, "Rags ain't never even seen a bird, lessen it's a sparrer ; and she ain't never smelt a flower in all her life, so wouldn't you think they'd give her a prize, jus' to keep her from feelin' bad ? "
" Yes," I would, indeed," said the lady, heartily ; and, stooping, she opened the door of the Angora's cage, and, taking out the very loveliest bowl of roses, gave them to Maysie. " We will put these in Rags's cage when we find it," she said, "so she shan't feel neglected any longer, poor little thing. It's all right," she added, as Maysie looked at her in bewilderment. " This Angora belongs to me."
" Oh, I didn't mean that your Nangora oughtn't to get a prize," cried Maysie, conscience-stricken. " I-I only meant that she isn't Rags."
" I understand, dear," said the lady. " Of course, she isn't Rags. There are the judges," she whispered suddenly, " and they are coming from the other side of the room. Now we will go over there and look for Rags ; and, if they have given her a prize, it will be written upon a card and hung on her cage, where we can see it in an instant."
" Oh, my !
" said Maysie, trembling with excitement : " do you suppose everybody what's got a cat here feels like I do now ? "
" I hardly think so much so, dear," said the lady, smiling, as she drew the little figure tenderly along.
At last they stood before Rag's cage. Maysie put both hands over her eyes, and peeped fearfully through her fingers.
" Oh ! oh ! " she cried. " I believe I see a card."
"Yes," said the lady, "you do."
" What's on it ? " fairly shrieked Maysie. " Oh ! what is on it ? "
"P-r-i-z-e, prize !" read the lady. " Ten dollars prize for the ug - for Rags."
" My ! " said Maysie, and she burst into delicious tears of pure joy.
Then the great, severe-looking judges came up, and congratulated her, and counted out into her two little hands all the heap of money that was the prize ; and she had to tell the story of Rags's rescue all over again to them.
"And now," said the lady, " I will drive you home." So she did ; and didn't all the children in the neighborhood run out to see who was getting out of the fine carriage that stopped before the tenement, and weren't they surprised to find that it was just Maysie? And didn't Mrs. Williams laugh and cry and scold and pet her all at once when she heard the great news ?
"Dear, dear !" sighed Maysie, dizzy with happiness ; "what a jewel Rags is !"
" Yes," said her mother, " who'd have thought that she'd have brought us such luck by her very homeliness ? "
" Homely ? " cried Maysie. " Why, mother, you forgot that she's got a prize."
" So I did," said Mrs. Williams, starting guiltily. " So I did, of course."
Evidence that "cat culture" is not only an agreeable feminine pursuit, but one for which the girl on the farm has peculiar advantages, is furnished by the recent experiences of a Chicago young woman. More than that, its promises of financial success are in advance of the majority of "pin money " or " wheel money " schemes. Miss Wheatley, of Chicago, read the published statement that Mrs. W. K. Vanderbilt, now Mrs. Perry Belmont, paid the generous sum of $1000 for her white Angora cat. If Mrs. Belmont considered an Angora cat a proper and necessary ornament to her palace, might it not be that lesser society leaders were anxious to follow the example of this member of New York's four hundred ? Only a little investigation was necessary to demonstrate to Miss Wheatley's satisfaction that this was an undeniable fact, and its strongest proof was in the difficulty which she encountered in finding where two or three thoroughbred cats could be purchased. She reasoned that if pure-bred Angoras were practically unobtainable, even at a high figure, the market must be good, and the risks of engaging in the venture were consequently small. After about three months of correspondence, she contrived to obtain a very handsome cat through a bird store in Boston, but she could not learn the location of the " cat farm " from which it was procured. Through similar channels she secured one or two more fine animals as a foundation for her stock of breeding animals. In recounting
her experience as a cat culturist, Miss Wheatley said to the present writer :
"Without making an exhibit of my balance sheet and bank book, I can say that there is no reason why any young woman with tact, a liking for pets and ordinary feminine business ability, cannot make a nice little sum by raising thoroughbred Angoras ; and the girl on a farm has every advantage over her city competitor for the reason that green grass is just as essential in cat raising as it is in raising stock. The Angora kitten must have its grass, as well as the gosling. All things considered, the country girl is in a position to conduct her cat farm at a fraction of the expense incurred by a similar enterprise in the city or the suburbs. But what is still more important, she can raise a much more hardy grade of animals.
" How much money would be required as a capital to start with ? It would be well to have $100, but of course it could be done for less, very much less, if the beginner were willing to buy kits and wait for them to develop. A male and two females of excellent breeding stock and of suitable age can be bought for $100. That is allowing $40 for the male and $30 for each of the females. As pure white cats are the most valuable, which also means the most salable, it is best to select a white stud cat and one white female, having the second female of some desirable color. And on the score of color, which is an important consideration, it should be said that the colors in the order of their desirability are as follows : Pure white, with golden eyes ; pure buff, which is usually described as the ' red ' cat ; yellow, silver gray, tortoise shell, tiger stripe and black. Solid or 'self ' colors, as the fanciers call them, are better than the mixtures.
" As to profits, a good mother cat will raise a family of two to six kittens twice a year, so the future census estimate can be compiled on this basis. My experience indicates that, at the present demand, there is little difficulty in disposing of any sturdy kitten of good color for $10, and a pure white or yellow, with golden eyes, will readily bring $25 to $50. But the chance diamond for which the cat breeder is always looking is the pure white with blue eyes and sound hearing. To find such a gem in a litter of kittens means at least $50 to the fortunate owner. A kennel and a runway made of wire 'chicken fencing,' fully one-half of which is shaded, is the best kind of place in which to house the cats. The runway should have plenty of fresh grass and should be planted with catnip. It is well to plant vines outside the wire netting and let these provide a natural shade.
" How to market the cats is not so difficult a problem as it might at first seem to be. Society ladies are the most frequent purchasers of these dainty and beautiful pets. They really constitute the market, and can best be reached through a small advertisement in the high-class society papers of the city. Some country girls might be able to arrange with city friends to receive and sell the pats to city customers. Occasionally a bird store can be found which will keep cats in stock and handle them on commission."
After giving these practical directions for the founding of a "cattery," Miss Wheatley displayed Caprice, the queen of her Angora flock, which was secured in Boston. Undoubtedly the finest Angora patriarch in Chicago is Sidney, owned by W. Ioor of Morgan Park.
Emblematic Signification of the Cat.
The figure of the cat has certain significations when reproduced in art. In the hieroglyphics of the ancient monuments of Egypt a cat represents false friendship, or a deceitful, flattering friend. In heraldry a cat is an emblem of liberty, because it naturally dislikes to be shut up ; and therefore the Burgundians, etc., bore a cat on their banners to intimate that they could not endure servitude. It is a bold and daring creature, and also cruel to its enemy, and never gives over till it has destroyed it, if possible. It is also watchful, dexterous, swift, pliable, and has good nerves - thus, if it falls from a place never so high, it still alights on its feet - and therefore may denote those who have such forethought that whatsoever befalls them they are still on their guard. In coat-armor the cat must always be represented as full-faced, and not showing one side of it, but both its eyes and both its ears. Argent three cats in pale sable is the coat of the family of Keat of Devonshire. In recent years it has become the emblematic animal of newspaper offices and the editor's chair.
My Cat Tom.
We did not bring him up, or else he would not have been so bad. A gentleman found him in the street and brought him home to his wife. She took him and named him Penelope. He was a very greedy cat and very ill bred, too. He could never learn how to lap milk. Even now, although he is over three years old, he does not know how to lap milk. When he was very small he used to sit in the saucer and lap the milk around him. When the lady moved she gave him to us. Then he began to learn some manners.
I named him Tom. Then, as he was very cross, and would growl and try to bite when any one touched him, I was determined to break him of this bad habit. So I hung a strap on the door-knob, and every time he growled or tried to bite, I whipped him. After whipping him several times I broke him of this habit, and now he is very affectionate.
Then I began to teach him some tricks. I taught him to go under a chair and put his two paws on the rungs ; then I would slap them, and he would slap me back. He would look very cunning sitting there, with one paw on the rung and the other paw lifted in the air, ready to strike me, and his eyes shining very big and black. It makes him very angry to point your finger at him. The first time I did it I did not know that it made him so angry, and I pointed my finger at him and knelt down to see what he would do. He looked at me for about three minutes, and then, before I had time to know what he would do, he lifted his paw and struck me on the cheek. He did not scratch me. Oh, no, for I taught him to keep his claws in when he struck me.
Another thing I taught him to do was to come when I called him, and to stay where he was when I didn't. He had a way of coming into the kitchen every time I went there, in hope of getting something to eat. So every time he came where I didn't call him I threw water on him. Pretty soon, when I went out of the kitchen, I would find him sitting on the door sill. I would whip him for disobeying me. Then, at other times, when I had made him go out of the kitchen, he would steal softly to the kitchen door, stick his head in, and stay that way till I looked up. Then he would draw his head back, then put it in again
after a while, till I made a jump at him ; then he would fly into the dining-room, and stay there until I called him to breakfast or supper, whichever it happened to be.
Although Tom is very mischievous, I think a great deal of him, and would not part with him if I could help it.
oreign Cat Shows.
The display of dogs, cats, rabbits, cavies &c, at all the great shows in Great Britain and Continental Europe is not entirely confined to the commoners, as is generally supposed, but Princes, Dukes, Lords, and others high in the charmed circle of nobility enter their pets in open competition against all comers, be they of the royal house or the laboring man. His Highness, the Prince of Wales, and his lovely Princess both exhibit their dogs at all the great shows, while the names of Dukes and Duchesses, Lords and Ladies, can be found in any of the catalogues where household pets are entered for competition.
While the proportion of exhibitors of high-bred dogs is vastly in excess of those who show cats of high degree, still at the great cat shows royalty bends itself, and its possessions of Angoras, Persians, &c, are basketed off to the great cities, there to compete with the lesser lights of the world, and when prizes are won the owners are filled with as much delight as if they had won a small fortune.
The march of time, the equality of thought and action, the breaking down of the belief that royalty is hedged about with a divinity, the equality, too, of man now recognized, gives to the judges who enter the show ring to adjudicate upon the merits of the subjects brought before them the right and power to award prizes to the most deserving, whether it be the property of " H. R. H." or his poorest subject. The wonderful advance made in all sorts of sports has infused a new blood in all mankind, as evidenced when we see royalty competing at the Athenian games and the Prince of Wales, for instance, showing his dogs and taking second prize to Mrs. Tottie's Tambour, and the Princess holding a similar position to Mr. Stark's Chanter.
A Cat Story.
Many strange anecdotes have been related a which seem to show almost human intelligence and reasoning power in animals ; but the following true incident, suggests the possession of even higher qualities : On a farm in Indiana there were two cats, and in the barn each had a nest of kittens of about the same age, on opposite sides of the haymow. One of the cats fell sick ; she had a little cough, and wasted away till it became apparent that she would not long be able to care for her family. One day the two old cats were noticed sitting on a beam in the barn, and the observer was impressed by something unusual in their actions. They seemed to be absorbed in the consideration of some important question. After this had lasted for some time, the well and strong cat got down from the beam, and going to the nest of her afflicted friend proceeded to carry the kittens from it one by one to her own nest on the other side of the haymow. The dying mother watched every motion of her sympathetic friend until the last kitten had been safely transferred to the home of the other family, and then she dragged herself from the beam, went out of the barn, and was never seen again. The other cat brought up both families as one, treating all alike, until they were old enough to shift for themselves.
Beauty of the Cats.
A beautiful cat is a very beautiful animal, as much so in its way as any living creature. Anatomists tell us that no animal possesses a body better fitted for its special purposes or a greater strength in proportion to its weight. To seek to bring such a creature to the highest state of physical beauty is therefore a worthy object. The fact that we are bestowing this trouble on one of the most useful of our animal friends makes it all the more worth while. At the same time care should be taken not to develop the physical qualities of the cat at the expense of the moral. If we obtained beauty in exchange for the domestic virtues of the cat, our loss would be great. Eminent men of science believe that
the higher qualities of the dog have been injured by the practice of breeders seeking only a superficial excellence.
To such an extent is this true that a mongrel is often a more intelligent animal than a pure bred dog of the noblest breed. The danger of injury to the character of the cat by the practices of breeders arises from a somewhat different cause. He is an animal quickly driven to wildness by neglect or by harsh and unsympathetic treatment. Virtues developed through centuries of intimate association with the household may be impaired or lost by a change in the conditions of life. It is essential to the maintenance of the highest qualities of the cat that he should have the full benefit of the refining and educating influences of the home. The cat must not be put apart with certain animals of exactly the same appearance as himself, as dogs are. If that were done the cat would be shut away from the life and scenes he loves, deprived of all serious interests in life and of all opportunity to pursue his own peculiar inclinations. He would become fierce and unsociable as well as less intelligent. He must have the fullest and freest personal liberty consistent with the well-being of his neighbors. In that case he usually divides his time equally between human society and his own species. He then becomes an agreeable,
useful and intelligent companion, cunning in all the ways of the cat family. He learns to open the back door, to find the most comfortable places in the house, to keep an eye on mice holes and to be on hand before, during, and after meal times.
These remarks are not fanciful. The writer met in London a dealer in cats, who said he was familiar with certain " catteries," or kennels for cats, of which there are several in England. These cats are deprived both of personal liberty and of the society of human beings and all but a few rigidly selected members of their own species. They become fierce and unintelligent, and their habits are altogether unrefined. This disquisition is made merely in the interests of the cat. It is not, in fact, likely that the cat will ever suffer at the breeder's hands to the extent to which the dog is said to have done. The cat should
always be considered first as an individual possessing a complex personality, and second as an example of physical symmetry.
A Child's Discrimination.
A pretty child, a charming three-year old, was not long ago presented with that most tormented of pets, a nursery kitten, saved from the drowning that awaited the birth of its brothers and sisters. A short time afterwards the child's mamma added two members to the family circle in the shape of twins. On being taken into the nursery to see them, she gazed on them for a short time, looking with much curiosity from one to the other. Then, patting one of the plump little cheeks with her rosy finger, she said, " I think we will keep this one, papa."
" Best of all Fads."
There resides in Boston a gentleman who lost both his parents while he was an infant, who has no living relative nearer than a second cousin, and who has never married. Possessed of ample means he lives a life of leisure, and has plenty of time for the cultivation of fads. Sitting in his well-appointed library the other evening, he told a reporter who had asked how he managed to escape ennui that he had tried a number of remedies, but found none so effectual as the pursuit he was at present engaged in. He was much interested in athletics during his stay in school and college, and for a time after his graduation, and used to attend all the important "events" in whatever part of the country they occurred. But after a while these lost their attractiveness, and his attention was turned to horses. For several years he patronized trotting, owning a number of noted steppers, and then he tackled racing. That ceasing to be as engrossing as when he first tried it, beside proving a very expensive sort of sport, he severed his connection with the turf, sold his horses, and interested himself in dogs, setting up kennels, where he bred several varieties of canines with no little success. But an unusually severe epidemic decimating his packs, he became disgusted, and disposed of the breeding establishment, together with such dogs as had not succumbed to distemper.
Then - of all things - he devoted himself to cats.
" You understand, of course," he said, " that I haven't started a ' cat farm ' like those the papers tell of in Maine, Iowa and several other states ; for the object of those 'farms,' as I understand it, is simply to breed animals for their skins. It is only as a recreation that I have gathered together a collection of the finest and best bred specimens of the feline race that I could find. I like cats. They are sensible animals. They know more than dogs, in spite of what the natural histories say. They are not so effusive, so gushing, as dogs, but they are capable of lasting attachments for human beings - again malgre the admirers of caninity - and I feel that I have among my cats much firmer friends than ever I had in my kennels. Of course there are disreputable cats, just as there are disreputable dogs and disreputable men and women, but that is more a matter of miseducation, or lack of education, than any natural inclination to go wrong. Most cats respect themselves. They have a great deal of natural dignity, and if a slight is put upon them they feel it keenly. Dogs will suffer all sorts of indignities from their masters, and kiss the feet that kick them. But if a cat's self-respect is hurt, he resents it ; he does not soon forgive, and rarely forgets it. I can easily see how the ancient Egyptians came to venerate the feline race. One of their deities, Aeluris, had a cat's head on a human body, and we are told by Diodorus that at one time whoever killed a cat in Egypt, even by accident, was put to death. I brought home from the land of the Pharaohs, long before I became interested in the living animals, the mummy of a cat, embalmed, swathed and encased with as much care as was given to human bodies. The old Romans, too, respected the cat. The Roman Goddess of liberty was represented with a cat lying at her feet. No animal, you know, is so great an enemy to constraint as a cat.
" Still, cats are teachable, as many patrons of the variety theatres who have seen the 'cat circuses,' and the more limited number of persons who have essayed the task of instructing their pets will testify. Several of my cats will perform all the tricks that dogs achieve. They know I am their friend and will not hurt them, and they very quickly comprehend what I want them to do.
" If it wasn't for making myself conspicuous I would put some of them through their paces at the coming poultry show in Mechanics' building, where there is to be a department allotted to cats. As it is, I shall exhibit several specimens of each variety that I have. Would you like to see some of them ? The greater part of my feline flock I keep in the second story of my stable, but there are several in the house, as a sort of reward of merit. The katisphile tapped the electric knob by the library door several times in a peculiar fashion. I spell out 'p-u-s-s' in the Morse alphabet on the electric bell down stairs," he said, "and the cats are sufficiently acquainted with telegraphy to know that I am calling them."
While he was explaining this there was a scampering in the hall outside, and four magnificent cats rushed in and up to him with every demonstration of affection that a cat can show. When he seated himself a big cat perched itself on each of his shoulders, and the two others occupied his knees - all purring like so many coffee mills.
One after another obeyed an order to get down on the floor and give a performance, "shaking hands," jumping over obstacles, lying down, rolling over, feigning death, sitting up, walking on the hind feet only, mimicing lameness and doing numerous other things at the word of command with the utmost docility, coming back after they had accomplished their feats with tails proudly held straight up, and receiving congratulations with many evidences of satisfaction.
One huge Angora was sent to the hat-rack in the hall for his master's gloves. He brought only one, and when informed of the fact, hastened out again and trotted back with the other. " I never knew so much had been published about cats," said the owner of these remarkable animals, " until I began to look into the matter. See here ! " He showed the reporter an alcove in the library where on the shelves were perhaps a hundred books in nearly all the modern languages, every one of them concerning the feline race, and some of them beautifully illustrated. Perhaps the most curious volumes in the collection were a dozen bulky scrap books into which the owner had pasted stories about cats from American, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Scandinavian papers. As soon as my friends knew I was collecting these things," he said, " they began cutting out and sending to me from all parts of the world everything about cats they could find in newspapers and periodicals, and I believe these volumes cannot be duplicated anywhere. One, as you see, is devoted wholly to pictures in which cats figure, and they range from fine engravings from the magazines down to caricatures that have appeared in the daily press." As an example of the completeness of the collection it may be noted that nearly twenty pages of one book are devoted to paragraphs, more or less humorous, about the New York Sun's famous "office cat " that is supposed to devour rejected manuscripts. On the reporter's departure, each of the great cats gravely advanced and offered a paw for a parting shake, and miowed a " good-by."
The Subway Cats.
On one evening in December, Superintendent Gould of the Boston subway had his attention attracted toward a glossy coated handsome black cat that walked straight down the gradient on the Public Garden, and made her way to where the superintendent was sitting. She looked appealingly into his face as if she had been cast out into the world and was begging for a place to pass the night. The big heart of the superintendent was moved to pity, and he spoke to the wanderer as he would have addressed a dear friend. " You have no home. You are in trouble and want a place in which to pass the night ? Well, let me see what I can do for you," saying which he went over to a long line of barrels that stood against the northerly wall, and in which had been packed a quantity of tiling to be set up in one of the subway bays. The barrel was half filled with nice sweet hay. " Here," continued the superintendent, "is just the place for you," and he picked up the outcast and tenderly laid her upon the improvised couch. " Rest here, to-night, and perhaps I can do better for you to-morrow." After seeing that the door to the pumping chamber was securely fastened and bolting the picket gates under the portal, the superintendent proceeded up the incline, happy in the thought that he had done a good act even if the recipient of his kindness was nothing but a dumb animal.
The next morning, soon after the superintendent finished his morning meal, he stepped into a nearby meat market and purchased five cents' worth of steak for his charge in the subway. He had it cut into small pieces so that it might the more readily be masticated, and its good quality the better relished. The superintendent was always the first comer to the subway in the morning, and on this occasion he took special pains to arrive early in order to see that no harm came to his lodger from some one not acquainted with all the circumstances. He sprung The lock on the picket gates, taking care to look about for any sign of the night's occupant of the barrel, but she was nowhere in sight. The great flinty corridor was as quiet as a tomb save the soft rippling of water through the channel of the invert in its hurry to reach the dark depths of the drainage well. The superintendent tiptoed up to the chamber, and removing the boards that nearly covered the top, peeped into the interior. Two big green and gold eyes met his, and just the faintest suggestion of a whimper issued from the partly opened mouth. "Well, my lady, it's time you were up," spoke the superintendent, as he reached down and lovingly stroked the black glossy fur. " Here, I have brought you a very nice breakfast, and I want you to get up and enjoy it." But there was no disposition displayed to leave the barrel, and the superintendent was puzzled.
" Haven't had rest enough, hey ? Well, sleep away as long as you like," but, just as the boards were being replaced, a faint mew reached the ears of the superintendent, which caused him to make a more thorough inspection of the interior of the barrel, when lo ! he discovered that instead of having one lodger he had six. Yes, there they were, five of them, nestled close to their mother, totally unconscious of the distinction of having come to life in Boston's $7,000,000 subway. The sight caused the big heart of the superintendent to bubble over with joy and he proceeded to make all the members of the family as comfortable as possible. As time went on Superintendent Gould became very much attached to the little subway colony, and one of the first sights shown to visitors was the family in the barrel. At the end of three weeks there was exhibited a disposition on the part of the newcomers to know more of their surroundings, and they were lifted out and allowed to run up and down the cold wet concrete flooring. Their mother kept a close watch, ready to spring to their rescue in case they fell into the rapidly moving water in the drain pipe. There was sunshine in the heart of every member of the family, although their house was of cement and steel into which only faint rays of light ever penetrated. But it's not all sunshine in this life ; even when the day is brightest, trouble may be casting its shadow across our way, and so it proved with Superintendent Gould's settlement.
Several nights following a great storm came out of the north with the effect that the automatic pumping apparatus in the first section became disarranged and ceased to work. The inflow soon crept up to the bottom of the occupied barrel, and then reached the straw bed. The whole family was awakened by the freshet, and they set about looking for a means of escape. This was found in a long board that rested against the side of the wall. The mother assisted her children to this temporary place of safety with great difficulty, and finally took up a position near them, and settled down to a patient wait for the superintendent. But before he arrived the water threatened to swallow up the whole colony, as it was within three inches of the mother's front toes when Mr. Gould threw back the gate. He was quick to take in the situation, and apply a remedy, but it was some time before all the members of the settlement recovered their usual equanimity. This was a pretty narrow escape, but it did not compare with a later experience in its bloodcurdling effect. About eight days after the threatened flood one of the inspectors came into the subway and wanted to be shown the cats, as he termed them. After having been conducted to the barrel, he said in an unfeeling voice, " Have all the kittens drowned except the black one. I will take her myself." Now, Superintendent Gould had no more idea of drowning those kittens than he had of drowning himself, and if the inspector could have looked into the superintendent's heart he would have seen there disobedience of his superior's instructions. How to save his family of little ones from the sentence of death was the superintendent's chief thought. Finally he concluded to take the entire lot to his hotel and distribute them among his friends. When he went home that morning three of the kittens occupied the right hand pocket of his big ulster, and two the left.
The mother was left in the barrel. After it had been learned that these high bred waifs of the subway had arrived at the hotel, there were a dozen applications by the boarders to get possession of them, but, of course, there were only five persons who were fortunate enough to secure the prizes. These kittens, in addition to being the only members of their species born in the Boston subway, have a strong and most remarkable physical characteristic in that their fur is as thick as the wool on the back of- a sheep. It seems that nature, in thus clothing them, had wisely provided against the cold and the damp of the subway. Another peculiarity is the location of their eyes, they being far down on the face and close to the nose. They are, perhaps, the most knowing kittens in Boston, and, withal, the most playful. On account of the place of their birth it was at first thought to put two of them on exhibition in the Zoo. Their owners prized them so highly, and fearing some harm might come to them finally withheld their consent. Before the family was broken up the entire lot was christened. The names selected were Subway, Gradient, Portal, Beam and Girder, all of which make very pretty nicknames as follows : Subby, Grady, Porty, Beamy and Girdy. A singular coincidence in connection with this whole affair is that the number of the offspring corresponds exactly with the number of transit commissioners.
A Hospitable Cat
In a chateau of Normandy lived a favorite cat, which was plentifully supplied with food, and had grown fat and sleek on her luxurious fare. Indeed, so bounteously was her plate supplied, that she was unable to consume the entire amount of provision that was set before her. This superabundance of food seemed to weigh upon her mind ; and one day before her dinner-time, she set off across the fields, and paid a visit to a little cottage near the roadside, where lived a very lean cat. The two animals returned to the chateau in company, and after the feline hostess had eaten as much dinner as she desired, she relinquished the remainder in favor of her friend.
The kind-hearted proprietor of the chateau, seeing this curious act of hospitality, increased the daily allowance of meat, and afforded an ample meal for both cats. The improved diet soon exerted its beneficial effects on the lean stranger, who speedily became nearly as comfortably sleek as her hostess.
In this improved state of matters, she could not eat as much as when she was half starved and ravenous with hunger, and so after the two cats had dined there was still an overplus. In order to avoid waste, and urged by the generosity of her feelings, the hospitable cat set off on another journey, and fetched another lean cat from a village at a league's distance. The owner of the chateau, desirous to see how the matter would end, continued to increase the daily allowance, and had at last, as pensioners of his bounty, nearly twenty cats, which had been brought from various houses in the surrounding country. Yet, however ravenous were these daily visitors, none of them touched a morsel until their hostess had finished her own dinner. My informant heard this narrative from the owner of the chateau.
In the conduct of this hospitably minded cat there seems to be none of the commercial spirit which actuated the two Mincing Lane Cats, but an open-pawed liberality, as beseems a cat of aristocratic birth and breeding. The creature had evidently a sense of economy as well as a spirit of generosity, and blending the two qualities together, became the general almoner of the neigh boring felines. There must have also been great powers of conversation between these various animals, for it is evident that they were able to communicate ideas to each other and to induce their companions to act upon the imparted information.
The Electrical Character of the Cat.
The extraordinary electrical character of the cat is well known. On a cold, bright day, if the cat be stroked, the hairs of the fur bristle up and electrical sparks issue therefrom accompanied with a slight crackling. It appears, too, that the animal may be so charged with electricity that it will give a severe shock to the holder. In order to produce this result the cat should be placed on the knees and one hand placed on its breast while the other is employed in stroking its fur. Cracklings and sparkles soon make their appearance, and in a short time, if the party continues to stroke the animal, he will receive a sharp electrical shock which may be felt above the wrists. The cat seems to suffer as much as the experimenter, for on giving forth the shock she springs to the ground in terror and seldom will permit a repetition of the same process.
This electrical endowment may probably account for the powerful effects which are produced upon cats by slight means, for example, if a hair from her mistress' head was laid upon a cat, it would writhe about on the floor and twist her body into violent contortions and would endeavor with all her might to shake off the object of her fears. Even the mere pointing of the finger at her side was sufficient to make her fur bristle up and set her trembling, if the obnoxious finger was at six inches distance from her body. On account of the superabundance of electricity which is developed in the cat, this animal is found very useful to paralyzed persons who instinctively encourage the approach of the cat and derive a gentle benefit from its touch. Those who are afflicted with rheumatism often find their sufferings alleviated by the presence of one of these electrically gifted animals. It is worthy of notice that cats do not invariably display the same amount of electricity, but give out more or less of that marvellous power according to the person who handles them. This phenomenon evidently is caused by the different amounts of electricity which reside in different individuals.