CATS: SHOW AND PET.
THEIR VARIETIES, BREEDING, AND MANAGEMENT,
BY C. A. HOUSE.
Published at the Offices of “Fur & Feather,” Idle, Bradford.
PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION.
In sending forth the Second Edition of “Cats: Show and Pet,” I wish to record my appreciation of the favourable manner in which the First Edition has been received by the breeders and exhibitors of the United Kingdom. From letters which have reached me, I know that my work has been of real help to many lovers of Poor Puss, and I trust the Second Edition will be as helpful to fanciers of the present and future as the First Edition was to those of the past.
C. A. HOUSE.
Chapter I - LONG-HAIRED CATS
Chapter II - SHORT-HAIRED CATS
Chapter III - HOUSING
Chapter IV - FEEDING
Chapter V - BREEDING
Chapter VI - KITTENHOOD
Chapter VII - THE STUD CAT
Chapter VIII - ESTABLISHING A STRAIN
Chapter IX - EXHIBITING
Chapter X - DISEASES
CHAPTER I. LONG-HAIRED CATS.
We are told that the term Long-haired embraces the Cats called Persians, Chinese, Maltese, Angoras, Russians, Indians, and French. This may be, or it may not be; the statement is made in a very general and vague sort of manner. Personally, I am inclined to think that it is better where Long-haired Cats are simply styled Persians. The different so-called varieties are not varieties, but Cats with certain local characteristics. Even if all these varieties did at one time exist, they have now become so intermixed with breeding that “it’s impossible to teil t’other from which,” or where the Persian ends and the Angora or Maltese begins.
If it is admitted that the Long-haired Cat of India is different to the Long-haired Cat of Persia, then we must also admit that the Long-haired Cat of Yorkshire is different to the Long-haired Cat of Surrey. I argue thus because it is well-known that Northern-bred Cats have certain characteristics which Southern-bred ones have not. Therefore the simplest and most practical manner of solving the difficulty as to whether a Cat be a Persian or an Angora is to do away with such illogical distinctions, and class all Long-hairs under one heading. This is what I shall do here, and I believe it will meet with the approbation of those for whom this work is written. I do not pretend to be a naturalist; I am a practical fancier, and for such I write. Having decided that all Long-hairs shall be under one head, I shall sub-divide them simply by colour.
First of all I will deal with the general characteristics of the Long-hair, or Persian Cat as it is more commoniy known, and it must be understood that when I use the word Persian, it refers to Long-haired Cats as known in exhibition circles, and which are generally so-called by the ordinary every-day fancier. What is wanted first of all in a Persian Cat is coat. The whole of the body should be clothed in a long, dense, floating kind of coat. The heavier the coat, the better, and in this respect I have noticed Northern Cats are better than the Southern ones.
The South Country Cats are not so thickly coated, although their fur is quite as long, if not longer, than that of Cats kept in the North. This is, doubtless, due to the different climatic conditions which prevail between North and South, and this it is which leads me to say that if we admit all the different countries to the nomenclature of our Cats, we must also admit our English counties as well.
Long as must be the body coat, it must be of greater length on the neck and shoulders. This extra appendage which flows from the neck and throat is called the frill, the longer and thicker it is, the more valuable is it. Some Cats have quite a lion-like appearance when in full coat, so long and broad is this frill or mane.
In texture the coat must be of a beautiful soft silky character and there must be nothing harsh or wiry about it, neither must it be woolly. When handled it should be like unto pure floss, or unspun silk. Coarse coated Cats are not usually so pure in colour as the finer coated ones. Quality of coat and purity of colour have much in common, and a great affinity the one for the other.
The head of the Persian should be round, large and massive, very full in the cheeks and broad between the ears. There must be no trace of angularity or snipiness about it. The eye should be large, round and full. Nothing spoils the expression of an otherwise good Cat more than narrow or sunken eyes. The eyes also must be well placed in the head, not too near to each other, but having plenty of width between them. The nose should be short and broad, of the character usually known as snub, and have the appearance of having been knocked on the end to prevent its growing. A well- known writer calls it tip-tilted, but this I think is hardly correct. Tip-tilted conveys to my mind the idea that the tip of the nose should be turned up, and that is hardly what we want. Snub, I think, more clearly conveys the idea of what is wanted, as in a snub nose the turn is almost imperceptible. The ears should be small. Many a good Cat is spoilt by coarse, large, open ears. They should be nicely placed in the skull, not too far back, nor too near together, and must be nicely tufted. This is most important. It is quite the finishing point so far as the ears are concerned. The tail or brush should be short and very bushy, carrying plenty of fur. The body should be short and cobby. Compactness is a great point in a Persian. The limbs should be massive, showing plenty of bone. The legs and feet also must give the impression of strength, and be nicely tufted. Long spindley limbs and narrow feet are a great drawback to an otherwise good Cat.
The general characteristics of the Long-haired or Persian Cat as here outlined will give my readers a good idea of the kind of animal which is required for exhibition purposes.
Of the different colours or sub-varieties I shall treat severally and separately under the headings by which they are known, commencing with :—
Much that I shall say about these will doubtless be disputed and strongly resented by many readers, but I write for the benefit of the Fancy as a whole, and not for any particular section. The great drawback to the advance of these lovely coloured Cats has been the sad and serious divisions caused by their nomenclature. Chinchilla, Silver, Shaded Silver, and Self Silver have all been used to define one and the same Cat, and it is nothing but personal jealousy and spite which has in the past, and which to-day prevents the Cat Fancy from agreeing upon a suitable name. If Mrs. Grubbington suggests Chinchilla as being the most fitting name for the Shaded Silver Cats, Mrs. Muggington at once says “No, it must not be, it must be Silver.” Between them, Mrs. Grubbington and Mrs. Muggington have played battledore and shuttlecock with Silver Persians for the last half-a-dozen years. In the past the Chinchilla has always been supposed to be a shaded Cat; latterly some have urged it must be a complete seif, or clear coloured silver. It is this unstability which has caused so much trouble in Silver circles. Personally, I like the old name and definition of Chinchilla.
Some time since, the Silver Society was formed, and it drew up its Standards, I understood, for Self Silvers, and Shaded Silvers; since then the Self Silver has been renamed Chinchilla. Shortly after the inauguration of the Silver Society, a Chinchilla club was formed, having for its object the breeding of Cats of a “pigeon-blue” colour, and which were to be known as Chinchillas. Thus we have one Chinchilla a blue, and another a silver. Which is right? I will leave my readers to settle the point themselves. The Standard of points issued by the Silver Society reads as follows:
Chinchillas should be as pale and unmarked Silver as it is possible to breed them. Any brown or cream tinge is to be considered a great drawback. The eyes to be green or orange. Value of points :
Head - 20
Shape - 15
Colour of Coat - 25
Coat and Condition - 20
Colour, Shape, and Expression of Eyes - 10
Brush - 10
Total - 100
Shaded Silvers should be defined as pale clear silver, shaded on face, legs, and back, but having as few tabby markings as possible; eyes green or orange. Any brown or cream tinge a great drawback. Value of points :
Head - 20
Colour of Coat - 25
Coat and Condition - 20
Colour, Shape, and Expression of Eyes 10
Shape - 15
Brush - 10
Total - 100
These Standards are not, in my opinion, what they should be. Below, I give what I consider the relative value of the different properties. To give thirty-five points for shape, and allow the head to monopolise twenty, cannot be correct. Again, clearness of colouring being the principal property, and one very difficult of attainment, should have a greater proportion of points. A more just and correct appreciation of the relative value of the different properties will, I think, be found in following:
Colour — Pure clear silver, free from grey or white - 30
Head — Round and massive, with plenty of width between the ears - 15
Eyes — Large, round, and full, of a grass green colour, and wide apart - 10
Body — Short and cobby - 10
Legs and Feet — Large and massive in bone, and well covered with coat - 10
Coat — Silky in texture, long, dense, and flowing both on body and tail, and extra long on neck and shoulders - 15
Condition – 10
Total – 100
Colour — Pure clear silver, free from grey or white, with the tips or edges of coat delicately shaded with grey on face, legs and back - 30
Head — Round and massive, with plenty of width between the ears - 15
Eyes — Large, round and full, of a grass green colour, and wide apart - 10
Body — Short and cobby - 10
Legs and Feet — Short, large, and massive in bone, and well covered with coat - 10
Coat - Silky in texture, long, dense and flowing on body and tail, with extra length on neck and shoulders - 15
Condition - 10
Total - 100
The Silver Tabby is, in rny opinion, one of the handsomest Cats on the show bench, but it is not so popular to-day as it used to be, for the simple reason that the breed has lost much of its charm in the rage for Chinchillas. In colour the Silver Tabby should be pure clear Silver, with rich, deep, black mark- ings. The following is the Silver Society’s Standard, but, as with the Chinchillas and Shaded Silvers, it is not in conformity with my ideas. I therefore give another Standard, which, I contend, gives a fairer and more reasonable approximation of the various points.
The colour of a Silver Tabby should be a pale clear silver, with distinct black markings. Any brown or cream tinge to be considered detrimental. The eyes should be orange or green.
Value of points :
Head and Expression - 25
Colour and Markings - 25
Colour of Eyes - 5
Coat and Condition - 20
Shape - 15
Brush - 10
Total - 100
My Standard would read as follows:
Colour — Pure, clear silver, free from all admixture of black, grey, or white - 15
Markings — Rich, jet black, not quite so broad as the ground colour seen between the markings, sharp, clear, and distinct - 20
Head — Round and massive, with plenty of width between the ears, which should be small and well tufted - 15
Eyes—Large, round, and full, of a rich amber or hazel colour - 8
Body — Short and cobby - 10
Legs and feet — Well marked, nicely covered with coat, large and massive, but short - 7
Coat — Silky in texture, long, dense, and flowing on body and tail, with extra length on neck and shoulders - 15
Condition - 10
Total - 100
Seeing that the markings are of so much importance, I cannot do better than give a proper description of the correct marking for a Tabby Cat. The face of a high-class Persian Silver Tabby is particularly beautiful. The forehead is covered with delicate pencillings running down the face, and converging on the base of the nose, after the form of a triangle, the cheeks are crossed by two or three dark distinct swirls, the chest is banded by two unbroken narrow lines, the front of the legs is striped or marked similarly to the chest, the neck is marked in a manner similar to the face, the saddle and sides have rich, deep, bands of black running down them, whilst the tail is also banded. The rich, deep marking, when thrown up by the beautiful soft ground colour of the Silver Tabby, is really most effective, and no Cat looks more handsome than a first-class Silver Tabby Persian.
These are really very dark solidly-shaded Silvers, are acknowledged by the Silver Society, and considered worthy of inclusion in its classification. The undercolour of an exhibition Smoke Persian must be of a pure silver tint, with the tips shading to black. A good Smoke is a very handsome Cat, the peculiar colouring having a weird fascination about it which is most attractive.
The Silver Society’s Standard of points reads as follows:
A Smoke Cat must be black, shading to smoke, with as light an undercoat as possible and black points, light frill and ear tufts; eyes to be orange. Value of points :
Head and Expression - 20
Colour of Eye - 15
Colour of Undercoat - 10
Absence of Markings - 15
Coat and Condition - 20
Brush - 10
Shape - 10
Total – 100
These are far and away the most popular Persians in the exhibition world. Competition in Blue Persians is very keen, they having been bred to a high degree of excellence. The Blue Persian Cat Society in its Standard allows any shade of blue, but the shade most valued is that beautiful light tint known as grey blue. In-breeding, the great point to aim at is evenness of colour, but in breeding for colour, care should be taken not to lose bone, as in no variety does shape count more than in Blue Persians. The Standard of the B.P.C.S. reads as follows :
STANDARD FOR BLUE PERSIANS.
Coat — Any shade of blue allowable; sound and even in colour; free from markings, shadings, or any white hairs. Fur long, thick, and soft in texture Frill full - 30
Head — Broad and round, with width between the ears Face and nose short. Ears small and tufted Cheeks well developed - 25
Eyes — Orange, large, round and full - 20
Body — Cobby, and low on legs - 15
Tail — Short and full, not tapering – 10
Otal – 100
This Standard is far from an ideal standard in my opinion, the value placed upon the various properties being really out of all proportion. As an instance, colour and coat are put under one heading, and only thirty points allowed, whilst no less than twenty-five are allotted to the head. Surely there is not a fancier in the land who will deny that colour and coat are both of higher importance than the head. Again, twenty points for eye is altogether excessive. No one can seriously maintain that eye is more important than coat, yet the standard makes it so. My idea of the relative value of the different properties in Blue Persians is as follows :
BLUE PERSIAN STANDARD.
Colour — Pure blue, sound and level, free from shading or marking, all shades allowable, but the preference given to pale or grey blue - 25
Coat — Close in texture, very long and flowing on body,
extra long on mane and brush - 25
Body — Cobby, not coarse, but massive, with plenty of
bone and substance, and short legs - 15
Head — Round and broad, with small, well-placed ears,
short nose - 15
Eyes — Large, round, full, and bright, orange or amber in colour - 10
Condition - 10
Total - 100
Handsome indeed is a rich deep-coloured Black Persian. Unfortunately Black Persians are not fashionable; why, I cannot teil. My old friend, Harrison Weir, is particularly fond of a Black Cat, be it Persian or English, and I must confess that a real good Black has a greater fascination over myself than the more fashionable Blue. A rich, lustrous, raven Black Persian, with eyes of deep orange or amber, a well-furnished frill and brush, long body coat, graceful carriage, and that rare gentle expression so peculiar to the colour is indeed a very beautiful object. My Standard reads thus :
BLACK PERSIAN STANDARD.
Colour — Rich, lustrous, raven black, deep and level, without rustiness, shading, or marking - 25
Coat — Very long and flowing on body, extra long on mane and brush, and close in texture - 25
Body — Cobby, not coarse, but massive, with plenty of bone and substance, and short legs - 15
Head — Round and broad, with small, well-placed ears, and short nose - 15
Eyes — Large, round and full, and bright orange or amber in colour - 10
Condition - 10
Total - 100
To jump from Blacks to Whites is to go from one extreme to the other, and though the two colours have little in common, yet strange to say they often are classed together at shows. Whites certainly are more popular than their dusky brethren, notwithstanding the difficulty there is in preserving in unblemished purity the snowy whiteness of their coat. White Persians are very ethereal and delicate in appearance and appeal möstiy to those of an aesthetic turn of mind. The long flowing white coat, when combined with the charming yet plaintive looking blue eyes, is indeed most captivating. The following may be taken as a guide in estimating the relative value of points:—
WHITE PERSIAN STANDARD.
Colour — Pure white, without tinge of shade of any kind - 25
Coat — Long and flowing on body, extra long on mane and brush, and close in texture - 25
Body — Cobby, not coarse, but massive, with plenty of bone and substance, and short legs - 15
Head — Round and broad, with small, well-placed ears, and short nose - 15
Eyes — Large, round and full, and azure blue in colour - 10
Condition - 10
Total – 100
These are particularly handsome, the rich orange brown ground colour harmonising most beautifully with the black tabby markings. My description of the Silver Tabby on pages 8 and 9 is applicable to the Brown Tabby, excepting so far as the ground colour is concerned, when one must substitute rich orange or golden brown for silver. The Brown Tabbies are not very fashionable, and receive very little attention from show authorities. Brown Tabbies may be improved by an occasional cross with an Orange Tabby. This cross does much to enhance and beautify the ground colour. In breeding from the produce of such a cross only the queens should be used, as the males will influence the colour too much, and the depth and richness of the black tabby markings will be lost. The standard for Brown Tabbies, with the substitution of sable for silver in the ground colour, is the same as that for Silver Tabbies, therefore I need not repeat it.
ORANGES AND CREAMS.
Oranges and Creams, or Fawns and Creams as some would call them, after the style of Fawn and Cream Rabbits, are very handsome creatures, and, I am pleased to say, are becoming very popular. A few years ago a strange prejudice existed against these Orange and Cream Cats, but public feeling has changed, and it is not at all uncommon now to find the Orange and Cream Cats creating the greatest interest at a show. At present, Persian Cats of this colour are in few, very few, hands, but they are gradually increasing. The colour desired in the Orange is a rich, bright, golden red, not a chestnut hue, the latter being too dark. In Selfs it must be as even and sound as possible throughout, but in Orange Tabbies it must, of course, be varied with the tabby markings, as in the short-haired Orange Tabby.
Creams may be any shade of cream, from the palest tint up to a rich fawn; there must, however, be no shading or marking, and whatever shade of cream the colour may be, it must be solid, not flaky or spotted, neither must it be dull in hue, or incline to white, which gives it a washed out appearance. The eye, in both Oranges and Creams, should be bright orange or hazel in colour; nothing spoils an otherwise good specimen more than a badly-formed or weak-coloured eye.
As Orange and Cream queens, that is good ones, are difficult to obtain, I should say breed with a well-bred, good-looking Tortoiseshell, or a Blue-and-Cream, sometimes called a Blue Tortoiseshell. These would certainly give better results than inferior Orange or Cream queens. When mated to a Cream, the Tortoiseshell will produce both Oranges and Creams in the same litter, whilst the Blue-and-Cream, or Blue Tortoiseshell, will produce Creams with possibly some the same colour as herseif; the larger proportion, however, will be Creams, especially if she is herself from a Cream sire. Mated to an Orange, the Blue and Cream would doubtless throw both Oranges and Creams.
I would suggest in starting that a really good rich coloured orange queen be mated to a Cream. I know one such queen, which when so mated, produces splendid results, throwing Oranges and Creams in the same litter. Equally good are its effects on both sides. It improves both the colour of the Orange and also of the Cream, and does away with that tendency to excessive paleness oft described, and most accurately, as “washed out.” Creams mated together yield good results. When a Blue sire is used you seldom get queens in the litter. I am delighted with the advance the Creams have made in popular favour during the last few years. At one time you could not actually get 5s. each for kittens. I think one thing which has kept them back has been that people thought any weed good enough to breed Oranges and Creams from. Weedy queens naturally have produced weedy, snipy kittens, and the idea has grown that good heads and limbs could not be obtained in these colours. I conclude this chapter by giving a Standard of points adopted by the Orange, Cream and Tortoiseshell Society:—
ORANGES, SELFS, AND TABBIES.
Colour and Marking — Colour to be as bright as possible, with distinct markings - 25
Coat — To be silky, very long and fluffy - 25
Shape — To be large, not coarse, but massive, with plenty of bone and substance, short legs - 20
Head — To be round and broad, with short nose, and ears small and well-opened - 15
Eyes — To be large and full, and bright orange or hazel in colour - 5
Condition - 10
Total – 100
CREAM OR FAWN.
Colour — To be as pure as possible, without markings or shading, either pale or darker, dulness and white to be particularly avoided, all shades from the palest to fawn to be allowable - 25
Coat — To be very long and fluffy - 25
Size and Shape — To be large, not coarse, but massive, with plenty of bone and substance, short legs - 20
Head — To be round and broad, with short nose, ears small and well-opened - 15
Eyes — To be large and full, and bright orange or hazel in colour - 5
Condition - 10
Total – 100
Although this comes last in my classification of the various colours, it is not by any means because I deem it the least. As one who for many years has been a close student of the mysteries of colour breeding, the charming combination of red, yellow, and black, known as tortoiseshell, has always exercised a strong fascination over me. Nothing do I admire more in the Cat world than a good Tortoiseshell, be it either long or short-haired. My old friend, Harrison Weir, in writing on this colour some years ago, in one of the Fancy papers, said:— “ What the Almond Tumbler is to the pigeon fancier, so is the Tortoiseshell Cat to the Cat Fancier, or the bizarre tulip to the florist. As regards colour, it is a triumph of art over Nature, by the means of skilful, careful mating, continued with unwearying patience.”
It is impossible for me to say more as to the why and the wherefore of the fascination the Tortoiseshell exercises over its lovers. In Selfs and Tabbies Nature lends her aid to the breeder, but with the Tortoiseshell the two forces are antagonistic, as Nature seeks to blend the colours which the breeder would keep distinct. The Tortoiseshell is a combination of red, yellow, and black. These three colours have a great affinity the one for the other. This leads the uninitiated to wonder why the Tortoiseshell is so difficult to breed. The difficulty comes in through this very affinity. The fancier wants his red, yellow, and black in small distinct patches.
Nature does her best to mix the three up into one in the direst confusion. Cavy breeders who want their tortoiseshell pets to be marked after the same manner as a Tortoiseshell Cat also experience the same difficulty, and Rabbit breeders, whose ideal Tortoiseshell is not quite the same, nevertheless find the colour one of the most difficult they have to deal with. There is, therefore, not much doubt that he who essays to breed Tortoiseshell Cats attempts a big thing.
Not only is there the natural colour difficulty, but there is the far greater one of the fact that males of this colour are “jewels rich and rare.” The Tortoiseshell has to be made afresh every time, so to speak. All the Tortoisehell Persians I have seen have been queens, thus they can only be paired with males of some other colour. The sire generally used is an Orange, but sometimes a Black, a Blue, or a Tortoiseshell-and-White is used. Thus far the Tortoiseshells have not been bred for so carefully and scientifically as have the other colours, and thus, doubtless, it is that we have no males. Similar sex difficulties have been overcome in the Pigeon world, and I see no reason why they should not be amongst Cats. It only wants someone to take up this colour with a determination to succeed, and it will doubtless be done. In starting I should advise the mating of Tortoiseshell-and-White, Blue, Black, and Orange males with Tortoiseshell queens, and then Crossing the progeny of these different matings back into the Tortoiseshell. One or two male English Tortoiseshells have been produced — why should we not be able to perpetuate the colour and sex in Persians? The Standard which has been adopted by the Orange, Cream, and Tortoiseshell Society reads as follows:—
STANDARD FOR TORTOISESHELL.
Colour and marking — The three colours, black, orange and yellow, to be well broken, as bright and well defined as possible, and free from Tabby markings - 30
Coat — To be silky, very long and fluffy - 20
Size and Shape — To be large, not coarse, but massive, short legs with plenty of bone and substance - 20
Head — To be round and broad, with short nose, ears small and well opened - 15
Eyes — To be large and full, and bright orange or hazel in colour - 5
Condition - 10
Total – 100
This is not a particularly attractive Cat as at present known, owing to the fact that most Tortoiseshell-and-Whites have been mere sports, and are very irregularly marked. A really well-marked Persian of this colour should be very beautiful. The red, yellow and black should harmonise and be distributed about the head and body as in the Tortoiseshell, whilst the fore legs, the breast, throat, nose, lips, face, and lower parts of the hind legs should be white. The face markings should extend in a circle round the lips, and run up the face in a narrow blaze. In estimating the nature of the relative points I should proceed on the follcwing lines :—
STANDARD FOR TORTOISESHELL-AND-WHITE.
Colour — The red, yellow, and black well broken, and as bright and clearly defined as possible - 20
Markings — That is, the white clear and well defined, and not irregular - 20
Coat — Long and flowing on body, extra long on mane and brush, and close in texture - 15
Body — Cobby, not coarse, but massive, with plenty of bone and substance, and short legs - 15
Head — Round and broad, with small, well-placed ears, and short nose - 15
Eyes — Large, round and full, and bright orange in colour - 5
Condition - 10
Total – 100
CHAPTER II. SHORT-HAIRED CATS.
The English is the Cat of the homestead and the cottage, and easily takes the lead as the most popular of the Short-haired Cats. In the narrow stuffy streets of our towns, and in the pleasant lanes of our country villages, are to be seen the old-fashioned and ever familiar red, brown, and grey Tabbies, Tortoiseshells, and Tortoiseshell-and-Whites. Like the sparrows and the poor they are ever with us. In dealing with the English, I shall adopt the same principle as I did in dealing with the Persians; that is to give a general description of the structure or body outlines of the English generally, and then afterwards deal with each colour particularly.
Gracefulness in every movement and action is the great characteristic of the English Cat. It is moulded on rather finer lines than the Persian, is not so cobbily built, and is bolder and more free in its movements. The head of the English Cat is not so round as that of the Persian. It is rounded on the top of the skull, which should be of good width across and between the eyes, below the face it tapers slightly towards the mouth and chin, giving that leopard-like expression so noticeable in the tabby-marked varieties, and the nose should be slightly longer than that of the Persian, and straighter in outline. The ears should be small, neat, well open, nicely set, and not too close to each other. Long and graceful best describes the neck and body, the shoulders should be deep and well sloped. The legs should be of medium length, not thick or clumsy, with nicely rounded and neat feet. The tail should be long, thick at the base, and tapering away towards the end, and carried with a low, graceful curve. In size the English Cat should be large, yet active, elegant, and graceful in its movements. Its coat should be very close, smooth, clean, and rich in lustre. One of the first signs of ill-health in an English Cat is an open staring coat, which immediately it is noticed should command attention and the application of remedial measures.
These are particularly handsome; they possess a delicate charm and beauty not associated with any of the other marked varieties, the rich deep black tabby marking forming a most striking contrast to the clear silvery hue of the ground colour. The great faults in Silver Tabbies to-day are lack of clearness in marking, the black bands being mixed with silver, and light chests, the second band not being so distinct as it ought to be. In breeding care should be taken not to mate two Cats deficient in marking. Thus if one is inclined to fail on chest, or to be mixed in its marking, the other should be extra good in these points. The same with colour. Fanciers of this breed have some difficulty in keeping the correct silvery hue in the ground colour, but if they rigidly adhered to purity of colour in their matings it would not be so.
Colour is lost by breeding from Cats which are really pale Grey Tabbies. These often have a taint of brown blood in them, and the result of such mating is disastrous. In the Silver, as in most other Tabbies, there are striped and spotted Cats, but the latter, although very handsome when good, and they must be good to be handsome, are completely outnumbered by their striped or banded brethren.
I will give here a description of the points of both the striped and spotted Tabby. The markings in all Tabbies are the same, the ground colour only altering according to the name silver, red, brown, etc. By giving the markings here in dealing with the first and most popular member of the group I shall avoid repetition.
The Striped or Banded Tabby should be marked with rich, solid, distinct bands evenly and regularly distributed over its face, head, chest, back, sides, belly, legs, and tail. The markings should be very sharp and clear even on the face, chest, and feet, where they are inclined to run away in an indefinite manner and mix with the ground colour. On the back they sometimes are too pronounced, being too broad, and encroaching on the space which should be occupied by the ground colour. The same with the tail; it often is too dark, the rings not being so clear and distinct as they ought to be. Many Tabby marked Cats have a tendency to run light at the lips, in fact many good Cats of all coiours have this fault, some being quite white. This fault needs careful watching when selecting stud Cats, as it is one which is very hard to eradicate once it gets into a strain. The Striped Tabby should not have its bands or markings mixed up with spots, except the two or three which appear on the lower parts of ths cheeks and fore legs. These are seen in the best specimens, but, of course, if a Cat could be provided without them it would be preferred to one which possessed them.
The Spotted Tabby should be void of stripes or bands, and be covered with spots or dots. Unfortunately most of them have more or less striping. The spots, like the stripes, should be dense black in the Silver, Brown, Grey, and Blue Tabbies, and red in the Orange Tabbies. I shall now give a Standard suitable for all Tabbies.
STANDARD FOR ENGLISH TABBIES.
Markings — Very clear and distinct, not mixed with or broader than the ground colour - 25
Colour - Pure and clear, not mixed, but one uniform colour throughout - 20
Body — Long and graceful, shoulders deep and well sloped, legs of medium length, neat well formed feet, tail long, thick at the base, tapering towards point and carried with a graceful curve - 20
Head — Round at top, broad between the eyes, tapering slightly towards the chin, nose of medium length - 10
Eyes — Large, full, round and lustrous, and of a rich orange colour - 10
Ears — Short, broad at the base, narrow at the apex, and well set - 5
Condition - 10
Total – 100
Next to the Silvers, these are the most highly esteemed, and so far as exhibition numbers go they certainly are the most popular of the English Tabbies. The ground colour should be a rich, deep orange, whilst the markings, which are black in the Silver and Brown Tabbies, should be a deep rich red. Some fanciers erroneously call Orange Tabbies Red Tabbies, owing to the marking being red. These people, however, quite overlook the fact that it is the ground colour, and not the marking, which gives the name to the breed. If it were otherwise, Silvers and Browns would become Black Tabbies. A curious feature about Orange Tabbies is the fact that for many years breeders could not produce females of this colour. In fact, so difficult was it that it was generally aceepted that to produce an Orange female, a breeder must persevere for a life-time, and even then die without accomplishing the feat. Harrison Weir, in his most estimable and highly-valuable work published in 1889, said the Orange female was, next to the Tortoiseshell male, the most difficult to breed. To-day there are, so far as my knowledge serves me, only two or three females of this colour known to the exhibition world. Some years ago, when breeding English Cats, I met with much success in this direction, and for several years running was fortunate enough to produce a few Orange femaies. Amongst the first to purchase them from me was that great enthusiast for Catty rarities, Mrs. MacLaren Morrison, who at different times had a quartet of females which I bred. That astute and highly talented judge, the late Enoch Welburn, also had two such females which were bred in my cattery.
These are undoubtedly far and away the most popular Cats in the British Isles. Go where you will, North, East, South or West, you come across the old-fashioned English Brown Tabby. Yet, strange to say, handsome as he is, and popular with the general public, who know nothing about Cats except as mousers and pets, the Brown Tabby has never caught on with exhibitors. His very cosmopolitanism, evidently, has prevented his becoming fashionable. It certainly cannot be from lack of beauty, as a well grown, rich coloured, neatly marked Brown can hold his own with any other Cat when beauty only is considered. A striking instance of this is the wonderful career of that grand old Cat Xenophon, who, over and over again, has taken the Champion special for the best English Cat in the show.
The White has nothing but its lovely purity of colour, graceful outline, and sweet blue eye to commend it to fanciers, and as all three are so often marred, the first and last by being tinged with yellow, and the other by too coarse a growth of coat, it says much for the aesthetic tastes of Cat lovers that the White has maintained such a strong hold on exhibitors. It is to-day as great a favourite as ever it was, It is rather peculiar that some White Cats have odd eyes, one yellow and one blue, a strange freak which I have not noticed amongst Cats of any other colour. Odd or “wall-eyed” rabbits are very common, especially in the breed known as Dutch. It is commonly supposed by non-fanciers that White Cats are deaf. This is not so. Some undoubtedly have been, but the great majority are not. These odd-eyed Cats invariably produce the correct colour of eye in their offspring. In fact they are more to be relied upon in this respect than those that are sound in eye.
STANDARD FOR WHITES.
Colour — The purest white, without a tinge of yellow or straw colour - 30
Shape — Long and graceful generally in outline, shoulders well sloped and deep, legs of medium length and stoutness, feet neat and round, shape and size well proportionea - 20
Head — Broad across and between the eyes, rounded above, tapering towards the lips, nose rather narrow and short, ears neat, narrow and rounded at apex, broad at the base - 10
Eyes — Beautiful rich turquoise blue in colour, large and well-formed in shape - 15
Tail — Long, thick at the base, tapering away to the tip, carried with a low, graceful curve - 5
Coat and Condition — Coat short and smooth, with a silk-like gloss, and lying close to the skin; general appearance giving the impression of health, strength, and activity - 20
Total - 100
All kinds of foolish superstitious tales are woven round the history of the ordinary Black Cat. Some of the greatest men and women the world has ever known have had the greatest aversion to a Black Cat, whilst others have found in them most lovable and affectionate pets. A really good Black Cat is a handsome creature, but the majority fail in brightness and depth of colour, some being of a bluish hue, whilst others exhibit a rusty tinge. In breeding, only the best coloured specimens should be used. A few white pairs are not a drawback, but the reverse. Cats with white in them generally produce good coloured Kittens, owing to the fact that the white blood clears the rustiness and deadness of colour from the coat.
STANDARD FOR BLACKS.
Colour — Rich and lustrous like jet - 30
Shape — Long and graceful generally in outline, shoulders well sloped and deep, legs of medium length and stoutness, feet neat and round, shape and size well proportioned - 20
Head — Broad across and between the eyes, rounded above, tapering towards the lips, nose rather narrow and short, ears neat, narrow, and rounded at apex, broad at base - 10
Eyes — Rich orange or amber in colour, large and full in shape - 15
Tail — Long, thick at the base, tapering away to the tip, carried with a low, graceful curve - 5
Coat and Condition — Coat short and smooth, with a silk-like gloss, and lying close to the skin. General appearance giving the impression of health, strength, and activity - 20
Total – 100
The general description and Standard for Blues are the same as that for Blacks, excepting of course that the colour must be a bright, rich, even blue of a medium shade.
Of all the short-haired Cats these are, I think, the most fascinating, in that they afford the enthusiastic and skilful breeder more scope for the exercise of his powers than many of the other varieties. Only those who have tried to breed Tortoiseshells know the difficulties which have to be overcome in producing a really good specimen. Just now Tortoiseshells are neither so good nor so numerous as I have known them. A few years back, when judging at one of the Crystal Palace shows, I had no less than nineteen Tortoiseshells in one class, a record which has never been approached before or
since, and which I took as a very pretty compliment, for I love the Tortoiseshells. My notes on the colouring of Long-haired Tortoiseshells are applicable to the Short- haired, and may be read here.
STANDARD FOR TORTOISESHELLS.
Colour and marking — The three colours, black, orange, and yellow, to be well broken, and as bright and clearly defined as possible, and free from tabby markings - 40
Coat — Short, close, and silky - 10
Shape — Long and graceful in outline, shoulders deep and well-sloped, legs of medium length and stoutness, feet neat and round, shape and size well proportioned - 15
Head — Broad across and between the eyes, rounded above, tapering towards the lips, nose rather narrow and short, ears neat, narrow, and rounded at apex, broad at base - 15
Eyes — Large, full, and bright orange or hazel in colour - 10
Condition — 10
Total – 100
This variety is extremely pretty, but is seldom seen in perfection. My notes on Long-haired Tortoiseshell-and-Whites are applicable to the Short-haired, the colour and marking being the same. In judging, due allowance must be made for the regularity of the white marking; in other respects
the Standard for Tortoiseshells is a good guide as to the required points.
This is a variety which is little known, and quite nine-tenths of the exhibits which have appeared in the show pen have been bred by that keen fancier, Mr. Chas. Heslop, of Darlington. Various writers have designated it the Abyssinian, and by this title it is generally known; others have styled it Russian, Spanish, Egyptian, Hare Cat, Rabbit Cat, Bunny Cat, and once or twice lately the latter appellation has appeared in show schedules. My old friend Harrison Weir is not inclined to give it a distinct place amongst varieties, as undoubtedly the majority which have appeared have been bred from the English Tabby, which it much resembles in shape, habits, temperament, etc. Notwithstanding this, several have been imported direct from Abyssinia, and it is stated that the Cat we know by this name is the same as was worshipped by the Egyptians centuries ago. These Cats are generally gray in colour like the English wild Rabbit, hence the names Rabbit Cat and Bunny Cat. Some, however, I have seen, which were more silvery in appearance; in fact, looked like a Silver Tabby minus its marking. A really good Abyssinian, rich and level in colour, evenly ticked, with a short and glossy coat, is not only an interesting, but also a handsome animal, and I see no reason why the Abyssinian should not become a popular and recognised variety. The following Standard gives a good idea as to the relative value of the different properties which are looked for by judges when judging this variety:—
STANDARD FOR ABYSSINIANS.
Head — Rather small, broad between the eyes, nose dark red colour, edged with black, and of medium length, ears similar to an ordinary English Cat, but a little more rounded, and black at the apex - 15
Eyes — Rich bright yellow, slightly tinged with green,
very full and well formed - 10
Feet and Legs — Tips and pads of feet black, the back of the hind legs also to be of this colour, inside of fore legs orange brown - 5
Colour — A dun brown, ticked with black and rich orange brown, black stripe down centre of the back, extending to the end of the tail, belly orange brown - 25
Coat — Short, even, and compact, very soft and silky to the touch, and having a rich, lustrous appearance - 20
Size — Medium, without coarseness - 5
Shape and Carriage — Very graceful and elegant, with the muscles very supple and well defined; the head should be carried well up, and tail trailing- 10
Condition - 10
Total – 100
The Siamese has not made great strides in public favour, owing, no doubt, to its being delicate of constitution. Many and many a promising litter have I known to be born only to die. Several of my friends have persevered and persevered, but have had, at the finish, to give up Siamese in sheer despair. There has been much discussion on the Siamese from time to time, but nothing seems to make it popular. It, therefore, can only be, as I say, its delicate constitution which keeps it back, for it is, undoubtedly, one of the handsomest Cats we have, whilst its intelligence and power of affection is generally acknowledged as being of a higher order than that of other breeds. The colour usually associated with our shows is a pale fawn with dark shadings, like a pug dog. Chocolates have been seen, and also blues. I remember much commotion being excited at a N.C.C. show held in the grounds of Holland House in 1896, when the judge, Mr. L. Wain, refused to recognise as a Siamese a blue which had been brought home from Siam by Mr. Spearman.
From an English exhibition standpoint the Siamese should be of a pale fawn colour, with ears, muzzle, tail, and legs of a dense chocolate brown. The eye should be large and full, and of a bright, clear, china blue tint. To kink or not to kink? is a question concerning the tails of Siamese about which there has been much disputation. Some authorities strongly maintain there should be a kink in the tail, others say not. English judges prefer no kink. The coat of the Siamese is softer and more woolly in texture than the English Cat, and does not lie quite so close. When quite young, Siamese are white, but as their points darken, so the body colour changes, and the tendency to darkness goes on increasing with age until at last the beautiful fawn colour is lost in a dirty, smudgy brown.
Colour — Body colour clear pale fawn, slightly darker on back - 20
Marking — Ears, legs, and tail, should be clearly marked with rich chocolate, which colour should also surround the eyes - 20
Eyes — Clear, bright blue in colour, not so round as those of the English Cat, and slanting somewhat towards the nose - 15
Head — Small, broader between the eyes, tapering up the forehead and becoming narrower between the ears, nose long, face narrowing from the cheeks to the mouth - 10
Tail — Rather shorter and thinner than seen in the English - 5
Coat — Soft, short and glossy - 10
Shape — Medium in size, graceful and lithe in movement, legs thin and not too long, feet long and not so round as those of the English - 10
Condition - 10
Total – 100
The Manx, or Rumpy Cat is like the Rumpy Fowl, peculiar to the Isle of Man, hence the name Manx. It is found in all the colours usual to the ordinary English Cat, but in conformation of body it is somewhat different, the flank being deeper and the hind legs thicker and longer, which causes the Manx to have somewhat the gait of a Rabbit, and consequently the gracefulness of the English Cat is lacking. A few English enthusiasts have, from time to time, endeavoured to push this breed to the front, but it has not caught on, English Cat lovers evidently preferring beauty to peculiarities of conformation.
OTHER COLOURS AND VARIETIES.
Under this heading come the occasional visitors from India, Burma, Japan, and Africa. It is, of course, impossible to give a Standard for such because they are not recognised show varieties, and are not bred as such in this or any other country. They are, however, very interesting, on account of their peculiarities and differences from the ordinary domestic Cat. This heading also embraces the Black-and-White, Blue-and-White, and Tabby-and-White, also not recognised as Standard varieties, but which, generally speaking, are sports which crop up in breeding the Standard varieties. Some of these are rather pretty, and should be judged according to the Standards given for the varieties under whose heading they come, due allowance, of course, being made for the additional white marking, which should be found as follows: Lips, mouth, and sides of cheeks, including the whiskers, with narrow tapering blaze running up the nose, throat, and chest pear shaped in outline; all four feet neatly marked.
CHAPTER III. HOUSING.
This is a subject that requires a lot of consideration, far more than some fanciers give it. No hard and fast rule can be laid down as to housing, because it depends so much on one’s surroundings. Some fanciers have plenty of out-buildings attached to their dwellings, such as cow-sheds, stables, granaries, barns, etc. When such is the case accommodation can always be found for a few queens without going to any expense in the way of houses. The Cats will live more natural, and consequently more healthy lives than when confined in small catteries. I remember visiting a well-known North of England cattery several years since, and was particularly struck with the free healthy lives the Cats live there. Some had the run of the stable, others a loft, others a tool house, others a cow-shed, and I am not quite certain if some were not located in some disused pig-styes. Anyway, the Cats were here, there, and everywhere, all enjoying a certain amount of freedom and plenty of room. Happy is the fancier who is so situated.
Those who only keep one or two queens can give them the run of the dwelling house, and at times when kittens are about to make their appearance, fit up a spare room, or even the box-room for their accommodation. If, however, it is intended to go in for Cat-breeding and exhibiting with an idea of being a successful exhibitor, the idea of keeping one’s pets in the house is altogether out of the question.
Those who have to build cannot do better than have some substantial wooden buildings put up. I don’t believe in keeping each queen separate; two or three will do very well together if they are given plenty of room for exercise. Exception must, of course, be made when family cares make their appearance, as some Cats are then very troublesome and quarrelsome, and must be kept out of sight of all other Cats if peace and harmony are to prevail. The best style of house for a fair sized cattery is one built on the same principle as a range of kennels or poultry houses. The woodwork forming the roof, sides, and floor should be at least one inch thick. The roof should be felted and tarred, and then covered with corrugated iron, whilst the outside of the houses should be well painted. Tar is not suitable, because generally in the summer it becomes soft, owing to the sun’s rays, and the Cats are apt to get it about their coats. Those who have once had an experience in getting tar out of the coat of a Persian will not want to repeat it.
Having decided on a range of houses I should not have them all of one size. Some should only provide accommodation for one Cat, others for two, others for three or more; the single houses may be four feet by five, those for two five by seven, whilst six by ten should be the size of those accommodating three or four. The height of the roof at the eaves in front should be eight feet, sloping down to five feet six inches at the back. The doors should be in front, opening out into the runs. Each door should have a small opening for the Cats to get in and out of the house into the run without the whole door being opened. This should be on the sliding principle, so that it may be closed at night, whilst the runs themselves may be divided off by wood and wire partitions, or by the six feet square hurdles which can now be purchased from the various firms who advertise in Fur and Feather. The bottom portion of such hurdles is composed of corrugated iron, and the top of wire netting. The tops of the runs must of course be enclosed with wire netting. As to the extent of the runs, that depends in great measure upon what liberty is given the Cats, and what space is at command. If the queens are allowed out to stroll about as they like for a few hours every day, the runs need not be large, but if the Cats are closely confined, well then each run should be at least twelve feet long.
The inside walls should be painted white and varnished, they are then easily cleansed with warm water, a house flannel, and some carbolic soap. The best covering for the floor is linoleum or cork carpet, the latter for preference, owing to its being drier and warmer.
Sleeping boxes are better than baskets, as they are more easily cleansed, whilst old newspapers make the best bedding, inasmuch as it can be renewed every other day, the used portions being burnt as carried away. This is the best way to keep down fleas. Further, there is no risk of ringworm, or other infectious disease, being conveyed to the Cats as when hay or straw are used. Corndealers’ stores, from whence most fanciers get their hay and straw, are over-run with mice, and there is, therefore, much likelihood of evil resulting in the direction mentioned. The cube sugar boxes which can be obtained at the grocer’s make the best sleeping places, and are most useful for young Kittens. The earth box should be kept in one corner of the house, and should be renewed daily; in case of illness twice or even three times a day If you would keep your Cats healthy you cannot pay too much attention to the cleanliness of the cattery.
Disinfectants are needed about a cattery, but I prefer powders to liquids. A cattery needs keeping as dry as a bone if you wish to keep your pets healthy. In addition to disinfectants it must not be forgotten that a little of Keating’s Insect Powder sprinkled about the boxes is not altogether a case of “love’s labour lost.”
CHAPTER IV. FEEDING.
The question of how to feed and what constitutes the best food for Cats is, I suppose, one of the most largely debated topics, when and wherever Cat fanciers are brought together. Further, the columns of the newspapers devoted to Cats, are continually being made the medium of expressions of opinion as to the advantages and disadvantages of different modes of feeding. The most highly contentious point is that as to whether Cats require meat, and how much. My opinion unhesitatingly is in favour of meat, but by this I must not be understood to favour the practice of giving Cats just as much meat as they will consume — not at all. When and wherever possible we should follow Nature, and Nature, in the case of Cats, indicates most clearly, by the teeth, that Cats are carnivorous animals.
To keep Cats healthy and in good condition, they want feeding very much the same as their owners — that is, on a mixed diet — and this plan, I believe, is the one adopted by most of our successful breeders and exhibitors. One, who has secured the greatest success in the show pen, follows these lines, and her feeding is of the most simple character possible; raw meat, fish, vegetables, and milk entering most largely into the diet of the Cats which have made her cattery one of the most famous. This lady is a firm believer in the virtues of milk, and at all times her Cats have an unlimited supply of fresh boiled milk. One day their food consists of raw meat with vegetables and gravy, the next day fish in place of the meat, and thus are they fed year in and year out, excepting, of course, the odd tit-bits which come from their mistress’s table. This diet is simplicity itself, yet, looking back over the marvellous successes achieved by this cattery, I can say it has proved most successful.
Another friend whose Cats also invariably do well in the show pen believes in simple feeding, but her system differs from that of the other, inasmuch as she feeds twice a day, and uses a greater variety of food. Some time since when I contemplated writing this work I wrote asking her if she would give me her system of feeding. She says: “As to feeding, I am governed to a certain extent, living so far in the country, as to what I can get. Roughly, my Cats have lights (well boiled), fish, liver, heart, Spratt’s Biscuits, Melox, vegetables, and bread and milk. I will try and draw up as nearly as I can how I feed them. They have bread and milk every day. The dietary table. reads something as follows:—
Monday — Breakfast, bread and milk, with meat; supper, meat, biscuits, and vegetables.
Tuesday — Breakfast, bread and milk, or gravy and vegetables, and meat out of the cook’s stock pot; supper, fish and biscuits, or bread.
Wednesday—Breakfast, bread and milk, and fish; supper, fish and Melox, or liver and Melox.
Thursday — Breakfast, bread and milk, and liver; supper, meat and biscuits.
Friday — Breakfast, bread and milk, and meat; supper, meat, or fish, and lentils.
Saturday — Breakfast, bread and milk, with meat and lentils; supper, bread, vegetables, and gravy, with a little meat.
Sunday — Breakfast, bread and milk, with meat; supper, biscuits, vegetables, and gravy.
This is only a rough list, as sometimes I am obliged to vary it. The meat is generally cut up fine with the vegetables, and mixed together. Sometimes I give the bread and milk first, and a lump of meat after. I give as much vegetables as I can, and as often, both green vegetables like cabbage and cauliflower, and also carrots, turnips, parsnips, etc. Whenever these are used in the house the Cats get what is over mixed with their food. The liver is sometimes given raw and sometimes boiled. My Kittens and the queens when they are nursing have bread and milk in the morning, and Neave’s Food at night. The mothers I give as much meat and fish as I can get them to eat. The Kittens are only given milk food and a little meat, biscuit and gravy in the middle of the day. I shall not try raw meat for Kittens again, as those which I fed on a raw meat diet are the smallest I have ever had. I use raw beef as a tonic if either Cats or Kittens are out of sorts and need bracing up. The meat mentioned in my list is either liver, boiled or raw, lights, well-boiled heart, the remnants of the cook’s stock-pot, and household scraps. The fish is usually cod’s head, whilst I keep a goat to provide the milk.”
The success which has attended these two catterieß proves unmistakably that a plain, sensible diet is all that is needed to insure Cats, which will not only keep strong and healthy, but hold their own in the show pen, and I have selected these two different systems of feeding for the express purpose of showing my readers that they need not be bound down to any hard and fast line. As to the merits of feeding more than once a day I must say that I myself favour two meals. In the morning most Cats, when they become used to them, will enjoy a plate of Waverley or Provost Oats. I say Waverley or Provost advisedly, as they contain almost twice the amount of nutriment found in their over-the-sea competitors. As their names indicate bonnie Scotland is the land which produces the Waverleys and Provosts, and although our American cousins can beat us in many things they have not yet found the soil which can produce oats equal to those grown in Britain. Cats, like their owners, appreciate variety, especially in their food, and instead of oats I now and then give a feed of Spratt’s Cod Liver Oil Biscuits and milk, the biscuits having first been soaked twelve hours to render them soft. For the evening meal my dietary is made up of meat, fish, rice, vegetables, and gravy, ringing the changes something in the same manner as in the dietary table given above. As to what particular dass of meat I prefer, I unhesitatingly give my vote for shin of beef or ox cheek, in addition to household scraps.
I need hardly impress upon my readers the absolute necessity of allowing vegetables to enter somewhat largely into the diet of their pets. In fact, if Cats are to be kept perfectly healthy, especially in relation to skin diseases, vegetables must form a large proportion of their diet. Milk I am a firm believer in, especially goat’s milk, having proved its value not only with Cats but with many other kinds of stock. It is undoubtedly the finest conditioner in the world. It is a good plan to boil the milk before using it in the cattery.
Cats which have their liberty will usually find grass of some kind or other, but those which are kept in confinement must have it provided for them, as, in addition to its natural emetic powers, it is also a most valuable anti-scorbutic. Some of my friends who live in towns buy green turfs for their Cats every week, others grow grass in shallow boxes in their greenhouses, and this is a most excellent method of providing Cats with this great necessary of life. A few shallow boxes, a little mould, some grass seed, and some warmth, and the trick is done. Even if the establishment does not boast of a greenhouse or conservatory, a sunny window in the house may be utilised for the growing of the grass. Grass Cats must have in some form or other, even if it is only to bring up the little balls of fur which are swallowed as they perform their daily operations of the toilet, and for this, if it is impossible to get a supply of green grass, a little hay may be given; it is better than nothing.
When giving fish, care should be taken to free it from short, sharp bones. I have known more than one serious accident happen owing to this precaution being neglected. There is no doubt whatever that all Cats delight in picking bones, both meat and fish, and they do much towards keeping the teeth sound and in good working order. With adult Cats accidents seldom occur, but kittens, in their eagerness to snatch food from their fellows, are very apt to get a bone fixed in their teeth, or in the upper portion of their mouth.
One thing should never be forgotten, and that is to allow both Cats and Kittens to have access to fresh clean water at all times.
CHAPTER V. BREEDING.
Over and over again have I been asked the question at what age it is best to breed with a young queen. If strong healthy Kittens are wanted, the queen should be at least twelve or fourteen months old ere she is mated. Most young queens will mate when eight or ten months old, but it is a mistake to gratify their desire at such an immature age. It must be remembered that a Cat grows fast till it reaches the age of twelve months, and from that time till it is two years old more slowly. Thus it stands to reason that a young growing queen cannot produce strong vigorous Kittens; further, to breed from an immature queen is to retard her development, as the sustenance which should go to build up her own body is taken by her offspring.
As soon as a young queen becomes restless she should be watched to see that she does not get away, and go a courting over the garden wall. When is the best time to let the queen visit the stud Cat? This is a rather difficult question to answer owing to the differences of temperament found in Cats. Some need to be sent away directly, others a week or even ten days after they first show signs of restlessness, but generally speaking from three to five days is a good time. It is annoying to the owner of the stud Cat to have queens sent too early, and it is equaily vexatious to the owner for them to be despatched too late.
Most fanciers have an idea as to when their queens will be ready to mate, they should therefore select the mate they desire sometime previous and place themselves in communication with his owner. Further I would remark that no queen should be sent away without the owner of the stud Cat being given at least a full day’s notice as to her name, pet name as well as registered, and the time of her arrival at the Station. Some fanciers are so thoughtless that they dispatch the queen first, and then write to say they have done so. Nine times out of ten the queen arrives before the letter and causes untold bother and annoyance to the owner of her intended mate, whilst in some cases where the residence is some distance from the railway, it may happen that the poor queen may spend a night penned up in her basket in the cloak-room of the Station. Such treatment is not conducive to success.
In selecting a sire much care is needed; his good and bad points must be carefully weighed up, also those of the queen, and they must be balanced the one against the other. The chapter on “Establishing a Strain” gives full information on this point.
When the queen is returned from her visit she should be carefully watched for a week or ten days, or she will go courting on her own account, if given the chance. Many of the disappointments which are caused by mixed litters are the result of carelessness on the part of the owners of the queen, but invariably the owner of the stud Cat is blamed, yet he may know nothing about it. Fanciers must not think that because their queen has been away and returned, there is no more need for vigilance on their part. Pussy must be kept shut up for several days at least, in fact, tili she is quite herseif again, and all restlessness has disappeared.
During the interval between her visit and the appearance of her progeny the queen should be well and generously fed, yet such feeding should not start for a day or two after her return, or her stomach may become upset, sickness may be brought on, and cause the loss of the litter of kittens. It will, therefore, be seen that it is advisable for a few days to feed pussy very plainly and sparingly. The reason for this is because, at this time, the Cat’s system is in an over-heated condition, whilst her nervous organisation is in a highly excited state.
The period of gestation is from sixty-three to sixty-six days and during that time the Cat should be carefully handled. All nursing and fondling should be avoided, and care taken that neither strange dogs nor anything else likely to frighten the Cat is allowed near her to disturb her serenity and calmness of mind. I have before said I prefer boxes to baskets, and would here caution my readers against any “undue fussing” as the time nears for the kittens to make their appearance. Don’t fill the box up with rugs, hot water bottles, etc., as some people do, but give a supply of old newspapers, which must first be rubbed well in the hands to soften and take off the natural stiffness and gloss, and make them more absorbent, and more fitted for bedding. Another advantage is that they can be easily removed and burnt. Cats are better without such impedimenta as rugs and hot water bottles, unless they are delicate, or freshly imported foreign Cats, and even then my advice is avoid overdoing it. Personally my opinion is that a delicate Cat should never be bred from, and imported foreigners should pass a full summer and winter in England ere they are used at stud; unacclimatized animals should never be bred from. Again some people give their Cats castor oil and other strong aperients, a day or two before the Kittens are expected. This is a mistake. If the queen is at all costive, a little boiled liver will do all that is required, and is far more natural than drugs. A dose of salad oil is also of much Service in this direction.
If the queen is a vaiuable show Cat, it is advisable to have a foster ready to take charge of some of the Kittens, and if there is a large litter two fosters may be used to advantage. The best fosters are common English Cats, the good old-fashioned tabby of the kitchen. These Cats retain their milk much longer than their more highly bred and aristocratic sisters, and thus the Kittens grow and thrive apace. This question of a long natural milk supply is one of some moment to fanciers, as the older a Kitten is before it is weaned, so much the larger and stronger will it become. In transferring Kittens from their own mother to a foster, it is wise to introduce the nurslings amongst the foster’s own Kittens whilst she is away from her nest. After a day or two those belonging to the foster may be killed, and thus a full supply of milk ensured to the more valuable ones. A good idea in introducing Kittens to a foster is to smear them with fresh butter. The foster will at once commence to lick them, and therefore no trouble ensues, as the foster having once licked the little strangers, they bear the scent of her breath, and she will henceforth own them as her own. If you have a foster for each pair of Kittens unusually good results will accrue.
Never on any account feed Cat or Kittens in the box. It is a bad habit, and one which is most objectionable. It induces both mother and family to be lazy and dirty, and tends to produce vermin in the box. If you would have your Kittens to be healthy, keep them scrupulously clean.
During the actual time of kittening, queens should be left as much as possible to themselves. Most adult Cats do better when left in undisturbed possession of their house and box at this time. Young queens must naturally be watched, as they are highly nervous, and are apt to overlay or scatter their young. In some instances the first-born kittens are allowed to get cold whilst the queen is attending to ths later arrivals, and thus perish, unless taken away and kept warm.
The first time you enter the house to feed the mother you should carefully examine the Kittens, and remove any that may be crippled or dead. Another point to be remembered is that a dish of clean fresh water should be accessible to the Cat whilst she is kittening. Some Cats have great thirst, and like a drink of water. A very strengthening drink for a Cat at this time is an egg beaten up in milk. The last meal given on the day the Kittens are born should be a dish of Robinson’s Prepared Groats with milk. This is cooling and cleansing, and has a very beneficial effect upon both mother and Kittens.
It sometimes happens that, owing to the approach of a show, and the need to get the Cat into condition as quickly as possible, the whole litter has to be taken away, but even in such a case the queen should not be relieved of all her Kittens tili at least a fortnight after she has kittened. It is well to remember that we must not interfere too much with the natural course of events, in fact, the more closely Nature is followed in the cattery, so much the more success will attend its operations. When the kittens are all removed too suddenly, much harm is likely to result. The best plan is to let the mother have a couple the first week, and only one for the second. When the second is taken away, she should be given a little salt in her food to assist in reducing the flow of milk, and to avoid inconvenience and disaster.
Two litters a year is all one should expect from a Cat. I cannot condemn too strongly the gross cruelty practised on many Cats in this particular. A queen is often sent to be mated straight from nursing her kittens, perhaps when they are only four or five weeks old. It is wicked! She has no time to recoup her strength to allow the organs of the body to regain their normal condition. It is one continual strain. Can any sensible person expect to gain profitable results from such unnatural conditions? Thus, those people whose only end is to make as much out of their stock as possible, regardless of suftering incurred by the poor animals, are in the end defeated by their own methods.
A breeding queen should be allowed to lead a perfectly healthy natural life — no undue fuss or coddling. A Cat, when carrying her kittens, should not be treated as an invalid. Remember, she is only fulfilling the purpose of her existence in procreating her race. She should most decidedly be allowed to nurse her own kittens. If a Cat is incapable of fulfilling her maternal duties she is unfitted to be a mother.
CHAPTER VI. KITTENHOOD.
Kittenhood is without doubt the most engaging period of a Cat’s life, and many fanciers who have risen to high places in the ranks of the Fancy have first had their attention drawn to Cats by observing the gambols of a Kitten. Kittenhood, to the fancier, is also an interesting time. I know of no branch of the Fancy so full of charm as is that which attends the development of a litter of Kittens. Anticipation, expectation, and realization play a big part in the daily round of the cattery. From the time of their appearance in this world, till they make their debut on the show bench, Kittens keep the interest of their master or mistress at fever height. One wonders what kind of coats they will have, will their colour be all right, what will their markings be like? Will their eyes be of the correct and fashionable hue? Will they have the lovely expression of their mother? and their sire’s handsome frill and brush? Aye, from start to finish kittenhood is full of charm and fascination to the enthusiastic fancier.
The possibilities attending the future of a young Kitten are so great that no opportunity must be missed by the owner to bring to perfection all the qualities which lie hidden. In the nest it is impossible to say which will bring home the coveted special from the Palace or Westminster, therefore for the first three months of their existence all must be considered as prospective winners, and treated accordingly. When they make their appearance in this world of woe, they should for the first few days be left to the care of their mother, that is, of course, providing she has an abundant supply of milk, and it seldom happens that a queen is short of a sufficiency of milk for her little family. Now and again it may happen that it is otherwise. Then they must be given to a foster at once, or fed by hand for a day or two, till the milk begins to flow. The best way to do this is as suggested some time since in Fur and Feather, by Miss Row. Take a teaspoonful of arrowroot, and put it into a small basin. Mix with a little new milk to the thickness of paste, pour boiling water upon it, stirring all the time, until the whole becomes clear, almost to transparency, and like jelly. Then beat in some cream until it becomes thin enough to run off the spoon, when it will be ready for the Kitten to take. If this is too much trouble, try feeding with plain, warm, new milk, using a baby’s feeding bottle, with a very small nipple.
Young fanciers are sometimes at a loss to know how many Kittens a Cat should bring up. If the Kittens are only intended for pets the whole litter may be left, no matter how many there are, but if it is desired to produce show specimens, well, three at the most should be allowed either the mother or the foster after the first week. Bone and coat are of such great importance in the show pen that everything must be done that can be done to ensure them, and nothing does this more than a full and generous supply of natural milk during early Kittenhood. In fact, so much importance do some successful breeders attach to this that when their Kittens are ten days or a fortnight, or even three weeks old, they give them to a second foster, that is, one recently kittened. By this means the Kittens get a much longer supply of natural milk, and it is of much assistance to them.
When a Cat is suckling Kittens she should be fed at least four times a day; two of these meals should consist of meat, vegetables, and gravy, one of fish, and the other either of milk sop or of Provost Oats boiled in milk; she should also be allowed as much new milk as she will drink. If it is obtainable, goat’s milk is much superior to cow’s milk, being richer in fatty matter. During the suckling period the mother should be carefully watched, as the slightest derangement of her health is certain to affect the Kittens prejudicially, and hinder their growth, even if nothing more senous ensues.
When the Kittens are a month old they will begin to investigate their surroundings, and commence taking an interest in the world outside their box. At this time they will also attempt feeding themselves from their mother’s dishes. As they gain in age, strength, and knowledge, and are able to lap on their own account, they should be given some thin gruel, made with oatmeal and milk, arrowroot, or Mellin’s Food; the latter is a grand food for growing Kittens. The great thing in rearing Kittens is to keep them growing. As I have said elsewhere all milk used in the cattery should be boiled before being used, and in giving it to Kittens it is advisable to mix a teaspoonful of lime water with it. It tends to prevent acidity of the stomach, and aids in the growth of bone.
The weaning stage is another critical period. It will have been gathered from my remarks about foster-mothers that I believe in the Kittens having as much natural milk as possible, therefore it follows that I advocate the Kittens being left with their mother as long as there is milk for them to suck. The usual thing is to wean them at eight weeks, but I have kept them with the mother till they have been sixteen, and even eighteen weeks old. There is much discussion as to whether Kittens should be given meat or not directly after being weaned. I unhesitatingly give my vote in the affirmative. My motto in rearing Kittens has always been — What agrees with the mother agrees with the kittens. By this I do not wish it to be understood that I believe in giving young Kittens an unlimited supply of meat. I do not, and what little they do have should be well cooked and minced very fine. Large quantities of meat, especially raw meat, are in my opinion simply poison to young Kittens, but a little, very
little, is good. Too much upsets the digestive organs and causes a wealth of trouble. Some people, not content with seeing their kittens grow, weigh them at certain intervals. The practice is one I cannot recommend, as I have known serious losses follow its usage. Young Kittens are very nervous, and it is a very easy matter to frighten them.
When the kittens are old enough to follow their mother out of the house they should be watched, and only allowed to do so when the weather is favourable. I am not by any means an advocate for pampering young stock, and making hot house plants of them, but I believe in the exercise of ordinary vigilance and care, and all who have had any experience with young Kittens will know that it is not advisable for them to be allowed out of doors in wet weather, or when the grass in the run is wet. Damp means to young Kittens sore eyes, cramp, bronchitis, and other undesirable complications. Prevention is better than cure, in the Cattery as elsewhere. Thus my readers should remember that as young Kittens are not able to withstand the ravages of dampness, it is essential that they be kept indoors during inclement weather.
CHAPTER VII. THE STUD CAT.
What are the great essentials needed in a Stud Cat? This is a very weighty question, yet one which seldom receives the consideration it deserves, either from those who are selecting a Stud Cat for their own cattery, or those who may desire the occasional services of one. In years gone by there was not much choice for those who wished to select a suitable mate for their queens, but to-day it is different; there is a very wide choice indeed, and herein lies, to many, a great stumbling block. Now what are the great essentials needed in a Stud Cat?
Firstly. — Purity of breed, which must be beyond doubt, and proved by a properly authenticated pedigree. In days gone by, when there was neither National Cat Club Stud Book nor Cat Club Register, there were no means whatever of checking the pedigree of a Cat; to-day it is very simple, as all the noted Cats can be traced, and thus it can easily be seen if they have been bred true to colour or variety.
Secondly. — He must not be an animal possessing glaring faults.
Thirdly. — He must be thoroughly healthy and good tempered.
Now, why are these essentials needed? I will deal first with that of pedigree. The breeding of Cats has now reached something more than a mere pastime, it has become a Science, and those who would be successful must breed their Cats on scientific and practical lines, and the only way to do this is to make purity of breed a sine qua non. Many Cats which to-day rank as Blues, Silvers, or Browns, are not remarkable for the purity of their pedigrees. Thus it comes about that many Blues are bad in colour, or show tabby markings on their flanks, haunches, and tails. Silvers, instead of looking like newly- minted half-crowns, have sandy noses, brownish ears, and creamy coats, whilst the Browns, instead of having their markings clear and well defined, have them all blurred and blotched. All these faults are the results of bad mating in past years. If, in looking through the pedigree of a Blue Stud Cat, I discovered that a few generations back his ancestors were Silvers, I should leave him severely alone. If it were a Silver, and I noticed a misalliance with a Brown, I should reject him, and if I found a Brown Tabby had self-coloured near relationships, I would have none of him. To be a success, a Stud Cat’s pedigree must be of the highest lineage possible.
I have said the Stud Cat should possess no glaring faults. For instance, I would not use a Black or Blue Stud Cat which was rusty in colour, a Tabby which was very weak or washy in his marking. In respect to conformation, I would never use or recommend a small boned, or snipy headed Stud Cat. Massiveness and rotundity of head are great points in a sire.
As to health, this is most important. An unhealthy Stud Cat cannot produce healthy kittens; further, he may seriously affect the well being of queens mated to him. This being so, the health of the Stud Cat must receive the greatest consideration.
Some will ask why I have mentioned temper. Simply this: that a bad-tempered Stud Cat is often the cause of premature births and dead Kittens, owing to the fear with which he inspires visiting queens. Serenity of temper is one of the choicest possessions in a Stud Cat. I have recently seen one of the finest queens in the Fancy which has been completely spoilt by a cruel Stud Cat, which made a savage attack on her. Thefefore it is most desirable to know something about a Stud Cat’s temper before sending a valuable queen to him. My friend who owns the queen mentioned as having been ravaged, has not only sustained a severe monetary loss, but has been deeply grieved at the injuries inflicted upon her pet, and the consequent suffering. I almost think the mistress has endured more anguish than the Cat itself, so grievously has she worried about the incident; an incident which has almost made her leave the Fancy.
To sum the whole matter up: a Stud Cat should be one of the best specimens of his variety known; and there should never exist any doubt as to his being in perfect health, and of an agreeable and loving disposition.
A few words may not be out of place to those who wish to select a Kitten for future use as a Stud Cat in their own Catteries. In such a case, I should recommend the purchase of a Kitten not more than seven months old, as at that age you will be certain he has not been used. He should be kept in a run by himself, and not allowed to come in contact with any queens tili he has reached at least fourteen months, and even then he should only be used in a careful manner, say, two or three queens, before he reaches the age of eighteen months. Then he may be used to a greater extent, say once a week. Having reached the age of two years, he may be allowed visitors twice or thrice a week, and beyond this he should not go.
Some will perhaps wonder why I have placed these limitations and restrictions as I have done. I will tell them. What we want in the Cat Fancy is large strong boned Cats, not miserable, puny, spindley legged specimens. In my opinion the great deterioration we have seen in strength of bone during the last few years, is because immature Cats have been used for breeding. A Cat continues growing till it is two years of age, and if it is allowed to do this without much interference it stands to reason it must be more fitted to perpetuate its race than one which is made to hand its name down to posterity whilst still a Kitten.
The housing of a Stud Cat is a matter which requires careful consideration. In a few words the house should be of fair size, say four feet by six, larger if possible, and it should have a run quite ten feet by six. It must be light, dry, and well ventilated, but not draughty. Draughts will kill anything. If possible it should have a Southern aspect, be built of brick, and have a wooden floor covered with linoleum, or cork carpet, the latter for preference, it being warmer. What about warmth? some fair reader may ask. Warmth is not wanted, that is, artificial warmth. Cold never killed a Cat yet. Cats revel in cold, dry weather, it’s the damp that kills them. If a Stud Cat is to be healthy himself, and produce strong, robust Kittens he must be kept in a dry, cold house.
A matter which should be given the greatest attention, is the feeding of a Stud Cat. Delicacies like roast pheasant and boiled chicken are not required, but good, wholesome, nourishing, and sustaining food. Once a day, unless his services are in great demand, is quite often enough to feed a Stud Cat, and the best time late in the afternoon just before dusk. Boiled fish, rice, oatmeal, vegetables, raw meat, Spratts’ Patent Cat Food, bones from the kitchen, milk, and eggs are all useful in the dietary of the Stud Cat. One day the meal may consist of boiled fish with rice and vegetables, another a little raw beef, with gravy and vegetables. New milk should be given morning and night, and fresh water should always be get-at-able. In cold weather an extra meal should be given, oatmeal may be mixed with the evening meal, and a plate of boiled Provost, or Quaker Oats given in the morning, the former for preference, as containing more nutriment, and being more easily digested. If a Stud Cat becomes thin or run down through an unusual demand for his services, a raw egg, beaten up in his milk each morning will work wonders, as will a small portion of raw shin beef given daily.
The greatest drawback to keeping a Stud Cat is the visiting queens. Many a cattery has been ruined by a visiting queen. I would, in this connection, urge upon the owner of every Stud Cat the absolute necessity of subjecting to the most careful scrutiny every queen sent on a visit. This examination should take place before she is brought within either sight or sound of the Stud Cat. It should take place in some corner right away from your own Cats and their boxes, and here let me say, never bring the box of a visiting queen into juxtaposition with those of your own Cats. Hampers and boxes carry infection quite as much as Cats themselves, and many an outbreak of distemper and eczema has been caused by a visiting queen or her box. Hence the necessity for the greatest care in examining the little stranger. Further, it is not at all an unknown thing for a novice to send a young Tom on a visit. It is not advisable to introduce the visitor to the Stud on the day of arrival, that is, if she has travelled a long distance; let her have a night’s rest. It will pay to do so.
It is advisable to keep a small house specially for the reception of visiting queens, and this should be thoroughly disinfected after the return of each visitor. A queen should only be allowed access to the Stud Cat once a day, and that early in the morning. The Cats should be watched to make sure that they do mate, and immediately after the queen should be removed, so as to avoid exhausting the Stud. In case of a queen missing, it is customary to give another Service to the same Cat free, and some owners are so generous that they will either do this or give a mating to another Cat at half the original fee, but this is an act of extreme graciousness, and is not to be expected.
Should a Stud Cat be shown? This is a question which has often been asked, but in my opinion there can only be one answer to it, and that a negative. It is impossible for a Cat to beget strong healthy kittens if his nervous organization is being continually subjected to the strain of long railway journeys, and the excitement of show rooms. Mark, I say continually. A Cat which is only shown at our principal shows, say ten or twelve times in the course of a year would not be prejudicially affected so far as his stud services are concerned; but I have known Cats shown three or four times a week, and yet be used at stud — this I say is wrong. Further a Cat which is in request as a popular sire cannot be kept in coat sufficiently to do himself credit in the show pen, and thus his value is depreciated by his being beaten by Cats not half as good in colour and conformation, but yet which, at the moment, are in better condition. Personally, I consider a Cat which is intended for a Stud Cat should be shown at all the leading shows until he is two or three years old, and should then be withdrawn with his honours clustering thick upon him, and never allowed to see the inside of a show room again. It does not pay an owner to have his Stud Cat defeated whilst his services are available to the public.
When sending a queen to a Stud, notice should be given the owner at least one day previous. The letter giving notice of visit should also give name of queen, show and pet names, if she has both. Any little idiosyncracies she may possess should also be mentioned, especially those relating to bedding and feeding. Mere trifles, and not worth worrying about, some may say, but I don’t agree. Life is made up of trifles, and it is attention to trifles which spells success in things pertaining to the Fancy.
CHAPTER VIII. ESTABLISHING A STRAIN.
To the true fancier, the breeding season is the most enjoyable and interesting portion of the year. The thoughtful breeder will spend months and months working out in his mind the different matings in his cattery. He pairs his pets as experience and knowledge prompts him. Sometimes the results are what he expects; at others, all his carefully worked-out schemes and problems, as Burns would say, “aft gang agley,” and he finds that his last state is verily worse than his first. The latter, fortunately, does not often occur, but when it does it only goes to prove how hard a battle we have to fight with the natural laws of reversion in the animal world.
Having the cattery ready, the next consideration is its inmates. How are they to be obtained? The safest, most reliable, and most satisfactory method of obtaining good stock is to go to some breeder who is known to possess a reliable breeding strain, and ask him to do his best for you. Tell him exactly what you want, how much current coin of the realm you have to spend, and leave the rest to his generosity and honour. Speaking from a long experience in the various branches of the Fancy, I can truthfully say you will have no cause to fear the result. In purchasing, it is well to remember that the best are the cheapest. If you have £20 to invest, put it into two or three queens, rather than into a large number. These I should have mated in the same cattery, or else to some blood relation. Young fanciers too often make the mistake of purchasing quantity in preference to quality. It is not necessary to purchase the very best specimens of the day; in fact they could not be bought for the figure I have mentioned. It is not at all unusual for £20 to be paid for a single Cat, whilst £30, £40, £50, and even £60 are not unheard of prices. In fact, the latter figure was paid for the famous Chinchilla, Lord Southampton. These prices I have mentioned were, of course, for prize winners, which were bought for what they could win in prizes, quite as much as for what they could do in the breeding pen. Still, it is not absolutely necessary that the stock Cats should be show Cats. As a fact, most of our greatest winners are not bred from exhibition specimens, but from their close relatives. From this it does not follow that tip-top specimens are not good stock Cats. The reason why exhibition specimens do not, as a rule, prove the best breeders, is because the knocking and banging about which they get in connection with their show life take a great deal away from the strength of their constitutions, and also enfeebles their nervous organisations. No such drawbacks affect their faulty brothers and sisters left at home to bloom unseen; these are storing up energy and strength, whilst their more highly favoured mates are expending it. On the other hand it must not be forgotten that if you are breeding Kittens to sell you must have them begotten by a fashionable sire. Further, it is quite possible to find big winners who are grand stud Cats, owing to the fact that only at the principal shows do they make their appearance in public, and thus are not injured for reproductive purposes.
Having become the owner of some choice bred Cats, purchased and mated in the manner indicated, the beginner is saved all the trouble and worry of having to select animals that will be suitable to each other. For no matter how much care and thought he expends on the question, he can never be sure of getting Cats, picked up in different catteries, to mate satisfactorily, whereas if they are selected from one cattery, and mated by the seller, they are almost certain to hit and breed some decent youngsters the first season. The man who goes hither and thither purchasing his stock will never make a successful breeder, as every fresh cross he makes only knocks him back from, instead of helping him to reach, the goal of perfection. Some fanciers I know like to go their own way and select their own stock from the first, They cannot trust anyone else to do it. They are afraid of being victimised. They can and will take care of themselves. Strange as it may seem, these clever individuals are generally the ones who are "had." In such a case it is simply one man’s wits against another’s, and it’s ten to one on the old hand. Apart from these clever folk, there are some who genuinely like to select their own Cats from the pure love of the thing. To them a few words of advice may not be out of place. There is a great deal in the judicious mating of a pair of Cats, far more than meets the eye. In mating we want not only to pair two animals together, but they want to be so mated that the good and bad points of each will blend into one — if not perfect — almost perfect whole. It is not to be done with a rush. Mating animals of any kind successfully is the outcome of long years of actual experience. Our most successful men mate their stock to produce results which practice has told them they might expect. They breed for results and get them. They weigh up carefully all the little differences in shape, size, coat, colour, etc., and then pair their pets so as to get as many good points, and as few bad ones as possible. Of course they do not always get what they want, owing, as before stated, to Nature putting a spoke in the wheel, and causing the Cats to throw back to some ill-formed and quite forgotten ancestor. Although the power of reversion is so strong, it must not be forgotten that like produces like, especially when a certain line of breeding is followed year after year. Thus it is that the careful scientific breeder gets his satisfactory results.
It often happens that you will find most dissimilar animals matched together, producing almost ideal specimens. Why is this? Because the breeder knows what he is handling. Knowledge and experience taught him, and he uses his wisdom well. The sire, generally speaking, will influence colour and coat, while the dam will control Constitution, size and shape of body. These usual rules, however, are open to many exceptions, due to special prepotency on the part of one of the pair, or when there is much inequality in their age. Some Cats mark their young with personal features that seem fixed in the blood so strongly as to overcome all opposing forces.
Sometimes a Cat will breed properties that lie latent, and are not visible in the immediate parent. Properties which you have to go back three or four, and in some cases more, generations to find. In mating it is not wise to put together two Cats possessing the same faults. Of course, there are occasions when it is not needful to stick rigidly to this, but as a general principle it is a good one to work on. Thus, by way of example, two Cats failing in coat should never be paired together, yet if they are both bred from heavy coated Cats or from a heavy coated strain, it will not matter.
If I were asked to pick out in a certain cattery a pair of Silver Tabby Persians which would be likely to make a good match, I should proceed on lines similar to the following. My shape and size, with quality of coat, I should expect the dam to possess. Marking, colour, length of coat, colour of eye, and strength of bone, I should demand in my sire. This is, of course, if I were selecting from Cats whose ancestry was quite unknown to me. My reason for so doing is because, nine times out of ten, the sire influences the outward characteristics of the progeny, whilst in like ratio the dam exercises her influence over those points which are more hidden. The dam has far more to do with shape than is generally supposed, and I would rather breed from a bad-headed male than a bad-headed queen. Quality of coat must always be looked for in the queen.
Although I have described a good pair of stock animals, such a pair as I should mate together myself, it must not be forgotten that they may not hit. Various may be the reasons why they do not. One may be, as I have before pointed out, the prepotency of one or the other of them, which may be unusually strong. If so, the mating possibly will not be a happy one. Then, again, the question of relative age is another factor that often puts to naught a carefully thought out mating. Given two Cats of apparently equal strength and vigour, the youngest will usually have more than his or her half the say as to what properties will appear in the young. At times, the result seems simply ruled by the law of averages, and a vigorous yearling throws stock that show no points in common with a mate three or four times as old. Stranger still, some quite aged Cats duplicate excellent qualities, even if paired to younger animals of less merit. Most successful matings consist in systematically setting weak points against strong ones, and trying to produce the best properties of the parents upon one or more of the progeny. After a year or two of breeding, a fancier who uses his brains will begin to understand his stock, and then can seek to build it up point by point, trying year by year to improve some particular property. To do this he mates two Cats that are both superior in some special respect, body for instance, with the idea of augmenting that special property. If two good bodied animals are mated together, it stands to reason they are far more likely to throw good bodied Kittens than if one of them is of bad shape.
All-round excellence is what is desired in the high-class exhibition specimen. This can best be obtained by building up the fabric bit by bit, here a little, and there a little. It is impossible to get all the properties at once, and he who expects to do so will meet with nothing but failures and disappointment. The expert scientific breeder seeks to improve his stock year by year in some particular point, and he goes on in this way each season until he at last possesses animals that can hold their own with the best of the Fancy. My experience is that you cannot reach a certain point as quickly if you attempt to do it all at once, as you can if you make slow and sure progress by doing a bit at a time, and this I know is the experience of all our best breeders. Although I have mentioned the qualities I should look for in the sire and dam of a good pair of Cats intended for stock, do not let me be misunderstood. I do not decry breeding with exhibition specimens, but, contrariwise, believe in breeding from the very best when and wherever possible, and in such cases the nearer the animals come to the ideal the better I am pleased. The description given is written solely for the benefit of the young, inexperienced, yet aspiring fancier not blessed with a deep pocket.
If, in his first year, the young beginner has managed to breed a few nice kittens, he should, if possible, ask the advice of some older fancier as to their mating for the second season. If this cannot be, and the parents have been unrelated, he should breed some of the young back to their sire and dam. This sib, or in-breeding, some people argue is unnatural. They say it weakens the Constitution, breeds disease, and is the forerunner of all ills. I don’t believe it. One glass of whiskey toddy the last thing at night makes a man feel comfortable him seif within, and at peace with all the world without; but a dozen glasses make a beast of him, and render him obnoxious to himself and all the world besides. So it is with in-breeding. Its use is quite correct and proper, but its abuse does mean ruination and destruction in every shape and form. It must not be carried too far, but carried out on careful, methodical lines, with patience and watchfulness, it is the verkable sesame to the treasure-house of breeding winners of first and cup at the Palace or Westminster. Some fanciers are so constituted that they must carry everything to excess; the happy medium has no place in their thoughts or actions. In their hands I can easily believe that in-breeding would result in a diminution of Standard properties, and that in a few years their Cats would have a marked tendency to contract all sorts and manners of diseases, and gradually decrease and dwindle away from sheer lack of stamina.
Guided by the description of my ideal the young fancier should have little difficulty in mating up his cattery the second year, even if he is unable to secure the assistance of some more experienced fancier. If the old original dam is of the correct shape, colour, and coat, he should pair to her the one particular son most like his father, and the old sire should be mated to his daughter which is most like her mother. Such mating as this is simply rolling all the good points of your original stock together. One of the most successful breeders I know swears by this kind of mating in the second year, whilst another of my friends, one of our most prominent and successful breeders, declares that all his best have been bred from brothers and sisters. I have frequently crossed both ways, and have met with much success from each.
It sometimes happens that a fancier puts together two animals which excel in some particular property, yet not one of their progeny is above the Standard of mediocrity, so far as that property is concerned. This often proves a stumbling block to the novice, as he has imagined that two Cats extra good in some point would throw veritable marvels in that respect. He finds it is not so, and in his disappointment discards both old and young, and starts afresh. Foolish fellow! He throws away animals of incalculable value. The old hand does not act thus. He knows that the point sought for must be in the youngsters, although it has not come out at the first time of asking. His plan is directly opposite to that of the inexperienced new beginner. He pairs the sire to one of his daughters, the dam to one of her sons, the rest brother to sister, and the next season doubtless puts him a long way up the ladder he is climbing. This is one of the points where experience often keeps a fancier from making a false step. Of course this close pairing of relations must not be followed, or disaster, swift and sure, will overtake the perpetrator. If the original stock have been purchased in the manner I recommended, they will be somewhat, although possibly distantly, related, and if the same system has been followed in mating all of them and their progeny in the second season, they will come in useful for Crossing one with the other in the third season, by which time an astute and enthusiastic fancier will have learnt sufficient to guide him in his subsequent matings without the aid of friend or tutor, as no one should know the special idiosyncrasies, in breeding, of any particular animal better than its owner.
Ere I leave this question of establishing a strain I must strongly urge upon my readers the necessity of keeping their best queens. Some breeders think more of their males than they do of the queens. This is a big mistake. Over and over again have I found fanciers spending big money upon high-class sires, and mating them to inferior queens. Myself, if I had to decide between a pair of Cats in which the sire was a first-class one, and the dam a second-rater, and a pair in which the dam was a crack, and the sire only a stock animal, I should unhesitatingly go for the latter. I am fully persuaded that good dams have far more to do with the success of a strain than good sires. Type comes from the dams, and the man who is continually introducing strange dams into his cattery will never have a type of this own. As evidence of the truth of what I state, I may say that all our successful horse, cattle and dog breeders work on these lines.
We want Cats of a fixed type, no matter what variety we are breeding. Individual excellence and ancestry are the two most important considerations in breeding stock. Individual merit alone cannot be relied upon always, for from animals of nearly perfect Standard requirements, we often get many poor specimens. A chance good Cat, with poor breeding in his blood, is a Cat which should never be used. On the other hand, a Cat of good breeding whose lineage is good, will, in most cases, prove to be a valuable breeder. All fanciers should keep a very careful record of the pedigrees of their Cats, and thus always know if a certain Cat is related to any other they may wish to pair with it. It also enables them to keep their stock well in hand by avoiding too close in-breeding, or going too far outside a certain line when they are wanting a mate for some particular pet.
In concluding this chapter I would again say: Never part with your best queens, and keep a faithful record of all pedigrees. If you act on these lines, you will in a few years establish a strain that will bring you not only fame and pleasure, but also some considerable pecuniary remuneration. Follow close pedigree breeding, and you will breed extra fine show specimens, and be able to command first-class prices for those Kittens which you have to sell.
CHAPTER IX. EXHIBITING.
This is a subject which causes much anxiety to fanciers who are not experienced, and even to those who have served their apprenticeship it is not without its difficulties. In all standards of perfection a small percentage, a very small percentage, of points are allotted to condition. Notwithstanding this, condition plays a greater part in the awards of a practical judge than does anything else. This, to the inexperienced, seems strange. They cannot understand why a Cat which is almost perfect in its points should be placed low down in the list because it is not in condition. The reason is very simple. The finest Cat ih the world cannot show its valuable properties unless it is in tip-top condition. As it has been most truly said, condition is the finishing point, it is the setting of the frame to a good picture; and condition, although according to scale only a small factor, is in reality the mightiest. This being so, it behoves fanciers to see that nothing is lacking in this direction. Over and over again have I seen prizes lost through neglect to show exhibits in the best condition possible. In exhibiting, as in anything else where the spirit of competition enters, it does not pay to leave anything to chance. The fancier who pays great attention to detail, and is never wearied in looking after the small things which spell success, is the one most likely to obtain it.
Show preparation consists in a regular and systematic course of grooming and exercising, with careful attention to diet. Perfect health is the greatest factor in show condition coupled with a certain amount of effort by the owner. No one need fail because of condition, or rather the lack of it. All that is needed in its attainment is a patient continuance in well doing. First and foremost comes the daily brushing and dressing of the coat. A simple matter when regularly attended to, but quite the reverse when performed in an indolent and perfunctory manner.
To groom a Cat properly the first requisite is a well made brush with long bristles. This, with the comb, should be used daily. In grooming Long-haired Cats, the fur should be brushed up so that the under coat may be prevented from “matting” or “cotting.” Never use a sharp toothed comb unless absolutely obliged to do so, as it has a tendency to break and tear the coat. As this daily dressing is performed, a sharp eye should be kept for any objectionable insects. After being well combed and brushed the coat should be rubbed with a dog glove, or chamois leather, and finished off with a good hand-rubbing. There is a finish obtained by hand-rubbing which cannot be obtained by any other means, not even with a silk handkerchief. This hand-rubbing is most important in the preparation of short-haired Cats.
No matter how careful and painstaking a breeder may be, he cannot prevent his pets catching cold, or suffering from the hundred and one ailments to which they are natural heirs, nor if he could, would he prevent the periodical shedding of the coat, which is so necessary, and which, doubtless, has been instituted by nature, for obvious cleanly and sanitary reasons, but 1 maintain that with a liitle careful individual attention given to each member of the cattery, by judicious feeding, brushing, and a sharp eye kept for any objectionable external parasites, a Cat, or any other animal, may be kept normally in such condition, that if they are in coat they are ready at any minute, or at certainly half a day’s notice, to make their bow to the awe-inspiring judge and critical public.
For about a month before the show at which we have made up our mind to win first and specials, we must look carefully over the Cats intended to be shown to ascertain if there are any fleas. If search reveals such, don’t rest until not one can be found. Their extermination may best be accomplished by rubbing pyrethrum, or Keating’s Powder, well into the fur. The next thing to go for is the ears, to see that they are clean and healthy. They may look so, but watch the Cat to see if it ever scratches them. If so, clean them immediately. These things are important, because if there is iiritation either from insects or canker in the ear, the Cat will always be scratching, whereby the coat will in a short time be irretrievably damaged. Further, it will neither eat nor rest as it should do, and get that sleek, contented look which good conditioned Cats enjoy. Some Cats don’t object to the smell of camphor either on their fur or about their bedding, and this fleas cannot stand. Other Cats dislike it, in which case it should not be used.
If the coat is matted or cotted at all, this should be next seen to. About this there is some trouble, because some judges consider these cots almost a disqualification, even if out of sight underneath the fur, whereas if the coat is badly matted, in getting them out half the coat will come out too; but, at any rate, the cots must come off the frill. With time in front of you there is no necessity to hurry, and a big knot may be tackled in two days, rather than worry the Cat too long, and, getting impatient yourself, pull out some of the live hair, too. Give each knot a good soaking in very hot water, then take hold of the root end of the hair with one hand and carefully loosen the cot with a large darning needle, getting it away a small piece at a time so as only to secure dead hair, leaving all the living rooted growth.
If your animals are unaccustomed to be put in any sort of cage or pen, it is best to begin a month before the show, and train them by putting them in one for at first half an hour, say, then several hours a day. It is a good thing to have an open wire pen like those used at shows, but look well round it to see that there are no sharp pieces of wire which will pull the coat out if the Cat rubs against them.
We now come to the great event, the cleaning on the day before the show, and these remarks will only apply to light-coloured and white varieties. This is best done by thoroughly filling the coat with flour. I have found baked flour better than raw, and one ounce of powdered blue should be well mixed with each pound of flour. Use a good big kitchen dredger. Rub the coat across the grain, never against it, and with loose fingers, frequently re-dredging. Then let the Cat give itself a good shake. Take a clean well-washed brush, and thoroughly brush all the flour out. The next morning, before starting for the show, give another brushing, finishing with a clean, white, linen cloth, to take all off the surface. Then a good hand-rubbing to put a bloom on, and Puss should look at her best, and, as far as her owner is concerned, fit to meet anything.
The treatment described is for Cats with the coat coming to its full prime with not the slightest tendency to begin moulting. The difficult part comes when the coat gets loose, and begins to come out three weeks or a month before the show. In this case, of course, brushing is out of the question, or there would be none left. The comb should be used carefully, and followed by a light cloth or silk handkerchief.
With regard to cleaning Cats in the moult, Chinchillas and Creams are best left alone, it being better to sacrifice a little in the colour of the fur than lose any of that valuable commodity. With Whites, perfect purity is so important that cleaning with the baked flour must go forward, and be got through with as little damage as possible to the coat.
Washing Cats is mach practised by some fanciers. But the practice is unlikely to become very general, as Cats are awkward customers to handle, and are very liable to cold. If the coat were at all loose probably the best part would come away in the rubbing and tubbing process, and last, but not least, the fine shine and bloom that is got by brushing and hand-rubbing, and that is such an Ornament, especially to a short-haired Cat, will not come if soap has been used.
Having prepared the Cat for show and made the entry all right, which by the way should always be sent off in good time, and after the prize list and regulations have been very carefully studied, the next step is to make final arrangements for the exhibition. The plan adopted by careful exhibitors who value their Cats, is to see that the baskets are lined with either thin or thick cloth or flannel, according to the state of the weather, and the temperature in which the Cat has been kept; then travel with their Cats to the show, and bring them safely home again when it is over. This plan is especially desirable
with Kittens, and where it is foilowed fatalities are comparatively few and far between. The hazardous way in which Cats are sent to shows, and left to catch cold on platforms, has as much to do with the deaths that occur after exhibition, as any inattention or food they receive at the hands of show committees. The bottom of the basket in which the Cat travels should be covered with a good layer of straw, which should be dried before it is used; in fact, the basket and everything connected with it should be well aired, as it is as injurious for a Cat to travel in a damp hamper as for a person to sleep in a damp bed.
When the Cats return home from a show an aperient should be given — castor oil and buckthorn, mixed in equal parts is, as a rule, best — a dessert spoonful to an adult, and a teaspoonful to a kitten. This will probably remove any ill effects that may have been derived from excitement or other causes during the time of exhibition. It is more necessary to give medicine to Cats that are naturally clean in their habits, than to those that are less particular. Many of the illnesses and deaths after a show are started by constipation, brought on by confinement in the show pen and travelling case for two or three days. Paralysis of the bladder and hindquarters is by no means unusual from the same cause. Much has been said about Cats contracting distemper from infected pens, but exhibitors are probably more at fault themselves in this connection, for it is the rule of such firms as Spratt’s Patent and others to always have the pens disinfected as soon as they are returned from a show, whereas exhibits are occasionally sent, notwithstanding the fact that at the same time there are Cats at home down with distemper. There is no more dangerous practice than this, for an exhibit from an infected cattery may cause endless trouble, which the most careful examination by the best qualified veterinary surgeon cannot prevent.
CHAPTER X. DISEASES.
What is disease? Disease may be defined as any condition that limits life, either in its enjoyments or duration. It is proverbial that a Cat has nine lives, and so far as accidents are concerned, Cats, owing to their ability to always fall on their feet, do bear a charmed existence. But, and it is a big but, when we come to the ordinary ailments to which Cat flesh is heir, then, as the devoted master or mistress so often has to lament, it seems that instead of nine lives our pets have only one, and that a very frail one.
Disease, as generally understood, means that there is some morbid change at work within the body, or in other words there is a departure from that rude state of health which we like our pets to enjoy. Some diseases are, however, of much greater importance than others. Some have a tendency to cut life short in a sudden manner, others, although they limit its duration, never do so suddenly, whilst there are some which, although they neither shorten nor arrest life, render it useless.
Amongst the iirst are found affections of the heart, in the second are consumption, cancer, and amongst the last epilepsy. The nomenclature of diseases is mixed, Some are described by and after prominent symptoms, such as cramp or cough. Others are indicated by change occurring in some particular part of the body: thus, bronchitis signifies inflammation of the bronchial tubes; the termination 'itis' in all cases signifies inflammation. Then again, diseases where the blood is at fault end in aemia, as anaemia.
Again, diseases are known as functional and organic. Disturbance of the digestive organs comes under the heading of functional disease, whilst tumours and cancers, which indicate a change in some organ of the body, are known as organic disease. The latter is of the greatest importance and more often shortens life than does a mere functional disorder.
Having spoken of the nomenclature of diseases, we pass on to their causation. In some cases, defective feeding is the cause, unhappily too often. Other fruitful causes are bad Ventilation and want of cleanliness. Last, but not by any means the least, is the question of hereditary disease. Some Cats are born into the world predisposed to consumption, scrofula, or some other feil disease. Still, from whatever cause, disease makes its appearance, it must be promptly and energetically attacked, for in nothing more than in doctoring Cats does the old proverb of “a stitch in time, etc.,” prove true.
An abscess in many cases is the result of an injury, although occasionally it may result from a debilitated condition of the system. Abscesses are very objectionable, but happily seldom fatal if taken in hand at once. Cats cannot very well be poulticed, therefore some other treatment must be adopted. The fur all round the abscess should be cut away, and the parts fomented with hot water every hour, the Cat meanwhile being kept in a warm room in a closed basket to prevent it from catching cold. When the abscess is brought to a head, it should be lanced with the point of a darning needle; after the lancing let the matter escape, and then wash with a weak solution of Condy’s Fluid; dry carefully, and apply zinc ointment. The affected part should be dressed in this manner three or four times a day till the wound is healed. An abscess may in its first stages be dispelled by painting with tincture of iodine, and the giving of opening medicine. If, however, it be in an advanced stage when discovered, the treatment directed above should be followed. In addition to the outward treatment recommended, the bowels should be acted upon by a couple of doses of castor oil the first day, or a Carter’s Little Liver Pill. After this, measures should be taken to improve and restore the vital forces. A good nourishing diet is an important element in the treatment of an abscess.
This is consumption, or wasting away of the muscles of the body, and usually follows in the wake of some other disease. A Cat may be slowly but surely dying from atrophy, and yet perform all the normal functions of the body with accustomed regularity. The chief cause is insufficient nutriment being absorbed by the system. A very generous diet should be given a Cat so affected. In the form of medicine I know nothing better than Fellows' Compound Syrup of the Hypophosphites given in water three times a day in thirty drop doses. Cod liver oil given either with the food or from a spoon will also aid in the recovery of the patients, as will Scott’s or Angier’s Emulsion.
The dry husky cough which affects many Cats during the prevalence of east winds is generally accompanied by inflammation of the bronchial tubes. Cats so affected should be kept in a well ventilated apartment at a temperature of about 60 degrees [Fahrenheit], and if possible a kettle should always be kept boiling on the stove so that the steam may render the air of the room moist, as a dry atmosphere acts as an irritant. As medicine give half-a-teaspoonful of glycerine four times a day in which has previously been mixed two drops of creosote. Two drops of homeopathic tincture of aconite in milk every two hours is good if the Cat is at all feverish, and this may be followed after the fever has subsided by one drop of aconite and one drop of bryonia mixed and given every three or four hours. During the attack and for several weeks after a teaspoonful of cod liver oil should be given morning and night to get the strength up again. The throat and chest should be well rubbed three times a day with some kind of stimulating embrocation.
Cats, especially Persians, quickly contract canker unless their ears are kept clean. The ears of a Cat ought to be examined every day during the daily grooming, and if any signs of dry wax or dirt are to be seen they should be sponged out and dried, and for safety sake a few drops of carbolised oil should be dropped in the ears. It will do no harm, and may do good. In cases of undoubted canker, caused by the neglect of an attendant, or found in a newly purchased specimen, the ears should be thoroughly cleansed with a sponge and a warm solution of water and Condy’s Fluid, and afterwards treated by one or the other canker cures — Ward’s, James’s or Salvo’s. These are all good, and being ready for application save a lot of bother in getting a chemist to mix a lotion.
”Just a little cold, it will soon be all right.” Thus is a cold, the forerunner of so many diseases, summarily dismissed. The best medicines for ordinary colds I have found to be aconite and camphor. Many simple cases can be cured easily and quickly by giving a camphor pilule every two hours, or two drops of homeopathic tincture of aconite in a spoonful of milk every three hours.
This more often attacks Kittens than grown Cats, and in unweaned Kittens is generally caused by the milk curdling on their stomachs. In such cases all that is needed is to let the mother have a feed of boiled liver, or a teaspoonful of sardine oil, or two or three sardines. In Kittens that are weaned, these remedies may be given to the Kittens, but, of course, in smaller quantities. If an adult Cat becomes constipated, the quickest, easiest, and most reliable remedy is one of Carter’s Little Liver Pills. All lovers of live stock should have a phial by them. I always carry one in my waistcoat pocket. They are good for man and beast.
Diarrhoea is so simple, and so general a complaint that many breeders ignore the first symptoms, and do not tackle it till it has made big inroads on the organisations of their pets. What a mistake! A fatal mistake! Diarrhoea needs very prompt and effective treatment; in fact, if such is not forthcoming death intervenes, and a promising Kitten or Cat is off to the happy hunting grounds almost before one can say Jack Robinson. Immediately diarrhoea is noticed in a Cat or Kitten, it should be given a dose of castor oil. A full-grown Cat may be given a teaspoonful, Kittens from 20 to 40 drops, according to age and size. In place of the ordinary food, arrowroot biscuits boiled in milk, and dusted with prepared chalk, should be given. In severe cases three drops of laudanum may be given. Should the diarrhoea continue, worms may be suspected, and the patient treated accordingiy. James's powders are very good in cases of diarrhcea, Salvo’s and Ward’s specialities are also of great Service.
This is a disease which usually attacks Kittens during the teething period; some get it early, some late, and some never at all. It is a mistaken idea to hold, as many do, that a Kitten must have distemper. There is no "must" about it. I grant that most of them do get it, but that does not prove they must of necessity endure its agonies. It is undoubtedly a most infectious disease, and one that is often contracted by young Kittens at shows. The symptoms are unusual dulness, a harsh staring coat, sunken and inflamed eyes, hot and cold extremities, discharge from the eyes, nose, and mouth, sneezing, coughing, loss of appetite, general feverishness, shivering, and rapid emaciation. These symptoms may all be present in the same patient, or they may not be, but in all cases of distemper most of them are to be found. When there is any discharge, it should be washed away as often as it appears with a warm solution of water and Condy’s Fluid. Aconite and arsenic are the best medicines. Give two drops of homeopathic tincture of aconite, followed in two hours by one drop of homeopathic solution of arsenic. Alternate these remedies in this manner for three days, or, if needed, longer. One must be guided by the amount of fever which exists. The patient must be kept in a warm room and covered with blankets. The strength must be kept up during the attack with beef tea, barley water, milk and lime water, and the patient afterwards brought on to a more generous and nourishing diet as the attack passes away.
Highly nervous, sensitive Cats are at times subject to fits, but one cannot say that fits are of frequent occurrence in a cattery. More often than not fits are associated with worms, or during teething. I have, in ordinary fits, invariably found that the application of a cold wet sponge, or an ice-bag to the head, followed by a dose of castor oil and quiet, has been of service.
"My poor little kittens are all dead. Gastro-enteritis again." Thus spoke a friend in lamenting the death of a very promising litter of Persians. This gastro-enteritis is becoming sadly too common in our catteries, and is carrying off many very promising and valuable kittens. When anything is wrong, I believe in looking round for a cause and remedy. It is no use sitting down and weeping. The gods help those who help themselves. Gastro-enteritis! Whoever heard of a common household Cat or her Kittens being troubled with this fashionable scourge. It seems to me that there must be something at fault in the manner in which our Kittens are reared now-a-days, or they would never be subject to such a variety and complication of diseases as they are.
It cannot be said that lack of cleanliness is the chief predisposing cause, because to my own knowledge, the greatest sufferers have been found amongst those who take the greatest interest in the well-being of their pets, whilst others who are not so careful have not sufFered. Where, then, can we find the chief cause? My own opinion is that nine-tenths of the diseases which decimate our catteries to-day are caused by errors of diet.
Some of my readers who pay great attention to the dieting of their Cats will prick their ears at this, and will possibly say, "Thank goodness, I cannot be blamed in that direction!" Excuse me, fair reader, but in my opinion you are most likely a very culpable offender: you offend through the very kindness of heart which prompts you to take so much interest in your Cats. You overfeed your Cats, and thus weaken their stomachs.
There are several methods of over-feeding. Some Cats are over-fed by having immense bulk, or quantities of food, and little nourishment, forced into them, others because they get too much nourishment and little bulk. Both systems are bad, both upset the digestive systems, and consequently stomach troubles ensue. I am firmly convinced that errors in diet have more to do with gastro-enteritis than anything ele. If breeders would the rather underfeed than overfeed their stock, they would keep them more healthy, and in better condition. Disease means pain, and many who would grieve deeply at the mere thought of causing pain to a dumb animal wilfully, yet often do it innocently. I will here endeavour to show them how.
Some breeders immediately their young Kittens can feed proceed to give them raw beef, or raw flesh of some kind. This is ridiculous. The poor mites eat it, because they have not sense enough to know it will hurt them. It is appetising to the taste, and they delight in it, but the digestive organs are not strong enough to do the work needed in digesting raw flesh. As a consequence, it passes into the bowels without being digested, and thus not only is the nourishment not extracted from it, but the undigested substance causes irritation of the tender membranes of the stomach and intestines, decomposition sets in — result, gastro-enteritis, or acute diarrhoea, often ending in death. Other breeders bring about like results through other channels. They understand that young Kittens cannot masticate and digest solid food, like their mother, but as they think the little darlings ought to have plenty of nourishment, they introduce to their little stomachs large quantities of concentrated foods, such as Valentine’s Beef Juice, Brand’s Extract of Meat, Lemco, etc., forgetting all the time that these foods have little effect except in combination with others. All these concentrated foods need bulk of some kind to carry them, so that the system may draw from them the nourishment they contain. In such cases as this the good the concentrated food would do is lost, as its valuable properties pass away out of the body without accomplishing the end for which it has been given. Thus the poor little innocents suffer by not being given enough bulk of food.
What is required is a well-balanced dietary, one carefully thought out as to the needs of Kittens. It should ever be remembered that a young Kitten needs far more care in feeding than an old Cat. It must not only have food to keep life going, it must also be given a considerable amount of muscle and bone-forming food. Inattention to these details causes untold trouble.
What are the symptoms of gastro-enteritis? First of all, the patient loses its vitality, and this generally in the most rapid manner. The mouth becomes dry, and the tongue wrinkled, there is thirst, not so much for large quantities of water as for a lap or so every minute or two. This craving for water, however, should not be appeased, as it only adds to the irritation and inflammation. When looking into the Cat’s face it seems to convey the idea of being excessively anxious and worried about something; the pulse is quick, thready, and almost imperceptible. In a majority of cases vomiting is very persistent. Extreme debility characterises almost every case. The patient becomes cold and chilly, and evinces great tenderness about the abdomen when handled. The discharges are foetid, and there is generally considerable straining during evacuations.
The remedy most to be recommended is one which has proved most successful in bringing about some radical cures, homeopathic arsenicum album in the third attenuation, three to five grains given dry on the tongue, repeating the dose every two, three, or four hours, according to the symptoms and condition of the patient.
The Cat or Kitten affected with this distressing complaint must be kept in a warm, but well-ventilated room, and what little food is given to it must be of a very light and delicate character. Mellin's Food and boiled milk are about the best. I have seen it stated that cold water should be allowed, one authority going so far as to say iced water. My experience in all stomachic derangements leads me to the conclusion that cold drinks of any kind add to the inflammation. Further, it does not, to me, seem consistent to keep the patient warm outwardly, and in an even temperature, yet, at the same time, allow it to drink cold water, which certainly causes the temperature to vary. When the more distressing symptoms have subsided, and the temperature become nearly normal, a nourishing and sustaining diet may be given, such as chicken, and mutton broth, and beef tea in small quantities. As convalescence proceeds, boiled fish, bread and milk, milk puddings, and boiled oats may be given.
It must be remembered in dealing with gastro-enteritis that great promptitude is needed, as the attack is sometimes so sharp and sudden that the system cannot hold out against the exhaustion which supervenes, and death follows with dreadful speed, many patients dying within thirty-six and forty hours from the first appearance of the attack. When and wherever gastro-enteritis is found, disinfectants must abound. The greatest care must be exercised in the sanitary arrangements, and the owner or attendant should not proceed from the gastro-enteritis patients to any other inmates of the cattery, wearing the same outer garments, owing to the germs of this horrible complaint being so infectious. The dwelling place of the patient should, as soon as possible after convalescence, be thoroughly fumigated, and then lime-washed.
One word in conclusion — Don’t imagine immediately you see a case of diarrhoea in your cattery that it is gastro-enteritis. Treat it for diarrhoea, and nine times out of ten the more dreaded complaint will not make its appearance. In both diarrhoea and gastro-enteritis half a teaspoonful of lac bismuthi may be given in the food twice; daily with good effect.
This is a complaint from which many Cats suffer, and one which is the precursor of many other diseases, therefore should receive far more attention than it does. Many eruptions on the skin are the direct result of indigestion, and are easily cured if the cause is removed. Yet nine times out of ten these skin eruptions are treated as though they were the primary disease themselves, when, as a matter of fact, they are only secondary, being the result of a disordered state of the digestive organs. If, instead of using outward remedies and attacking the skin complaint, an onslaught was made on the organs of digestion, the outward eruptions would often disappear more quickly than they do. What is the use of pouring oil and water on a fire at one and the same time? Yet this is what is done often in cases of indigestion. The consequences of the complaint are tackled, whilst nothing is done to eradicate the contributory first causes.
Overfeeding, want of exercise, lack of ventilation and light, all cause derangement of the digestive organs, and much pain and suffering to the patient afflicted. Diarrhoea, constipation, vomiting, and cough are often the result of nothing more than indigestion. Most Cats are kept too fat, and suffer more or less from this complaint. The first treatment in cases of indigestion is to clear the bowels, and this can be done either by a dose of castor oil, or a purgative pill, such as Beecham’s or Carter’s. The bowels having freely acted the patient should be given a stomach tonic. One of the best is composed as follows:— powdered rhubarb half-scruple, powdered ginger half-scruple, extract of gentian 2 scruples; mix and make into two dozen pills, and give one to a full grown Cat morning and night until the normal state of health is restored. In cases of flatulence arising from indigestion 10 drop doses of spirit of sal volatile in water will often give relief, or as much bi-carbonate of soda as will lay on a three-penny piece may be dropped down the throat after meals. During an attack of indigestion the diet should be very plain and meagre. Exercise and plenty of fresh air will also assist the cure.
These often arise when a Cat has had a miscarriage, or has produced a litter of dead Kittens, the immediate cause being the stopping up of the milk ducts. They sometimes occur through malformation of the glands or teats. Generally speaking, however, the milk itself is the cause; owing to its not being drained oft it hardens, decomposition sets in, followed by inflammation and tumours. Blows, bruises, and cold are also contributory causes, whilst the hurried drying up of the milk by artificial means is a very common cause. There is always a certain amount of cruelty and risk in stopping the flow of milk, but of course there are times when it cannot be avoided. When it is absolutely necessary to dry off the milk quickly the Cat should be given a very spare and dry diet which should be well sprinkled with salt. A dose of castor oil should be given, followed by two grains of iodide of potassium twice a day, whilst the teats should be well rubbed with the following liniment— Iodide of potassium 2 drams, soap liniment 2 ounces, oil of camphor 2 ounces.
If in spite of this preventive treatment, tumours form, the following ointment should be used; Iodide of potassium 1 dram, powdered camphor 1 dram, strong mercurial ointment half ounce. This should be well mixed, and rubbed in three times daily. In cases which are not discovered until the tumours are full and ripe there is no other treatment but lancing. The tumour should be cut downwards so as to ensure perfect drainage. The parts must be washed every two hours with a warm solution of Condy’s Fluid, and dressed with zinc ointment. Care must, however, be taken not to let the opening close too quickly.
Adult Cats are not often troubled with affections of the eyes if kept in a normal and healthy condition, but Kittens, with all the care possible, are more or less subject to inflammatory affections of this delicate organ. Some Kittens have a natural weakness of the eye from a very early stage in their career. This can be overcome by bathing with strong cold tea, or the ordinary Zinc Lotion, which can be obtained from any chemist. For cold in the eye I have found bathing with warm new milk very efficacious. When, however, there is much inflammation, and discharge of a thick mattery kind, the eyes should be bathed with warm milk to remove the mucous, and then washed with the following lotion:— Boracic Acid, half oz.; Sulphate of Zinc, 8 grs.; Solution of Atrophine, 20 drops; water, 8 oz. This should be repeated every hour. In all eye affections the patient should be kept in a room from which the full glare of the light has been excluded; semi-darkness is most conducive to the comfort and early recovery of patients suffering from any disease of the eye.
This is often contracted by Cats of a weakly nature when first sent to a show. Not being used to a pen, they omit to follow the dictates of Nature, with the result that the kidneys become disordered, paralysis supervenes, and when the Cat arrives home its hind quarters are useless. Sometimes paralysis is induced by cold caught on the journey. Sweet spirit of nitre given in 30 drop doses, three times a day, will oft relieve the most distressing symptoms, if the loins and hindquarters are also well rubbed with Elliman’s, or some other stimulating embrocation. Nux Vomica, in one drop doses, every thirty minutes, will also give relief. The homeopathic tincture, of course, must be used.
This disease is one which is seldom found in a Cattery, still upon occasions it does make its appearance. It is due to a parasite, and like all parasitical diseases fearfully contagious. It may be contracted in dirty, ill-ventilated, or damp dwelling places, from a human being, or from some other animal. Cases have been known of its being contracted from hay which has been in contact with mice, which are very liable to this disease. For this reasön some fanciers never use hay or straw in their Catteries. The most efficacious treatment is to cut away the fur all round the part affected, and paint it twice a day with iodide of iron. Painting with equal parts of carbolic acid and glycerine is also very effective in its results.
Whenever a Cat begins to lose its coat in patches, disease of the skin should be suspected. If on examination little spots of scurf are found, a cooling diet should be given, more vegetable matter being introduced into the food, which should also be dusted with flowers of sulphur twice a day. The spots might be washed with tobacco water, which can be made in the following manner: Take of ordinary twist tobacco half-an-ounce, steep it in one pint of boiling water, and when cool apply with a sponge to the parts affected. If this does not remove the redness and scurf, then arsenic should be used, three drops of Fowler’s Solution being given in the food twice a day. If during the arsenic treatment any running of water from the eye is perceived, the Fowler’s Solution should be stopped for a day or two and then resumed. Great care should be used in this treatment, and above all, do not forget to keep the patient warm. Cuticura Soap is also a most excellent preparation to use as a cleanser in all affections of the skin, its healing properties being very great.
Several of the Cat specialists, such as Ward, Salvo, and James make up good lotions for use in cases of mange and eczema, and as they give full directions for use with the same, it is almost better in a common disease of this character to use such.
These are the very "bete noir" of the Cat breeder. From their earliest days to their latest Cats are subject, in great measure, to the incursions of these pests, and from them proceed many of the illnesses which attack our pets. Fits, diarrhoea, loss of coat, etc., are often caused by worms. Three kinds of worms have to be fought against — the little round worms, thread worms, and tape worms. The first is, as a rule, very easily expelled, as it only inhabits the lower bowel. Thread worms are more troublesome, as they often penetrate the lungs and bronchial tubes. Kittens are very subject to both these kinds. The worst of all to deal with is the tape worm. Happily, this does not so often attack our pets, although I have come across one or two instances lately in which tape worm has been found in quite young Kittens. Much argument has been indulged in as to how, why, and when worms are contracted, but nothing really satisfactory has been evolved. One thing, however, seems to be generally admitted; that Cats fed largely on meat are more predisposed to worms than others. Whenever a Cat or Kitten begins to look dull, loses its appetite, and becomes listless in its movements, worms may be suspected, and no harm can result from a dose of worm medicine. Such excellent preparations are made up by Freeman, Ward, Salvo, and James, that it is needless to give a lot of recipes ior the treatment of worms. These specialities are made up in an effective and practical manner, and full directions as to administration given with them. Whenever worm medicine is given the Cat or Kitten should have no food for at least twelve hours before. The early morning is the best time to give worm pills or powders. The patient should be carefully watched after. It is no use dosing for worms unless you notice the results. In dealing with tape worm, the vermifuge will have to be repeated, maybe three or four times, because the worm will only come away in segments. Between each dose of the vermifuge a tonic of some kind may be given, such as Scott’s Emulsion or Fellows' Syrup of the Hypophosphites.
The first treatment to be given in cases of wounding is to remove with a sharp pair of scissors the hair from those portions of the skin immediately surrounding the spot where the wound or cut is to be seen. Having done this, a thorough cleansing should be given with luke-warm water and Condy’s Fluid. If it is only a simple wound or cut a little healing ointment should be applied. The bathing should be repeated twice or thrice a day, and after carefully drying the wound the ointment should be applied to the wound. Zinc ointment is useful in such cases, and so is a mixture of Vaseline and sulphur in equal proportions. I remember on one occasion curing a very bad crushed foot with repeated bathing as described above, and applications of ordinary home-made lard without salt. For slight wounds, cuts, and scratches, Cuticura soap is a safe and reliable remedy. I have known many such cases cured by simply washing with this soap in the ordinary manner, three or four times a day, the parts affected.
Orange Persian, 1st, championship and cups Crystal Palace, winner of 26 lsts, sire of numerous winners.
Wynnstay Swagger and Wynnstay Leo,
A pair of grand Creams, both large winners and proved ßires.
Lovely Blue Persian, huge bone, grand eye, but his outstanding excellence is his lovely sound colour.
Ch. Wynnstay Marcus,
The most snccessful Silver Tabby Persian of the year, best Silver Tabby at Hounslow, Richmond, Cambridge, Sandy, Birmingham, Westminster, Newbury and Crystal Palace.
Wynnstay Blazing Boy,
Grand young Orange Persian, descended from Wynnstay Blazer and Ch. Kew Comyn, 1st and championship Newbury, only time shown.
Ch. Wynnstay Blue Peter,
Best Short-hair Blue Irving, winner of many 1sts, championsnips, etc.
FEE FOR EITHER - 21s.
Wynnstay Red Rover,
A grand young Short-hair Red, winner of two 1sts, only time shown.
Fee, 10s. 6d. at present.
Gt. N. and L. & N.W. Railways. Queens met if advised.
MRS. F. W. WESTERN, SANDY, BEDS.
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SOMETHING ABOUT SILVERS. — By T. B. MASON. A plain, practical treatise on all the Silver varieties. Full of Instruction. Invaluable to Novices. Price 1s. 2d.
BELGIAN HARE RABBITS. — By T. J. AMBROSE. An up-to-date work, on the Problems which concern Belgian Hare breeoers. A sure guide to success. Price 1s. 3d.
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THE LOP RABBIT. — By W. KNIGHTBRIDGE. The most exhaustive, instructive, and practical work ever written on Lops. Price 1s. 2d.
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CAVIES (Revised and Enlarged). — By C. A. HOUSE. This work deals most thoroughly with the breeding and general management of exhibition Cavies. Price 1s. 3d.
FANCY MICE AND RATS. — By W. MAXEY. The latest, most instructive, most practical book ever written on these charming pets. Price 1s. 2d.
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OWL PIGEON. — By W. F. LUMLEY. Contains much that is novel, historical and practical. All Owl men should read it. Price 1s. 8d.
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DISEASES OF PIGEONS. — By R. WOODS. One of the most useful works ever published. Price 1s. 8d.
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:: At Stud ::
Son of the Gondolier, a massive Cat of a sound Medium Blue, fine head, deep orange eyes, winner 1st in Stud, Doncaster, 2nd and 3rd, and special, including best blue male in show, two 2nds Hounslow, and special and other prizes.
Queens met and every care taken. FEE, £1 1s.
BLACK AND BLUE PERSIAN KITTENS.
Black and Blue Persian Kittens of the best strains may usually be obtained from the Ebworth Park Cattery. Strong, healthy Kittens, veritable balls of fluff, with splendid shape and bone, and most gorgeous eyes.
MRS. DELAMERE BOUTH, Ebworth Park, Stroud, Glos.
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The Hyver Stud Persians
CYM OF HYVER.
Magnificent pale Blue Persian, massive broad head, short face, lovely shape, winner every time shown. Sire of 1st and 2nd prize winners, Hounslow 1909, 1910; 1st, 2nd, and 3rd winning kittens, Westminster, 1910; 1st Blue pairs, 1st Female kitten, 3rd Male kitten, Crystal Palace, 1910.
CH. BLUE JACKET OF HYVER.
Winner of championship, three cups, five specials, including best in show, two 1sts, Richmond; 1st and two 2nds. Sandy; 1st and championship, Burton; two 1sts, Hounslow; two 2nds, Westminster; whilst as a kitten he won 2nd Sandy, 1st, Leamington, two 2nds Bristol, two 1sts Westminster, and two 2nds Newbury.
Ch. Blue Jacket is sound clear Blue in colour, he carries a wealth of coat, his eyes are most lovely copper colour, and he has plenty of bone.
BLUE DOMINO OF HYVER.
2nd Richmond (pairs); two 3rds, Burton; five specials, gold medal, three 1sts, one 2nd, special best Blue Kitten, and reserve best kitten in show, Westminster; 1st and 2nd,
A magnificent young Blue, grand shape, capital head and eye, great strength of limb, and long flowing coat.
Fee for each of these aristocratic Stud Cats, 25/-.
MRS. STEPHEN, Hyver Hall, BARNET.
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Saxon Earl Godwin
A sound Blue Persian (on the light side), short face, grand wide head, and orange eyes. A big strong Male.
A SUCCESSFUL SIRE OF TRUE BLUE KITTENS THAT EXCEL IN EYE COLOUR.
FEE - £1 1s.
Playful and hardy little balls of fur. Trained to a house with carpets. Long Pedigrees. The Best and most Noted Strains only.
SAVAGE, C/o Willers, Trumplngton Rd. CAMBRIDGE.
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THE BACKWELL SMOKES
CHAMPION BACKWELL JAVELIN
The unbeaten Smoke. Grandson of Champion Backwell Jogram. Sire of The Backwell Jest. PURE SMOKE PEDIGREE.
FEE - £1 1s
MRS. H. V. JAMES,
Backwell, near Bristol.
Station: Nailsea, G.W.R.
MRS. ANDERSEN, 48, MORLEY ROAD, TWICKENHAM, MIDDLESEX,
BREEDER OF SMOKES.
Owner and breeder of IVANCA, two championships Westminster and Newbury, 1912, probably the finest Smoke female in existence, and TWICKENHAM PRINCESS, ist Richmond, 1912.
Kittens, males, females and neuters, of this fascinating breed usually for sale at moderate prices.
MISS GRUNDY, SPRINGFIELD, HEYWOOD, near MANCHESTER.
Breeder (from Prize-winning Stock only) and Exbibitor of Blue Persians. Length of Coat a Speciality.
Blue Russian, of Long and Famous Pedigree.
Rare Silver Abyssinian, winner many First Prizes, etc.
Cats Boarded. Exceptional and experienced care.
Mrs. CAREW COX, 71, Clyde Road, Addiscorobe, Croydon.
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