The first work published since 1936 and bringing up-to-date News and Views to all those interested in THE SIAMESE CAT
By SYDNEY W. FRANCE
Member Committee Siamese Cat Club.
Editor: “Cats and Kittens” Magazine.
OVER FIFTY ILLUSTRATIONS
With a foreword by Miss Kit Wilson, Vice-Chairman of the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy, Member Committee Siamese Cat Club, Internationally famous Judge and Breeder.
“CATS AND KITTENS” PUBLICATIONS,
THIRTY NINE, FULL STREET, DERBY
Foreword by Miss Kit Wilson
I History and Origin
II Appearance and Character
III Breeding and Management
IV Sending to Stud, Kittens, Registering
V Keeping in House and Flat
VI On Feeding
IX The Siamese Cat Club, Its Show, Prises, Rules
X Behind the Pedigrees
XI Photographing Siamese
XII Cross Breeding
XIV The Medicine Chest
FOR REMEMBRANCE - TO A SIAMESE CAT
I shall walk in the sun alone
Whose golden light you loved:
I shall sleep alone
And stirring, touch an empty place:
I shall write uninterrupted
(Would that your gentle paw
Could stay my moving pen just once again!)
I shall see beauty
But none to match your living grace:
I shall hear music
But not so sweet as the droning song
With which you loved me.
I shall fill my days
But I shall not, cannot forget:
Sleep soft, dear friend,
For while I live you shall not die.
Until the very early part of this century, Siamese cats, if indeed they had been heard of at all, except by very few travellers in Siam, were regarded more or less as legendary animals — it has been stated that they were kept by Siamese Royalty and Nobility for the transmigration of the souls of the departed, and that on the death of any such personage of high rank, the cat selected for the reception of the soul was taken from the household, and sent with much pomp and splendour to the temple, where it spent the rest of its life in magnificence, among the beauties of that place, attended by monks, and lauded by the priests. People have in fact stated that they have seen such cats eating out of golden dishes, accepting choice offerings, and reclining on cushions of the finest material all provided by the relatives of the departed soul, when visiting its supposed recipient, thus presumably, they hoped for special blessings!
There is another old legend which explains why some Siamese Cats have a kink in their tail, this says that a Princess of Siam once used her cats’ tail as a ring stand, and the kink prevented the rings falling and being lost while their owner was bathing. The most famous legend I suppose is that of the Ark, wherein the animals got bored, and the ape became enamoured of the lioness, and produced the first cat. This seems a very probable legend, as any owner of a Siamese cat will agree, and in spite of biological disprovements has not every Siamese all the attributes of the ape together with the bravery of the lion?
Although the origin of all cats is lost in mystery, and is a question asked so many times, with never a really suitable answer, like “Topsy” they cannot just have growed! That great authority on Siamese Cats the late Mrs. Phyl Wade, was of the impression that these originated from Egypt, while others aver that they came from Malaya. Where-ever they came from, we are lucky that they are here, so, let us forget the origin of the species, and study that fascinating creature who now graces so many homes, and who, in their veritable hundreds once a year, at the Siamese Cat Club’s Annual Show, display their beauty and grace in a manner comparable to any show girl or film hero!
It is said by many, that the Siamese Cat favours a dog more than a cat. Personally I think this is a fallacy, and an insult to both creatures. True, Siamese are often seen walking in the streets and parks on a collar and lead. So too are many other breeds of cats — Manx in particular. In fact, at the early shows they were always exhibited in this manner that the judge might have a true knowledge of their “rumpiness.” I have always found that the person who makes this statement is one who would if possible disparage a cat, simply because they think it is the thing to do, and, not wishing to prove the futility of their reasoning, try in every possible way to differentiate between any cat and the Siamese of their choice!
Of all cats Siamese are the most individual, and even in early youth their kittens show their own individuality, no two are alike, and those who study Siamese in the mass, can quite easily differentiate between rows of them sitting — (or should I say in most cases pacing their pens) — waiting to catch the eye of the judge.
There are many false charges brought against cats, by those who do not understand them. The greatest is possibly that they are only capable of affection to their homes, and show indifference to their owners. Personally I think this is one of the greatest libels that has ever been perpetrated. Cats are capable of the greatest affection and fidelity. True, they have a strong bias to the inanimate things in their home, claiming this piece of furniture, or that cushion, or one particular spot before the fire as their own, but they must have their loved ones to make that home complete. People will try to prove their case by quoting cases of cats returning home, finding their way often hundreds of miles by road when they have been taken to their new domicile by train or car. In nearly every case it will be found, if all the evidence is sifted, that something prevented their own people from staying with them, or the knowledge that one of the family was left behind, or even some untoward incident on arrival was the chief cause of their decision to return from whence they came.
My Siamese “Fuggles” was so devoted to me that she neither ate nor drank while I was out of the house. This was entirely her own idea, and certainly not one that I agreed with, but then Fuggles was a law unto herself and I could do nothing about it! Although there were others in the house of whom she was very fond no one made up for me. To give a small example, from the day she arrived she made up her mind that my bed was her bed, and always slept with her head on the pillow, and nothing daunted her from the nightly ritual of rising from where ever she was sitting, (mostly on my lap!) at such time as she thought it was correct for us to retire, demanding that the door be opened for her, and walking upstairs with great dignity, having a good wash on the chair, and then putting herself between the sheets. Even family cares usually the be all and end all of a mother cat’s existence, were to her a mixed blessing, and needed a great deal of contemplation on her part! One time when she had so far forgotten herself, and spent, it must be admitted, as short a time as possible in the garden with an awful looking thug cat from Heaven knows where, and as a result presented an expectant world with four tabby kittens, quite adorable, but excessively plain, she was really perplexed. She loved those little atromites, but on the other hand her mode of life was disrupted. However, as usual, a solution was found! A friend unexpectedly came to stay, and occupied an empty bed in my room. Fuggles who was very fond of her greeted her with almost too much enthusiasm, and then retired back to her family. That night after the light was out, my friend was roused by feeling a plop on her bed, and something being very carefully and quietly pushed down beside her. The “plop” was Fuggles, the “pushed” was a kitten. Four times this occurred, and then having saved her conscience by seeing that the kittens were warm and snug, Fuggles spent a most comfortable night in her usual place and my friend the most uncomfortable she has ever spent! The end of this story was not far off. Fuggles loved her children very dearly, so much that they never reached maturity, owing to the fact that, in her desire to be with me, the poor little things were yanked from place to place, a process, to say the least of it very injurious to their wellbeing, and while probably in her own way regretting their early demise Fuggles took to her usual mode of life, going with me everywhere, with a greater zest than ever.
Perhaps, from a long history closely allied to human companionship the Siamese of all breeds cannot thrive without it, and the pathetic sight of even the smallest kitten displayed for sale in a pet shop, (and alas there are far too many so seen), must wring the heart of any cat lover. The same naturally applies to any kitten but somehow Siamese look the most pathetic. Its plea seems to be, “do buy me, and give me the home and love I do so require.” Once, having the trust and affection of a Siamese you have something which is quite intangible, and if by your actions or treatment you lose it, you have broken an almost sacred trust, and in many cases caused the golden gates to open and admit one more small traveller into the unknown. Perhaps it is better so.
Siamese are great hunters, and will tackle prey almost as large as themselves. One I had, the predecessor of Fuggles, called “Val” (her real name was Valhalla — a name which suited her admirably!) would bring water rats, barn rats, stoats or weasels and lay them at my feet, sometimes she would bring in full grown rabbits, but this necessitated rather a long journey as they were only found by going across three fields, and through a wood, which caused rather too long an absence from home, but nevertheless sometimes the sport was worth it. Her passion for hunting once caused me no little embarrassment, and considerable cost. Val was uncanny in her ability to open doors. True, some needed considerable contemplation, but it was not long before she found the way. On this occasion she visited a neighbour who had some special breed of ferrets. She really only went to pay a social call, but finding there was no one at home, natural curiosity got the better of her, and she took a stroll round the garden, where she found those ferrets. How she opened the hutch door will always be a mystery, but open it she did. The next thing we knew was the appearance on our kitchen table of a pair of ferrets, past all human aid, a kindly but quite unappreciated thought, and one for which she was never a welcome guest at the neighbouring house again. To this day I feel that my neighbour strongly suspected my statement that Val had opened that door!
Val hunted for other reasons. At that time we lived near some watercress beds, and as is well known watercress has great medicinal qualities and her hunting proclivities often caused her to suffer from intestinal upsets. When she did, it was her habit to go down to the beds, catch and eat a few frogs, which on later examination were found to have these qualities and after doing this for a short time while, she always recovered, and then carried on in her normal way, never going near the beds (really she wasn’t too fond of water), until she had the next bout. Alas even this did not save her at the end. She must have picked up some poison, and, in spite of the most skilled veterinary attention, she was past all aid. We buried her in view of her happy hunting grounds and we missed her terribly. Val proved conclusively that the often heard statement that Siamese are very delicate is another myth. Her origin and pedigree were completely unknown, but she must have been bred from excellent stock. She was first heard of when the late Mrs, Wade was rung up by some people in Albany Street near Regent’s Park, who, knowing her passion for all animals, informed her that a monkey was loose over the roof tops, and that enquiries at the Zoo had proved that they had not lost one. Mrs. Wade went at once, and her investigations proved that it was not a monkey, but a Siamese Cat, though how she had got there was quite a mystery.
It was mid-winter, snow had been falling quite heavily, and there was a bitter wind. It seemed quite impossible for anything to survive under such conditions, but although it took some days before the capture, and she must have been up there for several days even before she was noticed, she never ailed a bit. In fact, had it not been that she was hungry, and at last the placing of the daily plate of food enticed her inside, she could have hung out for a considerable period. After she was caught Mrs. Wade took her home, but the disapproval shown to the stranger by her own Siamese family made life very difficult. That was where I came in. As we met Val and I looked at each other and in that look mutual trust and affection was born, which never died throughout the few short years we were together.
Readers of Cat Books and Cat Magazines must be sick to death of stories of individual cats, but it is the only way that we can prove the validity of any statement, and if the following story which has been published in “Cats and Kittens” in the series I wrote called “Believe it or Not” has been read by my present readers I apologise, but I think it is the classic example of the reasoning power of a Siamese cat, although I have no doubt that other owners can give many such examples. Unfortunately, I don’t know them, so have to give my own! Fuggles’ classic example of the reasoning power of Siamese sounds fantastic but can be proved absolutely. My work hours, which Fuggles openly showed bored her to extinction, were spent by her in varied ways. If the weather was not to her liking, she made it a habit to sleep on top of a gas fridge we had in the back kitchen — in spite of the fact that she had slightly gassed herself on several occasions we could never break her of the habit, so wisely left it alone.
A woman from the village had been engaged to do the rough work, and on her arrival, she saw Fuggles in her usual spot. Never having seen a Siamese Cat before, she looked at her in some amazement remarking, “never knew you kept a monkey too.” The look Fuggles gave her had to be seen to be believed. If ever a look boded ill that one did, but naturally Mrs. X as we will call her, not understanding, enlarged on her statement, in spite of the fact that we pointed out her error in no uncertain terms. A few days later Mrs. X with great indignation gave notice, and on being asked the reason of her sudden decision, gave the astounding explanation that “that cat tries to murder me.” On the face of it, it seemed absurd, but nevertheless she insisted that her statement was true, adding with great indignation that “She throws things at me.” This seemed even more incredible. However, investigation proved her statement to be correct. Over the sink we had a saucepan shelf under which there was another smaller one for the lids. Still not believing the woman’s statement we asked her to come the following morning and carry out her usual duties. After some deliberation, and let it be admitted a certain amount of bribery, she agreed, and we went outside to watch through the window. Sure enough she was right. On arrival her first duty was to wash the breakfast things. As soon as she had got to the sink, Fuggles was seen to spring on to the shelf, and run along the saucepans to the far end from which she could reach the lower shelf. Once on it by a serpentine movement, each lid was pushed over and fell into the sink over which the woman was bending, the third lid just missing her head. What could we say? Naturally the woman left, and to our knowledge Fuggles never again made that journey.
Undoubtedly Siamese have all the wisdom of the East. Behind those blue oriental eyes is a brain which is as active as the most astute human counterpart, in fact one might even go so far as to say that Siamese Cats out-oriental the most oriental.
It would not be fair to anyone to say that Siamese are perfect. In fact they have some of the most exasperating habits, one being their lack of respect for even the most expensive soft furnishings and the most choice furniture. Unless checked in early youth, anything serves them as a scratching block and the finest brocades or strongest linens are ripped to pieces by those powerful claws. Owners of kittens however have only themselves to blame if this occurs, as with training, and the provision of a proper scratching block this exasperating habit can be easily checked. Then the love call of the female is apt to be trying both to the household or the neighbours, in fact I did know of a visit paid to a certain household by an inspector of the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, it having been reported, that the cries of a child from an upper room, could only mean that some awful form of torture was being practised! In vain did the householder state that the cries were those of a Siamese female desirous of finding a mate, and even ocular proof that the only occupant of the chamber of horrors was a Siamese Cat, hardly convinced the man, especially as the owner of the voice was silent during his visit to her abode, only starting her cries again when he was rather dubiously taking his leave. He insisted on going upstairs again and only then were his suspicions allayed.
Never consider that you own a Siamese Cat. They always own you. This is in some ways a mixed blessing but it is quite safe to say that its joys completely outweigh its annoyances. In fact it would be more truthful to say that ownership constitutes a partnership, and cannot be taken lightly. Once taken, you as the human factor, have a responsibility; in your hands lies a fidelity trust and affection which only you can break. If you do, and if you have any conscience, it can never really be at peace again. Since the popularity of the Siamese became evident, there have been some who have thought that their breeding is a sure money maker. This is quite wrong. As their popularity increases so does the knowledge of their standards, and it is no use asking inflated prices for inferior specimens. The trend that there is to-day in all branches of small livestock breeding to use females as money-making machines is not only cruel, but quite senseless. To achieve anything worth its price, breeding must be carried out with discretion and discrimination. Overbred queens produce under-standard kittens. The same applies to over used studs. Thought must be given to the perfection of the progeny.
Handling the breed at shows one becomes convinced that there is a great tendency to breed for the perfection of one point, forgetting that it is all of them that makes the perfect whole. For instance how many times does one find perfect eye colour, and imperfection in coat, points and shape. Eyes however perfect can only gain twenty points out of the 100 required to make the perfect cat. When selecting breeding pairs note should be taken not only of pedigree but of all the other points which go to make that 100 per cent, standard. For example.
Queen pale eyes, good shape. Stud excelling in eye colour but also with good shape.
Queen dark brindled coat. Stud pale with well-defined points.
Queen excellent whip tail. Stud to eradicate other faults but must have whip tail.
Always try to eradicate the faults of a queen by the discriminating use of a stud, but do remember that no stud can completely wipe out the faults of a queen, or vice versa. However good the queen, the progeny will only be mediocre if a faulty stud is used, and again vice versa.
I believe that all cats, and particularly Siamese, must have human companionship. Many will tell you that a cat is sufficient to itself. Maybe it is, but there is no doubt that the sleek well fed cat who enjoys the confidence of humans is in every way the better animal. Of all domestic animals the cat is the nearest to its wild state, and, domesticated, it must occupy those surroundings which will bring it into close relationship with domesticity. I am well aware that it is impossible to keep stud cats as household pets owing to their habit of spraying, which as everyone knows has very obnoxious after effects, and that studs must be housed in their own domain, but, even so his domain should be where he can be near human habitation, hear the human voice and not feel that he is ostracised and quite unable to have any freedom in the companionship of humans. Any cat kept in a pen, even in spotless cleanliness, and unfailing regularity of feeding will revert in time to the timidity of wild nature, and will at times have a savage mistrust of man, therefore if that pen is right away from the sight and sound of civilisation, and its occupant having got that mistrust and timidity, it is bound to be transmitted to his progeny however docile the queen he mates. Stud ownership is a problem which should be embarked upon with thought, long term vision and a great humanity. Has anyone the right to imprison for life any creature without giving it certain compensation for its lack of freedom. Prises are given at the Siamese Show for the cats easiest to handle. It is quite certain that no cat winning that prize comes from a stud who is unused to human touch. I have seen kittens bred from purely “cattery” parents, which are nervous all their lives however good the home in which they may find themselves.
Siamese like to be “treated rough” and although they may select the most beautiful silken cushion as their own particular spot, yet they like to feel that they can sleep on the coal if they so desire. They have now become so acclimatised to this country that they need not be treated as hot house plants. Treat them as ordinary cats, naturally with care should they get thoroughly wet, and giving particular attention to the danger of draughts. In fact, if you treat them as you would a child you will not go far wrong.
A few years before World War 2, interest was beginning to be shown in Blue Pointed Siamese. These had caused some considerable controversy among breeders, many of whom were of the opinion that they were “sports” and therefore could not be bred true, but a few, whose convictions based on research refuted these opinions, and “The Blue Pointed Siamese Cat Club” was formed. Through the offices of this Club, which guaranteed classes and offered its cups and specials at all the shows Blue points became a separate breed listed on the G.C.’s list of breeds as 24a, and specimens were shown in their own classes not as had been the custom before the advent of the Club mixed with the Seal Points in the ordinary classes. The late Mrs. Cox-Ife was deeply interested and kept the Club in a flourishing position in her capacity as Hon. Secretary acting as its delegate on the G.C. where it had representation, which was granted to it on the usual basis of one delegate per 50 members. In common with so many other Clubs throughout the war years it ceased its activities, but now, once again, though it has to be admitted the Club passed through a number of vicissitudes, it is flourishing, and every year more and more specimens are appearing on the show bench, and, through the care that has been taken by breeders for the improvement of the breed there are many full champions to-day, who have won their certificates, not as an encouragement to a new breed, but, because they are in every way worthy of the honours they have won.
Lately particular interest is being taken by some breeders in Chocolate Pointed Siamese. The greatest living authority on this fascinating variety is Miss Wentworth Fitz-*William of Slingsby Yorks., one of the most valued breeders and judges of many years standing who has always owned some, and from whose stock most of those in existence to-day have sprung. A short while ago a meeting of those interested in this variety was called and while it is as yet not in the limelight, the breeding of Chocolates is much in the minds of certain breeders, many of whom possess specimens, and who are also studying pedigrees in which there is a strain which might be beneficial to its progression. It is an interesting fact however that there are considerable numbers of chocolate points in France, but their owners have no idea as to their origin, the strain however must have been good, as they are without exception the only Siamese worth showing over there (or at least they were at the January 1948 show, when I was judging. Miss Yorke who judged at the Spring Show said as much in her report, and followed up my awards to the cats which were kittens at the first show) and who conform to the standard of points. For those who have never seen a Chocolate they are often smaller in build than the seal or blue point, and their points are of a rich milk chocolate colour. They are extremely intelligent and affectionate, and have, so I am told by Miss Prentis, who owned a most fascinating one called “Georgiana” a favourite habit of nattering and chatting. In fact I noticed many times while staying with Miss Prentis that “Georgie” when on her lawful or unlawful occasions, went about them with her jaw going nineteen to the dozen! It would, I think, be a most excellent thing for the fancy if there were more of these available, and it is to be hoped that there will be guaranteed classes at the shows for this variety. Knowing the breeders that are interested, it will, I think, be safe to say that this hope will materialise in the not too distant future.
Blue points are very popular in the U.S.A. many of them winning high awards at shows over there, but, although I am open to correction, I have not heard of any chocolates. I only had one of these in my classes at the Danish (Darak) show in 1946, and this was a very poor specimen and hardly worthy to carry on the breed, and was, in all probability a “sport.” It had been bought at quite a high price when a kitten as a seal point, and having met the vendor as well as the owner I am of the opinion that neither of them had the slightest idea that it was anything other than the usual seal.
Siamese kittens are born pure white, and until people became Siamese minded, many kittens were destroyed at birth, owing to the fact that the owners of the queens thought that they had mismated. In a case which was brought to my notice when I first came into the fancy, one owner would not believe that the stud owner had not let her queen out when she was on her visit, and solicitors letters passed on both sides, in fact, it was very grudgingly that the lady in question withdrew the charges she had hurled at the head of the unfortunate stud owner, and it was only by the exercise of much tact that a writ tor libel was not issued by the stud owner. Even so the kittens had all been destroyed, and as the mating had been arranged with great forethought, and great things were hoped of the progeny, the whole thing was a disaster.
It is interesting that Siamese though they have blue eyes are not deaf. Though it is in fact the usual case that blue eyed animals are nearly always so. White cats with blue eyes are nearly always as deaf the proverbial post, and the same disablement occurs in blue eyed horses and dogs. It is therefore pretty conclusive that the colour of the eye does not govern this malady, and that other causes have to be looked for.
No cat likes to be made to feel ridiculous. That is why it is quite rare that cat acts are seen. In fact, so hateful do cats regard anything that may make them feel that they are being ridiculed, that such acts are definitely not to be encouraged. Siamese have their own keen sense of humour, and will in the privacy of their own homes often play in the most ridiculous way, but woe betide anyone who draws attention to this game, it ceases immediately, and a very hurt expression comes over the player, who will try in every possible way to say that it was not playing, merely removing the offending object, which was in its way! But if it comes to you and says “I want a game, you play with me,” then you can go on until one or other of you falls exhausted, and it is quite certain that it will not be the Siamese.
While writing this an interesting fact has come to light with regard to chocolate points. Mr. Brian Stirling-Webb, the Hon. Treasurer of the Siamese Cat Club has been making a close study of this variety, and he states that practically every chocolate in the country can trace their pedigree back to an imported cat brought into this country in 1896; this may also account for those on the continent. Who knows, perhaps another from the litter was taken over there and that those now being shown are direct descendants.
From America we have heard of the Black Siamese with orange eyes but to my knowledge no specimen has ever been seen in this country. Then there have been long haired specimens, described as Burmese [Birmans?], they have the same colouring as the seal point, and long fur, which although in no way comparable with the Persian yet is definitely more long than short. Experiments however have proved that in breeding Siamese to other species [breeds] — varied forms can be made — this practise is not to be encouraged, as it may lead to definite malpractices as have occurred in other live stock.
A preface is a very difficult thing to write, especially when the book is about a subject on which there are so many authorities, one does not naturally wish to tread on the toes of the author. In these few pages I have endeavoured to give my own impressions of the breed, and in no way tried to disprove the validity of any statement made by the author whose typescript I have not even seen, which is, I think, all to the good. Let it be said then in conclusion, to which anyone who has the interest to read any book on the subject will agree, otherwise they would not be reading a book thus, but enjoying the peace of fireside, pipe and glass (in these days?) deep in “Forever Amber” or perhaps “Dick Barton,” — the Siamese is a most fascinating subject. Profound is their wisdom — how I would like to read a book written by a Siamese Cat on the human race! — deep is their friendship and affection, keen is their humour, and sharp are their claws which will strike fiercely at anyone on whom their displeasure rests.
You who read this book, if you are meeting a Siamese for the first time, consider before you embark into fellowship, and having considered, you will embark, and having embarked, you are no longer master of your own fate. You are forever fettered by a soft muscle which pushes itself into your neck, a voice which croons, two velvet gloves which will slap you when you stray, a warm body which will occupy not only your lap but the best armchair, and an intangible something which can only be called a Siamese Cat.
CHAPTER I - HISTORY AND ORIGIN
As editor of “Cats and Kittens” magazine, I have frequently been asked for the names of current books which are available and not out of print, regarding Siamese cats, and have had the handling of so many enquiries for advice in respect of them that I thought this small book would fill a long felt want.
There can be no doubt whatever that Siamese cats are becoming more and more popular, not only in this country, but particularly throughout the Empire, and in North America, and no cat show is complete without a large entry of Siamese. In fact the largest cat club in this country is the Siamese Cat Club, and this club holds Championship shows solely for Siamese cats.
The domestic cat has been associated with man for so long that it would be difficult to say exactly how and when this association came about, but there is certainly mention of cats in records going back at least 4,000 years. However, the history of the Siamese in this country is a very short one, and it is true to say that they have only been here within living memory, and that the first ones actually were from The Royal Palace of Siam. Even on this point there is much controversy and it is interesting to note that the first Siamese of which there is any record were said to have been brought to England in 1884 by Mr. Gould who was then Consul General in Bangkok at that time. In 1886, a pair of cats and two kittens were brought to England by Mrs. Vyvyan, these had actually been procured from the King’s Palace in Bangkok. In the same year, Mrs. Walker, the General’s daughter, brought over one male and three females. There is no doubt that at that time the true Siamese were kept in the Royal Palaces and Temples, and that few of them ever found their way from there except as gifts, which were then considered as of great worth.
In direct contradiction, Ida M. Mellen, well-known American authority on cats, in her “Practical Cat Book” published in 1939, says, “Although this cat generally is referred to as the Royal, and even as the Sacred Siamese, it is the common cat of Siam, just as the Manx, equally an aristocrat, is the common cat of the Isle of Man.” She then quotes from a letter written to her by Dr. Hugh M. Smith, Adviser in Fisheries to His Siamese Majesty’s Government for a dozen years from 1923 to 1934.
“I was well acquainted with cats in Siam, but made no special study of them. There appear to be two races peculiar to the country: the common form with pale fawn colour, black or dark brown feet, tips of ears, tail and muzzle, and blue eyes, well-known to cat fanciers all over the world, and a form of uniform mauve or Maltese colour with yellow eyes. There are no ‘palace’ cats in Siam. There are no ‘royal’ cats, although the strikingly marked creatures would be the natural ones to be kept in palaces. Any person can have a Siamese cat, and as a matter of fact there are many people outside the palaces and many foreigners who keep such cats as household pets. There are no ‘temple’ cats. The Buddhist priests, who do not live in the temples but in special buildings in the temple grounds, may keep cats, as they do dogs.
“A Siamese prince whom I know very well was visiting in London and was interviewed by one of the thousands of Siamese cat fanciers there. He told her there were more Siamese cats in London than in all Siam. You probably know about the cat not peculiar to Siam but found over much of South Eastern Asia, which always has a sharp kink near the tip of its tail. It is of various colours but never of the special Siamese cat colour, and is of no interest except for its tail.”
This does not bear out my own information on this point, because whilst living in Jersey I had the good fortune to meet and become friendly with Major Walton of Verona House, Grouville, who was until recently, in Siam in connection with the Rice Purchasing Commission, when he and his wife, both cat lovers, became friendly with the Prince Regent of Siam. Major Walton told the Prince Regent that he and his wife wanted to bring back some Siamese to England, but had not been able to find any at all in the country that were for sale. Before leaving Siam, Mrs. Walton was presented with a pair, male and female by the Prince Regent, and I actually went and saw them in quarantine in Jersey where they had a litter of five kittens, of which, later on, I bought two; a male and female.
These Siamese cats had coats of extremely fine quality texture, and colour, and very good head and body shape, splendid long whip' like tails, but with eyes which definitely failed in colour according to our standards here in England. They appear to be hazel, whereas there is no doubt that we have enormously improved the eye colour and have cats with beautiful deep blue eyes.
Major Walton’s remarks to me about the Siamese cats of the Royal Palaces were mentioned in an issue of “Cats and Kittens” magazine and subsequently a most interesting letter came along from Mr. A. N. M. Garry of Minehead, Somerset, in which he says:
“My wife and I are ardent cat lovers, and having spent most of my working life in Borneo, I feel I have some justification for writing to you about Siam and its cats. When I was in Siam in 1930, I was told that there were two distinct types of Siamese cats — apart from the Malay cat and crosses with it. The first is the one we see in England, but I think its points are a shade different, nigger brown instead of seal. The second, which was said to be peculiar to the Royal family and palaces, had the body colour of the first, but not the points, and hazel eyes. Having been a contemporary at Eton with the then King, I got a special permit to see the Bangkok Palace more thoroughly than the usual tourist does, and I saw one or two of these ‘Royal’ cats, whose appearance was (to the best of my recollection after so long) as I have described.
“At that time, the export of the first type, except neuter ones, was absolutely forbidden, owing to the fear that they might become extinct in Siam, because so many had been exported. The second type was absolutely unobtainable, far less exportable, for it was not to be seen outside the royal palaces. But owing to the war, and the various constitutional changes that Siam has undergone, the rules may well have been relaxed. It certainly looks as though Major Walton has been lucky enough to get hold of a pair of the scarcer ‘Royal type.’ Incidentally, I hope he is aware of the tendency of Siam born Siamese to chest troubles in damp or cool weather. I know of several people even out there, who have lost their pets from this cause.
“I am afraid I am quite unable to agree with Mrs. Adney’s friend that a Siamese must have a kinked tail to be considered pure bred out East. In my experience, the connoisseur out there, just as at home, demands the straight tail; but the fact remains that the majority of so-called Siamese cats in Malaya and Borneo have kinked tails, owing to one of their parents or forefathers having been a Malay cat. They still make lovely pets, and have the characteristics of pure-bred Siamese, such as the deep voice and the love of following their owners like dogs.
“The Malay cat, like the British domestic cat, is of varied colours, ginger, black, black and white, tabby and tortoiseshell. Some having Persian forbears, are long haired. Practically all have kinks, and I had one, a beloved ginger, called Peter, who was considered a cat of particularly good omen, as he had two kinks quite close together. They were very tender, and he hated them being touched. He lived to the age of seventeen — very old indeed for an animal in the tropics. He died a few months before the Japanese invaded Borneo.”
CHAPTER II - APPEARANCE AND CHARACTER
Having been breeding Siamese since 1932 we have become accustomed at my home to have visitors to the “Cattery” say, “How do you recognise them, they all look alike?” which of course is very amusing, because no cat is like its neighbour, and the Siamese cat is particularly an individualist, not merely in appearance but in its character. I think here that it might be as well to describe a typical Siamese.
The body is relatively small and slender, and very seldom does one find a Siamese exceeding fifteen pounds in weight. The coat should be short and close, revealing firm muscles and a panther-like gait in movement. The tail should be long and whip-like; fine bone on the legs, and small oval feet; the hind legs slightly higher than the front; the claws of the hind legs are unsheathed; the ears are wide at the base and well set upon the head, the more wedge-shaped the head the better, and the eyes should be of oriental type, that is with a slight slant, the colour should be as deep blue as possible. A definition of the exact colour would be hard to make, one might say forget-me-not, delphinium, aquamarine. Cross eyes and kinked tails occur among kittens and white toes, but these are not to be desired, and many breeders would put them down and not again breed from stock which had progeny of this kind. Actually body colour of the Siamese is pale fawn. The seal brown, almost black, ears, mask, tail and feet are called collectively “points,” the definition being seal point. The good specimen of Siamese must have the mask joined up to the base of the ears by tracings.
It is true that Siamese cats are born white and that as they grow older they become darker, with but few exceptions. The voice of the Siamese is deep and it is a great talker, Mrs. Grieg, well-known authority says, “They do not thrive unless talked to, and Siamese cats have a faculty of making themselves beloved where cats never have been liked or admitted before, and everyone who has one thinks it is the most beautiful and wonderful of all. The males do not exhibit the common disposition of the tom cat to destroy the young.”
Mrs. Cobb, the well-known American Siamese breeder says, “They are like mothers until the young males start to mature.” They will drive other cats and strange dogs off the premises.
The Siamese males are terrific fighters and must never be allowed to come in contact with other toms or there would be a dreadful combat, after which one might find the Siamese covered in blood, but which is not his own, and soon washes off, and he is usually found to have very few marks of the battle to carry.
In homes where there is more than one cat I think it is necessary to bestow equal attention on each one of them because the Siamese is very possessive and soon shows sign of jealousy if it does not receive as much attention as it feels entitled to.
A few words would not be sufficient to describe the voice of the Siamese. Not only is it deep and fairly melodious, but it is often employed, particularly by the female at mating time, and the entire male, at most times.
Some females when calling are not too troublesome, but others make so much noise, their owners are thankful to send them off to stud in sheer self-defence. There are those who call in a deep hoarse throaty voice, and others who work up to a shrill hysterical scream. One young queen of mine would race around the house, jumping on to window ledges to look out for a possible young man,then down again emitting a series of piercing staccato yells. An older queen had a call peculiarly her own, and I have never heard another like it in years of stud work. The only possible way to describe it is to say her voice went up and down the scale. She was, at any time, willing to carry on a conversation if the subject was milk, and if I refused to understand what she wanted, she would help matters by stretching out her right paw towards the milk jug and flexing and unflexing the claws like a hand, whilst she continued to talk. I always found it quite impossible to resist this appeal.
The male is usually very talkative at all times, but when there is a calling queen about, he will make as much, if not more noise than she does, and is often in danger of losing his voice for a while after a bout of prolonged shouting.
I am sure those who possess several Siamese will agree with me that they have entirely different voices. I have four queens, and without seeing them, I am positive I should know which was which just by hearing their voices.
CHAPTER III - BREEDING AND MANAGEMENT
Most Siamese females breed three times a year, having about five kittens to the litter, and the young females usually come into season every two weeks commencing at about eight months, sometimes even at six months, whilst older ones will “call” (this being the correct name for the period when Siamese may be mated), for as long as a month.
The Siamese is a very good mother and seems to get along with large litters. A litter of seven or eight is by no means out of the ordinary and litters of eleven and twelve have been reported. The “calling” usually starts early in the Spring and continues right through the year, but there is no doubt that the “calling” slackens off in the Autumn and in the Winter, to restart in earnest in the Spring. Of course the best time for kittens to be born is during the Summer, as they then have a splendid opportunity to become hardy, although it must be said that from a commercial point of view the Summer is not the best time to sell kittens. A lot are sold about Christmas time when there is a terrific demand for them as presents.
Anyone buying a Siamese cat to live in a house or flat would have to seriously consider if a female Siamese might not cause annoyance to neighbours, particularly in a flat, as when a female Siamese is “calling” she can certainly make a lot of noise and keep it up for a long time. The only thing that does keep her quiet is to have her mated. It is easy because of this noise and the extra “fussiness” of the female to know when she is “calling,” and it is as well to have arrangements made with the owner of a Siamese male so that when she “calls” the “queen,” (this is a name for the Siamese female cat), can be put into a suitable animal travelling basket and sent off to the owner of the stud cat, at the same time telephoning or wiring to announce her arrival. The stud fees are usually two guineas, with the return carriage, usually about three shillings.
The gestation period is nine weeks. It is next to impossible to put up with a Siamese queen that is not mated up, as her persistent “calling” becomes just a little bit too much to bear.
However it is now possible to have a relatively simple, and by no means dangerous operation performed by a veterinary surgeon. It is called spaying. It is usual to take a female to the veterinary surgeon one day and collect it the next, when apart from a little quietness, no ill-effects can be noticed. The best time for this to be done is at about six months, but it can safely be done at any time. I know of quite a number of Siamese which have had numerous litters of kittens and when several years old have then been “spayed” with no ill effects.
As to the male Siamese I should think few people have successfully kept an entire male in house or flat. All breeders have separate quarters for their males. Usually a shed or hut outside, some distance from the house, because of his persistent “calling” for queens. The reason it is impossible to keep him in the house is that he persists in “spraying” in many places, many times every day, usually on the curtains or the grand piano or the side of an armchair. The remedy here of course is the neutered Siamese male. Veterinary surgeons to-day regard this operation as a simple one and it is very seldom that one hears of there being any trouble with Siamese which have been neutered. The entire male is a very charming and friendly cat and loves to have attention bestowed on him, but there is no doubt that he is really essentially a breeder’s cat.
When the kittens are born they appear to be pure white, but in a couple of days or so the “points” begin to show. At first a line of dark grey at the edge of the ears, within about a week the nose and ears become light brown. A few days later these become darker and at three weeks the body has darkened a little to an ivory colour. The middle of the back is light grey and the seal brown points are showing. At four months the colouring is almost as in the adult. At about eight months old the Siamese female could be considered mature and the male at ten months.
CHAPTER IV - SENDING TO STUD, KITTENS, REGISTRATIONS
Out of a wealth of experience gained through hard work I should like to put in a few words here about sending to stud. The owner of a Siamese queen would do well to write to Mr. F. H. Thompson, Secretary to the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy, at 130, Wickham Way, Beckenham, Kent, asking for a list of “Cats at Stud,” enclosing threepence to cover the cost, and when this arrives should go through the list of Siamese stud cats most carefully so that a prospective stud can be chosen for mating with. Three points should be looked for, the most important of which is; to check up so as to find a stud cat which is a good outcross to the queen. By outcross, I mean, securing a mating with a Siamese with different Sires, Grandsires and Dams, to those of the queen which is being sent to stud. Secondly; if possible to send to a stud cat that has either won well itself in the shows or whose Sire and Dam have been big winners. Thirdly, of less importance, but equally worth consideration to send to a stud cat which is on as direct a train route as possible from your home.
The use of boxes for sending Siamese on journeys is surely to be deprecated. The Railway people are absolutely excellent with livestock, but only when the livestock is plainly marked as such, and is carried in the conventional container for the type of livestock, will it travel safely with absolutely no delay. The best container for a cat to travel in is a cat basket which is very similar to a puppy travelling basket made of wicker. They are usually 24 inches long, about 14 inches deep and 14 inches wide, with a wicker handle on the top lid. This is most important, because with the firmly fixed handle on the top it is not possible for other packages to be placed on them in transit. Have livestock labels plainly visible on the travelling basket. If a travelling basket cannot be obtained, the type of box used for rabbit transit may be well recommended. A telegram or telephone call stating the exact time of the train is well worth while, and almost every breeder will send off a telegram, or will telephone stating the time of the return train. The queen is usually away three to four days and in my experience is made comfortable the first day and its confidence is gained by the stud owner. It is usually mated three times by the stud cat, probably twice the day after arriving and usually once the day before being returned. I know that it is suggested by many competent breeders that one mating is sufficient, but I personally believe that when the expense and trouble of sending to stud has been gone into, it is far better to make reasonably sure that the mating is successful than having to risk the whole business again.
When it is about time for the kittens to be born it is as well to make up a little place for the queen to do her “kittening” in, within reasonable limits this should be in a place more or less of her own choosing, but certainly in one which agrees with your own wishes in the matter, and in a fairly shady or dark place. They love to have a bit of old blanket and newspapers to tear up and quite a good idea is to get a small tea chest, and put in a bit of blanket, covered with newspaper. Whether it is best to leave the queen alone when she is having the kittens is a debatable point. Some queens love to have the owner near at the time. I should think that it is best if you can always see that everything is going satisfactorily.
Most Siamese have their kittens very easily, but if after several hours no kitten has appeared send for the vet as the kittens are usually born with a half-hour interval between each one. The mother usually has ample time to do everything herself, biting through the cord and washing the kittens, but it is a good idea to have a hot water bottle and blanket on top and take them from her when she has washed them, and put them on the blanket. When she has had the last kitten, take out the soiled paper putting a piece of clean blanket under.
In my own experience Siamese kitten’s eyes often open before the ninth or tenth day which is usual with ordinary kittens. Siamese mothers particularly dislike their kittens being shown off when they are very young, so it is best to keep mother and kits as quiet as possible. When the kittens are big enough to run about, a sanitary tray should be provided for them. This should be a small meat [roasting] tin of the type which can be purchased in the big stores like Woolworths, and peat moss is an excellent material to put in fresh every morning. The mother cat will soon train them in the use of the tray.
It is curious but I have found from long experience that Siamese kittens are more prone to getting their eyes gummed-up than others, and I think it is probably caused more by indigestion than anything else. In mild cases a little Vaseline should be smeared on the eyelids twice a day and in slightly more severe cases the eyes should be bathed with a boracic lotion. Stubborn cases require to have two drops of Argyrol Solution in the infected eye. This will be made up by any good chemist, letting him know what you require it for.
A lot of people experience difficulty telling the sex in the kittens, and it is a curious thing that it is easier to tell when they are first born than at any time during the next two months. In male kittens the sex organs appear as a slight swelling, in the female the part looks quite flat and the kitten can unmistakably be recognised as female.
A kitten is usually about four weeks old before it can take food other than its mother’s milk. When the kitten is first given a milk feed, it should only be given one small feed a day, and this should be increased so that after two days they are getting two small milk feeds a day. After that they should have four milk feeds a day. I think it is best to teach them to lap from a saucer straight away. The idea is to smear their mouths with the tip of the finger after it has been dipped in the warm milk. They will wallow at first, but they will soon learn to drink. They should not be given solid food until they are about five week’s old. I find that Whiting is an excellent food for these young kittens, it should be lightly boiled and then finely broken up into the saucer with one’s finger and thumb so that if there are any bones in it they can be traced and taken out. One meal like this is sufficient and it should be taken up after they have finished it or it will become trodden in, and hard, and spoilt. Do not stop giving the milk, but as this should be continued do not give it at the same time as the fish. The idea is to give two fish meals and one milk at first, each day. Kittens should be fully weaned by the time they are two months old, and it is amusing that they continue to suck from the mother, but I do not think that they get much food value from her.
As the breeding of Siamese cats in this country is from pedigree stock, or cats imported direct from Siam (which was frequently the case before the war), almost all of them are registered with the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy, which is in many ways similar to the registration of dogs at the Kennel Club. This registration is affected through the secretary of the Governing Council, Mr. Thompson, whose address I have stated earlier in the book. Thus it is as well to register a litter of kittens as soon as they are a few weeks old, giving particulars of the Sire and the Dam and the sex and the proposed name for the kittens. Only a very small fee is charged and in due course one receives a registration form showing the name and the registered number of each kitten. When the kittens are sold not only must a pedigree be made out for it but a transfer of ownership form should also be completed, this can be obtained from and must be returned to the secretary to the Governing Council by the new owner.
CHAPTER V - KEEPING IN HOUSE AND FLAT
For those who have to keep Siamese in a small house or flat, an excellent idea is to obtain a small packing-case about 24 inches long and about 16 inches wide and tall enough when on its side to stand under the kitchen table. This should have two small hinge doors fastened to the open front. The top one just less than half the depth of the front, is a wooden frame covered with inch mesh wire netting. The bottom one should be a wooden frame with a plywood, or thin wood panel, there should be a shelf inside this being half the size of the box and coming level with the two door fronts when they are closed. The plywood door should be hinged at the bottom so that it can be fastened up with a turnbuckle or allowed to lie flat on the floor when open, and the top wire door should be hinged from a thin spar of wood across the middle of the front of the box so that it can lie down flat when open in front of the panel door. I have found a box like this to have endless uses, as a little bit of blanket in the lower half underneath the shelf makes excellent sleeping quarters for a kitten, several kittens, or an adult cat. It also makes a splendid place for a female to have her kittens in, and to keep them in. If the top wire door is left open the kitten or the cat can get in, and out, as it wishes, and can hide in its “nest” below the shelf, or, if for any reason one wishes to have the cat fastened up, it can be placed inside the box, with both front doors closed. It can then get down into its “nest” or can sit on its shelf looking out through the wire door on the activities in the room.
I had three of these in the kitchen, and my cats simply loved them. If you have a garden, or sufficient space in which to erect a small outside cattery, I strongly recommend you to do so. At the moment, I personally have three wooden huts six feet six inches high, six feet wide and six feet deep, these have two doors at the front, instead of the usual one door to a small wooden hut, and are divided in the middle by a thin wood partition. Each half has a small ‘pop' hole’ with a little slide door to it and each half has a window which can be opened or closed. Behind the window is 1 inch mesh wire netting so when the windows are opened the cat still cannot get out. Inside each division is a small tea chest on its side with blankets in, so making a comfortable little place for the cat to sleep in. Then from the top of the tea chest to the windows there is a cat walk; a piece of wood about 6 inches wide and just under an inch thick with thin slats of wood nailed on about three inches apart. This goes to a platform about 2 feet square immediately level with, and behind the window, so that if it is necessary to keep the cat fastened in, it can climb up and sit behind the window, whether it is open, or closed, according to the weather. Then on each side of the hut there is a wire netting enclosure varying in size, of course, to the amount of land you have available. The ‘pop hole’ of course is opened or closed if one wishes to let the cat out in the run or not. Also in the enclosure I have small wooden platforms of various heights which the cats love to jump on to and lie on, and the supports for which they love to use as scratching posts. It is not sufficient to wire the sides of the runs, but also the top, as no Siamese would be kept in ‘custody’ merely by walls of wire, give them half a chance and a way out will be found.
CHAPTER VI - ON FEEDING
Not only the beginner, but those who have kept cats for years find that feeding Siamese can be something of a problem. By no means do all of them like milk, and of my present company there are only two who are addicted to this liquid. Incidentally, I think Siamese cats drink more water than other varieties, and I make a point of seeing that there’s always a clean small basin full available. For kittens, four small meals a day, at eight o’clock, twelve, four and eight o’clock in the evening are best, but for adult Siamese I recommend but two meals a day, nine in the morning, and six o’clock in the evening. The supply of food for these meals is comparatively simple, the fishmonger saves the shoulders from cod, and also the heads of cod, Halibut and Conger; also the heads of Plaice, and sometimes if the carcasses are large, those of plaice. These are placed in a saucepan with very little water and simmered for only about a quarter of an hour. For kittens, the bones are carefully removed by finger and thumb, and for the senior cat, most of the bones that can be felt, and those that may be left with the fish must only be soft ones. Leave the meal down for only a quarter of an hour, if it isn’t eaten by then, it’s not wanted, and should be taken up.
Milky puddings and dishes are to be avoided as they only disturb the stomachs of Siamese, and make them “loose.” Kittens love whale meat cut up very small with scissors, it’s best either fried or lightly roasted in the oven. I’ve not tried it out regularly for senior cats as it would prove too dear, but from experiment I know how much they like it. Meat for animal consumption is unfortunately hard to get, but whenever available, I like mine to have it, as like humans, Siamese cats like a change of diet, and however much they like fish, will become wildly excited over meat.
CHAPTER VII - GROOMING
The Siamese being a short haired cat is not half the trouble to keep groomed that a Persian cat is, but it is just as essential that it should be well groomed. The best way to do this is to place newspapers on a kitchen table, collect the items which will be needed, brush, boracic lotion for eyes, golden eye ointment if necessary, orange sticks and cotton wool, Antepeol ointment for the ears, a bottle of Sherley’s Canker Powder and a camel hair brush to dip into the powder and get right down into the ear, and a fine Spratt’s steel comb, with which to comb the coat thoroughly, some Fullers Earth, and a pad of cotton wool. Rub the Earth into the coat with a cotton wool pad to clean, after which it is brushed fairly vigorously with a firm brush. Siamese hate a hard brush. Then finally polishing off with a Chamois leather. The ears want first cleaning out with cotton wool wrapped round an orange stick, and smeared with the Antepeol ointment, these small swabs being changed several times for each ear. Then finish off with the camel hair brush dipped in the canker powder and dusted thoroughly into each ear. Clean the eyes with a swab of cotton wool dipped in the boracic lotion, and dry them thoroughly with dry swabs of cotton wool. If any eyelids are inflamed, put a spot of golden eye ointment in the corner of the eye.
This intensive grooming needs doing but once a week, but a brush and chamois polishing should be done every day, in this way the much desired smooth bright glossy coat is achieved.
CHAPTER VIII - EXHIBITING,
ALL of us have thought at one time or another, that we had a cat which was so good that it would win if shown at a show, but it really is surprising how few people one meets in everyday life who have actually visited a cat show, and fewer still who have exhibited at one. These can be fascinating events to see and to compete in, but naturally, it is best to compete at, or, visit a Championship Show. This is a show approved by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy, and held under their rules. A list of rules can be obtained by the intending exhibitor with a schedule of the various classes, and an entry form from the Show Manager, whose address will be on all the show literature.
One enters one’s cats or kittens on the entry form and returns this with the entry fees to the show manager, taking care to state on the entry form what Cat Clubs the intending exhibitor is a member of. All competing cats have to wear a numbered tally disc on white ribbon, and this will be posted to the exhibitor by the show manager. A travelling basket or box as previously described is best to take the cat to the show in, and it must be noted that by a Governing Council rule, all cats must be accompanied by their owners. Only white blankets are allowed in the show pens, but I always use surgical white lint which can be purchased cheaply in rolls from the chemist and which makes an excellent cover for the bottom of the pen. A small sanitary pan will be needed, but most show halls have peat moss available for exhibitors to fill the pans with.
The judges at the shows have for their guidance a standard of points, and for Siamese it is as follows:—
Shape (Body and Tail): Medium in size, body long and svelte, legs proportionately slim, hind legs slightly higher than front ones, feet small and oval, tail long and tapering (either straight, or slightly linked at the extremity).
Head and Ears: Head long and well-proportioned with width between the eyes, narrowing in perfectly straight lines to a fine muzzle, giving the impression of a marten face.
Ears: Rather large and pricked, wide at base.
Eyes (colour and shape): Clear, bright and decidedly blue, shape oriental and slanting towards the nose. No tendency to squint.
Body colour: Cream, shading into fully warm fawn on the back. Kittens paler in colour.
Points: Mask, ears, legs and feet, and tail dense and clearly defined seal brown. Mask complete and (except in kittens) connected by tracings with the ears.
Coat: very short and fine in texture, glossy and close lying.
SCALE OF POINTS.
Type and Shape
Head - 15
Ears - 5
Eyes - 5
Body - 15
Legs and Paws - 5
Tail - 5
Colour, Eyes - 15
Colour, Points - 10
Body Colour - 10
Texture of Coat - 10
Condition - 5
Total – 100
The standard for Blue-pointed Siamese is the same as the above with the following exceptions:-
Points : Blue.
Body Colour: Glacial white shading gradually into blue on the back (the same cold tone as the points but of a lighter shade).
Eye Colour: clear, bright china blue.
CHAPTER IX - THE SIAMESE CAT CLUB: ITS SHOW, PRIZES, RULES
Most of the Cat Shows have sections for all important breeds, and Siamese are always to be found, but the Mecca of all Siamese owners is the Siamese Cat Club’s Annual Championship Show, held last at the Lime Grove Baths, Shepherds Bush, London, on October 16th, 1947, and at which competition is terrific for this show is for Siamese only, and a win there is a win indeed. The judging can be viewed from the gallery, and after the judging, the general public is allowed in the body of the hall. The pens of the competing cats carry the award cards, the coveted red cards being for 1st prizes. Numerous prizes are awarded as specials, most of them by the Siamese Cat Club. Here is a list of these special prizes offered by the Siamese Cat Club during the season 1947-48, and the names of the owners of the winning cats, and the cats’ names.
SIAMESE CAT CLUB. 16th October, 1947.
The Sancho Cup - Mrs. Hetherington - Sealsleeve Petit-Laid.
The Breeder’s Cup - Miss M. C. Gold - Oriental Silky John.
The Novice Cup - Mrs. Carmichael - Sianna Annabelle.
The Kitten Cup - Mr. Pope - Pagan Goddess.
The Mary Robinson Trophy - Mrs. France - Sco-Ruston Galadima, Chinki Gilda, Chinki Sunya.
The Oriental Trophy - Mrs. France - Sco-Ruston Galadima, Chinki Gilda.
The Britannia Cup II - Miss Mackenzie - Slades Cross Shikari.
The Champion Simzo Cup - Major Murrell - Slades Cross Shahid.
The Bluboi Cup - Miss D. L. Thomas – Mowhay Lavender.
The Shuvelang Trophy - Mrs. Buffard - Parkhill Dazzler, Parkhill Charm.?
The Grateful Cup - Major Murrell.
The Novice Kitten Cup - Mr. Pope – Pagan Goddess.
The Breeders’ Kitten Cup - Mr. Pope – Pagan Goddess.
The Prestwick Cup - Mrs. Hetherington – Sealsleeve Petit-Laid.
The Ch. Prestwick Perak Cup - Mrs. France – Sco-Ruston Galadima.
The Sabia of Cademuir Trophy - Mrs. Hughes – Josephine of Sabrina.
The Darlands Challenge Plate – Mrs. Raymond – Bari.
The Shuvelita Remembrance Cup - Mrs. Walters - Kaybee Heather.
The Nunkie Cup - Mrs. Sayers - Oriental Ting-San.
The Longham Cup - Mrs. Creed - Parkhill Anna, Reine of Fernbrae.
The Romance Cup - Mr. Pope - Pagan Goddess
Ch. Morgan Le Fay Trophy - N.A.
The Fitswilliam Trophy - Miss Gordon-Jones - Salween Conqueror.
The Corvine Cup – Mrs. Price - Devoran Donald.
The Ashurstwood Cup - Miss M. C. Gold.
Ch. Prestwick Perling Cup - Mrs. Buffard - Parkhill Nigella.
The D.S.M. Cup - Major Murrell - Slades Cross Shahid.
The White Waltham Cup - N.A.
The Bedale Cup - Mrs. Sayers - Oriental Ting-San.
The Burke Trophy - Miss M. C. Gold - Oriental Silky John.
The South Lawn Sasha Cup - Mrs. Buffard - Parkhill Nigella.
The Lady Kathleen Curzon-Herrick Trophy - Mrs. France – Sco-Ruston Galadima.
The Angus Romney Trophy - N.A.
The Phyl Wade Memorial Cup - Miss M. C. Gold - Oriental Silky John.
The Tostock Cup – Miss Emmens – Chakra.
The d’Ollone Siamese Cup – Mrs. Sayers – Typic Pita.
Silver Medal (Male) – Mrs. Hetherington - Sealsleeve Petit-Laid.
Silver Medal (Female) – Mrs. Buffard - Parkhill Nigella.
Silver Medal (Kitten) – Mr. Pope - Pagan Goddess.
CROYDON CAT CLUB. 10th November, 1947.
The Kitten Cup - Mr. Pope - Pagan Goddess.
The Nunkie Cup - N.A.
The Longham Cup - N.A.
The Britannia Cup - Mrs. Towe – Hillcross Fidelia.
Bronze Medal (Adult) - Mr. Stirling-Webb – Chirmon Lon.
Bronze Medal (Kitten) - Mr. Pope - Pagan Goddess.
NATIONAL CAT CLUB. 4th December, 1947.
The Breeders’ Cup - Miss M. C. Gold - Oriental Silky John.
The Corvine Cup - Major Murrell.
The Shuvelang Trophy - N.A.
The Shuvelita Remembrance Cup - N.A.
Trophy (Adult) - Mrs. Hetherington - Sealsleeve Petit-Laid.
Trophy (Kitten) - N.A.
NOTTS. & DERBY CAT CLUB. 6th January, 1948.
The Bluboi Cup - Mrs. Lamb.
The Prestwick Cup - Major Murrell - Slades Cross Shahid.
The Ch. Simple Bowl - Mrs. Douglas - Sealsleeve Petit-Fey.
Trophy (Adult) - Mrs. Douglas - Sealsleeve Petit-Fey.
SOUTHERN COUNTIES CAT CLUB. 26th Jan., 1948.
The Kitten Cup - Mrs. Richardson - Morris Tudor.
The Sancho Cup - Mr. Pope - Pagan Goddess.
The Ch. Simzo Cup - Major Murrell - Slades Cross Shahid.
The Bluboi Cup - Mrs. Darby - Dia-Shima Silver.
Bronze Medal (Adult) - Mr. Pope - Pagan Goddess:
Bronze Medal (Kitten) - Mrs. Richardson - Morris Tudor.
Money prizes are awarded, and there are also special prizes at most of the cat club shows; these having been donated by private individuals, or members of the club, and they are usually awarded to cats having some special characteristic which the donor of the prize specially mentions, for example; in the Siamese club show it is not uncommon to find there has been a special prize awarded by some lady or gentleman for the cat with the best oriental eye shape and colour, probably another special prize would be for the best coat in colour and texture, and so on.
The most important class in any show, of course, is the open championship class, but there are numerous side classes, such as for the best male kitten, the best female kitten, the best male adult, the best female adult, team prizes for the best team, and a prize for the best brace.
Having mentioned the prizes offered by the Siamese Cat Club, I ought to mention that it is the largest specialist cat club in the country, and is probably the largest in the world, because in America, for example, there are numerous clubs, far more than in this country; but the membership in each club is a good deal smaller than in the cat clubs here.
It might not be out of place here to quote the Rules and objects of the Siamese Cat Club.
RULES OF THE SIAMESE CAT CLUB
1.— NAME AND OBJECTS.
1. The Club shall be called “The Siamese Cat Club.” The objects of the Club shall be:—
(i) To promote the pure breeding of Siamese Cats. To safeguard and encourage fair dealing and kind treatment to all cats.
(ii) To draw up standards of points for Siamese Cats and to distribute the same amongst members.
(iii) To hold and support shows for the exhibition of Siamese Cats.
(iv) To improve the classification of, and, if necessary, the guaranteeing of classes for Siamese Cats at shows supported by the Club.
(v) To select specialist judges to make the awards at such shows.
(vi) To support any body or bodies whose objects include the promotion of the welfare or pure breeding of the feline species.
(i) The Club shall consist of members and honorary members.
(ii) Members shall be persons interested in Siamese Cats.
(iii) Honorary members shall be persons who in the opinion of the Committee may be or have been of service to the Club. They shall not enjoy any privilege of membership, or incur any liability, which is not explicitly conferred or imposed upon them by these rules.
(iv) Members and honorary members shall be elected by ballot of the Committee. Every candidate must be proposed and seconded by members of the Club, and two black balls shall exclude.
3. — THE OFFICERS AND AUDITOR.
(i) The officers of the Club shall be a President, Vice-Presidents, a Chairman, a Vice-Chairman, a Secretary and a Treasurer.
(ii) All the officers shall be elected by postal ballot, except the Secretary and Treasurer, who shall be appointed by the Committee. Each shall hold office for one year, and shall be eligible for re-election.
(iii) The President may be a member or honorary member.
(iv) The Chairman of the Club shall be a member. In the absence of the President he shall take the chair at every meeting of the Club or the Committee at which he is present.
(v) The Secretary and Treasurer shall be members who shall be charged with the duties defined in rules 5 and 6 hereunder.
(vi) In addition to the officers, an auditor for the Club’s accounts shall be elected for one club year by the annual general meeting. It shall be the duty of such auditor to state on the statement of accounts whether the property, cups and trophies belonging to or held by the Club, were regularly accounted for at the time the audit was made.
4. — THE COMMITTEE.
(i) The affairs of the Club shall be directed, on behalf of the members, by a Committee consisting of the President, if a member of the Club, the Chairman, the Vice-Chairman, the Secretary, the Treasurer, ten elected members, and not more than two co-opted members. The elected members shall be members of the Club, shall be elected by postal ballot, and shall serve each for three Club years. Nominations must be received by the Secretary not later than December 31st in each year.
(ii) The co-opted members shall be members of the Club appointed at any time by vote of the Committee, and shall serve until the end of the Club year then current.
(iii) An elected member of any Committee who fails, except in ease of serious illness, to attend at least half the meetings of the Committee held in any year shall be asked to resign.
(iv) The Committee shall meet not less than four times in each Club year, on dates appointed by the Chairman. At such meetings four shall be a quorum.
(v) In the event of the death or resignation, or temporary disablement of an officer, auditor, or member of the Committee, the Committee may appoint a substitute.
(vi) The Committee shall present an annual report and statement of accounts to the annual general meeting.
(vii) Save as otherwise provided by these rules, the Committee shall have power by resolution to regulate its own procedure.
5. — THE SECRETARY.
The Secretary shall:—
(a) Conduct the correspondence of the Club.
(b) Enter the names and addresses of all members and honorary members in a list, and supply a copy thereof to every member on election, and a list of corrections annually thereafter.
(c) Give to each newly-elected member notice of his election, together with a copy of the rules.
(d) Send out ballot papers for the election of officers and Committee. Give in writing to every member and honorary member fourteen days’ notice of every Committee meeting, together with a copy of the agenda.
(e) Keep minutes of the proceedings of all general and Committee meetings, which shall be read at the next following general or Committee meeting as the case may be, and submitted for confirmation by vote.
(f) Render an annual report to the Committee.
(g) Perform any other duties required of him by these rules, or entrusted to him from time to time by the Committee.
6. — THE TREASURER.
(1) The Treasurer shall:—
(a) Hold all monies received on behalf of the Club.
(b) Defray from the funds of the Club all authorised expenses incurred by the Committee, Sub-Committee, or any officer in the discharge of their duties under these rules or the regulations made thereunder.
(c) Render to the Committee an audited statement of accounts showing the financial position of the Club at the end of each financial year.
(ii) Any member or honorary member receiving money on behalf of the Club (unless authorised by these rules or by the Committee to retain it) shall immediately hand it to the Treasurer.
7. — GENERAL MEETINGS.
(i) A general meeting of the Club, to be called the Annual General Meeting, shall be held not later than the last day of March in each calendar year.
(ii) The Committee shall have power to summon a special general meeting at any time, and must do so within one month of the receipt by the Secretary of a requisition, signed by not less than fifteen members, specifying exactly the business for which such meeting is required. At a meeting summoned under this clause no business other than the business on the agenda shall be transacted.
(iii) The time and place of every general meeting shall be fixed by the Committee and specified in the notice convening it.
(iv) The agenda of a general meeting shall contain business falling within these classes shall be transacted at the general meeting unless it has been so specified:—
(a) Alteration in these rules.
(b) Election of auditors.
(c) Expenditure of any sum exceeding £50, otherwise than in connection with the Club’s annual show and the News Sheet.
(d) Conduct of members.
(e) Amalgamation or dissolution of the Club.
(v) At a general meeting fifteen members present shall form a
(vi) Honorary members shall be entitled to be present at all general meetings, but not to vote.
(vii) Candidates for election to any office in the Club shall be nominated by the Committee or by any two members; and such nominations, which shall be in no case made without the knowledge and consent of the candidate, shall be communicated to the Secretary not later than December 31st.
(viii) In the absence of the President and the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Club, a chairman of the meeting shall be elected by the meeting.
8. — VOTING.
(i) Save as in these rules otherwise provided, all questions arising in the Club or its Committee or any sub-Committee shall be decided by a majority vote.
(ii) In the event of a tie the member occupying the chair for the time being shall give a casting vote.
(iii) There shall be no voting by proxy.
(iv) Either the Committee or a general meeting shall have power to refer any question of exceptional importance to a postal vote of all the members. In that event the Secretary shall send out voting papers or post cards, specifying exactly the question to be decided, and stating a date before which replies must be received. Voting papers that are received by the Secretary after that date, or that are unsigned, shall be deemed to be spoilt votes. When such a postal vote is ordered by the Committee a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members voting shall be required for a decision, and in the absence of such a majority the vote shall be null and void.
(v) The result of a postal vote shall be equivalent to the decision of a general meeting and shall not be reversed during the Club year in which it takes place.
9. — MISCELLANEOUS POWERS OF THE COMMITTEES.
(i) The Committee shall have power:—
(a) To hold shows of Siamese Cats.
(b) To elect or approve of judges to officiate at cat shows.
(c) To assist cat shows, financially or otherwise, provided that they approve of the show regulations, that they consider the classification suitable and that the judge or judges of Siamese classes be amongst those officially approved by the Committee.
(d) To do all things necessary or expedient in relation to the Club’s affairs and to exercise all powers except where the same are hereby expressly vested in a general meeting.
(ii) The Committee may make, amend, or cancel regulations for or in connection with the exercise of any powers vested in it, and such regulations shall have effect as if included in these rules.
(iii) The property of the Club and the responsibility for the safe custody thereof shall be vested in the Committee provided that no member of the Committee shall be personally liable for any loss or damage not arising through his gross negligence or fraud.
10 — SUB-COMMITTEES.
(i) The Committee shall have power to appoint a sub-committee to exercise any part of their powers, other than their powers under rule 11, or to advise them on any specific question. The Committee may at any time withdraw any power so given to a sub-committee.
(ii) The Committee shall fix the number of members to sit upon such a sub-committee, and shall also determine the period, not being longer than the unexpired portion of the Club year, during which the sub-committee shall sit.
(iii) The Treasurer shall be entitled to be a member of every sub-committee (including any sub-committee appointed to conduct a show) to which power to expend or receive Club monies may be delegated, but the Committee may appoint one or more members of such sub- committee to receive and expend monies in connection with any matters delegated to such sub-committee.
(iv) A sub-committee shall appoint its own chairman, and shall present to the Committee a report in writing upon the matters referred to it. Any sub-committee of the character defined in the preceding subsection (iii) shall also present a statement of accounts, and before its dissolution shall hand over to the Treasurer any Club monies that may remain in its possession.
11. — DUTIES OF MEMBERS.
(i) Every member shall strive to promote honourable dealing in feline matters by bringing to the notice of the Club Committee any irregularity at cat shows.
(ii) Any member violating the rules and regulations of the Club for the time being in force, or who shall be proved to the satisfaction of the Committee to have in any way misconducted himself in regard to cats and cat shows or to have acted in any way in opposition to the fundamental rules and principals upon which the Club has been established or in any other matter which would make it undesirable that he should continue to be a member, shall be requested to retire from the Club, provided that: —.
(a) He shall first have had an opportunity of stating his case before the Club Committee.
(b) A resolution requesting the resignation of such member shall have been carried by a majority of the Committee.
(iii) Upon the passing of such a resolution by the Committee, the member so requested to retire shall thenceforth cease to be a member of the Club.
(iv) Any complaint or request by a member of the Club must be in writing to the Secretary, who must lay such communication before the Committee as soon as possible. No such complaint shall be reported by a member to the Press.
12. — ENTRANCE FEE AND SUBSCRIPTION.
(i) Every member shall pay an entrance fee of £1 1s. and an annual subscription of five shillings.
(ii) The annual subscription shall become due on election, and thereafter on the first day of January in each year.
(iii) A member may at any time compound for all future subscriptions, and become a life member on payment of the sum of £5 5s.
(iv) If any member’s subscription shall remain unpaid on February 1st he shall be notified of the fact by the Treasurer. If it is still unpaid by April 1st, the Committee shall, after a second notification, remove his name from the list of members.
(v) No member shall be entitled to compete for any prize offered to members of the Club, or to vote at any meeting, or to enjoy any privilege of membership whilst his subscription remains unpaid.
(vi) Any member who shall resign from the Club, or whose name shall be removed from the list of members under section (iv) above, or who shall have been requested to retire under rule 11, shall have no further claim upon the Club.
13. — ALTERATION OF RULES.
These rules, or any of them, may be altered, modified or added to by the members in a general meeting in the manner following:—
(a) By a simple majority of those present and voting at the meeting, provided that a statement, setting out in detail the alteration proposed, or setting out a full copy of the rules as they would appear after such alteration had been made, is contained in the agenda, or is sent out with the notice convening the meeting. The Chairman may accept and put to the meeting, without previous notice, any amendment which seeks to alter the wording of the proposed resolution without materially altering the main object thereof, but, subject thereto, no amendment to a proposition of which notice has been given as aforesaid shall be accepted unless notice setting out the amendment in detail shall have been received by the Secretary by the first post on the morning of the day of the meeting.
(b) By a two-thirds majority in any other case. The Chairman may accept any amendment to a proposition under this subjection without previous notice.
The President of the club is Mr. Compton Mackenzie, the Chairman Mr. P. M. Soderberg of “Mottrams,” Caterham, Surrey, the vice-chairman is Mrs. Duncan Hindley of High Prestwick, Chiddingfold, Surrey. The Honorary Secretary; Mrs. E. Hart, Tye Cottage, Frog Grove Lane, Wood Street, Guildford, Surrey. The Honorary Treasurer; Mr. B. A. Stirling-Webb, Asgill House, Old Palace Lane, Richmond, Surrey, and the Honorary Veterinary Advisor is Mr. J. Stewart, M.R.C.V.S. of 41, Mason’s Avenue, Croydon.
The Committee Members are; Miss Gold, Mrs. Duncan Hindley, Mrs. Sayers, Mr. S. W. France, Mrs. Steel, Mrs. Williamson, Mrs. Thompson, Mr. P. M. Soderberg, Mrs. Williams, Miss V. Prentis, Miss K. Wilson, Mr. Stirling-Webb and Mrs. Holroyd.
CHAPTER X - BEHIND THE PEDIGREES
A study of the pedigrees of our Siamese provides endless food for thought. Usually when a queen is sent to one of our studs we have seen its pedigree, so as to be sure to mate to an unrelated stud if possible, and it is amazing how the same wonderful old names keep reappearing. Champion Jacques of Abingdon, Hoveton Emperor, Champion Prestwick Mata-Biru, Champion Bonzo, Champion Pita, Champion Prestwick Pertana, Champion Simzo, Champion Prestwick Perling and Penybryn John are just some of the pre-war cats which were peerless, and whose standard was so high that I, for one, think excel in comparison with post-war tip-toppers. Notice how the name Prestwick appears time after time in the name of these illustrious Siamese of yester-year. Mrs. Duncan Hindley must have had a record of wins and matchless breeding which may never be eclipsed. Her prefix “Prestwick” is a sure sign of type and eye colour.
Then we had Miss Gold specialising in breeding from imported Siamese stock, and producing winning progeny for almost every show. A long list of her successes would not be complete without her beautiful Oriental Silky Boy, “Oriental” being Miss Gold’s prefix registered with the Governing Council. Mrs. Sayers was the owner of wonderful Champion Jacques of Abingdon, unfortunately now dead, but still has that splendid stud, Typic Pita, Champion Zi Azure Phandah, a blue-pointed male. Miss F. A. Dixon, for many years treasurer of the Siamese Club also had years of success, and who will forget her Hoveton Emperor and Champion Pita?
Post-war stock cannot yet come up to the high pre-war standard but the young and energetic secretary of the S.C.C., Elsie Hart must feel proud of the wins secured during the last twelve months by cats of her now famous “Sealsleeve” strain, including the first post-war Siamese male champion, Mrs. Hetherington’s Champion Sealsleeve Petit-Laid, and Sealsleeve Petit-Fey, a lovely queen securing her first challenge certificate.?
Just to show that famous names are not secured without merit, notice however, that Mrs. Duncan Hindley shows only once, on January 26th, 1948, at the Southern Counties Cat Club Champion' ship Show, and immediately secures a Challenge Certificate with her young male Prestwick Penglima-Pertama, a perfect beauty for type and eye colour.
CHAPTER XI - PHOTOGRAPHING SIAMESE
Take a look at any cat magazine, or at any cat photographs you may see in the papers or periodicals. Mostly of the long-haired cats, are they not? Chinchillas, Blue Persians, Biscuit, Smoke, White Persians, but very seldom Siamese. I think I know the reason. The long-haired cats are more restful than the Siamese, which appears to be always on the move. Patience is admittedly required in large quantities to photograph any cat, but in even larger measure for Siamese! I have taken quite a number of our own cats and should like to make a few observations here from experience gained as editor of Cats and Kittens Magazine. We receive dozens of cat photographs every week, from the agencies, professional photographers, and from many, many readers who send “snaps” of their own cats for possible inclusion in the magazine. The snaps are usually not good enough to reproduce, and the biggest fault is lack of focus, and too much background, and not enough cat. In other words, if it is a cat photograph that is required, don’t show a large expanse of garden, or wall, with a small cat in one corner, or even in the middle of it.
The range of most cameras can be set, so first select a place, say, in the garden as a suitable site for taking the photo, then arrange a background which will show up your cat to advantage, a light coloured wicker chair makes an excellent background, and then measure a distance from the site where your cat will be, from which to take the photograph. But be exact in the distance, I usually take cat photos from a range of seven feet, and set the range on my camera for that distance. If your camera has a shutter speed, which is shown, I suggest a speed of 1/100th second. Then get a member of the family to help with the “sitter,” keeping ready all the time to “snap” when a good picture seems likely. Two or three exposures are necessary because often there is some slight movement by the Siamese dignitary just when the photograph is being taken. If you take your photographs this way you will find that the whole of the picture is taken up with the photograph of the cat with very little, background at all, and you will find that the eyes look sharp and clear.
CHAPTER XII - CROSS BREEDING
Some curious experiments have been made from time to time in an effort to cross Siamese cats with Persians and even the tabby cat, and at least two treatises have been written on the subject. “Siamese-Persian Cats” by Clyde E. Keeler and Virginia Cobb, “Journal of Heredity” v. 27. No, 9. Sept. 1936, and “Crosses with Siamese Cats” by K. Tjebbes, Journal of Genetics, V. 14. p. 335, 1924. From this we find that Swedish Dr. K. Tjebbes in about 1924 crossed a white Persian female with a Siamese and the colour of the Persian dominated to the extent of seven white kittens and three coloured ones. Back crosses all gave 50 per cent, white. Like Siamese colouring, short hair dominated.
It took Mrs. Virginia R. Cobb five years of experiment working in conjunction with Dr. Clyde E. Keeler of the Harvard Medical School to produce the first successful experiment and breed long-haired Siamese kittens, using black Persians instead of white, as used by Dr. Tjebbes in his experiments. Only pedigree cats were used, and from each litter only the most perfect kittens were selected, to be mated up in due course to carry on the experiments. A black Persian male was mated to a Siamese female, and a Siamese male was mated to a black Persian female. The kittens in every case were black and short-haired. After a time a female of one of these litters was mated to a male of the other, and produced among her kittens a long-haired black female! this female being bred back to her short-haired black father. She subsequently had a litter containing two Siamese-Persian kittens which had the long hair of the Persian and the markings of the Siamese. This mating was repeated and of the eleven kittens three were long-haired Siamese, the other eight being black. These three long-haired Siamese kittens had the blue eyes of the Siamese, and the same voice, which they used just as often as the true Siamese do.
In 1939 when Ida M. Mellen reported these facts in her practical cat book the experiments were still proceeding.
CHAPTER XIII – SICKNESS
I propose here to outline the troubles which may occur, and suggest treatment. Fortunately the Siamese is usually a healthy animal, but when ill, it needs treatment quickly. Therefore, the important thing is to recognise trouble at the very onset. Quickly tackled, the cure, is rapid, allowed to take a hold, very difficult, and in some illnesses, quickly fatal.
A box containing cotton wool, lint, scissors, orange sticks, tweezers, Boracic powder and crystals, liquid paraffin, canker lotion or powder, T.C.P. Antiseptic, Antepeol ointment enteraphagos ampoules and Boucard’s Lacteol Tablets, should be kept specially for treatment of your pet.
Ointments are to be discouraged for treating cats, I use Antepeol for their ears, but no ointment on other parts of the body.
Unlike dogs, cats are very difficult patients, and easily become so alarmed that treatment and the giving of medicines is almost out of the question. Keep calm and talk to the cat, reassuring it during all treatment. If you must have help with administering medicine or dressings see that the helper is someone the cat knows. To give medicine, hold the back of the neck firmly, and tilt the head back, have the medicine in a dessert spoon and gently, but firmly press the spoon into the corner of the mouth and tip the liquid in. Hold the mouth closed, until the medicine is swallowed.
In really difficult cases, where the patient is too much for one person to treat, wrap the cat in an old piece of blanket, or towel, with all its feet inside, and just its head showing, place on a table holding firmly, whilst a second person administers the medicine.
At one time, veterinary surgeons really interested in cats were few and far between and many of them frankly were loath to give other than the larger animals the attention that cats required. Happily, I believe that to-day conditions are different, and I know of several who are splendid with cats. Nothing is too much trouble, and the new Sulpha preparations, and Penicillin injections are used by them for cases requiring those treatments. I should say that Sulpha preparations, like M. and B. are splendid for pulmonary conditions, and penicillin for wounds and when there is a septic condition. The use of powders for cats is rather dangerous, and M. and B. and penicillin are best injected
CHAPTER XVIV - THE MEDICINE CHEST
Probably, if trouble occurs, the reader may be conversant with the symptoms, and the usual remedy required, but for the benefit of those who are not so fortunate, I will now give a list of possible ills and suggestions for coping with them. For ease of reference I am placing them alphabetically.
ABSCESS. An abscess may develop from a scratch or bite incurred in a fight or from any other puncture wound. It is caused by the sealing over of the wound surface while the internal injury is still dirty. Bring the swelling to a head by frequent applications of heat, either by lint wrung out from boiling water, or by a bread or kaolin poultice. Once the abscess has broken, cleanse the wound thoroughly with lukewarm water containing a little peroxide of hydrogen or other mild antiseptic. Keep the wound open until it is absolutely clean and free from discharge, when healing may be assisted by dusting with boracic powder.
Abscess in the ear is a matter for a vet. Subsequent wrinkling of the ear may often be avoided by gentle massage with liquid medicinal paraffin.
ASTHMA. A troublesome cough with quickened breathing and undue expansion of the chest, coupled with lassitude and a disinclination to go out. A vet should be consulted but it will help to keep the bowels open and to feed the patient on raw lean meat, in small quantities at frequent intervals — the idea being not to distend the stomach by large meals and so cause pressure on the chest. An eggspoonful of Kaylene-ol given internally twice a day before food will help to clear poisons from the system.
BALDNESS. Although this is exceedingly rare, it has sometimes been seen in kittens or it may occur after long or severe illness. In all cases of excessive shedding of the fur, skin diseases such as ring' worm, mange, etc. should be suspected. Cats may also lose their fur as a result of burning or scalding. In some cases, however, in which no cause can be found, the skin is supple, smooth and clean. Internal parasites should be exterminated, and regular grooming be given. Diet should be as varied and nourishing as possible and a course of tonics would probably prove helpful.
BILIOUSNESS. The symptoms are sickness after food, and unusual thirst, with possibly constipation, flatulence or diarrhoea. A light diet of steamed fish, and bread and milk or milk puddings is indicated, with small doses of milk of magnesia until the trouble clears up. If the sickness persists, consult a vet.
BRONCHITIS. Symptoms are coughing and wheezing, dribbling and general distress, with refusal of food. White frothy fluid may be brought up and the eyes may be inflamed. Treatment should consist in keeping the patient in a warm room with moisture generated by a bronchitis-kettle or vapour from one of the special proprietary bronchitis vapour lamps on the market. The cat may also be induced to inhale by enveloping it in a towel beside a jug containing hot water in which a teaspoonful of turpentine has been placed. A light diet of fish is desirable but as refusal of food is a symptom, the cat may be offered anything it will eat. There is danger of pneumonia following bronchitis and a vet should be called in if there is any anxiety. Keep the patient in a small pen to avoid over exertion.
BURNS. Cold strong tea, tannic acid, or a solution of bicarbonate of soda and water (half a teaspoonful to a quarter of a pint) is the best thing to apply to burns or scalds. Do not prick any blisters or pull away fur, and apply the dressing very lightly. Ointments are not suitable because cats hate to have their coats sticky. Serious burns or scalds should be treated by a vet as soon as possible; there is always danger of shock. Keep the patient warm and quiet whilst awaiting treatment.
CANKER is of several kinds but the general symptoms are the same: scratching of the ear and shaking of the head, and grey or brown scaly matter caked in the ear. The ear will feel hot to the touch. Treatment for the various kinds of canker is also similar. First of all the ear must be thoroughly cleaned by means of tiny pieces of cotton wool wrapped round an orange stick or matchstick and dipped in a mixture of one tablespoonful of methylated spirit to a tumbler of warm water. Work carefully into all the crevices, taking care that the sharp point of the stick is well covered with wool. Discard and burn each piece of cotton wool as soiled.
When the ear is thoroughly clean, dry with more wisps of cotton wool and then apply any of the well-known canker lotions or powders as directed on the packing. Continue treatment for several days after the trouble has apparently cleared up. If the cat’s ears are watched and never allowed to become dirty, canker will never have a chance to get a hold.
Antepeol ointment is a good preventative; a very little should be squeezed into each ear once a week, and the ears kneaded gently. Or dusting of boracic powder once a fortnight will also prevent the formation of wax and the beginning of canker.
CHOKING is usually caused by a small bone or other obstruction in the throat. Remove it as speedily as possible, but beware of the cat’s very sharp teeth. Get someone to hold the patient, wrapped in a rug or old towel, with only its head out. Insert a pencil, knife handle or similar object between the teeth gently, and try to remove the bone. If there is any difficulty, take to a vet at once.
Threaded needles should never be left where a cat can play with them as, owing to the horny papillae of the tongue being directed backwards, the cat cannot expel the cotton from its mouth and may swallow the needle as well.
The usual symptoms are refusal of food and the animal makes gulping movements as though its throat were sore. In many cases the head is thrust forward with the mouth partly open, and saliva freely dribbling.
The wearing of a collar may also cause choking, and if a cat must wear a collar or anything round its neck, insert a short length of elastic so that the collar will give if caught on the branch of a tree or similar object.
CLAWS are a natural weapon of self-defence to the cat and should not be cut except in very exceptional circumstances. If it must be done, only the very tips of the claws should be clipped and special nail cutters should be used for the purpose. Occasionally a claw will be torn in fighting. This should be treated’ as any other wound and any dead nail subsequently seen should be carefully cut away.
COLDS. Cats which lead sedentary or confined lives are more likely to contract colds than those which spend a good deal of their time out of doors. Colds may be caused by washing without systematic drying; subjection to extreme changes of temperature; accommodating several animals together in too small a space; irritants such as dust, etc.; or anything which tends to reduce the animal's vitality and resistance. A cold may also signify the early stages of a specific disease such as distemper or influenza and for this reason, should not be treated lightly. The first symptoms will be sneering and possibly a discharge from nose and eyes. Lack of appetite may also be present. The cat’s nose will be found to be warm and dry. Keep the cat in a warm even temperature and spray the nose and throat gently with diluted Milton or T.C.P. (one part T.C.P. to six parts water). Aspirin given in the early stages (half a tablet for a kitten; one for a cat) may prevent the cold from developing. A light nourishing diet of fish and chopped liver is helpful.
CONDITION, LOSS OF indicated by a staring coat, thinness, loss of appetite. The proper place to test a cat’s thinness is the lower end of the spine, near the tail. If this feels bony, then the cat needs building up. A change of diet and the inclusion of specially nourishing items will help, supported by a course of tonics. When obtainable, beaten up raw egg is a wonderful conditioner for cats, especially when recovering from illness.
CONSTIPATION is often found in cats but it may almost always be taken as a sign of a defective diet. Aperients may be necessary in obstinate cases but they can at best only be regarded as palliatives. The safest is Petrolagar (directions on packing) or liquid medicinal paraffin (a teaspoonful for kittens, two for grown up cats) or sardines with plenty of olive oil. Lightly boiled sheep’s liver twice a week will prove beneficial and the cat should be given a somewhat sloppy diet in which is included plenty of cooked, chopped green stuff (cabbage, spinach, etc.).
COUGHS may be symptomatic of some foreign body in the throat, in which case they will be acute and the obstacle must, of course, be removed at once; or they may be dry and persistent, probably without loss of appetite, though the cat may get thin. The cat should be kept warm and dry, preferably confined to the house for a day or two, and given one of the patent cough mixtures for cats, with a light, nourishing diet. A cough which does not clear up within the course of a few days should be viewed with suspicion and the sufferer taken to a vet.
DISTEMPER may take various forms and is highly contagious and infectious. The catarrhal form, which commences with sneezing, is the mildest, and with proper treatment cats usually recover from this form. Symptoms must be treated as they arise and on the first suspicion of illness the cat should be isolated and kept warm and a vet called in. There is danger of a relapse, even after an apparent recovery, so that the utmost care should be exercised. In the catarrhal form the eyes as well as the nose may be affected. Sometimes only one eye is implicated. The conjunctivae swell up considerably and protrude between the lids, taking on a red and angry appearance, a purulent discharge collects over the eye and glues the lids together and the animal dreads exposure to the light.
Sometimes the earliest symptoms may be the dribbling of saliva from the mouth and refusal to feed. Other types of distemper are accompanied by gastric or enteric complications, which give rise to sickness or diarrhoea or both. Lung affections such as bronchitis or pneumonia may complicate the case.
DRIBBLING is normal in cats when being petted but excessive salivation may indicate bad teeth, indigestion, poisoning, or throat trouble and a vet should be consulted. Distemper is often heralded by the cat dribbling “ropy” saliva. Fear will sometimes induce excessive salivation. Fish and other small bones sometimes stick in the throat and would cause frothy salivation.
ENTERITIS, INFECTIOUS or Gastro Enteritis is the worst scourge to which cats are liable. It cannot be overemphasised that it is infectious in the extreme, and premises where a patient has been should not be used for any other cat for some time afterwards as disinfection and even fumigation are useless. It seldom attacks cats more than twelve months old, comes on very suddenly and is usually fatal.
The symptoms are: high temperature, complete loss of appetite, vomiting of a yellowish, slimy froth, diarrhoea, muscular weakness, coldness of the limbs and possibly filmy eyes.
A vet should be sent for at once; the patient should not be taken to the surgery. Pending arrival of the vet stop all food and drink, keep the patient quiet and warm, and allow no other cat near. A dose of calomel may be given. This may be bought from any chemist in quarter-grain pills, for very young kittens one quarter of one of these pills should be given; older kittens and adults may have half a pill (they can be easily divided). If the cat survives the first twenty four hours, feed it on Yoghourt only, until all signs of diarrhoea have stopped — probably a week or ten days.
FLEAS are to be found on all cats but a healthy cat keeps them under reasonable control and they are most likely to be a serious nuisance only with freshly weaned kittens, when the mother is no longer performing their toilet for them and the youngsters are too young and inexperienced to deal adequately with the pests Fissons Powder is the remedy. There are innumerable powders and insecticides on the market but it is necessary to make sure that any particular brand is harmless to cats: dog remedies often contain carbolic which is poisonous for cats. Combing with a fine-tooth comb will keep the Siamese cat free from fleas.
FLIES. Cats love to catch and eat flies. Contrary to popular ideas, this will not of itself lead to the cat becoming thin, and is not harmful except inasmuch as flies carry infection. The only remedy is to keep the place as free from flies as possible; especially does this apply to cat houses. Sanitary pans must be changed frequently in summer, and no food left about.
FUR should be dense, shining and bright, and the skin loose on the cat’s body. Moulting takes place in spring and autumn. Loose fur should not normally cause any trouble but during the moult, especially with long haired cats, it can be a nuisance as the cat’s continual licking will cause it to swallow quite a lot of fur and a ball of fur may form in the inside of the animal. This is a matter or a vet. Careful grooming will help and the cat’s general condition must be watched and assisted by a nourishing diet and a course of tonic. A small daily dose of liquid medicinal paraffin may be given during the moult.
GASTRITIS is inflammation of the bowels caused by eating bad meat or by small bones lodging in the bowels, or by poison. The general symptoms are vomiting, thirst, lack of appetite and signs of pain, A vet should be consulted but quiet and absence of food will rest the inflamed organs. A pinch of bismuth powder on the back of the tongue will be beneficial, but must not be given often as it is poison. White of egg with half a teaspoonful of brandy and a tablespoonful of water will serve to keep up the cat’s strength.
INFLUENZA is symptomised by coughing and sneezing, dribbling and a watery discharge from eyes and nose. The appetite is not usually much affected but raw minced meat may be given to keep up the patient’s strength. Keep warm. If the animal appears to be seriously unwell consult a vet at once as distemper may start with similar symptoms.
INSECTS affecting cats are usually fleas but they may also be annoyed by red mite or rust, usually seen as clusters of minute orange specks round the toes and elsewhere. These should be removed carefully by washing with warm water and soap. In summer, country cats may be attacked by rabbit fleas which are smaller than the usual fleas and are usually found only round the ears. They may easily be removed with tweezers, or the ears bathed with methylated spirit in water, which will kill the fleas.
PHARYNGITIS. The outstanding symptoms is a harsh persistent cough, which is aggravated by the passage of food down the throat. Profuse salivation may be present and the cat will eventually refuse food and become very nervous, frequently hiding away in dark comers. Upon examination of the back of the mouth some swelling and redness may be observed. In mild cases, the application of an antiseptic and astringent lotion such as T.C.P. will probably clear up the condition unless this is due to specific disease such as distemper. Light nourishing food of a soft or liquid nature such as warm milk, broth or boiled fish may be offered but if the condition is severe or persistent a vet should be consulted. Lime-water added to the milk (a few drops to a saucerful of milk) will be beneficial.
PNEUMONIA may follow a chill or distemper. Quickened breathing and a rise in temperature will be observed, with sometimes a cough (absence of cough is a bad sign) and the cat is obviously off its food and listless. A jacket may help to keep the cat warm and a light nourishing diet should be given, with a few drops of brandy if the animal is very weak.
Coat for cat with pneumonia, etc. This should be made of flannel or old blanket or some similar woollen material, double thickness with a layer of lint or cotton wool between, and arranged to fasten along the back with tapes and with two holes for the cat’s front legs to be inserted. Do not make the coat too close a fit, but close enough to be snug. As the patient recovers, first the layer of lint or cotton wool may be removed, and then one lining, so that the convalescent is gradually acclimatised to normal conditions again.
POISONING may result from the cat eating meat or other food treated with poison for destruction of vermin. This is particularly possible in the country although pest destroyers usually claim that their virus is not harmful to domestic animals.
Strychnine is the commonest poison and a very minute quantity will kill a cat. The symptoms of strychnine poisoning are convulsions, with the hind legs stretched out backwards, the front ones drawn up and the head drawn back on to the neck, while breathing ceases. When the spasm relaxes, breathing will be very laboured, and symptoms recur until the cat dies. There will be no frothing at the mouth or dashing about as in convulsions. The only hope is to make the cat sick at once by giving ipecacuanha wine or a vet may be able to give an injection but death usually occurs too quickly for any remedy to be administered.
Phosphorous is also sometimes used as a poison and although a cat will generally object to the taste, phosphorous poisoning does sometimes occur. The cat will vomit and the vomit will be luminous. Ten grains of sulphate of magnesia in a tablespoonful of sweetened water every two or three hours will help by opening the bowels.
Arsenic in large doses will not poison a cat as it will at once vomit, but smaller doses continued over too long a period may be poisonous. There will be vomiting, signs of pain and severe diarrhoea, the motions being coloured with blood. Castor oil should be given at once. The cat will be thirsty but should be given white of egg and water, not plain water. One white of egg should be beaten up in half a pint of water but it should not be made frothy. Arsenic is sometimes given, under veterinary supervision, as a tonic. Follow the vet’s instructions carefully.
Occasionally cats will get lead poisoning from walking on wet paint and then licking their paws. Sickness and pain occur. Give castor oil with about twelve drops of brandy until the symptoms wear off.
Bismuth and calomel, though useful as medicines, are poisonous if given in large quantities or frequently. When treating diarrhoea with bismuth do not continue for longer than three or four days.
RINGWORM is not caused by a worm but is a vegetable fungus growth, similar to mushrooms or “fairy rings,” growth being from the centre of the circle outward, in widening rings. In treatment, therefore, it is essential that the outer edges of each patch be treated. Ringworm is contagious to human beings as well as to other cats, and the greatest care should, therefore, be taken.
The descriptions of ringworm usually given are misleading. It generally starts with increased redness at the base of the ears or along the body about the spine. Later the fur becomes brittle and snaps off, leaving a bare, slightly roughened, circular reddish patch, with a yellowish or grey flaky appearance at the edges.
Iodex ointment or iodine are useful in treatment. They should be rubbed well into the affected places with pieces of cotton wool which should be immediately burnt. Iodine dries and burns the skin, however, and should not be used too frequently. It may be alternated with a dressing of sulphur powder, olive oil and liquid medicinal paraffin mixed to a thick cream. Keep on with treatment for some days after the trouble has apparently cleared up. The coat will soon grow again once the fungus is killed. In bad cases treatment is facilitated by clipping the coat short. Ringworm is, a tiresome thing to treat and tries the patience of both owner and cat.
Do not hold a cat on your lap to dress ringworm as the spores can work through clothing. Burn all bedding infected, and do not use the premises again for some time after the trouble has apparently cleared up. No other cats should be allowed near the patient or objects which have been in contact with a cat suffering from ringworm.
A female which has had ringworm may be left with a “blind spot” although there is nothing to show. Her kittens may develop ringworm when born as their skins will be more sensitive; the trouble will usually appear when they are about two weeks old.
SNUFFLES is a chronic discharge from the nose, which may be due to a variety of causes, one of the most frequent being distemper. The discharge is thicker than in an ordinary cold and the condition is often, in spite of all efforts, most persistent and difficult to cure. The general condition of the animal should be attended to but it may be helpful to syringe the nose gently each day with a solution of burnt alum dissolved in half a pint of warm water. Alternatively, a proved treatment is to give Kaylene-ol internally, and to drop Argotone into the nostrils twice a day. All discharge should be carefully wiped away with lint or gauze, which should be burnt. Halibut oil or cod liver oil with food twice a day will build up the general condition of the cat. Persistent snufflers should be viewed with suspicion as they may be carriers of disease to other cats. Kittens born on distemper infected premises will often develop snuffles at an early age. Cats with this complaint should be watched during hot weather when the condition often becomes acute and the congestion of the nasal passages may lead to a condition of toxaemia with unconsciousness resulting, in bad cases.
WOUNDS may be clean cut, jagged or punctured, the last named being at once the commonest and the most serious as they seal over whilst there is still dirt in them and an abscess follows. All wounds should be cleaned and kept clean by gentle swabbing with Dettol or T.C.P. in warm water, and bandaged if possible. If the wound is very large, the cat should be taken to a vet for a few stitches. Punctured wounds must be kept open until all discharge has ceased and if there is any swelling or heat in the part, fomentations should be applied. (See Abscess). Ointments are abhorred by cats as they make the coat messy, but as a wound heals it may be dusted with boracic powder.
YOGHOURT is milk which has been soured scientifically. It is used in the treatment of summer diarrhoea in children, and eaten freely by peasants in all south east European countries. To make it, bring one pint of milk to the boil and let it boil four two minutes. Cool as rapidly as possible, by standing in running cold water, then add sixty drops, of lactic acid (obtainable from any chemist), drop by drop) stirring with a fork. Sixty drops equals one teaspoonful. It is now ready for use, but should be warmed before being given to a sick cat; do this in a double pan or the curds and whey will separate out. It may, if necessary, be sweetened with glucose, which also adds to the nutritive value. Yoghourt could, before the war, be bought at the larger dairies.