EVERYBODY'S CAT BOOK
Dorothy Bevill Champion
Containing chapters on "Colour Breeding," "Showing," "Conditioning," "Judging," "Diseases and Their Treatment," "How to Raise and Treat the Show and Pet Cat," and many valuable prescriptions.
Note: In terms of comprehensiveness, this is the American equivalent of Frances Simpson's "Book of the Cat". Some minor reformatting to aid readability in text format.
CHAPTER I. THE INTELLIGENCE AND DISPOSITION OF THE CAT
CHAPTER II. LONGEVITY OF CATS
CHAPTER III. PERSIANS AND ANGORAS
CHAPTER IV. THE MAINE CAT
CHAPTER V. WHITES
CHAPTER VI. BLACKS
CHAPTER VII. BLUES
CHAPTER VIII. CHINCHILLAS
CHAPTER IX. MASKED SILVERS
CHAPTER X. SMOKES
CHAPTER XI. SILVER TABBIES
CHAPTER XII. SHADED SILVERS
CHAPTER XIII. CREAM OR FAWN
CHAPTER XIV. BROWN TABBIES
C CHAPTER XV. ORANGE TABBIES
CHAPTER XVI. TORTOISESHELLS
CHAPTER XVII. ORANGE
CHAPTER XVIII. SHORT-HAIRED CATS
CHAPTER XIX. HOW TO RAISE THE SHORT-HAIRED PET KITTEN
CHAPTER XX. THE SIAMESE
CHAPTER XXI. MANX
CHAPTER XXII. ABYSSINIANS
CHAPTER XXIII. NEUTER CATS
CHAPTER XXIV. THE CATTERY
CHAPTER XXV. SCIENTIFIC BREEDING
CHAPTER XXVI. COLOURS WHICH SHOULD NOT BE CROSSED
CHAPTER XXVII. STUD CATS
CHAPTER XXVIII. TRAVELLING WITH CATS
CHAPTER XXIX. KITTEN RAISING
CHAPTER XXX. BREEDING QUEENS
CHAPTER XXXI. CATS AT TIME OF KITTENING
CHAPTER XXXII. KITTEN FOSTER-MOTHERS
CHAPTER XXXIII. CAT SHOW MANAGEMENT
CHAPTER XXXIV. PREPARING CATS FOR THE SHOW-PEN
CHAPTER XXXV. CAT FEEDING
CHAPTER XXXVI. CAT BATHING AND CLEANING
CHAPTER XXXVII. CAT JUDGING
CHAPTER XXXVIII. SCALE OF POINTS
CHAPTER XXXIX. PHOTOGRAPHING CATS
CHAPTER XL. INVALID CAT DIET
CHAPTER XLI. EYE TROUBLE IN CATS
CHAPTER XLII. PNEUMONIA IN CATS
CHAPTER XLIII. DISTEMPER IN CATS
CHAPTER XLIV. SKIN DISEASES IN CATS
CHAPTER XLV. TREATMENT OF THE EARS IN CATS
CHAPTER XLVI. WORMS IN CATS
CHAPTER XLVII. CARE OF THE TEETH IN CATS
CHAPTER XLVIII. COLDS IN CATS
CHAPTER XLIX. PARALYSIS IN CATS
CHAPTER L. RICKETS, OR SOFTENING OF THE BONES IN CATS
CHAPTER LI. FITS IN CATS
CHAPTER LII. INTESTINAL DISORDERS IN CATS
CHAPTER LIII. INJURIES IN CATS
CHAPTER LIV. DISINFECTING CATS
CHAPTER I. THE INTELLIGENCE AND DISPOSITION OF THE CAT
How often one hears the remark, "How stupid cats are!" or, "Cats cannot compare with dogs for cleverness." This is a point on which many people make a great mistake, and it is only their ignorance of the feline race which calls for such remarks.
I have studied the dispositions of dogs and cats very closely, as I keep both, and I have come to the conclusion that an uneducated cat has far more brains than an uneducated dog. Doubtless the dog is easier to teach, as he can be made to do things, whereas the cat is of an independent disposition, and will not always come when it is called, unless it wishes to do so; but that is not want of brain - it is simply independence; it knows you want it to come, but does not always choose to answer when called. It is said of cats that they much prefer their homes to their people; that is so in many cases, for how many cats are only regarded as a household necessity to rid the house of rats and mice, and the said cat is taken so little notice of that it naturally becomes more deeply attached to the house than to the owner thereof.
Then again, these cats show great intelligence, or shall we say "instinct," in finding their way back to former homes. I have had positive proof of cats returning to their old homes many miles away, although they have been taken away in covered baskets to their new homes; in this they show the same cleverness as dogs.
It will be noticed that the pet cat, or long-haired cattery cat which is always petted and made much of, thinks very little of its home, but a great deal of its master and mistress; and the highly bred cat of to-day shows no love of its old home, and thinks only of the people who love and care for them. Therefore it has no desire to run away from any new home it is taken to, if accompanied by its owner.
Cattery cats learn to love the society of their kind, and the queens make splendid mothers; they never seem to feel the confinement of their quarters, and are as happy as possible. But take one of these cattery inmates to a new home, and it will quickly become attached to its new master and mistress.
Cats are very lovable animals, but they must become attached either to their homes, their fellow-creatures, or to people; also, their attachment to dogs, in many cases, is very great. The ordinary cat or kitten has a great antipathy to a dog, as dogs are taught to chase them, and the fear of a dog in the mother cat is transmitted to their offspring.
It is curious to notice how much of what may be called "natural instinct" remains in the highly bred cat which has never known a care for generations. Some of these will be terribly afraid of a dog at first sight; others - and here I might say the majority - will know no fear, and rub around a dog just as they would around another cat. Only a few days since, one of my kittens came in contact with a large Irish setter. The kitten rubbed all around the dog and reached up several times to smell her nose; the dog looked very indignant, but she has been taught not to touch cats. This was the kitten's first encounter with a dog. On the other hand, I have had kittens, of equally high breeding, show all the natural fears of an ordinary short-haired cat; but this fear of dogs is the exception rather than the rule with the highly bred cattery cats and kittens.
It is a pleasing and frequent sight to see, in my kennels, the puppies curled up asleep, all tucked up in the fur of a long-haired kitten, or even the full-grown cats occupying the same bed with several dogs. Of course, when the dogs get too boisterous, pussy disappears over the top of the pen. I also have a short-haired female cat, which I use as a foster-mother. She will nurse two puppies with her own kittens, and only lately accepted three weeks' old puppies when her own kittens were only one day old.
It is very amusing to see these little puppies play and bark at their adopted mother. This cat is never so happy as when she is nursing a mixed family of long-haired kittens and Pomeranian puppies. There are people who believe that longhaired cats are becoming overbred and stupid; this may be so. if injudiciously inbred, when the brain no doubt deteriorates; but the well-bred, long-haired cat shows a great amount of intelligence. They can be taught tricks, jumping, etc., and in more than one instance the intelligence of some of my pets would have been unbelievable without proof.
I remember well how one kitten I had used to live in a large room, which opens into another, where other cats were kept. The two rooms were separated by a wire door, which was hooked on the inside to the door-post. This kitten, with three or four others, lived in this room, but when they were about three months old I found the door constantly open, and the inmates enjoying the freedom of the other room. This happened several times before I discovered that this remarkably intelligent little lady had learnt to open the door by climbing the wire and lifting the hook with her nose. Therefore, another hook had to be placed on the outside, to keep her in her own room.
Some months elapsed, and the kitten was exhibited at a show, where she was purchased by a person who had an apartment, and the kitten had her entire freedom. She grew up here, and had her first family of kittens. Later the owner found a cat and kittens too much care, so the mother was returned to me; and, knowing she had had her freedom, I gave her the run of the outdoor cattery, which she enjoyed for some months, until a family was expected, when she was removed to the room in which she was born.
She was placed in this room and given a comfortable bed, and although I had forgotten this lady's propensities for opening doors, some two years before, she had not; for, on my return to the room, imagine my surprise to see the door open and the cat at liberty with the others. At first I thought I had left the door unfastened, and it was not until it happened several times that I remembered that this was the very cat which had learnt to liberate herself when a tiny kitten; and she now always needs a hook on the outside of the door which she cannot reach in order to confine her to one room. Curiously enough, one kitten out of each litter from this cat can open a gate in the same manner as the mother did when she was young.
After the many cases I have seen of cat intelligence, I can only say, if a cat is stupid it is want of education.
Cats are very sensitive in disposition, and can easily be frightened by harsh treatment, when they become either savage or frightened, and will run at the approach of strangers. They are also very independent in disposition, but show in many cases just as much devotion to their masters as do dogs and other animals. They can bear much pain without uttering a sound, and when ill-treated by wicked boys and men do not even cry out as a dog does; if they did, perhaps they would be less ill-used.
No animal is more to be pitied than the forlorn little stray cat or kitten, and none should fail to see that these friendless creatures either get a good home or are painlessly destroyed, as they undoubtedly show as much love and feeling, if not more, than other animals.
There is no doubt that the good qualities of cats are becoming more and more appreciated, so that in a few years we may hope the cat will no longer be the ill-used and much-abused little creature which it was formerly.
CHAPTER II. LONGEVITY OF CATS
The ordinary length of a cat's life is from eight to ten years, although many well-cared-for specimens reach the age of fourteen or sixteen years. As a rule, it is kinder to have them destroyed before they reach such a great age, as they usually become partially deaf, blind, or otherwise out of condition.
Old cats require a great deal more nourishment than young ones, and must be plentifully supplied with blood-making foods, such as raw beef; otherwise they become anaemic and a prey to fleas and lice.
A cat is in its prime at three years of age, and commences to show signs of age at about seven, when the teeth should be watched, as, should any become loose, your pet is liable to starve to death from sheer nervousness. The least pain will cause a cat to refuse food, and everyone knows a loose tooth can cause much discomfort.
CHAPTER III. PERSIANS AND ANGORAS
The term "Angora," in relation to a long-haired cat, should be seldom if ever used in this country, as a typical Angora scarcely exists; therefore, it is supremely ridiculous to see a number of badly bred, long-haired specimens advertised and spoken of as Angoras. The general public in this country think if a cat is longhaired, it must be Angora, and poor specimens, such as "Maine" cats, are also termed Angoras.
Whatever they were originally, they certainly are far removed now from thoroughbred Angoras. These Maine cats have deteriorated in quantity, quality and length of coat, whereas they excel in head; this deterioration of coat and improvement of head is probably due to crossing with short-haired cats, which undoubtedly often occurs.
Our pedigree imported long-hairs of to-day are undoubtedly a cross of the Angora and Persian; the latter possesses a rounder head than the former, also the coat is of quite a different quality. The coat of the Persian consists of a woolly under coat and a long, hairy outer coat. In summer it loses all the thick underwool, and only the long hair remains. The hair is also somewhat shorter on the shoulders and upper part of the hind legs.
Now, the Angora has a very different coat, consisting of long, soft hair, hanging in locks, inclining to a slight curl or wave on the under parts of the body. The hair is also much longer on the shoulders and hind legs than the Persian, this being a great improvement; but the Angora fails to the Persian in head, the former having a more wedge-shaped head, whereas that of the modern Persian excels in roundness.
Of course, Angoras and Persians have been constantly crossed, with a decided improvement to each breed; but the long-haired cat of to-day is decidedly more Persian-bred than Angora.
Wherever breeders notice the long, locky coat in Persians (especially where great length of coat is seen on the shoulders and legs), they should do all that is possible to encourage this desirable point in their strain. I have made a great point of this myself for years in breeding Persians, and would be very sorry to lose this beautiful type of coat.
The term "Long-haired Cats" has long been used in the cat clubs and stud books of England, and if they cannot keep the breeds separate there, surely we cannot, who breed from English stock.
The Angora cat originally came from Angora, the principal colour being white, and the fur is much valued by the natives, as it forms an important article of commerce and is much sought after by merchants of surrounding countries.
The Persian cat, as its name denotes, originally came from Persia; they were of all colours, but the silver varieties were very rare.
CHAPTER IV. THE MAINE CAT
How many people there are who ask, "What is a Maine cat?" and "Why is it not as good as the imported 'longhair'?"
Possibly some twenty years ago they were as good as any other imported long-haired cat, as they came from all parts of the world on the trading vessels, and had the breed and the different colours been carefully kept separate and bred scientifically, they might to-day equal our imported long-hairs. Those that were not crossed with the ordinary short-haired cat were bred without any regard to keeping the different colours separate; pure blacks, blues, whites, tabbies and oranges were crossed indiscriminately, with the result that to-day the Maine cat is, in most cases, little or no good for breeding purposes, as even when crossed with a thoroughbred long-haired, the result is usually a litter of many colours patched with white.
I am not saying that there are not good specimens of the long-haired variety to be found among the Maine cats, as I well remember seeing, when first coming to this country, a second prize-winner at a show, which I thought might easily have won. When inquiring of the judge why it did not, he remarked, "It is only a Maine cat, and the first prize-winner has just been imported from England." At a properly managed show these facts should not be known by the judge; then probably the Maine cat would have been given the premier position, and it would have been left to the breeder's discretion whether they bred from the first prize-winner without a known pedigree or the second prize-winner with a pedigree traceable for many generations. My advice is always the latter.
Breed from pedigree as far as possible. This is the only quick way to success. You had far better purchase the worst kitten from a litter of pedigree stock than buy the best of a litter from practically unknown ancestry, as the former, when mated to a good cat, will produce stock far better than itself, whereas the latter, no matter how well mated, will always disappoint you, as the kittens will seldom be even as good as the parents. One can give no advice as to how to mate these cats, as what is a good cross with a thoroughbred long-hair cannot be applied here. If you know your cat to be bred from many colours, do not breed from it; but if you know absolutely nothing of the pedigree, why, then try your cat, and in a few cases you may be successful. The white cats native to this country are perhaps the only variety which, in some few cases, have been carefully bred, true to colour. Many of these white Maine cats have been bred for generations from white cats, and often blue-eyed ones; therefore, they are sometimes useful as crosses for imported stock.
In consequence of this, the white classes at our shows are large, and, in quality, would hold their own in any country. A few of these cats have retained the long, locky coat of the imported cat, but the majority have a somewhat harsher and shorter coat, which is not at all desirable. Those who still own Maine cat stock can in some cases improve them; that is to say, if they possess certain colours - for instance, pure blue, black, or orange, or any solid colour - of fairly good breeding, may be crossed with imported specimens, and in the resulting litters there will be one or two good ones; then in the course of a few years, with careful selection, good show specimens will be the result. Should you possess a breed very much mixed up in colour, or colours marked with white, any improvement is hopeless, as white will appear generations afterwards, and spoil many otherwise good specimens.
There is no doubt that in a few years' time such a cat as is now termed a Maine cat will become unknown, as so many of those interested in these cats realize they must improve their strain, and therefore are crossing them with imported stock. Those who formerly sold their kittens for a few dollars to the city dealers have lost this trade, as dealers have found them very profitless.
Brought up in the wild condition in which they are kept on the farms in Maine, these kittens quickly die when kept in confinement, either from fright or distemper, as they are, for the most part, poorly fed, and quickly contract colds and infectious diseases.
CHAPTER V. WHITES
The long-haired white is a most lovely variety, if kept clean and in good condition; then, with a round head and deep blue eyes, its beauty is hard to surpass. The eyes in this variety make or mar the cat; they should be either deep blue or dark orange, any pale yellow or green tinge being incorrect and very objectionable.
The whites imported from India are vastly superior to the ordinary Persian, their chief characteristics being a long, trailing coat, snub face, short thick legs, beautifully tufted ears and toes, and, of course, cobby in shape. The few specimens which I have seen are not strong in physique, and they give one the impression of being rather too much inbred, which naturally reduces the size but improves the quality.
These cats are very valuable for show or breeding purposes, especially to cross with large, strong cats which lack quality. The type of white cat usually seen has a shorter and more woolly coat, is longer in all its proportions, and the nose is not as snubby as it should be. This type of cat, however, makes a very good cross with the better bred specimens, as it produces size and strength, added to the quality of the smaller cat.
There are in this country a number of white, long-haired cats, and they seem in many cases to have been kept pure as to colour; these American-bred specimens make a very good cross with the highly pedigreed imported white.
In breeding whites, it is a great mistake to mate blue-eyed cats to other blue-eyed ones for several generations, as the eye-colouring deteriorates, becoming very pale, sometimes almost white. In such cases, either cross with an orange-eyed or odd-eyed white, preferably bred from blue-eyed stock.
The first mating of the two same cats always produces the best eye-colouring in the kittens; therefore, when you see a marked deterioration in this point, you must send your queen to another male. This I observed in kittens from two odd-eyed cats I possessed; each was blue-eyed bred, the sire's parents were both blue-eyed, and the dam's sire was also blue-eyed; but the maternal grand-parent was an orange-eyed blue.
In the first litters from these cats there were usually two orange-eyed kittens, and two with very deep blue eyes; the kittens were never blue in colour, although on one side they were bred from blues for generations. The number of blue-eyed kittens differed almost always with every litter, and I always obtained more blue-eyed kittens in the second litter of the year. In one autumn litter I had as many as four blue-eyed and one odd-eyed from these two odd-eyed cats. I bred from these two cats for years, but the eye-colouring, although very good, latterly was not so deep as in the first two litters.
Crossing orange-eyed and odd-eyed whites with blue-eyed ones has a wonderful effect in producing deep blue eyes. I once saw a cat from such a cross with eyes of deep royal blue; the said cat was also a marvellous shape, but alas, it died after the first time shown. The orange-eyed variety is, if the eyes are really a deep colour, almost as pretty as blue-eyed ones, and is, as I have already stated, very valuable to breed from.
Many whites are deaf, more especially the blue-eyed ones. This to the novice may seem very terrible, but they make lovely show cats, and good travellers. This blemish does not count against them on the show bench, and in many cases they make lovely pets, though some are excessively stupid. The greater number show exceptional intelligence; so much so, that no one would detect the deafness unless told of it.
One of my greatest pets was a deaf white kitten, and whenever I entered the room he ran with a merry cry to meet me. I always talked to him like any other kitten, and he seemed to fully appreciate it. All his cleverness must have been in a keen sense of feeling and smell. I have found many others just as nice; one, which I disposed of lately for a pet, went to a home where there were large dogs, and I have since heard that he is not afraid of anything, and sleeps curled up with the dogs.
So it will be seen that deaf cats are not so marred by this affliction as dogs and other animals would be. White cats should, if possible, only be mated with whites, but a blue, bred from blues, has proved a very valuable cross in many cases, and one I would always resort to in order to obtain strength and depth of eye-colouring. If there is any colour-breeding in your whites pedigree on either side, some of the white kittens will come with blue-black or light grey smudges on the tops of their heads; this in nearly every case disappears when the kitten is full grown, sometimes not until they get their second coats at eighteen months or two years. Should this mark be very large - say about the size of a fifty-cent piece and very dense in colour - it is pretty sure to stay, and ruin the cat for exhibition purposes.
CHAPTER VI. BLACKS
Blacks have become very popular in this country, and many really good specimens are seen in the show pen to-day.
Blacks are very fascinating when they are true to type. A cat coal-black, with large, luminous orange or golden eyes, is very attractive, but their looks depend much on a round head and brilliant eye-colouring; without these they are of little use for showing. In colour they should be very dense black from root to tip of the hair, and from nose to tail. The colour, if perfect, is the most difficult point to obtain and also to keep. By the latter I mean that that colour is easily spoilt by exposure to sun or rain, also by ill-health. A black, to remain black, must be properly fed and conditioned, for, when poorly fed, the hair loses its brilliancy from want of natural oil, and any exposure to the weather makes it look dull and turn reddish brown. All this can be remedied by good care and feeding, but unsoundness or shading light can only be bred out, and is usually caused by a blue, smoke or silver cross. This should be considered the worst fault by all judges.
By unsoundness, I mean a smoky appearance at the roots of the hair; around the frill and underneath the body is where it is most frequently found. In choosing a good specimen of this variety, the hair should be carefully parted in all parts, to see if there is any unsoundness of colour, and this, with the blues, is most apparent when the cat is in full coat, as when in half coat the cat may appear perfectly sound, whereas when another inch of hair grows it may be smoky in colour.
White spots are, of course, a great blemish, and would place an otherwise good cat low down in the prize list; but for breeding, such cats are sometimes useful, as these spots do not often appear in the progeny, though to breed from a cat without such blemish is far better.
In all other respects the black should resemble any other typical Persian. The eyes should be golden or orange. Blacks may be mated to orange, brown tabbies, or even to a tortoise-shell; this does not seem to deteriorate the colour; and, of course, blacks to blacks. Blue is an ideal cross for a bad-coloured black.
CHAPTER VII. BLUES
Although the blue long-hair is now a distinct variety, the colour was first obtained by crossing a self-black with a pure white.
The first specimens were shown at the Crystal Palace, England, in the year 1871. Of course, no fancier at the present time would find it necessary to resort to a crossing of blacks and whites to obtain blues, there being plenty of good specimens of this variety obtainable; although, even in this long established colour, first-class specimens are not by any means plentiful. The blues first exhibited were a great deal darker in colour than those now bred, and were known at that time as "London smokes." These dark blues can still win under most judges, if their other points are good, but the lighter, more lavender tone is the most sought after, if sound in colour.
It is certainly a far more attractive hue, although it is said by many old fanciers that the darker blues were sounder, both in colour and eyes, than many of those now shown. By soundness of colour we mean that the hair should be all of one, a slaty lavender from tip to root, showing no trace of a silvery under coat, which latter fault is a sign of a smoke cross, sometimes resorted to in an effort to obtain the very pale colour.
When the light blue first became the rage in England, many were shown and won high honors, although their eyes were of no definite colour. The Blue Society in England wished to encourage the breeding of the light blue with deep orange eyes, and we think, by careful selection, this end is being attained by breeders of blues. A really good pale blue with deep orange eyes is truly "a thing of beauty," and we would like to see many more of them at our cat shows here.
They are not difficult to breed, if you start with a good orange-eyed strain, and certainly they are one of the hardiest and easiest raised of any of the long-haired varieties. The great thing to avoid is the tendency to large, upright ears, which is a failing in many of the best blues. The ears should, as in other varieties, be small, and set low on the head, well feathered with hair of the same shade as the coat. Ear tufts or whiskers, either white or silver in colour, are counted as a bad fault.
Blues are about the largest specimens of long-haired cats, and carry very thick, heavy coats, more woolly in texture and more even in length than the other breeds, though lately some have been bred with the long, flowing coat.
If, in breeding blues, they are inclined to get too light in colour, it is sometimes advisable to cross your pale-coloured cat with a good black, preferably one bred from blues, or else with a good sound black. They are apt to vary as much in shade as the ordinary Maltese - some dark, some medium, and some light blue. With blues, as with other colors, it is often possible to obtain fine specimens without having both parents blue or even of blue pedigree.
The great difficulty in breeding this colour is to keep them strictly uniform throughout, as shading on the frill or any part of the body coat is not desirable; a light-coloured under coat is a great fault. In breeding blues, as in all other colours, one must at first select the nearest to perfection in all points; then, when a good type has been obtained, select for eye-colouring, soundness of colour, etc.
Never start breeding by showing undue partiality for any special point; it is time enough to do this after you have bred specimens fair in all points. You will find this the quickest way to obtain almost perfection.
It is very difficult, both in judging and purchasing a blue, to be sure of its colour, unless it is in full coat, as the under coat rarely becomes unsound until the cat has obtained its full length of hair; therefore, a cat in half coat is almost sure to be sound, and it is hardly fair to give a cat in this condition a premier position in classes where there are full-coated specimens; and in purchasing, remember this point also, or the sound-coloured specimen which a few months before you have purchased as "absolutely" sound in colour, may in a few months develop a light under coat, much to your disappointment and surprise. The eye-colouring changes with age, fading from even deepest orange to a pale yellow or even greenish yellow; this is especially the case with the males. Then, again, the pale eye-colour of a young cat will often deepen when it gets old, the correct colour, of course, being deep orange. Owing to the great thickness of their coats, blues are often very troublesome to keep in show form, and owners of this variety should keep them carefully combed, if not daily, at least frequently, or they will suddenly find their best show specimen with its under coat in hopeless mats, and no remedy but to cut the coat right off. Otherwise, the matting of the fur will cause most intense irritation to the animal's skin, and the cat or kitten, as the case may be, will scratch and bite itself so violently that the hair will come out by the roots wherever the mats have formed.
CHAPTER VIII. CHINCHILLAS
Probably many novices have no idea of the correct colour of a chinchilla cat; the name "chinchilla," as applied to the colour of a silver cat, is most misleading.
The little chinchilla animal is, as we all know, very dark grey at the roots of the fur, with very pale, almost white, tips to the hair. Now, has anyone seen a cat of this description? We venture to think not. Chinchillas, when first bred (now some twenty years ago) were just the opposite to their namesakes in colour, the coats at the roots were almost white, the tips a dark grey; therefore the name chinchilla is only a fancy name, and by no means descriptive. A chinchilla cat should be as pale silver as possible, with little or no tabby marking or dark shading; in fact, the ambition of everyone is to breed a silver as nearly self-coloured as possible, at the same time keeping the lavender shade, which gives brilliancy of colouring and prevents the cat looking "dirty white." Now, by "lavender" we do not mean a dark lavender; in fact, unless the cat were placed beside one of the "dirty white" chinchillas, you would not notice the lavender tint; but it adds brilliancy to the silver colouring.
The greatest point in the color of a chinchilla is freeness from any brown or cream tinge. Of course, a chinchilla can get its old coat rusty by lying in the sun, but if the cat is healthy, this should shed off before the show season, so does not matter; but should a cat you have bred, or may wish to purchase, have any cream on the frill, nose, ears, or shoulders, you may count this as permanent, as we have never found a cat go rusty in these parts through lying in the sun; unless, as I said before, it is out of health; then the coat loses its natural oil. Perhaps it would be a little difficult for a novice to discriminate between sunburn and a real creamy tinge, but to experienced breeders there is no difficulty. For instance, if a kitten is born with a yellow tinge, it generally grows up with it, so if at the age of six weeks you see your kitten has this fault, my advice is to dispose of it for a pet, and keep another one of the litter which although it may be darker, yet does not possess this defect. Of course, there have been instances of a pale chinchilla having a creamy tinge as a kitten, and when it is, say, two or three years old, this has entirely disappeared; but, in my opinion, this only happens when the cat is very pale and the cream tint is also pale; then, as the cat grows lighter in colour (as many chinchillas do with age), the cream becomes so light as to be imperceptible.
As a great many silvers of to-day possess this fault, perhaps it would be as well to give advice on how it is to be bred out. If your male cat has this failing, do not breed from him at all, if you can prevent it; if not, cross him with a blue, bred from silvers, a pale smoke (silver bred), or, if you wish to do so, a pure-coloured shaded silver or chinchilla queen; but if you possess the latter, you are only going backward, by crossing her with a male who is not pure in colour. I should strongly advise beginners in chinchilla-breeding to commence with a light smoke or shaded silver with good points, and send it to the best male of the day (chinchilla, of course), rather than to purchase a pale silver female with bad points and a creamy tinge. With the darker queens you may produce one or two nearly perfect kittens, which you can again cross with a good chinchilla male, whereas with a pale queen you may obtain three or four pale kittens which will have poor points or a creamy tinge, and this will take you a long time to breed out.
I have heard of, and, in fact, have had myself, many applications for a "perfect" chinchilla. Now, I may say, even after twenty years of breeding, good chinchillas are very scarce both in England and America, and we seldom hear of one of the best changing hands. If you inbreed silvers, there are a great many things to be considered. First, the parent cats must have good points as well as colour, for you must remember inbreeding fixes whatever points the two cats may possess more strongly; so to inbreed two cats that have really bad faults is to fix these faults. Strength is another, if not the most important, point.
Inbreeding tends to weaken a strain, so you must only use the strongest cats; if, after breeding several times from the same pair, you find any weakness in the kittens, you must at once stop, and take in a cross from a strong, unrelated strain. This, of course, will be, in the chinchillas, a difficulty (as nearly all silvers are bred from the same strains), but you had better take in a shaded silver as an outcross, to get size and strength, and perhaps lose a shade in colour, than to go on inbreeding and obtaining pale kittens which may be deformed or will be too delicate to live. On the other hand, if one out of the litter lives, it will probably grow up so undersized that it will take a low position in the show pen; and when you ask other fanciers to admire its beautiful colour, they may do so, but will add, "How very small. Is it full-grown?" If you wish to inbreed, it is best not to do so with very young stock. Wait until both your cats are two or three years old, as they are always much stronger at that age. About relationship for inbreeding, there is much diversity of opinion. Firstly, the stronger your stock is, the more closely you can inbreed; but I do not think, from personal experience, that too close inbreeding is any advantage.
Cousins are a good cross, and some people try half-brother and sister. This I knew in one case to be very successful, and the same mating was tried for several years with the same two cats; but as a rule, at the first sign of deformity you should discontinue and take in a fresh strain.
In breeding chinchillas, never forget that green is the correct colour for the eyes, the most desired being that deep blue-green tint so seldom seen in a cat's eyes; these, set in a silver ground colour, are most beautiful. The points of a chinchilla are the same as other Persians.
In purchasing a chinchilla for exhibition purposes, there are several very important points to consider.
First and foremost, paleness and purity of colour, freedom from markings or heavy shadings, good shape and green eyes. One seldom sees a cat of this description, and it is usually "not for sale" at any figure. Therefore, your best way is to breed one, and, as with other animals, this cannot be done all at once; it takes some time to obtain all these good points.
Therein lies the "sport" of breeding animals. If we were able to breed perfection at the start, there would be nothing else left for us to do; yet beginners almost invariably expect whole litters of future prize-winners, from, in many cases, quite ordinary parents.
CHAPTER IX. MASKED SILVERS
Masked silvers are a "new" variety, and at present very few are bred, as, in the case of many of the darker varieties of silvers, fanciers are all striving after pale chinchillas, and neglecting the darker colours. There are now several fanciers who have made up their minds to breed this variety in real earnest; therefore, we may hope to see some beautiful specimens in a few years' time. The illustration on opposite page gives a good example of what a masked silver should be.
Hitherto very few good specimens have been bred, most of those exhibited being on the order of "spoilt" smokes. The ideal masked silver is a very beautiful animal; in colouring, or, I should say, marking, they should resemble the Siamese cat; that is to say, they should have a black mask or face, black feet and legs. The body should be as pale silver as possible, with neither a dark spine line nor tabby markings; the silver should be free from any cream or yellow, the eyes deep golden or orange. There is no doubt, if more attention were given to this variety, the correct colour could be fixed.
In breeding masked silvers, it must be remembered that no tabby markings should be introduced.
Shaded silvers, chinchillas, smokes and blues, crossed, are liable to produce a good masked silver, and if you have a queen who produces a masked silver in every litter, keep her for breeding this variety.
Blacks bred from silvers or smokes also make a good cross, but do not use blacks which have been bred from oranges, or tortoise-shells, or any colours which are liable to spoil the purity of the silver ground colour.
CHAPTER X. SMOKES
Smokes are one of the most beautiful varieties of the longhaired cat. Their colour is most effective, and there is no other animal exactly like it, the nearest, perhaps, being the marmosette monkey.
The head, face and paws should be as nearly black in appearance as possible. This blackness should extend down the centre of the back and tail; in fact, all over the body. The frill should be light silver-grey, and the hair on the sides and stomach also light; the under coat, very light in colour, being nearly white even in the darkest parts - viz., face, legs, etc.; but the light under coat does not show where the hair is short, unless parted.
The more contrast there is between the light and dark fur, the better. Each hair, with the exception of the frill, should be tipped with black, shading at the roots to a light silver. The great point is density of colour; the head, face and paws should appear black, with no trace of tabby markings. This short, dark hair should also part nearly white at the roots.
The body should be as even in colouring as possible - black, shading to silver - and have no sign of tabby markings or brownness in colouring. In breeding smokes, it is well to keep clear of the chinchilla cross, as this lightens the colour too much and introduces green eyes, which are a great fault, as those of the smoke should be golden or orange.
Blues and blacks, crossed with shaded silvers, breed good smokes. Do not introduce too much silver, as it is liable to lighten the colour. Silver tabby is also a bad cross, introducing tabby markings. If, on the other hand, your smokes should be too dark in colour or fail in lightness of under coat, then a light silver cross is advisable, choosing a silver with orange, or yellow, eyes, if possible.
It is a most difficult matter to select the best smoke kitten when very young, as the worst-coloured kitten often turns out the most perfect when full grown, or even when it gets its second coat. It is wise to choose those with the best points, and most free from tabby markings, and those which promise to have the correct eye-colouring.
A round head is very important in this variety, as the black mask shows up the shape of the face; and, should it be long, it is doubly accentuated, giving a plain and faulty expression.
CHAPTER XI. SILVER TABBIES
Silver tabbies are at present very rare - that is to say, good specimens; and it is quite time more fanciers turned their attention to this variety. Silver tabbies are very much admired, but to breed good ones they must be kept well apart from the other silver varieties, as, when crossed with chinchillas, shaded silvers, or smokes, the clear markings, which are their chief characteristic, are spoilt; but if you have no suitable mate for a silver tabby, it is wiser to cross with a silver than a brown or blue, as the latter crosses make the resulting kittens useless for breeding purposes.
A silver tabby must have clear wide black tabby markings on a pale silver ground colour, the markings being as distinct as possible from the ground colour; any blurring or ticking of the markings is a great drawback; the colour should be free from any cream or brown tint. The eyes may be hazel or green.
The kittens when born are rather difficult to select, as in all long-haired varieties they lighten with age, therefore the kitten one would select as being nearly perfect, will when full grown be liable to become much too light in colour. Therefore I would advise selecting the darkest and strongest marked ones; if not properly marked on the back, these markings are liable to appear with the second coat. The heads should also be darkly striped; they must not have too light faces, or later on the markings will fade out almost entirely.
If your cat be well marked, but too light, a black makes a desirable cross; if bred from silvers or smokes, one too heavily marked might do well mated to a chinchilla or pale silver tabby, but it is best to mate a silver tabby to one of its own kind if possible.
Never introduce blue, brown or orange.
CHAPTER XII. SHADED SILVERS
Shaded silvers are one of the prettiest of the silver varieties and are indispensable as a cross in improving the type of chinchillas. They are usually much admired for their type, size, wealth of coat, and colouring.
Shaded silvers, as the name denotes, should be well shaded not too dark in colour, but even and bright, a dingy blue-grey colour or any "smutty" appearance must be avoided.
The head, tail, and legs should be as little marked as possible, more smudged in appearance; the eyes should be green. A shaded silver kitten, when born, has the very fine tabby stripes, usually in great numbers; these disappear as the coat gets longer; the only difference between a shaded silver and a chinchilla kitten, when born, is, that the whole tone of colour is darker in the shaded silver, the chinchilla having a nearly white face and legs, whereas the shaded silver must not be too light on the face and legs.
The great difficulty with amateurs is to draw a dividing line between shaded silvers and chinchillas. There is really a great difference between a good chinchilla and a good shaded silver, but it is hard to distinguish between a dark chinchilla and a light shaded silver.
In breeding this variety, smokes, blues, and blacks may be crossed with silvers. Sometimes a good smoke may be obtained, and therein lies one of the great attractions of breeding silvers.
From one litter one may obtain a smoke, a shaded silver, and possibly a chinchilla, but in breeding for the later colour the strain soon becomes too light to obtain smokes, and only shaded silvers and chinchillas will be the result. A blue cross is valuable, should there be any cream on your silvers. It is best to mate a blue female to a silver male as you want the silver colour to predominate: a blue female with green or greenish yellow eyes is preferable as the orange eye is hard to eradicate in silvers.
CHAPTER XIII. CREAM OR FAWN
These two varieties are usually classified together, as the only difference is a shade or two in depth of colour; in all other respects they should be the same.
Fawns are the most commonly seen, being exactly fawn colour, they should be as self-coloured as possible, free from any tabby markings or shadings. The eyes should be golden or deep orange, they are frequently the latter colour; in fact I have seen them a deep copper or brown colour, which is very effective with their coat colouring.
The true cream is very uncommon; in fact in all the shows I have attended, I only remember seeing two or three specimens of this variety, and these were more or less marked. In colour they resemble freshly made butter, I should imagine they would become more prolific if fanciers were to go in for this variety more and keep selecting the palest from every litter, but this is another semi-neglected variety in this country, and needs more encouragement.
Both creams and fawns are inclined to be long in face, although a few of the best have been bred with snub faces.
Creams and fawns are bred from oranges, tortoise-shells, and blues; the blue and tortoise-shell cross with some orange in the pedigree is popular, and a female of a blue-tortoise-shell mixture, makes a splendid breeder of creams and fawns when mated to a male of these colours. If your creams deteriorate in shape and quality, take in a good out-cross of a perfectly shaped cat, either blue or orange in colour; do not lose type in your endeavor to obtain the colour, as this never repays you; try and improve all points steadily; a perfect cat cannot be bred in one or two seasons.
A large handsome even-coloured fawn or cream is always much admired by the public.
CHAPTER XIV. BROWN TABBIES
Brown tabbies were thought little of in the early days of cat showing, probably because there were many of this variety among the short-haired cats. Latterly they have been bred with the most superb colour and markings, thereby presenting a vastly different appearance from the ordinary grey-brown tabby one used to see. A good, rich-coloured brown tabby is very beautiful, but like other varieties a good one is still rare.
The ground colour of the brown tabby should be of a rich tawny tint; this should be as even as possible, extending to the extremities, especially the lips and chin, which are so often white or shaded to dirty white; this latter fault has been hard to eradicate, but it has been done by a few breeders.
The next important point is the markings; these should be of a dense black; the broad stripes are the most admired. The legs and tail should be well barred as well as the chest and neck, giving the appearance of necklaces. There should be a distinct tawny down the centre of the back, and with a black line on either side of the back, and with a black line on either side of it.
The body markings should be well defined and the leg markings should come high up the legs to meet these, the head and face should also be well marked, the lines from the corners of the eye to the cheek being called "cheek swirls," the marks up the face should continue between the ears and down to the shoulders, where the "butterfly" mark will be found, which divides the head lines from the spine lines.
Perhaps no more perfect definition of these markings could be found than those of the short-haired silver tabby on opposite page; they should be the same in the long-haired varieties, but unfortunately the long hair prevents such distinctness, and only when the hair is smoothed down with the hand can the markings be properly traced.
Brown tabbies should be heavy and thick in build and have large broad heads; they should have orange or golden eyes; the coat of the brown tabby is often inclined to be short and thick, but to be perfect they should show as much quality as the silvers or blues.
The principal points to be bred for are soundness of chin (by that I mean a deep fawn or cream, not nearly white), eye-colouring, richness of ground colour and distinctness of markings. In obtaining these much desired points be careful not to sacrifice shape and strength.
Brown tabbies mated to brown tabbies always do well, but should the resulting kittens lack the desired richness of colour, mate the best one to a deep-coloured orange tabby, being sure that the orange tabby has a deep chin, if the tabby is not procurable try a solid orange. If you happen to get one too red in colour and not well enough marked try crossing with a black, one bred from brown tabbies, tortoise-shells or oranges preferred.
It is wonderful how well marked some cats are from black and brown tabby crosses. Brown tabbies should be mated to blacks, oranges from orange tabbies, tortoise-shells, or even blues, but the latter cross is the least desirable, as it destroys the colour of the blues, and leaves traces of tabby markings; although many of the old-time blues had brown tabby in their pedigrees.
Avoid any greyness in ground colour or light tickings on the dark markings. The ground colour and markings should be as distinct from one another as it is possible to have them.
CHAPTER XV. ORANGE TABBIES
There are more good specimens to be found in this variety than in the browns, but they are failing in popularity before the solid orange; it seems a pity that there are not enough fanciers to keep all varieties up to a high standard, in improving one colour they are too prone to spoil another.
The show orange tabby is very beautiful; the ground colour should be of a clear light orange or "sandy" colour, marked with deep rich reddish brown markings, with as much distinction between the two colours as possible. The eyes should be deep orange, really the same colour as the dark markings. The chin and extremities should not shade light or white and the former should be deep-coloured right to the lips.
Orange tabbies can be crossed with blacks, tortoise-shells, and brown tabbies; blues and oranges may be used, but they are not always advisable.
In shape they should come up to the standard of all Persians, although they are in many cases inclined to be long in face and high on the leg.
CHAPTER XVI. TORTOISESHELLS
Tortoise-shells are peculiar in colouring, resembling a piece of tortoise-shell; their colour consists of black, orange and cream patches, these should be irregular in shape, but distinct in colouring, the more distinct and deeper in colour the better, the head, ears, tail, and legs should also be patched, with no trace of tabby markings visible. The eyes should be orange or golden.
Perhaps the most remarkable characteristic of this colour is there being few kittens of the male sex; I have never seen one of the long-haired variety and only one or two among the short-hairs; this makes them a somewhat difficult colour to breed.
The cross of black and orange makes tortoise-shell, and tortoise-shell females should be mated to orange or black males, black if the queen shows too much orange, and orange if the queen be too dark.
Keep as much tortoise-shell in the pedigree as possible, by mating your tortoise-shell females to males bred from a tortoise-shell dam; in this way you are able to get more good-coloured ones. Do not introduce any tabby varieties unless you are obliged. A cream cat also makes a good cross if bred from oranges.
CHAPTER XVII. ORANGE
Orange cats without tabby markings and of a deep rich red are a very beautiful variety. These cats are useful to breed with other colours, and are, therefore, becoming very popular.
They should be of a deep rich red or orange, with as little shading, and as few markings as possible, the colour should be deep right up to the lips; white or shading light on the chin and lips is a great fault.
Orange cats can be crossed with oranges, tortoise-shells, blacks and blues. Never cross with the tabby variety, or else you will spoil the solidity of the orange. The eyes should be deep orange or golden.
CHAPTER XVIII. SHORT-HAIRED CATS
As short-haired cats have been in a measure, domestic animals since the time of the Egyptians, when they were idolized, it would be difficult to decide their origin, although many scientific people consider them as descendants of the wild cat, which species is much more common in America than in Great Britain, where only a few specimens remain in the hilly and isolated parts of the North of England and Scotland. Whether our present domestic cats are descended from the wild ones or not, it is certain that the Egyptians were unquestionably first in their domestication, and it is with the domestic cat we are chiefly concerned in this article.
As show animals the short-hairs in this country cannot at present compare in numbers to those exhibited abroad. The chief reason for this is not far to seek.
In England several prominent fanciers have made a special study of the breeding of short-hairs for show purposes the result being that very fine specimens of the breed have been sold for as much "as two hundred dollars, if not more, solely as exhibition animals as there is really not much demand for short-haired kittens, unless they be fit for exhibition. There is very little doubt that the short-haired classes at our shows here will be far better filled now enthusiastic fanciers devote their attention to the cultivation of this variety for exhibition as well as pets.
The desired type for a short-haired cat is a large well-made animal, with round skull, large full eyes and short nose. The idea should not be to breed a specimen as much like its original progenitors as possible, but, rather to try to improve the type, for no breed of cat, dog, horse, or other animal can make real progress unless a higher type is always kept in view. The cobby, short-nosed type is most sought after now, even in the Manx varieties.
Short-haired cats are divided into colour classes, much the same as the long-haired varieties, with the following exceptions: There are at present no real chinchillas, though these are being bred for; there are very few creams; I have only seen one solid orange and that was in this country.
The "spotted tabby" is distinctly of the short-haired variety, and although one or two specimens may be seen in long-hairs, they are not a recognized class.
The usual classification for short-hairs is as follows; black, white, blue, brown tabby, silver tabby, red tabby, spotted tabby, blue tabby, tortoise-shell and white, tortoise-shell, and chinchilla or silver is now added at some shows.
To begin with, the three self-colours, black, white, and blue, the black should be pure shining coal black, without white hairs or shadings at the roots of the fur. The eyes to be deep orange colour as in the long-hairs. The latter point is hard to obtain in short-hairs, unless they are bred on purpose for showing, as the majority of those one sees have either green or greenish-yellow eyes. The whites must also be pure in colour, and should have blue eyes.
The blue short-hair has caused a great deal of discussion in England, where it was first exhibited under the title of "Blue Russian." It was eventually decided to classify all blues as "Blue Short-hairs," and to discard the name of "Russian," as these latter became too scarce to have a class to themselves, and there were so many bred in England that it was decided as more appropriate to classify all under the one heading; these conditions existed for several years, then the breeders of '"Russians" founded a club and classes were again provided for blue Russians apart from the blue short-hairs.
Blues are usually kept for show purposes only in England, and are not nearly so plentiful as house pets as they are in this country, where they are called "Maltese." They are usually a larger, finer type of cat than any other variety, and have in many cases unusually massive heads.
Needless to say the colour of the coat is a very important item. It should be of a light slate-grey colour with no white hairs, tabby markings, or shadings at the roots of the hair. Considering the number of really good specimens of this variety that there are in this country, anyone taking up the breed as a speciality, should have no difficulty in establishing a fine strain.
The cream short-hairs should of course, come under the self-colour heading, but unfortunately they are so few and far between that it has been impossible, up to the present, to establish them, especially without markings. If only people with a love for short-hairs would go thoroughly in for an unique variety like the cream, they would be surprised at the result of their trouble, and would do much to popularize short-haired cats.
Cream short-hairs should be a pale fawny colour with eyes as near brown as possible, and of course the general points, such as shape, head formation, etc., should be the same for all other varieties, with the exception, of course, of the Siamese and Abyssinian. Although coming under the short-haired heading, is distinctly a foreign variety.
Brown, silver, and blue tabbies should have their ground colour, brown, silver, or blue, according to class, with black markings to preponderate.
The red tabby is an exceedingly beautiful variety, if carefully bred, and should be as deep a red colour as possible, with markings of an intensely deep chocolate. These cats have been bred to such a point of excellence that their brilliancy of colouring looks almost artificial.
In judging short-haired tabbies the markings count first, and these should not only be distinct, but the two sides of the cat's body should match in number, shape, and distinctness of marks. The face should be well marked up the forehead, continuing over the top of the head down the neck, and there should be distinct markings each side of the face, under the eyes, technically called the "cheek swirls," the chest also should be marked in circular stripes like necklaces, these being usually termed the "Lord Mayor's chains."
The eyes of tabbies are of great importance. In the reds, browns and blues they should be deep orange, and this rule formerly applied to the silver tabby, but I believe certain judges now equally approve of deep green in this variety.
There were, some years ago, a good many grey tabbies, but these have almost completely disappeared from the show bench, the silver tabby being so much more showy from the fact of the contrast between its pale silver ground and rich, velvety black markings.
CHAPTER XIX. HOW TO RAISE THE SHORT-HAIRED PET KITTEN
Few people take any care in raising pet kittens, others adhere to the old-fashioned method of a saucer of bread and milk and a few table scraps.
It will always be noticed what fine specimens butchers' cats are, also cats around a fish market; the former are raised on raw meat scraps and the latter on raw fish. Raw fish I do not recommend as a regular diet, as it does not always suit cats and is too rough a diet for young kittens, also the bones are apt to choke them, lodging in their throats and causing death.
Doubtless many a kitten has been raised on a bread and milk diet, but it has also caused the death of many more; kittens raised on a milk diet are inferior specimens, and even if big and fat they have no strength and will usually succumb to the first serious illness.
I often think if a little care were given to raising the pet kitten, what fine specimens the short-haired cats would become, and in process of years cats would be far larger in size than they are now, many of them becoming winners at our shows. If you have a tiny motherless kitten which you take enough interest in to raise by hand, which I know many people have done, feed at first sweet condensed milk, mixed with half water and lime-water; at four weeks a little scraped raw beef can be given, then as it grows and thrives give a little meat finely chopped, meat gravy and a little vegetable all mixed up together forming a substantial meal. Do not let a kitten overeat itself, as this will do as much harm as underfeeding, and on no account give milk and cereals, as this is a diet for worms which all young animals have more or less, and to feed milk, etc., rapidly increases these pests, and the kitten becomes thinner and thinner.
While young always add a teaspoonful of lime-water to the kitten's meals, and if at the age of two or three months the kitten seems thin and out of condition you may be sure it has worms; then a dose of powdered areca nut will prove beneficial; for a three months' kitten give three to four grains, for a cat eight to ten grains. Allowing one grain to every pound weight of the kitten, one grain of santonine can also be added to the full dose of areca nut; the santonine is very poisonous, so not more than a grain should be added to each dose; mix the dose in a little very sweet milk and give in the morning before any food has been given. Never dose a cat which is not eating well at the time.
Raw bones or cooked should form a great point in a cat's diet, as they do so much good to the teeth; fish occasionally is also good, canned salmon can be given occasionally, but there is very little nourishment in it, and if used as a constant diet your cats will contract all sorts of skin trouble and illness caused by a low state of the health. Too much milk and cereal diet in hot weather causes an irritable skin, which is often put down to puss having fleas; but a cat constantly fed raw meat never gets in this condition.
I have had to recommend a meat diet to several of my friends for their short-haired cats, and they have used it with the greatest success to cure this skin irritation, but of course it takes some weeks, or even months, to cure, as the state of the blood has to be altered.
Fleas cause the death of many neglected kittens in summer, and it is nothing short of wickedness on the part of their owners, to allow any cat or kitten to go about until worried to death with these pests; for they may be quickly eradicated or kept under; to do this the following treatment is both quick and effective and if done only twice in the summer, or once in summer and again in the autumn, puss would have one less care in the world.
Purchase a one pound tin of pure Pyretherum powder, the cost of which is about fifty cents and will last a year for several cats and kittens. Take the kitten or cat, place it on a sheet, or duster, on a table, or on your lap, then rub the powder all over the skin, commencing at the head, using it as near the eyes and mouth as possible without getting it in their eyes, also rub well in under the legs and all over the tail and of course all over the body. Then wrap the sheet lightly around the cat, leaving only the head out; hold this for ten minutes or more, then brush out all the superfluous powder and half-dead fleas. Rub the cat with a clean cloth the way of the hair to remove the worst of the powder, leaving as much as possible in the under coat.
I have used this on valuable long-haired kittens and know it to be harmless and much superior in its effects to washing for either dogs or cats. The great point is that the fleas become so "dummy" that they do not get about, and the duster can either be burnt or shaken out well away from the house.
Great care should be taken to get the right powder; do not accept any which is given to you, as some contain arsenic and are deadly poison, but the pure Pyretherum is quite harmless; it must be fresh to be entirely effective, like most drugs it is apt to lose its strength when kept too long.
CHAPTER XX. THE SIAMESE
The Siamese cat is perhaps noted more for its very quaint and unique appearance than for its great beauty. These cats are very peculiar in colouring, to say nothing of their disposition. In the latter they are quite different from other cats, and for this reason they are liked by all those who have ever had them. They are faithful to their owners and show great attachment to each other - so much so that they have been known to die of grief when separated.
The males are quite different from other male cats, as in many cases one is able to have them around the house, and the male may be allowed to live with the female and her youngsters, without any harm resulting to the little ones.
The cry of the Siamese cat is very mournful, being more of a wail than the ordinary cry of cats, and is very loud. They do not, as a rule, make good show cats, as they are miserable when away from home.
The Siamese cat is often called the Royal Cat of Siam, as in its native country it is protected and under royal supervision. They are therefore difficult and expensive to obtain. In fact, at one time it was almost impossible to export a male from Siam, as they were made neuter before they left the Palace; but in process of years a few male kittens have evidently been smuggled out, as some very fine imported specimens have been exhibited in England and lately in this country.
In general appearance these cats differ from any other, more particularly in colour. This is of a cream or biscuit hue, while the extremities - namely, nose, ears, tail and paws - are of a deep seal brown, and the eyes are of deep blue. When the cat is two or three years old, or sometimes younger, it is almost certain to darken in body-colour, and become almost useless for showing, although when born they are pure white. As to the tail there is much diversity of opinion. Some say the tail should be kinked; others say they should not taper so much at the end like the ordinary short-haired cat. Personally I think the kinks in the tail have undoubtedly originated through inbreeding, which must have existed among the originators of the strain kept in the Royal Palace. If this is the case the kinked tail is only a deformity, the same as it is with other animals that are inbred, be they dogs or cats. This inbreeding is also the cause of the delicacy of the Siamese cat, and a cast in the eyes which may often be noticed.
The above is the description of the Royal Cat of Siam, but there is another variety, called the Chocolate Siamese.
Whether these are really a distinct variety, or are darker specimens of the royal cat, it is difficult to say. In shape, the Siamese is very graceful and of medium size. In type, and in almost every particular, it is the reverse of the domestic short-haired cat, especially in the head, which is longer and more angular than our present-day long-hairs and short-hairs. Though why fanciers should have bred these latter varieties to what they call perfection - namely, short and cobby, with a beautiful round face - and yet never attempted to improve the long face of the Siamese, I cannot understand, as the imported Persians and Angoras of long ago possessed a long, angular face similar to that of the Siamese; although to-day judges object to a long-faced Persian or short-haired cat, yet the Siamese is still being bred with the long, angular face.
If we alter, or, as we call it, improve some types, why should we not do the same with the Siamese? Surely what is an improvement in our eyes in one variety should be the same in the other. Why should we admire long, angular faces because the Siamese do?
Nothing is more beautiful than a Siamese cat with a round face. I have seen several of these, and yet their breeders will tell you it is incorrect. They did not say so in regard to the first long or short-haired cat they bred with round faces, but expected them to be admired, and they undoubtedly were, and always will be.
I feel sure, if breeders of this charming variety were to continue breeding from only their strongest specimens, and never inbreed for years to come, they would produce a variety of cat which would quickly become popular.
The following is the scale of points used by the Siamese Club of England:
Body colour to be as light and even as possible, cream being the most desirable, but fawn also admissible, without streaks, bars, blotches or other body markings.
Points (namely, mask, ears, legs, feet and tail) to be clearly defined, and of the shade known as seal brown.
Mask complete; namely, connected by tracings with the ears, neither separated by a pale ring as in kittens, nor blurred and indistinct, the desideratum being to preserve the "marten face," an impression greatly aided by a good mask.
Eyes bright, and decided blue.
Coat glossy and close-lying.
Shape, body rather long, legs proportionately slight.
Head rather long and pointed.
The points of Chocolate Siamese to be the same as above, except the colour of the body, which is seal brown.
Body colour .......20
Density of Points ........15
Total ................. 100
CHAPTER XXI. MANX
Perhaps most people are aware that the true Manx cat comes from the Isle of Man, but how it originated there seems more or less of a myth, and no true "tail" of its origin can be had; this "pun" is more or less appropriate, as they should be tailless.
Not all are pure-bred specimens because they come from the Isle of Man, as the breed has not always been kept pure, and specimens with tails are now being- deprived of their caudal appendages to meet the demands of those wishing to purchase a "true" Manx cat. There is no doubt a judge of Manx can visit the Isle of Man and select a good specimen, but even in the resulting litter from apparently true-bred cats, the traces of a tail or "stump" is apt to appear.
Probably the best specimens are now to be obtained from English fanciers, who are known to have kept the breed pure for several generations; in that country many beautiful specimens are shown, and a club for the advancement of the breed has long since been formed. In shape the Manx should be short in the back and cobby in shape; they usually possess a much rounder face than the ordinary short-haired cat, but where they differ from all other cats in shape is in the hindquarters. When standing upright, which they seldom do, the hind legs are considerably longer than the front; this makes the hindquarters more prominent, and gives the "rumpy" appearance which is so characteristic of the breed and by which a true Manx may be discerned. Usually, when standing at ease, the Manx cat bends the hind legs and stands more on the first joint than actually on the feet, similarly to a rabbit, and in jumping springs from the first joint.
This action and formation of the hind legs is only found in the Manx cat, and although many short-haired cats may have their tails cut off, they will never possess this characteristic of a pure-bred Manx.
Manx cats are very popular as pets; they are splendid ratters, great "sports," very intelligent and affectionate. They may be of any colour, the tabby varieties being very handsome; the self-colours are more uncommon. At present Manx classes at the shows in this country are for the most part just ordinary short-haired cats with their tails removed, although a few good specimens have been shown. To be perfect they should have no tail or even "suspicion" of a tail - just a hollow at the end of the spine - but even in good specimens a small tuft of hair, or even a joint of tail, is sometimes seen.
The hindquarters should be round, not angular; the roundness and height give the true "rumpy" appearance, and in their native land they are often termed "rumpy" cats on this account. The colour of the eyes should correspond to the correct standards for short-haired specimens.
CHAPTER XXII. ABYSSINIANS
The Abyssinian is a short-haired foreign variety, and very few specimens have been imported into this country. They are in type very much like the ordinary short-haired cats, but their heads are somewhat longer, and ears rather larger.
In colour they much resemble the wild rabbit, hence their nick-name of "Bunny Cats." They should be of an even, light reddish-brown colour, each hair tipped with black, like a Belgian hare rabbit.
There are also silver Abyssinians, but they are as a rule, too dark "slate" in colour to be pretty.
These cats should have no tabby markings, but a dark spine line and feet are allowable. Eyes are usually of a bright hazel colour.
CHAPTER XXIII. NEUTER CATS
Neuter cats are by far the most successful to have as pets; they grow far finer than males or females; they are also quieter and far more prone to stay at home. They should be doctored at the age of six to ten months; it is better not before six or after ten months, although they can be operated upon younger. and much older, even up to three years of age.
Females can also be altered, but it is a more dangerous operation and not always successful.
Neuter cats can be exhibited, as there are separate classes provided for them at most of the shows, but they cannot compete for championships. Neuters, being of rather a lazy disposition, are apt to become too fat, so in feeding them after they are full grown, all cereals and fattening diets should be avoided, and after the age of three years, when they have become fully developed, very little food will be required to keep them sleek and fat; to over-fatten a cat is to make it unhealthy and shorten its life.
CHAPTER XXIV. THE CATTERY
Catteries are usually started in a small way, and gradually increase each year, until in a few years you may find yourself with two or three males and five or six females; then, as the years go on, also several old favorites too healthy to destroy, and no use for breeding purposes. These old pensioners should be allowed to end their days in the free run of the cattery or premises, being painlessly destroyed when they begin to look miserable and unhappy, probably at ten or twelve years of age.
In addition to these there will be fifteen to twenty kittens to dispose of; with the exception of two or three of the very best of these, which must be kept to improve the strain and to take the place, say, of their great-grandparents. Never be tempted to keep too many, or you will find it difficult to have them properly fed and cared for, the result of which will be sickness and the loss of many of the youngsters.
Proper housing is the first consideration. A barn or a good stable is the least expensive to start with; these can be fitted up and divided inside, runs being made outside for exercising. Never make use of a large, rambling building, allowing the cats to run about in hay lofts and places which cannot be kept scrupulously clean; if so, you will have no success.
Horse-stalls can be converted into very suitable pens for one male cat, or two queens which agree may be kept in each. They must be securely wired in, and the floor covered with linoleum or rubberoid, then painted with floor-paint. Oilcloth should be tacked about two feet up the sides, and allowed to lap over the edges of the floor coverings, and the wall kalsomined or painted. Shelves placed at the windows and several on the walls will make a comfortable little place. Then have a hole cut through the walls to the outside run. Similar divisions can be made in any part of the barn, always having a window to each compartment. Remember, the floors must be properly covered so that they can be washed; if rough board flooring is used, it is impossible to prevent flea-eggs hatching out in the cracks; the roughness also spoils the cat's long, soft fur.
Cats turned loose in a building like so many chickens, with no attention paid to having properly fitted up places, become infested with fleas, and are always out of condition.
Should the barn be badly built, the walls which come directly in the cats' pens should be interlined with boards, and sawdust filled, to be warm in winter and cool in summer, as a well-built cattery without artificial heat is far better for your cats in winter, and a barn with hayloft over, to keep off the sun in summer and keep off the direct cold in winter, is far better than a cheaply built cattery with a flat roof.
In summer all outside runs should be shaded by trees or artificial means," either by canvas or window-blinds, as no cats will keep in condition exposed to the heat of summer sun; neither should cats be allowed out in their runs all and every day. Cats show no discretion as to weather conditions, and will often sit out in the rain and cold winds when they should be warm and dry inside. Of course, we know there are some cats which will stand all weathers, but these are as a rule not highly bred, and are usually the survivors of the fittest.
If you are unable to have your cattery under shade trees, then have trees planted near, and use artificial coverings and fast-growing annual creepers, such as Japanese cucumbers or bell-vine, until the trees are large enough to take their place.
Cats are far better kept inside during the hottest hours of the day in summer, and only allowed out in the mornings and evenings. Never leave a cat out in the runs at night, as they are sure to make good their escape sooner or later, or strange cats may get in, as wire-netting is not always guaranteed hole-proof after a few years of wear. A window left covered with good strong wire-netting will be sufficient on very warm nights.
In building a cattery, always have it protected on the north by another building, if possible; a long, lean-to building, about ten feet wide and as long as you may wish to have it, allowing at least six feet for each compartment, with a window in every division, will be found the least expensive method, and should you wish to keep several queens together, the divisions can be made much larger. Inside, the partitions can be made of light spruce timber and wire-netting, leaving a passageway at the back. These pens should never open into one another, for in the case of two male cats there would be an accident should the two come together.
In housing male cats the divisions must either be of double wire, allowing a four-inch space between, or else boarded halfway up, and the wire of one inch mesh, used beyond the boarding, as male cats invariably become sworn enemies sooner or later.
Two male cats should never be housed together, even if they have been raised so from kittens, as some day they are sure to have a deadly quarrel, and the result will be that one or the other will be killed or seriously injured, unless someone is there to separate them in time. Kittens are far better raised in the house, if possible; large, airy rooms at the top of the house are best, having all windows open should the weather be suitable, and have a slight amount of heat in winter to take off the chill and prevent damp. A room on the ground floor makes an ideal spot, especially if it opens on to a piazza, as this can be screened in with mosquito-netting and will then afford a lovely run for the kittens.
I do not recommend outdoor catteries and runs for kittens, unless they are large and very well built.
The runs should be roofed over and have a board flooring covered with linoleum, as any dampness or sudden change is sure to give the kittens cold; in fact, to raise kittens successfully they must be provided with large enough quarters to enable them to be shut up in bad weather and yet have plenty of exercise and air; they cannot be expected to keep healthy exposed to damp and sudden climatic changes; therefore, it must be left to the judgment of fanciers to provide the best possible quarters for raising the kittens.
CHAPTER XXV. SCIENTIFIC BREEDING
If fanciers take the time, trouble, and go to the expense of raising cats, why not breed them on scientific principles? That is to say, do not breed a long-haired cat to a long-haired cat, just because it is long-haired, but try" to find out how your cat is bred, and then mate it according to colour, points, etc. Do not try to save yourself a little extra expense and trouble by breeding to a cat in your immediate vicinity, but choose a mate that you think likely to suit your' queen in colour, pedigree and points. Send her on an extra journey, if necessary, and give yourself more trouble and expense, rather than mate her to a cat of inappropriate colour and pedigree. In the end the results will repay you, both from a financial and show standpoint. For example, we will say you have two beautiful kittens, both the same colour and good points; one may be carefully bred for generations, the other one probably bred from cats of mixed colours, and therefore almost valueless for breeding purposes.
Now, if you wished to dispose of these two kittens, you could only ask half, or less than half, the price for the badly bred specimen that you could for the other, as anyone having a knowledge of breeding animals would not purchase a kitten or cat without a good pedigree, and would want to know also the colours of the ancestors.
The great difficulty with most novices is to know what colours it is allowable to cross, so we will begin with whites and go right through the different colours. Always mate white to white, if possible; a tortoise-shell cross may be used, there being a recognized class for tortoise-shells and whites; but the introduction of one white cross will be sufficient for a great many generations. If too much white is introduced, the result would be white cats with probably black and orange patches.
If you wish to breed pure white cats, always mate to pure white, as any colour introduced is very hard to eradicate, except, perhaps, blue; this cross in many cases has proved successful when, of course, the blue is pure blue-bred for generations.
Blacks are better mated to blacks, unless there is any particular fault to breed out. For instance, a rusty black does well when mated to a dark blue, but of course this may produce an unsound under coat, so it is not always successful. A black may be mated to a silver, producing very good smokes or shaded silvers.
Orange cats are sometimes used with blacks, to produce tortoise-shell; but the orange should be as free from tabby markings as possible, as a tortoise-shell with tabby markings is spoiled for exhibition.
Blues should be crossed with the same colour as much as possible, but if the colour should become unsound or too light, an introduction of a black cross will be advantageous. Never cross blues with browns, oranges or tortoise-shells, if you wish to continue breeding blues; if not, you may mate your blue with a smoke or a silver; but the resulting kittens cannot be sold for breeding pure blues.
Silvers, comprising chinchillas, silver tabbies, smokes, masked silvers and shaded silvers, may be crossed together, but never introduce browns, creams or oranges, as silvers are difficult to obtain without a creamy tinge, and any introduction of the aforementioned colours or tortoise-shell would prove fatal to purity of colour for many generations. If you wish to darken your silvers, try a smoke cross, and if you wish to intensify the colour of a smoke, cross with a black; if your silvers have a creamy tinge, try a blue cross. A blue-bred silver is one of the most valuable cats you can have in your cattery, as the blue cross entirely eradicates the creamy whiteness so often seen in the pale silvers.
Brown tabbies may be crossed with good, deep-coloured orange or orange tabbies, as the introduction of the orange prevents the grey tint that so many browns have. Black is sometimes tried as a cross for brown tabbies, but the results are more often poor, as the colour becomes too dark and is apt to lose the golden tint so much desired.
Orange and creams may be crossed together, also tortoise-shells. Blues are sometimes crossed with these colours to produce creams, but the resulting litters contain too many blue tortoise-shells and other spoiled colours to encourage breeders to try this, unless compelled to do so.
Tortoise-shells can be crossed with solid oranges, blacks and creams; a blue is sometimes used, but not always with good results. White should never be introduced among the solid colours, as parti-coloured cats will be sure to be the result, and although in this country a few classes (but no championships) are provided for these, to fill up the shows, we venture to think that tabby and white, blue and white, black and white, etc., will never be popular or bred for, as it ruins the colour of dozens of kittens before one is obtained with good straight markings, and without straight markings they are expressionless and ugly.
In breeding for colour, do not forsake points. This is just as important, if not more so, than colour, for what good is a cat for exhibition or breeding, with the wrong show points? No matter how good the colour, you had better select a good-pointed animal than one of the same litter with perfect colouring but nothing else to recommend it, as you must remember that the good, all-round specimen has colour in its breeding; therefore, by breeding from the perfect-pointed specimen, you are able to reach perfection quicker than if you choose an animal of perfect colouring only. Breeders will find pedigree counts more than anything else in breeding show specimens true to colour.
Sometimes a cat whose pedigree is said to be unknown turns out a splendid breeder; so, should you become possessed of a magnificent cat with an unknown record, it is well to try this cat, as the pedigree may have been mislaid, or the cat stolen when a kitten, in which case it might possess as good a pedigree as you could wish.
This happened in the best white male I ever owned. His pedigree was unknown; he became a champion, and his breeding record was unsurpassed. Doubtless his ancestors had been carefully bred for generations, but the person who first bought him, as a kitten, made no attempt to procure the pedigree. In such instances it is wise to try any good cat for breeding, even though it will take much longer to convince other fanciers of his good merits as a breeder, as very few fanciers will purchase long-haired cats without a known record, as most of them are aware of the necessity for a good pedigree in breeding animals.
CHAPTER XXVI. COLOURS WHICH SHOULD NOT BE CROSSED
Novices cannot understand the amount of harm that is done by injudicious crossing of colours in breeding cats. They deteriorate the value of the resulting kittens for generations, and it takes sometimes many generations of correct breeding to kill out a wrong cross in colour. What is meant by incorrect crossing of colours is mating tabbies to whole-coloured cats and whites to coloured cats; perhaps the latter is the most difficult to eradicate.
It certainly is the greatest offense to the cat fancy to mate a tortoise-shell, brown tabby or an orange to a silver. Breeders of silvers know how difficult it has been to obtain this beautiful variety without a cream tinge, although they have been kept pure for generations; imagine, then, how many years it would take to eradicate a brown tabby, orange or tortoise-shell cross.
Many seem to think if they mate a queen of any colour to a good silver male or a blue, that they will get kittens just like the sire, thus starting another colour without purchasing fresh stock. There they make a great mistake. Perhaps they may get one fairly good-coloured kitten, but the majority will be mixed, tortoise-shell silvers, brown tabbies spoiled by a grey tinge throughout, silvers all tinged over with cream; and should there be one good-coloured one in the litter, is it practically valueless as a breeding cat. This is also the case in trying to breed blues in such a way; the result is rustiness of colour, tabby markings, etc. All females from such crosses should be destroyed at once; the males, of course, would make pretty pets of small value.
Whites are easily spoiled by crossing with colours, colour in a white pedigree being the most difficult to kill out. Years ago, when blues were first bred, they were obtained by crossing blacks with whites. This did much to spoil the purity of the whites, but did not do much harm to the blues, as they seldom if ever threw white kittens. Sometimes a solid black would appear, and occasionally a blue in the litter would have a few white hairs under the chin or underneath the body between the hind legs an irregular patch of white hair would be found; but these blemishes were soon bred out. Whites were not so easily restored to purity. Blues were also crossed with brown tabbies, and the resulting blues were often crossed with whites, with the result that, many generations after, the whites would throw a black or brown tabby kitten; and now the only way fanciers can help the fancy is to destroy every coloured female bred from whites, and dispose of the males solely as pets.
I would advise all novices starting in the fancy to be sure they are buying cats which have been judiciously bred for generations, or what perhaps is still better, those which have proved good breeders of pure-coloured kittens.
Cats without a known record have in a few cases proved of great breeding value, but they take longer to make a name in the fancy, as they must be bred from, and show what they can produce before they will be accepted by breeders as valuable stock.
The correct crossing of the different colours will be found under colour headings.
CHAPTER XXVII. STUD CATS
A stud cat should be a very perfect animal in most points, or he should not be kept for stud purposes. Do not breed from undersized cats with bad points; the male cat should be far finer than the ordinary female, for in breeding animals it is considered, as a rule, that the progeny most strongly resembles the sire, if, of course, he is kept in fine condition.
The stud cat should not be allowed his entire freedom, or he will never be in fine form. Have him housed in a roomy cat-house or a part of the cattery with an outdoor run attached. The house should be about twelve by fourteen feet, or smaller if necessary, provided with comfortable sleeping boxes, shelves, etc. Large windows are essential; two will be found enough, with opposite aspects; the one on the cold side should be fastened up and felted over for the winter, allowing the southern one to provide light and sunshine.
The house should have a division or large cage inside, to place the visiting queen in at first, or whenever necessary, as this prevents a bad-tempered queen from injuring the male cat.
It is a great loss to have a show specimen with a blind eye or slit ear from the result of a first acquaintance with the visiting "lady."
Stud cats must be kept in perfect health and condition, feeding them always on raw meat, and allowing as much as they like to eat. They should also have access to grass or oats, both summer and winter.
In winter, a pot of oats raised in the kitchen or hothouse until they are four or five inches high will be much appreciated. When not provided with this they will readily eat sweet hay, which should be placed in the sleeping boxes at least once a week. The floor of the house should be covered with linoleum (cork carpet) or rubberoid, which is a roofing material, and should be painted with floor paint. Never use oilcloth; it is too cold; the floor covering should be turned up against the wall for about three inches all around. Then take thin oilcloth, about eighteen inches wide, and tack round the wall, allowing it to overlap the floor covering. All shelves should be done in a similar manner. As few stud cats are clean in their houses, they can seldom be kept for any length of time in the house, and if allowed to run in and out at their pleasure, they are of no use for breeding prize stock.
Each male cat must be housed separately, and if a pleasant companion can be found to live always with him, so much the better; but they are high-spirited animals, and usually annoy any cat put to live with them. Never allow two males to live together after the age of ten months. No heat should be provided in winter; if a cat is not strong enough to withstand the cold, it is not fit to breed from.
A covered-over southern runway is nice for the winter months, or one glassed in is better. The ground of the run is better cemented over and slightly sloped to allow the rain to run off and dry quickly; also, it can be washed down better in hot weather.
A sanitary pan should be provided, both in the run and in the house. Fine sawdust is best for filling; these pans should be enamelled baking dishes, about sixteen by twelve inches and three inches deep; they should be changed and washed daily.
If your stud cat cannot be housed in part of a barn or warm building, then the building you have put up for him must be thoroughly draught-proof and well built, to keep out the excessive cold. Double walls, with a four-inch space between, are best, filling up this space with dry sawdust. The outer wall must always be kept water-tight, either being well shingled or felted over, for should the sawdust between the boards become wet, it would prove very unhealthy for the inmates.
All windows should have a wire screen over, to prevent visiting queens jumping up and breaking them; the windows in summer are much better covered over with mosquito netting, which keeps away the flies, etc., which cats often eat, doing themselves much harm. Few flies enter the house through the hole which must be left open for the cat to reach the runway, or where flies are very prevalent a loose piece of cotton netting can be hung over the hole, and the cat will soon learn to push it in and out.
Always have your cat shut up at night, and the doors and windows securely locked. A window may be left open on the very warmest nights, but seldom in spring or autumn, as sudden rainstorms and changes in temperature must be guarded against.
In conclusion, I may add, if you wish to raise strong, healthy kittens, take as few visiting queens as possible; in fact, it is far better to keep your male cat only for your own queens.
CHAPTER XXVIII. TRAVELLING WITH CATS
Great care should always be taken when sending or taking cats on a journey. Often the very strongest cats catch cold when improperly shipped, even though at other times they run in and out in all weathers, for you must remember, a cat running about just as it pleases, goes into the house or sits in the sun when cold; but, shipped in a badly made box or unlined basket, and then placed for hours on an express van, no matter what the weather, under such conditions the strongest cats will be apt to catch a severe chill, and in many cases death through distemper is the result.
When taken by hand, nothing is more convenient than a basket or hamper, those made especially for live stock being well shaped, strong and durable; but all baskets must be lined except in the very warmest weather.
For winter use, line with outing flannel; but first place thin cardboard or table oilcloth around the sides, to stop the cold winds; sew the lining in with fine string and a packing-needle, leaving a good inch standing above the edge, to prevent any draught between the lid and the body of the basket. If there is a door in front, leave this uncovered, as it causes the cat to be less frightened; but always be careful to carry the hamper so that the wind does not blow directly into the opening. If the lid is a large one, this should also be lined, or partly so, leaving only a space under the handle for ventilation; the lining should be changed whenever it becomes the least soiled.
There are also leather hand-bags, made for toy dogs, which are very useful, especially on railways and places where cats are not always allowed, for unless the cat should make a noise, no one would suspect there being an animal in a handbag.
Perhaps the shipping box or crate is most used in this country. Some shipping crates are made with a space between every plank. These are very draughty, and should never be used without a warm lining. When cats are being shipped to their new owners, perhaps nothing is so adaptable or so inexpensive as the ordinary thin, light box used for shipping eggs. These will be given to you by your grocer or egg merchant, and by purchasing a little wire mosquito netting and a bundle of laths, a handy man can make an ideal shipping box. These boxes should be strengthened at the top edges with laths, also at the bottom if necessary; then half the top should be boarded across with light wood from another box, and the remaining half should have mosquito net tacked over, and slatted down with three lengths of lath, to prevent the netting from getting torn off or the cat from pushing out.
In very cold weather rather less than half the top should be left for ventilation. The division which is always in these boxes should be removed, with the exception of a piece at the bottom about two inches high, which may be left to strengthen the bottom of the box. Nail a little tin of water to the box in one corner, and a cardboard box tacked against the end to hold any food which may be put in. On the bottom of the box place a sheet of thick paper, large enough to turn up all around the edges, then throw a little dry sawdust on this, and a good bed of dry hay, paper shavings or wood wool, enough to cover the floor well.
This will make an ideal travelling box for a very long journey, or will accommodate two ordinary-sized cats on a short journey. Never give sanitary pans when travelling, as these become very foul, and make the air poisonous for the inmate. Nothing is so good as dry sawdust and the sweet smell of a hay bed. Of course, on very long journeys - say for a week or more - large cages must be provided with pans, etc., and these are kept clean on the journey.
For size and lightness these boxes cannot be excelled, and the advantage of their being made of such light, strong wood will be found in the reduction of express charges, perhaps to one-half, and this, with the long distances in this country, is quite an item to the purchaser or owner.
On the sides of the box should be printed in large letters, "Live Stock. Rush!" This can be done with spirit paint or ink and a small brush. The address should be printed in ink with a small water-colour brush on a piece of white cardboard large enough to cover the closed-in part.
At the top, print "Valuable Live Stock," then the address of the party to whom it is consigned, and by what express; then in red ink underline "Valuable Live Stock," and write "Rush!" across the corner. It is best not to state "Live Cat," as many of the expressmen despise a cat, and then tease it. They are also quite ignorant of the value of a show cat; therefore, as the cat is usually in the dark part of the box, where it cannot be seen, "Valuable Live Stock" produces more respect, thereby insuring more care and attention.
After addressing and nailing down, the box should be corded round with light box-cord, which will provide something to carry and handle the box by easily, thus saving the poor cat many a bang and bump. Cats are very timid travellers, and everything possible should be done to make them comfortable. It is best to ship at night, even on short journeys, as the cat is then delivered the next morning, thus saving much delay.
Always remember it is far kinder to ship your cats in boxes which are not too large and heavy, as the heavy boxes are thrown about like trunks, and in some cases I have heard of animals being killed in these heavy crates and boxes.
CHAPTER XXIX. KITTEN RAISING
Kittens raised from strong, healthy parents, even though they may be of the highest pedigree, are very little trouble to raise, and should they contract any illness, they usually recover.
On the other hand, if you try to raise kittens from delicate, underfed and neglected cats, then you may expect trouble from the beginning. Even from the time they are born, one or more of the litter will be small and delicate, probably only surviving a few hours or days. Previously I had many such experiences, and often raised but two or three kittens in the season out of perhaps a dozen or more. This was due, I have since discovered, to over-breeding the parents and not feeding correctly; by making experiments through taking other people's advice, which was more often wrong than right
I well remember feeding my cats and kittens one year on a mixed diet of fish, meat, cereals and milk; the result was disastrous. The kittens had sore eyes dysentery, chronic colds, worms, and finally distemper, and I lost practically all my youngsters. This was my first and last experience of a mixed and milk diet.
I confess it took some time to condition my breeding stock and eradicate the worms, which I found was impossible without first ridding them of fleas. After several years, I am now able to keep all my cats free from fleas and worms; they all look bright-eyed and healthy, and, above all, I am able to raise nearly every kitten which is born; even though they have become more highly bred, yet they improve each year in strength.
I mention some of my experiences in this chapter, as I wish it understood that I base my information and advice on kitten raising purely from bitter experience with each and every treatment and diet.
If you have delicate stock, it will, of course, take several seasons to secure complete success, but under the following treatment a steady improvement will be noticed in the young kittens.
First, it must be remembered that cats are carnivorous animals, and in their wild state young kittens would go straight from the mother and eat raw flesh, either birds or pieces of meat from any small animal the mother might kill. These being the natural conditions, why should we not follow them out, instead of thinking we can alter nature by trying to raise carnivorous animals on cooked meat, milk and cereals ?
Taking the size of a calf in comparison with a tiny five weeks' kitten, one could imagine that the calf needs far stronger milk than the kitten; therefore, pure cow's milk is sure to be too strong, and is certain to disagree with it. You will notice milk-fed kittens have large, distended stomachs; they suffer from chronic diarrhoea, caused by indigestion, and consequently appear in a semi-starved condition.
They are slightly better raised on a mixed diet with sweetened condensed milk, but to grow highly-bred kittens to perfection, nothing can replace a raw meat diet. If the mother cat has a good-sized family to raise, the kittens must be fed at four weeks old; if not, it will be noticed after that age they begin to get thin. When meat is given, they will quickly devour it, but at this early age the meat must be scraped. Shin of beef is the easiest, as the lean meat is easily scraped from the gristle. Moisten this meat with a little lime-water, and place a tiny piece in each kitten's mouth; they will usually grab your fingers to get more, but do not feed much at first - a piece about the size of the top of your little finger. Feed once a day for the first few days, then increase to two meals, finally to three.
It must be remembered that as you feed the kittens, so must you reduce the quantity of the mother's food, or you will find she will get more milk than the kittens will take, and at the age of six weeks only leave her with the kittens at night. At seven or eight weeks, take her away altogether.
Nothing ruins your queen more than allowing her to nurse four or five large kittens, and, as it reduces her strength, the milk becomes unfit for the kittens, and their digestions become deranged. When the kittens require to be fed three times a day, it will be found tedious work scraping the meat: therefore, select the leanest parts of the beef (shin is best, using the parts without gristle); have this put two or three times through a meat-chopper, using the finest knives; then add enough lime-water to make it moist, mixing it with a spoon or fork.
When the kittens are eating readily, the best method of feeding each separately is to take a short cake tin, turn it upside down, and place upon it four or five patches of meat, according to the number of kittens, never allowing any one kitten to eat more than its share. It will be found necessary to feed only two or three kittens together as they get older, or they will fight over the meat.
Perhaps the most difficult task is to explain just how much meat should be given to each kitten, and how to increase the quantity as the kitten gets older. This must be left to the judgment of the person who is feeding, and therein lies much of the art of successful kitten raisins'.
Feed only as much as will be eaten quickly; the kittens should always appear very hungry for each meal. Yet when you feel they are fat and solid, you are certain in your own mind that they are having all that is good for them; if they seem extra hungry, increase the meal slightly, but should this increase in any way upset them, or make them show lack of interest in the next meal, you will know that the original quantity was sufficient.
When the kittens get older, the. very best parts of the meat can be reserved for a younger litter, and the rest can be minced twice through the chopper for the older ones. At the age of three months a little gristle and a very little fat can be left in the meat, also raw bones should be given, leaving nice little pieces of raw meat, but removing any loose pieces of fat or gristle which may be large enough to cause indigestion. When you see how these bones are relished, you will easily recognize in kittens the true carnivorous instinct; they tear and gnaw at them just like so many wild animals. In winter, bones can be left with them until the next morning, but in summer they should always be quite fresh, and only left until the next meal and then removed.
If bones are not provided every day, a third meal must be given; but bones are best, as they keep the teeth in condition, and kittens provided with them have no difficulty when teething. Arrangements should be made with the butcher to provide you with a full cut shin every day; then the gristly parts can be used for the full-grown cats, the next best for the half-grown kittens, and the very best for the tiny ones.
The rough end-bone should be given to the older cats, and the middle sections to the kittens, being sure to remove the marrow, as this will upset kittens. In addition to this, if you have a number of cats, procure fresh meat cuttings or breasts of lamb; have all the bones removed, and put the meat through the chopper. A fair percentage of fat will not hurt the older cats and kittens, if fed raw.
When the butcher understands you really need the meat for your prize cats, he will be more liberal; if not, I advise a change of butcher, making arrangements about your cats' meat before giving him your custom. Any beef bones are acceptable, such as neck and rib bones; neck of beef will do in place of shin. It is not necessary to have the expensive parts of meat, provided the other is thoroughly fresh.
If you have a great number of kittens to feed, a small quantity of cooked lamb or sheep's liver can be used; but always remember three parts raw meat must be used, and lime-water mixed with all food until the kittens are full-grown. Never give pig's or beef liver, or even hearts, as they are most indigestible.
If at the age of ten months the kittens show any inclination to scratch, and there are no fleas present, it is usually an indication of irritation caused by the coat shedding. Give a pinch of phosphate of soda on each meal for a week or two; this will prevent the irritation and also stop the hair from falling so rapidly.
In summer, all meat must be kept in the ice-box. Many people think it is injurious to feed meat ice cold, but I have never found this to do any harm on the very hottest days. When the kittens have reached a panting condition, I have given them all their meals straight from the ice-box; on the other hand, should there be a decided drop in the temperature, it is best to give the food with the chill off. Either stand it in a warmer place for a few hours before feeding, or mix with a little hot water or liver gravy.
Never give kittens any stewed meat, stew gravy or beef-tea; all cooked meats cause dysentery, just the same as milk foods.
Kittens, when healthy, are always constipated, and they need no oil or laxatives, nor any foods which cause such conditions; therefore, I do not recommend fish, milk, cereals, oatmeal, potatoes, etc. Milk and fish act as laxatives, and cereals produce a heated state of the blood and skin troubles.
Kittens raised on a meat diet are seldom ill, and if they catch cold or contract contagious and infectious diseases, they are as a rule easy to cure and seldom succumb.
Kittens should always have access to green grass or oats grown in pots; but it will be noticed they do not appreciate this until they have nearly attained their full growth; at this age they are apt to overeat occasionally, as they have practically stopped growing, and then they partake of the green grass as a medicine, whenever needed.
Vegetables, such as cooked spinach, asparagus, green peas, and all kinds of greens may be minced with the kittens' meat once or twice a week, when they attain the age of eight or ten months, using, of course, only a small quantity.
Roast lamb or beef, underdone, is much appreciated, without fat, of course, and minced. If a kitten shows a loss of appetite, do not force it to eat for twenty-four hours, and if you know it has been eating anything to upset it, give a one-grain cascara tablet, or three grains to a six-month kitten; then, if it shows signs of any particular disease, put it on invalid diet; dose as per instructions in chapters on diseases.
Always remove any kitten that appears ill, even if it is only slightly upset, for often these infantile disturbances are highly contagious.
Do not try to give medicines continually to your kittens; it is a great mistake. A cascara tablet or a few doses of bismuth are all that are necessary when they are properly fed. Remember, all meat must be finely minced and thoroughly fresh, as tainted meat will upset any kitten.
Kittens raised on raw meat do not become savage, as is erroneously supposed; ill-temper is hereditary, or can also be caused by teasing and rough treatment. Kittens treated kindly never become spiteful, even though they have tasted nothing but raw meat; but if either parent is ill-tempered, it is sure to appear in some of the kittens.
The average growth of a large healthy kitten is one pound a month, and several of a litter will gain as much as this, though the females and lighter-coloured kittens are not usually as large. If they weigh seven pounds at seven months, they generally make good-sized cats. Autumn-bred kittens do not grow fast during the winter. They make their growth later on, when the warm spring weather comes.
When starting in the cat fancy I was informed that ninety per cent of all kittens died. I am happy to say I have discovered that, with careful treatment, ninety per cent. of my kittens grow up. It certainly would be a poor recompense to any fancier to lose ninety per cent. of his young stock, and yet I know this to be the case with many cat fanciers.
Robinson's patent barley, made with sweetened condensed milk, adding a raw egg and lime-water, given once a clay, makes a good third meal for young kittens; but do not let them take too much of this, and discontinue it if it does not thoroughly agree with them. Kittens should always be raised in large, airy rooms or buildings with covered runs. Never allow them to get wet or sit on damp ground; avoid draughts and shut all windows at night, except in severe hot spells, as sudden temperature changes will produce colds. Fresh air and exercise is essential for the welfare of kittens.
CHAPTER XXX. BREEDING QUEENS
The greatest attention should be given to the condition of all breeding queens, for unless they are in perfect health their kittens are sure to be delicate. Queens should not be bred from until they are a year old, if it is possible to keep them so long. They often show signs of wanting to mate at eight to ten months, but if they eat well and do not get thin it is best to keep them from breeding until they are at least a year old.
If you possess a thoroughbred long-haired queen, and she is used to running in and out, the chances are you will be presented with a family of half-breeds before you are aware of anything happening; but this misalliance has no detrimental effect on subsequent litters of thoroughbreds. Therefore, it is best to confine your cat to the house when she is about eight months old, only allowing her out in a wired-in run or when you are able to accompany her on her strolls.
The first sign of wanting to breed is unusual affection, restlessness and mewing, and in some cases loud howls; but the higher bred cats seldom become noisy. These restless attacks last usually a week, but should they continue for weeks together, it is best to mate your queen, even though you may consider her rather young.
It will be to your advantage to send your queen to a very good stud cat, rather than mate her to any moderate specimen you may own. Choose a cat which excels in colour-breeding and any good points which your queen may not possess. The two cats, if possible, should be of different ages, unless, of course, both are in their prime, which is from two to six years. If your queen is very young, never mate her to a young male; and if your cat is getting old, choose a male under five years of age. The resulting litters will be finer and stronger.
The first litter is seldom as strong as those following, although, when, of course, the queen begins to get old, the number in the litters decreases, the kittens become delicate, and do not grow so large. This does not usually happen until they reach the age of seven or eight years.
Many fanciers think cats are mere machines, and that they can raise two and three litters a year. When they fail to raise the kittens to maturity, they do not seem to realize that it is because the mother cat's strength has been overtaxed.
With highly-bred cats it is far best to let them have only one litter a year, especially if it is from a young queen. From a queen two or three years old, who is strong and healthy, two litters may be taken; but it is best to get a foster-cat to raise all or part of the first family; then again, if a good, strong cat has only two or three kittens at a time, she may be mated again the same year; but if a queen has four or five kittens, this should be quite sufficient for the year. In any case, in a country like this, with extremes of heat and cold, it will be found that one spring litter will be all that can be raised successfully, unless it is possible to raise the autumn litter in a warm place all winter; if not, the kittens will not grow any more than autumn-hatched chickens do.
In more moderate climates the breeding seasons are different. Take England, for instance. The winter is moderately warm, usually only freezing slightly, and in summer the hottest weather is about eighty degrees, and that very seldom. In such a climate animals are better breeders, because they have more strength.
I remember, when in England, having great difficulty in keeping my queens from breeding a second time during the summer months; but here there is no difficulty after the first litter has been raised, the queens showing little desire to start again on another family; and, if allowed to do so, it will be noticed they have not enough strength to grow coats for the winter; whereas the cat that has only one family a year is able to grow a full coat, and get into grand show form. If your cats do not coat up in the winter, they are not in a fit condition to breed from in the spring, and cannot raise a satisfactory litter.
I cannot recommend too strongly breeding only once from a cat during the year. Even from a financial point of view, it pays better, as one strong litter ready to dispose of at any time is far more profitable than two litters which are always more or less ailing.
Many persons have an idea that kittens are difficult to raise, but they will find, if they are treated as highly-bred animals, fed and bred from to their greatest advantage, instead of being treated as so many money-making machines, they can be raised without difficulty. They can be worn out just like machines, for the oftener you breed from a cat, the younger it leaves off breeding, and, what is far worse, just as they should be in their prime they discontinue to breed for a year or two, from the result of too many previous litters.
Breeding queens are best kept in a cattery, as when "in kitten" they are liable to get frightened or hurt. If "my lady" is a house pet, then it is impossible to shut her up, as she will get out of condition, so all precautions must be taken to prevent her injuring herself.
The family may be expected nine weeks after mating, but do not become unduly alarmed should it arrive a few days or even a week late, if your cat eats and is well. A comfortable bed should be arranged in a darkened corner, but should Madam Puss choose her own bed, allow her to remain if possible, and move her whenever you desire, after the kittens are born.
It is best not to move them for several days, but in the meantime slip a clean warm blanket or bath-towel under them. The latter is best in very warm weather, as too much warmth in the box distresses the mother; so a blanket placed flat in the box with a bath-towel over it affords purchase for the kittens' feet when nursing, and does not make the bed too warm. In colder weather, padding of soft material can be put around under the blanket and in the corners, forming a round nest. All bedding should be removed and the box swept out at least twice a week, and the towel shaken every day and changed whenever it becomes soiled.
Treatment when kittening, and for raising the kittens, will be found in other chapters.
CHAPTER XXXI. CATS AT TIME OF KITTENING
All cats, previous to the time of having their kittens, should be well fed on two raw meat meals a day, larger than their usual meals, and no other diet given. Nine weeks elapses from date of mating before the kittens can be expected, and it is not unusual for a cat to be several days or even a week late, but nothing should be done unless the cat seems ill.
Should the kittens arrive before time, you will know that the cat has been injured in some way, probably while searching for a bed or fighting with other cats, etc.
If possible, the cat should be kept in one room for about a week beforehand, and be provided with a nice comfortable bed. Perhaps nothing makes a better bed than a borax soap box, taking off the lid and using two of the boards, nailing them above the back half of the box like a roof. Cut a piece out of one end of the box, so that the kittens, when they are old enough, can crawl out. This box should be painted inside and out, and will then make quite a nice bed. Paint a light colour inside, and dark out, any tint you may desire, according to the colour of the cats you breed.
These boxes are a little rough at first, but if painted over every year the wood becomes smooth. The idea of the boards being made in a pointed roof over the box is to form support for a canopy, made by throwing a blanket or curtain over the roof, and leaving just room for puss to go in and out, covering the "kitten" hole at the side. This covering makes it very private for the cat, and also dark, or partially so, for the kittens, as for the first two weeks they should not be exposed to the full light on account of their eyes. A good, healthy cat, as a rule, has no trouble having her kittens, unless she is undersized; but if they become delicate from poor feeding or over-breeding, some of the kittens are apt to be dead, or are so weak as to be killed at birth, and the cat is several days having her kittens, instead of a few hours.
In case a cat has been injured, and some of the kittens are dead, and the cat seems in great trouble, a quarter to half a teaspoonful of ergot of rye may be given in a little sweet milk, and repeat the dose after several hours, if you are sure there are more kittens to follow. Do not give the medicine unless you feel sure the cat is unable to have her kittens without medical assistance.
Care should be taken as to the feeding for the first few days. As a rule, a cat has plenty of milk, but in the case of an old or unhealthy one, there might not be enough milk for the kittens. In such cases give the cat warm, condensed milk and egg, and if this is not successful it will be necessary to get another cat to raise the kittens.
As a rule, a cat is apt to have too much milk at first, and will need no liquid for the first week or ten days, except water, and no increase of food. After the first week two good meat meals must be given, with condensed milk, egg and lime-water for the midday meal, though a third meat meal is even better, always leaving fresh water close to the bed.
In case of a large family, the kittens should be fed at four weeks of age; but no cat should nurse more than four kittens, and three will fare much better.
All bedding should be changed every few days; old blankets, shawls and bath-towels make good beds, also outing flannel. A bath-towel is best as a bed-covering, as this can be shaken every day and changed whenever soiled. The rough surface enables the kittens to get a better support for their little feet. Never use a smooth, flat surface, as their legs, constantly slipping away from under them, cause weakness and crooked legs.
The eyes should be carefully watched about the ninth day, when they should be open or nearly so; if not, they must be bathed and opened with the fingers very gently, and then the lids should be greased with lanolin. For further treatment, see chapters on the eyes, and kitten raising.
CHAPTER XXXII. KITTEN FOSTER-MOTHERS
Many times a good foster-mother has saved a litter of valuable kittens. Young cats are sometimes delicate, or they become very excitable when the kittens are born, so they get neglected and die. Personally I am not in favor of introducing other cats into my cattery amongst my kittens. They usually have fleas, worms, and perhaps a spot or two of mange, which is non discovered until too late.
I prefer to keep my queens in such condition that they are able to raise all their own kittens, and if they only breed once a year, this is not too much. Should you want to take two litters from your queen, then a good, strong, short-haired cat is very useful; if she has kittens the same day as your own cat, so much the better. A few days, or even ten days before, is better than after, for the queen should not be allowed to nurse her kittens at all, if they are to be taken away.
If you cannot procure a foster in time, then let your queen nurse all her own kittens until you can get one - say within a week or ten days. In this case it is better to allow the thoroughbred queen to raise one of her own kittens. Most short-haired cats will take strange kittens easily, but on their arrival it is better to place them in a quiet room, with their own kittens, a day or two before introducing the new ones.
Always be careful how you introduce the little strangers. First place one up by her face, and if she begins cleaning it, then you will be safe in placing the new kittens with her, removing one of her own as you do so; and do not leave any of the short-haired kittens with the cat.
If, on the other hand, the foster shows a dislike to the new kittens, growling and swearing, you must be more cautious. Take two or three of the foster-cat's kittens, and place them, with those you want to give her, in a warm bed, and leave for several hours together; then take them all to the foster, and she will usually accept them. Do not leave her without a kitten all these hours, unless you find her still disagreeable; then try shutting her away from both litters of kittens; remove the short-haired kittens, and let her return to the thoroughbred kittens, using all the time the same bed. If this proves unsuccessful, then you may give up any further attempts. It is seldom you will find a bad-tempered foster; they usually take any and every kitten.
Do not mix the two families unless you are obliged, as any fleas the short-haired cat may have had prior to the birth of her kittens flock on to the newly-born kittens, and by destroying these kittens your thoroughbreds do not stand much chance of getting the fleas.
Always have the little short-hairs humanely destroyed. This is best done in a small wooden or cardboard box, about a foot square. Place them on a soft bed, which should first be lightly sprinkled with chloroform; shut the box for a few minutes, then open and pour in about an ounce more of the chloroform. Then shut the box up tightly, and wrap up in a thick cloth, leaving for several hours. If they are to be drowned, they should be tied in a cloth or bag, which must be weighted to keep them under water; then drop into a large pail or bath of water. But to chloroform them is quicker and far less painful. Always feed and care for the foster as you would for your own cat. Remember, she is filling the same place, and if she is not properly fed she cannot raise good, strong kittens.
I need hardly suggest that a good home be found for her when she has finished with the family, for surely no one who raises animals would be inhuman enough to turn her into the streets.
Provided the late owners do not want her returned, it is well to find her a home near, where you can have her back another time, paying a dollar or so for her use. You may also find your friends would gladly loan you their cats every year, if they find they are carefully cared for, and it is certainly better to always obtain a good, strong, short-haired cat to raise the long-haired kittens, if it is possible to get a healthy one.
I do not advise obtaining any cat picked up in the street, or from a "Cats' Home," as their condition would not be good enough to raise a family of kittens properly; there is also the fear of infectious diseases.
CHAPTER XXXIII. CAT SHOW MANAGEMENT
It is easy to write of "Show Management," and to give good advice, but the difficulty arises as to who is to undertake the actual work. Some will say, "Pay men or women to do it," but anyone who wants a show managed properly will find the greatest undertaking is to get the right person or persons; in fact, there is no truer proverb than, "If you want a thing done, do it yourself." Now, as it is impossible to do everything connected with show managing personally, one must employ very responsible people, in the first place, and someone must be always in attendance during every hour of the show - that is to say, in the day-time; and at night a trustworthy man should keep watch all the time, to see that nothing goes wrong.
Cat clubs should appoint a committee to supervise the work which is to be done. For instance, one should undertake the feeding, one the sanitary arrangements, another the covering of cages at night; also the crating and sending off should be carefully attended to.
For the last ten or twelve years I have attended large and small shows, both in England and in this country, so I can give some little advice as to what ought to be done for the comfort of cats during a show.
Firstly, I might mention that the diseases caught at shows by cats are not always due to bad show management, as most people seem to think.
Have you ever sat at the entrance to a hall and watched the cats arrive, some by express and some by hand, and seen the various ways these poor cats are packed and shipped, some in open crates, some in unlined baskets, others with just a box with a wire-netting front! Do the senders, and owners realize that this is no way to send a cat travelling, and that if they do so they just send disease, and with it infection, into every show? When you remonstrate with people, they tell you their cat is used to the cold. This may be the case, but no matter what temperature your cat lives in, or how much it runs in and out of the cold, it should not be placed in an open or draughty box or basket, as it is then obliged to sit still and cannot keep up its circulation, and therefore a violent cold or distemper is contracted; and, by the first or second day of the show, the cat is in the worst stages of infection, and endangers the lives of all the other animals which have been packed by humane owners or brought personally in a careful manner.
It seems to me that clubs and promoters of cat shows would help themselves and lessen the danger of showing if they printed an "Important Notice" in their schedules to the effect that if cats are brought or shipped in unlined baskets or draughty boxes, they will not be admitted to the show.
It is quite time some very stringent measures were taken to prevent thoughtless and unfeeling owners from killing their own cats, and a great many others at the same time. I know of one person who ships his cats in large cases with wire fronts, like rabbit-hutches, with no covering of any kind over the fronts, so that they can be teased and frightened all the time they are travelling. They may be only short-haired cats, but these bring illness to shows quite as much as the long-haired.
This dissertation about show boxes may seem to some people unnecessary in an article on show management, but if fanciers cannot take care of their own cats when they ship them, it seems hardly reasonable to expect their cats to return home well; and if they return ill, they are the first to blame the show management, never for one moment blaming themselves for the careless way in which the cat was packed, and never thinking that they may have sent disease into the show, as well as bringing it back.
The first step in managing a show is to procure an attractive schedule or premium list, and get the offer of cups and medals from different clubs, associations and specialty clubs; also the offer of special prizes from private individuals, either money, silver or cups.
The show should be under the rules of some prominent cat association, so that proper championship points may be given; also a full classification should be provided, thus drawing a much larger entry.
Many poultry associations give a cat show in this way, in connection with their own annual event, providing a separate room or hall for the cat exhibits. This adds a great attraction to their show, and increases the gate-money considerably. After the premium list has been duly printed, it should be sent to all the prominent cat exhibitors in or around the vicinity. The names and addresses of cat fanciers can be procured from catalogues of previous shows, or from the different cat clubs. It is usually necessary to send out at least five hundred premium lists, and to obtain short-haired cats, a few advertisements in local papers will be found helpful. It is well to fix the date for entries to close about ten days before the show date, so as to get all entered up in time for the catalogue proof to go to print. All entry blanks should be kept to verify any mistakes exhibitors may have made in entering their cats.
The simplest way to enter up the entries is to procure a ledger with numbered pages and lettered address pages. Use the page numbers to correspond with the class numbers. For instance, "Class I - White Long-haired Male, Blue Eyes." Enter this on page one in your book, and so on through all the classes; then, when all the entries have been received, the contents of the book can be copied out for the printers, with, of course, the list of exhibitors and their addresses.
If the club does not own its own pens, they can be hired; about a dozen extra ones should be ordered, to use for judging, etc. These pens, for a two or three days' show, should not be smaller than forty-two by twenty-one inches each.
Of course, many owners attend the shows themselves, and line their pens with some warm material, or place cushions inside; but for cats shipped alone, their comfort should be attended to, and the pen lined with a sheet of warm wrapping paper; this should be changed when it becomes soiled.
The whole floor of the building should be swept with sawdust dampened with strong disinfectant. This lays the dust and cleans the floor. No disinfectant should be used at any other time in the hall, as it makes the air so strong that it affects the eyes and breathing of the cats, and also is most objectionable to exhibitors.
One of the largest cat shows ever held was run entirely without the use of disinfectants, except for cleansing the pans. Many visitors and exhibitors said that it was the pleasantest show they had attended, as there were no strong odours. The "strong odour" which had been noticed at other times was due to the use of strong-smelling disinfectants, which do no good and make the cats very ill. Strict cleanliness is all that is necessary to make the air pleasant.
A pan of dry sand should be placed in each cage. The pans can be obtained at no great expense, and should be owned by every club holding shows. A suitable pan is one of bright tin, about seven by nine inches, and one and a half inches in depth. These can be bought for seven cents each. Before using, they should be numbered on the outside at each end. This can be done with a small brush and a tin of black spirit paint in a very short time. These pans should be placed in the cages of corresponding numbers.
During the show they should, if necessary, be changed several times a day, and dipped in a tub of strong solution of permanganate of potash, about a tablespoonful of the crystals to two gallons of water. It is best to have two tanks of this solution, dipping the pan first in one and then in the second. Drain off, and fill again with dry sand.
One attendant should be kept entirely to change the pans at any time necessary during the day. At the close of the show they should be well disinfected and dried and packed away for the next year, as they will last several years, if properly taken care of.
The next item is feeding. Positively no milk should be allowed in a show. It is considered by eminent physicians to be the greatest germ-breeder in existence; so surely this should not be given a cat in a show, where no one can be sure that there are no disease-germs. If cats cannot drink fresh water for three days, they are better kept at home. Various diets have been tried at shows, but I have never seen anything so much appreciated or less likely to upset a cat in confinement than minced raw meat. Someone should be appointed on the feeding committee who thoroughly understands feeding cats, and should go around with the men attendants at feeding time, with a list of the cage numbers, and mark off each cat's number as it is fed, as sometimes cats are penned in different corners of the hall, and some cats might be overlooked or some irate exhibitor may assert that his or her cat has not been fed; then you can show your list, and if the cat's number is marked off the same as the others, the matter is settled.
A small quantity should be fed night and morning, care being taken that kittens are not given as much as full-grown cats. This meat should be given on small-sized cardboard pie-plates or wooden butter-dishes, and about an hour after feeding, these, with whatever meat is left, should be thrown away, as what has remained in the hall for two or three hours is not fit to be eaten, and fresh dishes should be used for each meal.
Another thing to be seen to is the emptying out of all stale water and giving fresh. This should be done at the same time as the feeding, and also twice a day.
The great difficulty with a cat show is to keep it well ventilated without opening doors or windows on any particular cat. A row of windows should be kept slightly open at the top, always being careful to shut those where there is too much draught. Halls are apt to become over-heated where there is a large attendance. This generally happens in the afternoon and evening. If the heating apparatus were carefully regulated during these hours, this would be avoided. This is a very difficult matter to overcome, as it is generally thought of when it is so warm as to be unpleasant to oneself. Then it requires some time to reduce the temperature. The temperature at night also is a very important point. Of course, with furnaces banked down for the night, the hall is sure to become somewhat cooler, but great precaution should be taken to prevent the men from opening all the windows to "air the place out."
The ordinary working man has an utter disregard for cats, and all he thinks about is "getting rid of the smell," which, of course, is impossible with fifty or more male cats in a building. Therefore, as I said before, a responsible person should watch the hall at night, to avoid, if possible, any "cooling off."
Never allow the sprinkling of sawdust saturated with strong disinfectant under the show benches. This is most injurious both to the cats and their owners. The sawdust that is used is as fine as dust, and when it becomes dry with the heated atmosphere, floats about in the air, affecting the eyes, nose and lungs, thus causing considerable irritation of the mucous membrane.
Next in importance is attending to the boxes and baskets the cats have been shipped in. These should be thoroughly cleaned out and fresh hay put in before the return journey. This, I am afraid, is very seldom done, but it should never be neglected. Imagine a cat returning in a soiled box or hamper, which has probably been so for the best part of a week! This alone would be enough to make a delicate cat ill, and would certainly be most unpleasant for the strongest. There is ample time, during a three-day show, for the men employed to see to this important detail.
Last, but by no means least, is the packing and sending off of the cats. This should be properly attended to by those in authority before the hall is left. The managing of a show is by no means an easy task. It is a great responsibility, endless work and worry, very little thanks, and usually a great deal of abuse from unreasonable persons.
If fanciers only knew how much they could save show managers by the careful packing of their cats, patience, and less aggressiveness, I am sure they would not complain at every little thing which goes wrong. No large show can be run without some little thing happening, and as long as it is nothing serious, why raise objections?
CHAPTER XXXIV. PREPARING CATS FOR THE SHOW-PEN
One often wonders how much has really been written on the above subject - namely, the care of show cats - and how many different ways have been advised; also, whether novices really take advice, or do they know best, until experience, sometimes very bitter, teaches them, perhaps taking some years to do so. This, I think, was somewhat the case with myself.
The method I now have of successfully raising and showing my cats and kittens is practically the same as I was first advised; yet, as a matter of fact, I have tried various experiments, some good and some bad, and not until recent years, may I say, have I been entirely successful. When you tell novices what to do with their cats if they wish to show them, they often remark, "If I have to take all that care I would not show my cats." But really, keeping show cats is much less worry that keeping four or five pet cats.
When you begin to give minute details, it appears very intricate to a beginner, so I will therefore give as simple a method as possible to care for show cats. A cat kept in clean surroundings, well fed and cared for, needs very little preparation for the show-pen; in fact, the conditioning should continue throughout the year, for, unless you keep your cats in good form always, it is useless to expect them to be fit for showing in a few weeks. If your cattery is properly kept, the inmates should need no undue amount of cleaning.
In the first place, to ensure your cats growing a good coat, all old hair should be combed out in the autumn, as any old, rusty hair spoils the appearance of the new coat. Then the cat should not be allowed free run of the "garden walls," or the new coat will get wet and soiled, worn on rough walls and fences, and torn out on bushes. I have never yet seen a cat which had its entire freedom look as well as the carefully cared-for "cattery cat." All cats are better for fresh air and exercise, but if they are allowed out in all weather, their condition both as to coat and health must deteriorate.
Remember, a cat, to be in "show" form, should have a huge coat; this also takes time to grow; and to do this they must be amply fed as soon as the weather gets cool after the summer heat.
The best diet to condition a cat for the winter shows is raw meat, finely minced through a mincing machine, which is better than that cut with a knife, as many cats have defective teeth and do not masticate their food, swallowing large pieces of meat whole. A raw meat diet produces a wonderful coat and keeps the cats in such good health that, should they come in contact with disease or encounter cold weather when travelling, they seldom get seriously ill, as do most underfed or milk-fed specimens sent to shows.
I do not say a meat diet will always grow a coat, as without breeding, a cat will not obtain that wealth of coat that a pedigreed animal does. I wonder how many well-bred cats one sees during the show season, which have only a few long hairs to denote they belong to the "long-haired" section! These are the cats which need to be properly fed, and not over-bred, then they could be easily conditioned and improve the appearance of our winter shows.
When the cat's coat becomes thick and long, great care should be taken to keep the hair free from mats, for one small knot in the hair will set up an irritation of the skin, and in a day or two the knot becomes one large mat, and has to be cut out with the scissors.
Have all the cat's surroundings kept scrupulously clean always; especially so a week before a show. Then, about three days before, clean the cat thoroughly by first dampening the coat with a little alcohol and water, rub well with a rough towel, clean out the ears and powder inside with boracic acid; then take a flour-dredger and dust the cat well with corn-starch, rubbing it in the coat well with the hands; the next three days should be spent in brushing out the corn-starch, as any left in the coat spoils the colour, and in many cases may cause disqualification in the show-pen to those colours it improves, such as chinchillas, whites, etc.
A properly kept cat does not need all this cleaning; just a little around the frill and ears is all that is necessary.
Before sending to a show, always cut the tips of pussy's claws, as they may get caught in the wire on the shipping crate, and cause an accident; also, many a person lets a cat go on account of a good hard scratch; therefore, it is safer for the cat and kinder to the people and judges at shows, who have to handle them. When away from home, cats are apt to become very frightened, and even the most gentle ones will bite and scratch when handled by strange people at shows.
CHAPTER XXXV. CAT FEEDING
More attention should be paid to the diet of an animal than any other part of its care. There can be no success if your cat is not properly fed.
It must be clearly understood, if you are starting to breed pedigreed animals, and many of them, they cannot be fed as you would one pet cat, which has its entire liberty and does not breed. Breeding from animals taxes their strength to the utmost, and they must be fed in proportion, or they will become weakly and contract all kinds of diseases, especially skin diseases.
Cats should be fed strictly on a meat diet; no cereals, such as oatmeal, rice, etc.; no potatoes, and, lastly, not a drop of cow's milk, whether it is boiled or not, even should you keep a cow. We had a Jersey cow for some years, but not a cat in the place was allowed milk; in fact, few of them would drink milk after being fed on meat.
Milk feeding causes chronic dysentery, and a cat or kitten so fed is never free from worms. They are also subject to skin trouble, from poverty of blood; in fact, a milk-fed cat is always in a semi-starved condition. Of course, I know cats have been fed on milk for years, and in many cases they live on it; but the same cat could be changed on to a meat diet with marked improvement.
On the other hand, try changing a meat-fed cat to a milk and cereal diet. The result will be disastrous, the cat soon being reduced to a wreck of its former self. Meat has been proved by a majority of successful breeders to be the only proper diet for the fancy cat. Raw beef is best, preferably minced, with bones given daily or at frequent intervals, and fresh green grass always accessible.
The quantity given must entirely depend on circumstances. For instance, a cat in the summer months, if not being bred from, needs only two small meat meals a day, or as much as it will eat up quickly. Breeding cats need large meals night and morning, about half a pound of meat each during the day, and in the autumn, about September, let them have all they can eat twice a day, to fatten them up and grow a coat for the winter, giving less about January or February, unless they are kept where it is excessively cold. About March, a pinch of phosphate of soda may be given once a day for a week or two, to cool the blood and prevent the cat shedding its hair too quickly.
Cats "in kitten" should have about six ounces of lean raw meat twice a day, moistened with a little lime-water.
For those keeping a number, I would advise buying a full cut shin of beef or several pounds of neck. Have this cut up and minced; then, in addition to this, a lamb's or sheep's haslet may be cut up and cooked, using only the best parts. Have this minced when cold, and use the gravy to mix it together with the raw meat. A little green vegetable may be added. Always use three parts raw meat to one of any substitute. Never use bread, but dog-cakes broken up and soaked in cold water for twelve hours, then put through the mincer and mixed with three parts raw meat, is also a good diet, as the biscuit is far more nourishing than bread or any other cereal.
Bear in mind that this mixed diet should only be fed to cats which are not breeding, such as neuters, young cats, or old cats which have given up breeding, all kittens, cats "in kitten," or nursing kittens, and all stud cats, should be fed on a pure meat diet.
Fresh lamb or mutton, boned and minced, fed raw, agrees very well with cats. The fat cannot be removed, but when fed raw it does not disagree with them; but lamb or beef should on no account be fed when boiled; lamb becomes too rich, and cooked fat upsets a cat very quickly; the beef becomes hard and indigestible.
Beef hearts and pigs' livers should never be given, and cooked beef liver very seldom; no liver should be fed raw.
I have often wondered how fanciers could write to the cat papers and advocate a mixed cereal and milk diet, with an occasional meat meal. They seem to convince themselves that it is correct, but if you were to see their cats, as I have done, you would notice the poor animals are sorely in want of a good meat diet; and when shown at the winter shows, they are conspicuous for want of coat; they look as if they had forgotten all about winter, and had retained their summer raiment. The fact is, they have only been provided with enough food to keep them alive, and have not had enough nutritious food to grow their coats.
When you observe well-bred, long-haired cats at our winter shows, almost hairless, you can draw your own conclusions; either they have been hopelessly underfed or bred from too often; in some cases both.
It is far more profitable to keep just one or two cats and feed them properly than to keep a number and feed them badly. Poor diet is the root of most "ills."
CHAPTER XXXVI. CAT BATHING AND CLEANING
Never bathe a cat unless positively obliged to; if by accident puss has tumbled into anything which has badly soiled the hair, such as paint, or, as often happens, has become entangled with a sticky fly-paper, then, of course, a washing is necessary, and should be done immediately.
To remove paint or sticky fly-paper, I have found nothing to answer the purpose so well as warm water and napthaline soap, using a little turpentine on a rag at first to the very bad patches. If the soap alone will not remove all, then put a little soda in the water. Rinse well after washing, and dry with rough bath-towels. If in winter, place in a warm room until thoroughly dry.
It is a dangerous practice to wash a cat constantly, for sooner or later it is sure to contract a bad cold or pneumonia. The best way to cleanse a cat's coat is by dry cleaning. First comb all knots out of the fur with a wire comb; then, if the hair is very much soiled or greasy, rub with a rough towel moistened with alcohol and water, half and half. Rub nearly dry, then take a flour-dredger filled with dry corn-starch, and dust the cat over lightly, rubbing the starch in around the nose and eyes with the fingers, to prevent any getting in the eyes and nose. After rubbing well into the coat with the hands, brush and comb thoroughly, and if all the hair does not become fluffy, repeat the process where necessary.
It is best to do this cleaning in a bath-room, spreading a sheet on the floor, as the "dry" process is apt to cover everything more or less with powder. Dry cleaning does not spoil the coat, whereas a cat which is constantly washed never grows a good coat, as the soap and water removes all the natural oil, and the hair becomes brittle, breaks off, and also turns a rusty colour. A cat frequently washed becomes dirty much sooner than one which is "dry" cleaned, as they will not clean themselves when constantly washed.
CHAPTER XXXVII. CAT JUDGING
A good judge of cats should have had years of experience in breeding in order to realize quickly all the good, as well as bad, points in the animal he is judging; also, he must show no partiality towards the owner, nor should he favor any certain cat because a long price has been paid for it, as that does not make it the best; for one must remember that often hundreds of dollars will not purchase some of the best cats of the day. Now, if any of these things are likely to influence you at all, do not attempt to judge. You may please a few people at a show, but you will displease the whole fancy by partiality in judging. Do not try to please the owners, but put the best cats first, and the majority will thank you. Of course, it is useless to try to please everybody, because unreasonable persons are to be found everywhere.
Many think, because they love their cats, they must be the best; but unfortunately people often pick out the worst show cat to make their special pet. This is a great mistake for any fancier to make. You must know, when breeding animals, that you cannot keep them all; therefore, make up your mind to make the greatest pet of the best kitten. By so doing, you educate it and improve its disposition, and make it as fearless as possible in the show-pen.
Remember that most judges have their own methods, but they generally work out the same in the end; so in this article I can give the novice hints from my own personal experience. For instance, it is, in my opinion, quite impossible for any judge to judge every cat with a score-card. You will find, after judging a few years, that your score-card is in your own head; that is to say, you must bear in mind all the different points of the three or four cats you have picked out as winners, and compare them, one with the other. You will find, if you test your judgment with a score-card afterwards, that the result will practically be the same. Of course, for judging different colored cats for cups and special prizes, you might find the score-card useful.
In judging, never run away with the idea of one extra good point in a cat making it the winner; you must compare all their points one against the other, before deciding which is the best. Never judge cats in the show-pen; always take them out and either place them on a table or in a judging-pen; but if a cat rubs incessantly against the wire, it is better to take it out, as a long-haired cat's beauty is spoiled when the coat is smoothed down.
Do not judge a cat's head by its appearance, but always place your hand across the front of the skull, and feel if it is wide. Another great point, and one seldom noticed by judges, is the width of the chest. This also should be felt. In fact, half the judging should be done by well handling the cats. If you are afraid to handle all sorts of strange cats, do not start to judge; without feeling a long-haired cat you cannot correctly judge it, as a wealth of coat often covers a multitude of faults.
Always handle strange cats, especially males, as if you were not the least bit afraid of them. Use loose fitting leather gloves, if you wish to get a firm hold on a cat. If it should appear savage, grasp it firmly by the "scruff" of the neck, then it will be unable to scratch and bite you. I have always made a practice of handling all the cats I have made winners and have not yet received a bad bite or scratch. One must learn to be a good "handler" before one will make a good judge.
At all shows insist upon having daylight for judging, as artificial light appears to alter the colour of the cats; then when the same cats are judged at another show by daylight others may reverse your decision, probably correctly, and this will reflect on your judgment.
The short-haired cat should be judged for the same points as the long-hair with the exception of the coat, which should be very smooth, harsh, and short. The other points for both varieties are as follows: - The head should be round, the face short, the nose should be snubby and have a good stop - that is to say, the nose should have a decided break in the middle to make it retrousse in appearance, the cheeks, and under the eyes, should be round and very full; the eyes large and round and set straight in the head; they should not be angular in any way; the ears should be small, and set well apart, pointing somewhat forward and well tufted; the body should be cobby and very deep and broad in the chest, and the back as straight as possible; the legs should appear to be set low down, and not to continue up to the top of the shoulders.
In the long-haired variety, the hair should be as long as possible, and no very short hair should be seen across the shoulders and hind legs; this is a very bad fault, as it gives a cut-off appearance to the head and frill, and shows a lack of good breeding; the legs should be short and thick, and the hair on them the longer the better, so that in this respect they in no way resemble the short-haired cats.
I have seen a pedigreed Persian with legs exactly like a short-haired cat; this is very ugly, and you will find that there is a defect in the pedigree if a cat has this fault, as the better and higher bred a cat is the longer the hair is on the legs, and a corresponding length of toe and ear tufts will also be noticed. These of course, are good points. The tail should be short enough to be carried slightly away from the body, but not touching the ground or turning upwards at the end; if it does this, you may know it is too long in proportion to the length of the legs. The hair should be very long under the stomach to prevent a "leggy" appearance.
The aforementioned points should give the novice a good idea of the shape of both the short and long haired cats, and the scale of points and description of colour of the different varieties given below should be all that is necessary to give any one a fair idea of how to choose their winners either in breeding or judging.
One very important point which judges should be strict with, is faking of any kind. I am glad to say that, little, if any, is done with cats, but such unfair advantages as placing powder or flour on a light cat to make it lighter or to improve it in any way, should be strictly prohibited by judges and also by show committees; for where does the novice's chance come in when the "old hands" take these unfair advantages! Any cleaning preparations can be brushed out before a show and the cat kept in a clean place until that event, thereby removing all danger of disqualification by the judges for "faking."
CHAPTER XXXVIII. SCALE OF POINTS
Orange And Brown Tabbies
Orange tabbies to have a clear yellow or cream ground colour, with distinct rich orange markings; eyes orange.
Brown tabbies should be a rich red brown with black markings; eyes orange. There should be no shading to white in either of these varieties.
Head and expression .......20
Colour and markings .......25
colour and expression of eyes .....1O
Coat and condition ......20
Brush or tail ......1O
Colour pure white, no creamy tinge; eyes blue or orange.
Head and expression .................20
Colour and shape of eyes ........15
Brush or tail ..........10
5 Total .............100
Colour must be sound to the roots, either dark, medium or light; no shading or markings; no brown tinge; eves orange.
Head and expression ..........15
colour and shape of eyes ........15
Coat and condition ..........20
Brush or tail .............10
Colour must be sound to the roots; no brown tinge, shading, or markings; eyes orange.
Head and expression ...............15
Colour and shape of eyes ...........15
Coat and condition .........20
Brush or tail ...........10
To be clearly patched with red, yellow, and black; no tabby markings; eyes orange.
Colour and expression of eyes ............15
coat and condition .................20
Brush or tail ...................10
Tortoise-Shells And Whites
Should have distinct patches of red, black, and yellow on a white ground. In this variety the patches are larger and much more distinct than the tortoise-shell. The scale of points is the same as the tortoise-shell.
Creams, Fawns And Orange
Fawns and creams should be even in colour, without shadings or markings. Orange should be an even rich red, no markings or shadings. Eyes for all these varieties should be orange.
Head and expression ...........15
Colour and shape of eyes ................15
Coat and condition ................20
Brush or tail .....................10
Points for Silver cats, drawn up by the Silver Society of America.
Chinchillas should be pale and unshaded silver, having as few tabby markings as possible. Any brown or cream tinge to be considered a great drawback. The eyes to be green.
Colour of coat .......25
Coat and condition ..........20
Colour, shape and expression of eyes .........10
Brush or tail ...........10
Should be defined as a pale, clear silver, well shaded on face, legs and back, but having as few tabby markings as possible; eyes green. Any brown or cream tinge a great drawback.
Colour of coat ...............25
Coat and condition .........20
Colour, shape and expression of eyes .................10
Brush or tail ..................10
A smoke cat must be black, shading to smoke, with as light an under coat as possible, and black points, light-silver frill and ear tufts: eves to be orange.
Head and expression ..............20
Colour of eyes ...............15
Colour of under coat ...........10
Absence of markings ...........15
Brush or tail ..................10
Coat and condition ...........20
Should be a pale, clear silver with broad, dense black markings. Any brown or cream tinge to be considered detrimental. Eyes orange or green.
Head and expression ..............20
Colour and markings .............25
Colour of eyes ...........10
Coat and condition ............20
Brush or tail ....................10
Should be a pale silver cat having dark face and legs. The lighter the body and darker the face and legs, the nearer approach to type.
Head and expression....................10
Dark mask and legs ................20
colour of eyes ............10
Coat and condition.....................15
Brush or tail ..................10
CHAPTER XXXIX. PHOTOGRAPHING CATS
Many amateurs take "snap shots," but few obtain really good pictures of their cats, as time exposures are the most satisfactory.
To photograph cats successfully, one requires, as nearly as possible, a home studio. This need not be permanent but may be arranged in the following manner, just before taking the pictures. Select a large, light window; a bay window gives good light. Near the window place a table or whatever you wish your cats or kittens to stand on, using for a background a screen about five feet high; use this screen uncovered if it makes a suitable background, if not throw over it a curtain, or any other drapery which is suitable to the colour of your cat, dark colours, of course, for all light-coloured cats and light or nearly white for darker cats. Avoid using a figured background; remember the plainer the surroundings the more they will show up the "sitters." About six feet from the window hang a large white sheet, as near to the ceiling as possible, allowing it to touch the floor; this should continue right up to the screen and across to the camera, thus forming a little studio, and the white sheet will reflect the light as well as concentrating it. A sheet thrown on the ground will also improve the light, and prevents heavy shadows.
A northern light is always considered best for photography. but where there is no top light I have found a southern window answers best: but never allow sun to shine on your subject. Should the rays fall just where you want to place your table, move it further into the room, or pin a piece of white muslin over the window to diffuse the sunlight. The fastest plates of films should always be used for animals. and a noiseless shutter; perhaps the best shutter is the velvet flap worked by a pneumatic ball and long rubber tube. These are imported from France.
It takes two persons to photograph a cat. one to operate the camera and the other to attract the subject. The great art in attracting a cat's attention is not to cause too much excitement. One needs many different devices; often a bunch of long grass tapped on the camera or drawn up and down the sheet at the side will catch pussy's eye; or an imitation fly made out of a piece of black cotton or wool hung on a short stick: then draw the "fly" up and down until the cat becomes quite interested, keeping it quite still just when you want the cat to look. Always keep perfectly quiet when you have once gained the cat's attention; any movement or conversation will make the cat look in the opposite direction just as the plate is being exposed.
Never be afraid of over-exposing an "animal" picture taken in-doors; the great difficulty is to get the cat to sit still long enough to get a time exposure; two or three seconds will not be too long. The person operating the camera should watch the cat and at the first sign of movement, drop the shutter. Often a picture can be intensified which is slightly under-exposed, if there has been no movement.
If you are photographing kittens and they are too playful, you must keep them on the table and let them play until they begin to get sleepy: then wake them up with some of your tractions" and you will probably get a good picture; but unless you have endless patience and expect to be several hours over one or two pictures, do not attempt animal photography.
CHAPTER XL. INVALID CAT DIET
More cats succumb from improper feeding when they are ill than from actual disease; or rather an incorrect diet aggravates disease.
In the first stages it is best to give a mild laxative, and no food for 12 or 24 hours, according to whether the patient is strong and robust, or young and delicate. In cases when the digestion is impaired, no solid food should be given; only the mildest kind of nourishment, such as Robinson's Patent Barley made with little or no milk, with a tablespoonful of lime-water added to each half-pint. In cases of high fever give the barley made without milk, instead of water to drink. It should be given quite cold, even iced, and made fresh twice a day.
When the patient is getting a little better some sweetened condensed milk may be used in the barley, and later a fresh raw egg added to each half-pint containing the lime-water. If the food cannot be retained on the stomach or causes dysentery give beef juice squeezed from fresh raw beef. To make this, take a cupful of lean raw beef which has been finely minced through a meat-chopper place it in a small basin and add about half a cup of water and two tablespoonfuls of lime-water; stir well and allow to stand for twelve to twenty-four hours; then squeeze the meat in a piece of white muslin, expressing the juice. If the cat is very ill. use the juice weak at first and stronger later, adding less water. Feed with a rubber ear syringe at the side of the mouth if necessary.
Great care should be taken after a cat has suffered from severe internal trouble, when feeding anything solid. If you think your cat sufficiently recovered to need more nourishment, try a very little scraped raw beef: moisten with lime-water; if this agrees, more may be given in two hours: afterwards the meat may be finely minced several times through a meat-chopper and fed sparingly at first, three or four times a day. After all long illnesses a good raw meat diet and tonic should be given to build up the constitution, otherwise further complications, such as abscesses, etc., will follow from low condition.
Under no circumstances should cooked beef tea, stewed meat, cereals or cow's milk be given in any illness. One meal of such diet is more than likely to kill the patient.
CHAPTER XLI. EYE TROUBLE IN CATS
There are many causes of eye disease, but probably worms cause more eye trouble than any other. A cat which has worms seldom has clear, bright eyes.
Worms affect the whole mucous membrane, which causes chronic running of the eyes and otherwise undermining the cat's constitution; therefore the cat is not healthy, and when it catches cold in the eyes it becomes chronic and can only be properly cured by first ridding the cat of the worms.
Some years eye trouble seems worse than others, as is the case with all diseases. Young kittens, when they first open their eyes need careful attention; if the eye is not open on the ninth day it must be looked at closely, and if any swelling is noticed the lid must be greased and then forcibly opened, or pus quickly forms inside the lids, and if neglected presses on the eye-ball and causes the kitten to become blind. After the lids have been opened the eyes must be bathed with warm cow's milk and water, and the edges of the eyelids greased with a little crude lanolin. Eyes such as these must be attended to at least three times a day should they close up again.
All kittens when first born, and for two weeks, should be kept in semi-darkness; then by degrees allow more light into the bed or room. As a precaution against sore eyes at the time they open, put one drop of one per cent. solution of nitrate of silver right on the eyelids when the kitten is only a few hours old. Only apply once. Should the eyes continue to be sore after they are first open, a lotion must be used. Zinc and rose water as made for the human eye I have found very good; or try one per cent.
Solution of Atropine, diluted with water one-half, using only one drop at night. The lanolin on the lids should also be used, even with the lotions. Should young kittens still continue to have chronic running eyes, accompanied by a head cold or sneezing, then you may be sure your kittens have worms. These must be expelled before the kitten can be healthy. For treatment see chapter on worms.
I have seen a bad case of ophthalmia appear in a strong, healthy kitten, one that is known to be free from worms and fleas. This is usually caused by a cold in the eye or some foreign substance. The constant irritation causes the kitten to rub the eye violently; the lids begin to swell and the irritation becomes worse.
To avoid a very bad eye, blindness or a damaged eye, immediate steps should be taken. If you are unable to obtain the right lotion at once, keep the eye clean with warm milk and water, bathing three times a day with absorbent cotton, throwing away each piece as soon as it has been used; then grease the lids with lanolin, and put a little in the corners where they discharge, to prevent soreness. The cat's claws should be cut, especially the fifth one, as often the cat scratches its own eye in its violent attempt to rub and in cleaning it.
The lotion I have found most beneficial for this trouble is a one per cent. solution of atropine; use only one drop at night. Apply after the eye has been cleansed with milk and water and the lids greased. Always hold the cat for a minute or two after applying any lotion, as they will often tear at the eye directly after, thus causing more irritation.
In all eye diseases the patient must be kept in a subdued light to effect a speedy cure, in fact, in cases when atropine is used it is dangerous to expose the eyes to sun light or any bright light. Never allow cats or kittens with bad eyes to sit in front of open fires or near heaters. The air should be pure and not too warm. In summer they must be kept in a cool room and free from draughts. The atropine can be used one drop night and morning in bad cases, and one drop a day as the eye gets better. After applying for a week or ten days, discontinue, and only keep the eyes greased and cleaned.
Ulcers on the eye should be treated at once. They are caused by a scratch, or a neglected cold in the eyes. In appearance the eye has a milky white film over it; sometimes the lids are so swollen that the eyeball is not visible, but should the eyes get as bad as this an ulcer is sure to follow. Use the same treatment given above, only a two per cent. solution of atropine instead of a one per cent., until the white film has nearly gone; then continue with the one per cent. solution until all traces of the film have disappeared.
I have used atropine on cats many times and have always found it most effective, although many persons think it is very dangerous. But it only needs to be applied carefully to be efficacious. Atropine is also invaluable for a scratch on the eyeball caused by another cat or a sharp piece of wire, etc. Use one drop night and morning of a one per cent. solution. If a scratched eye is neglected an ulcer forms over the eye; then a two per cent. solution will be necessary as before directed.
Yellow oxide of mercury is generally used to remove ulcers, but as it usually leaves a white spot on the eye and causes irritation when being used it is not so satisfactory as the atropine.
In cases of Keratitis, which is a milky film over the eyes, a 25 per cent. solution of Argyrol may be used, one or two drops in the eyes twice daily. Keratitis often appears when the animal is in a low state of health, and after distemper.
In all cases of eye trouble it must be remembered that the eyes must be kept clean and the lids never allowed to stick together.
CHAPTER XLII. PNEUMONIA IN CATS
The first symptoms of this disease are loss of appetite, and a pained look in the eyes; the animal usually "squats" on its front legs and does not curl round when asleep; the breathing becomes very rapid. When you hold your ear against the lungs (which are located just under the front legs) a harsh grating noise can be heard with each breath, sometimes this noise can be heard at some distance from the cat.
First place the patient in a small compartment or cage about two by three feet, keep in a good clear atmosphere at a temperature of 60° to 650, allowing no draughts, place an old blanket on the floor; the sanitary pan must be removed, as when the pain becomes severe they will always crawl to the coolest spot and will be found lying in the earth or sand pan; any little accident like this causes another chill and means death to the cat, so only have the sanitary pan placed in the cage when someone is present.
No time must be lost in treating this disease; it is usually a case of kill or cure in twenty-four hours, therefore, immediate steps must be taken and the patient watched continuously until eased, otherwise there is no hope of recovery; if the case is hopeless the cat should be chloroformed; never allow them to suffer unnecessarily. Now to return to the treatment; clip all the hair off between the front legs, then make a bag about six by eight inches; this should be of flannel if possible, sewing tapes across about two inches from the end, leaving the tapes long enough to tie around the neck and around the body just behind the front legs, thus hanging the bag between the front legs; this bag should be filled with bran, not full enough to make it hard and heavy; place this on an enamel or tin plate, covering another one over it; if the oven is very hot leave the bag in the oven until quite hot through; it will be necessary to make two bags so as to have one hot ready to put on as the other is taken off; the chest should not be left uncovered a minute. Before applying the hot bag laudanum may be sprinkled over it each time; this eases the pain. I do not advise mustard, as any burning sensation is apt to frighten a cat so much as to cause more harm than good.
The great point in curing pneumonia is to keep as much heat as possible on the lungs. It is of course much better to nurse the cat on your lap and keep it covered while these bran poultices are being applied, but if this is impossible keep the cat as I mentioned before, in a small place all covered with a warm blanket and look occasionally to see that it has not crawled out through the tapes on the bag so as to misplace the poultice. These bran bags should be changed about every two hours, and at least twice or three times during the night fresh laudanum should be sprinkled on the bag before every application.
I once cured a bad case in a six months' kitten by this method in twelve hours, even though I was not able to be with the patient all the time. I found the kitten breathing in great distress and making so much noise as to be heard at the other end of the room, and in such pain she was not able to rest a minute, although she was apparently perfectly well the night before. I followed out the above treatment and after twelve hours the breathing was normal and the kitten wanted to eat and climb out of its pen; this kitten grew into one of my best cats and one from which I have bred many winners.
After the breathing becomes normal and the patient shows signs of being much better remove the poultice and in its place make a flannel jacket by taking a strip of flannel about eight inches wide and long enough to go around the cat's body, then cut two holes about the size of a fifty cent piece, cut little slits around these holes to leave room for the upper part of the leg, and yet to keep the flannel up close, these holes should be about in the middle of the strip and the right distance apart between the legs, according to the size of the cat; now inside this flannel should be laid a good thick wad of absorbent cotton to replace the hair which has been cut off, sew this cotton to the flannel, then place the cat's two front legs through the holes and sew the two ends of flannel at the back of the neck and back. Be sure it is not too tight and allow it to come well up on the chest.
The next problem is to remove this jacket without giving the patient a chill; to do this remove a little piece of the absorbent cotton at a time until there is nothing left but the flannel, then continue removing this in the same way, not taking the last piece off until the weather is suitable.
A rattling noise in the bronchial tubes and chest will sometimes be heard for months afterwards; if there is any cough give a little vaseline on the mouth or tongue two or three times a day.
Remember after pneumonia a cat cannot be allowed to "rough it" until it has quite grown out of any weakness. During the illness great care should be given to the diet. Liquids only should be given during the first stages, the best then is raw beef juice. (See invalid diet.) It may be necessary to give this with a spoon or syringe through the mouth. Nourishment should be given every two hours and nothing solid until the breathing is normal, then give scraped raw beef moistened with lime-water, raw eggs beaten up with a little condensed milk and water; also give quinine for a tonic, a one grain pill night and morning for a cat, or a half grain pill for a kitten; give this tonic for two or three weeks, should it agree with the patient, but should it make the cat vomit, it should be discontinued; give instead a good pinch of saccha-rated carbonate of iron twice a day, mixed with food; if this should act as a laxative give less.
A good raw meat diet should be continued for some months, as this disease leaves the patient in a very low state.
CHAPTER XLIII. DISTEMPER IN CATS
Distemper, probably the worst ailment one has to contend with in all animals, may appear in several forms - the catarrhal, which chiefly affects the eyes, nose and air passages, the throat form affecting the membrane as in diptheretic affections, with pneumonia following as a complication, and lastly, but most fatal, the gastro-enteric form.
We will deal first with the catarrhal form; this is perhaps the most tiresome, though not so fatal. It requires much treatment and in many cases of months' duration; that is to say, the patient is usually left with weak eyes or chronic catarrh, which only good feeding and care, with bright warm weather, can cure. The first stage of the disease is usually loss of appetite, accompanied by vomiting of white froth, this more often on the first day. The eyes become inflamed and watery, the nose discharges a thick mucous. To treat the eyes see chapter on eye diseases.
Keep the nose bathed with a little warm water and grease with lanolin around the nostrils to prevent soreness. Vaseline smeared inside the mouth three or four times a day eases the breathing and takes the inflammation from the back of the throat.
In cases where the breathing is very laboured, steam the air passages by placing the animal in a bag tied around the neck and holding the nose and mouth over a jug of hot water to which vinegar or a few drops of eucalyptus oil has been added; repeat this treatment several times a day.
If sickness continues give carbonate of bismuth every two hours, as much as will lie on a ten cent piece at each dose; make into a paste with a few drops of water and smear on the tongue; give oftener if required.
Quinine, given in one grain gelatine coated pills, night and morning, all through the disease, is very beneficial as a tonic and fever reducer, but should be discontinued if it causes sickness; then one drop of tincture of aconite three times a day may be given.
Give to drink, instead of water, Robinson's Patent Barley, made with water, not milk, and add a tea spoonful of lime-water to a saucerful; make the barley thin enough to drink and give cold; this is a means of giving soothing nourishment when all solid food is refused or disagrees; in addition to this give raw beef juice and lime-water three or four times a day with a spoon or syringe.
When the patient shows signs of recovery, feed scraped raw beef, only a little at a time, and continue the beef juice for several days. (See invalid diet.)
In case the throat becomes very much swollen and inflamed and the cat constantly swallows with a jerky motion of the head, the throat should be well painted inside with a 2 per cent. solution of Resorcin three times a day with a throat brush.
When the throat is only slightly inflamed the vaseline may be used also in conjunction with Resorcin in severe cases. Great care should be taken to prevent infection of well animals, as cats and kittens which have not already had this disease become quickly infected, the infection even being carried on the shoes, hands, and clothes of persons attending to distemper patients; if you have only one cat do not handle other people's cats, or you may spread the disease; if this complaint breaks out in one part of your cattery, do all that is possible to keep it there; let only one person attend to those which are ill, never going near the well cats, also be careful to keep all sanitary pans, saucers, etc., well away from the other cats. It is useless to isolate cats which have already been in the same room with infected animals, as they are sure to develop it later, even if ever so slightly, but those that are really very ill should not be allowed to sleep with the slightly infected ones, as such complications as pneumonia, sore throat, etc., are contagious though not infectious.
Great attention must be paid to the atmosphere in which a distemper patient is kept; the air should be clear, and fresh air admitted through an open window in which a muslin screen has been fixed, or a few inches left open, and a screen placed around to prevent draughts; and an even temperature of not less than sixty degrees or more than sixty-five should be kept.
When the fever leaves the cat great care must be taken that the patient does not contract a chill, which usually causes a relapse or pneumonia. (For treament see chapter on pneumonia.) Keep the cat in a warm bed and give warm bedding; cats which are very bad should be kept in a small division or pen, so they cannot crawl away into cold corners in the night or when the person in attendance is not present.
The gastric form of distemper is the most deadly; the first hours of sickening are very dangerous, as though highly infectious, the animal appears to be in perfect health, that is to say, unless the temperature be taken.
The eyes are bright, but the animal is in a high fever, much more so than in ordinary distemper; in a few hours it commences to vomit; you can then decide whether to chloroform or try to cure your cat, for should the froth which is vomited be a clear bright yellow colour there is no hope of the cat's recovery, and a dose of chloroform is the kindest end.
No cure has been discovered for cats with this violent form of gastritis, and if allowed to die naturally the cat succumbs in twelve to twenty-four hours. This form usually attacks cats of from six to twelve months of age and those of a light colour or whites, which are evidently more delicate in the stomach and, therefore, have it in the worst form.
The peculiar thing about this disease is, that the cat either gets the violent form just mentioned and dies in a few hours, or contracts it so slightly that in most cases it needs no special treatment beyond continued doses of quinine to reduce the fever; in saying this I am speaking about cats which have been properly fed on meat and are strong and healthy to start with. I have known cases where a whole cattery has been wiped out by this disease, but that is only when the inmates have been fed on farinaceous foods with little or no meat all their lives, and though they may look large and fat, they have no real strength to withstand disease of any kind.
Gastritis is most dangerous when a cat is six months to a year old, but I have never lost a cat over one year or under five months of age.
In the mild form white froth is vomited and the cat has excessive fever for several days; this must be reduced by one grain doses of quinine three times a day; if this cannot be given try one drop of tincture of aconite, three times a day, until the fever is reduced; care should then be taken that the cat does not get a chill; afterwards feed as directed before.
Some cats get this form so slightly that it is only noticed because the other cats are ill, that is to say, they only miss one or two meals and then continue to eat as before.
Some weeks after they have had this disease, abscesses are likely to appear, either underneath the stomach and other parts of the body, but more frequently on the glands of the throat, just under the chin; so if any loss of appetite should be noticed, an examination should be made; these lumps often partly form and then absorb, therefore they should be gently rubbed daily, and if they form a head they should be bathed with warm water daily until they break, which will be found better than lancing, as if the latter is not done carefully blood poisoning is apt to follow.
These abscesses discharge very freely after breaking, in which case they should be syringed out every day with dioxide of hydrogen or some other good disinfectant not too strong; wipe dry and cleanse outside with absorbent cotton, then sprinkle protonuclein powder well over and as far into the wound as possible. I have found nothing so beneficial as this powder for these abscesses, and the protonuclein tablets should be given internally, one three times a day. This powder is used extensively in medical practice, and is a preparation manufactured by Reed & Carnrick, of Jersey City, but can be obtained at most of the largest drug stores.
After treating the wound for several days with the powder, being sure to syringe it first, you may discontinue this treatment and then wash off the surface of the wound with warm water and a disinfectant; dry and then grease thoroughly with crude lanolin; in a few days it will only be necessary to apply the grease. The great point is to keep the wound open on the surface so as to allow it to heal right from the bottom; if the surface wound is allowed to heal the first few days the abscess will form again.
If these abscesses break inwardly they are apt to cause death by blood poisoning, but in strong cats they are not dangerous. If a cat is fed large quantities of finely minced raw meat to build up its constitution, it would thus prevent many of the after-effects of distemper. Before these abscesses break the cat will not eat for several days, as the pain then is very great. The protonuclein tablets and raw beef juice should be given. When they break the cat should be kept separate, as they appear to be highly contagious.
As the wound heals it should not be kept bandaged in any way, as this annoys the cat and causes it to scratch the part affected, and therefore does more harm.
The causes of distemper are many; some seasons it is worse than others; colds, neglect, unsanitary conditions in a cattery will cause this disease, also sitting about out of doors in bad weather, overcrowding of the cattery, sending on long cold journeys or coming in contact with other cats so affected will also cause it.
Distemper is similar to influenza in people, epizootic in horses and distemper in dogs; but here I may mention for the benefit of those keeping dogs and cats that distemper and other diseases are not communicable from one to the other.
CHAPTER XLIV. SKIN DISEASES IN CATS
There are many forms of skin diseases, some of which are infectious, others not infectious. Among the latter is simple eczema, which is usually caused by feeding cereals with little or no meat, producing poverty of blood. Eczema often appears on cats in the spring and also in autumn after the hot weather.
The symptoms are constant licking and scratching until the skin becomes raw and the hair falls out in patches; this can only be cured by dieting and giving medicine internally.
Feed only minced raw beef mixed with as much phosphate of soda as will lie on a ten cent piece, twice a day, until the irritation subsides. Give no cereals or milk, as these are heating to the blood, but continue the raw meat or other meat diet, giving the soda should the irritation recur at any future date.
Whole catteries will be affected by this simple eczema, causing people to think it is contagious, but this is not the case, the outbreak being caused either through months of improper feeding or climatic conditions.
Perhaps the most troublesome disease to get amongst your cats is Black Mange; this is a parasite under the skin. The disease appears in different-sized patches, and starts on the head, around the ears, and on the front paws. The first sign is a roughness of the skin in patches, which when combed comes off, hair and all, with a yellow crust, leaving the skin grey or nearly black.
This complaint attacks kittens more frequently than adults, but more especially cats which have always been fed on cereals. I have known cases where cats had to be destroyed when this disease has appeared, simply because they are in a low state of health from poor feeding. This disease does not appear on a really healthy cat so seriously as to endanger its life, but it is a troublesome complaint to get rid of, as should there be one spot left on a cat it will increase again and attack any kittens that may arrive later. On the first appearance of this disease a close examination of all the inmates of the cattery should take place, then great care should be taken when dressing the spots, that infection does not spread. First examine the cat's head, neck, and around the casing of the claws on the front feet. Should there be any roughness, the hair should be removed (it will come out quite easily), and dropped into a tin of hot water or kerosene, then the spot should be well dressed with equal parts of sulphurous acid and glycerine, being sure the acid is of full strength; rub or dab well into the spot, with the end of a tooth brush, from which all the bristles, except those at the end, have been removed with a sharp knife; use a little of the lotion at a time from an egg cup or other small receptacle. When the affection is around the nose and eyes, it is very difficult to dress, and very unpleasant for the poor cat. Great care must be taken not to get the lotion into the eyes - it is not harmful, though very painful.
The cat should be examined all over the body; the rough places can be felt under the hair, and, on a well cared-for cat the spots are few and far between, although they may appear on any part of the head, body or tail. The lotion should be used twice a day to effect a speedy cure, and the spots must be dressed until they are quite smooth and the hair begins to grow; the skin will often remain dark-coloured for months or even years afterwards.
This disease must be carefully treated, or it will remain in a cattery for a year or more; any cat which is about to kitten must be thoroughly cured, or the spots will appear on the young kittens when they are about ten days old; then the same treatment must commence all over again, only that you may have five to treat instead of one.
In addition to the outward treatment, great care should be taken as to feeding, which must consist entirely of meat, such as lean raw beef, lamb, raw chicken, rabbits, etc. No cereals or milk should be given. The sulphurous acid must be pure, and of full strength, the fumes should be overpowering or the acid will be of little use.
Great precaution must be taken to see that Sulphurous acid is procured and not Sulphuric, as the latter will burn holes in the cat's flesh. Sulphurous acid may be applied, three parts acid to one of glycerine in obstinate cases, and may be used for any other skin trouble of similar appearance.
Cats are not often subject to skin trouble, and I have never found it infectious to human beings.
CHAPTER XLV. TREATMENT OF THE EARS IN CATS
Too little attention is paid to the ears, one of the most delicate organs of the cat, and, unless they are kept thoroughly clean, disease, and in many cases death, may be the result.
Properly speaking, the ears should be cleaned at least once a month. Kittens' ears should first be attended to when they commence to run about; it will often be noticed that they begin to scratch them, even at that early age. The inside of the ear should be carefully wiped out with a small piece of absorbent cotton and a little pinch of dry boracic acid powder put in to dry up the soft wax, otherwise this collects the dust, and forms a hard black mass in which tiny parasites breed in millions; if neglected these cause inflammation of the ear drum and abscesses will form, sometimes affecting the brain and causing death.
These minute parasites of the ear, are greyish in colour, and can be seen with the naked eye in strong light, or with a microscope. Should these "mites" exist in the ear or even the hard black wax, the best treatment is the following:
First drop in the ear a few drops of almond oil, this should be slightly warmed; work the ear about gently from the outside so that the oil penetrates into the wax; then when it appears thoroughly softened, remove the wax with an ear cleaner or a hair pin, first winding a piece of absorbent cotton around, using the blunt end of the pin; always be very careful not to clean too deep down in the ear and treat always in a very gentle manner. If the patient becomes restless, place in a bag, tying with a string around the neck; this is far the most satisfactory method of treating a restive or frightened cat. After the ear has been thoroughly cleansed, use a good pinch of the following: One part iodoform and one part boracic acid powder and mix well. Apply by placing on a glossy card, such as a calling card, bend this up on either side to hold the powder, then tip it into the ear, which should be held firmly with the other hand, as the cat will try and shake as soon as the powder touches the ear.
The powder should be worked well down into the ear and any superfluous powder outside the ear wiped off, as iodoform is poisonous. One treatment is usually sufficient to kill these parasites, but careful examination should take place later to see that they have been entirely exterminated.
These pests not only cause gatherings inside the ear but cause abscesses which form right at the tip of the ear between the cartilage; if these do not break naturally and disperse, they should be lanced and the contents of the swelling (which is usually a blood clot) removed, then cleanse thoroughly with water and disinfectant. This should be done by a veterinary.
While the wound is healing, it should be constantly massaged or gently pulled every day to prevent the ear tip from becoming contracted, which it so often does, thus disfiguring the cat for life.
The latter form of abscess is not often seen, as it is only through long neglect that it occurs.
Cold in the ears also causes serious trouble, usually resulting in an abscess at the base; these may also occur through weakness after an illness such as distemper. Little can be done to the patient until the abscess breaks. When it is noticed that the ear is discharging, the opening of the ear should be bathed, first with a little warm water and disinfectant, using always absorbent cotton; then syringe out the inside with an ear syringe once or twice a day; clean out and dry well as before mentioned, then use the iodoform and boracic powder mixture. Should the ear seem very sore and tender, do not use so much iodoform, only enough to colour the boracic acid.
Protonuclein powder I have also found to be a great cure for these abscesses; it is very much more pleasant to use than iodoform, the later having a most objectionable odour. Protonuclein powder can be dusted in freely, as it is non-poisonous. The iodoform must be used for the parasites, and if the cats should taste any of it, they are apt to salivate, but a very small quantity is not poisonous, though care should always be taken to remove all that is possible from the fur around the ears.
In treating abscesses, they must by syringed and dressed every day after first discharging; later two or three times a week, until the discharge discontinues entirely. Sometimes if the cat is delicate this disease of the ear continues for weeks or even months, therefore the cat should be well fed and given a tonic.
Much ear trouble could be avoided by proper attention, never allowing them to become wet and sticky with wax; just wiping out with absorbent cotton and a pinch of boracic acid, every little while, will often prevent any serious trouble.
CHAPTER XLVI. WORMS IN CATS
Perhaps few fanciers have any idea how many troubles the presence of worms cause; among them are, chronic catarrh, fits, chronic enteritis or dysentery, general unhealthiness, poor coat and condition and sore eyes. If allowed to increase too much, death is the result.
Should a cat afflicted with these pests contract any disease, it is sure to succumb, for as soon as it discontinues to take nourishment, the worms cause death.
Tape and wire worms are the most common among cats.
Tape-worm is caused through the presence of fleas, therefore fleas should be exterminated first (see chapter on fleas) and a worm dose should follow. Areca nut, freshly powdered, is best, allowing one grain to every pound weight of the cat or kitten; give in the morning before any food, mixed with a little very sweet milk. It is best to mix the powder into a paste first, then add a little more milk. Some cats will drink this readily, if not it should be given with a spoon; do not feed until several hours afterwards. Repeat this dose after three days, then again in two or three weeks' time.
If many worms are expelled feed only Robinson's prepared barley for twelve hours afterwards. (See chapter on invalid diet.)
If you think your cat or kitten has a serious attack of worms it is dangerous to give a vermifuge, as, should a number of worms he expelled the removal of so many at one time causes inflammation of the intestines and the patient never recovers, succumbing after a few days; therefore the following is a better treatment:
Give two teaspoonfuls of lime-water in the morning before breakfast, followed by a small teaspoonful of olive oil; this is a good dose for a kitten; continue the lime-water in all its food, also a pinch of salt in the morning meal for a week at least.
If cats and kittens are fed on milk or starchy foods worms will exist in great numbers, these pests cannot exist if a meat diet is adhered to.
Having fed your cats on milk and cereals, great care must be taken in introducing a meat diet; if a kitten which is greatly troubled with worms is suddenly fed entirely on meat it is apt to succumb to fits caused by the "rebellion" of masses of worms, as they cannot exist on meat and in this way cause the death of the kitten. When worms are present they must either be expelled or fed, and, as they live on milk and starchy foods this diet must be continued until the greater part of these pests have been expelled, then introduce a meat diet by degrees, using lime-water all the time; then as soon as the kitten gets strong and healthy, feed entirely on meat - keep free from fleas and you will have no more trouble in raising kittens. Where a meat diet is strictly adhered to, and the cattery kept entirely free from fleas, you will find in a year or two no treatment for worms will be necessary. This sounds impossible, but I have proved it to my own satisfaction; such a thing as a worm dose my cats and kittens never require.
Wire-worms are more difficult to eradicate than tape, and they are also more dangerous to expel. Stronger medicine has to be given, and, when expelled in large quantities, they almost invariably cause death, but when left alone they cause fits which also kill; therefore the method of slow expulsion before mentioned is the best, followed in a few weeks by some good vermifuge. There is no doubt the cause of the old saying "that raw meat causes fits in cats" is due to milk-fed cats (which are always greatly troubled with worms) being suddenly changed to a meat diet, which as I said before is apt to cause fits, as meat is not a food suitable to worms, and causes the death of the poor cat which has been fed on milk all its life. Cats which eat rats, mice and beetles are also afflicted with these pests, and should be dosed several times a year.
CHAPTER XLVII. CARE OF THE TEETH IN CATS
Great attention should be paid to cats' teeth when kept in confinement; bones, raw or cooked, should be given both to cats and kittens several times a week, if not every day. The best bones for young kittens are raw ones, and should the kittens be quite young, all pieces of fat, small splinters of bone, etc., should be removed, leaving only the lean raw meat; if a marrow bone, the marrow should be taken out before feeding.
It is best not to give kittens bones until they are three months old, then the middle day meal can be discontinued, and bones given instead. If these are given regularly during the period of teething, which is from four to eight months, there will be little trouble with cutting their teeth. If they do not gnaw these bones readily, you may be sure the kittens are being overfed, as nothing is more relished than a nice fresh bone.
Remember a cat is essentially a carnivorous animal, and must be treated as such to be kept healthy.
Bones are as indispensible for the cat as the dog, and without them the teeth soon get furred up and decay, giving the animal months of pain before they finally drop out. When troubled with bad teeth the cat will be noticed to refuse its food and dribble from the mouth.
The teeth should be examined, and if there be one loose, it should be immediately removed; they can usually be removed by placing a dry, soft cloth over the tooth before pulling; if quickly done the cat is too astonished to protest. If any are furred they should be cleaned and scraped. The same method of extraction should be applied to the first teeth of kittens; at about five to eight months of age, it will be noticed that some of the second teeth have appeared before the first have fallen out.
During teething kittens are popularly supposed to be subject to fits, but as mine never have any, I am more inclined to think the cause of these fits is the presence of worms, which, when the kitten becomes somewhat out of condition while teething, cause fits. (For treatment see chapter on fits.)
Lime-water should be given to all kittens from the very first, this in addition to bones will make them cut their teeth without difficulty.
When very old cats begin to lose their teeth they should be extracted, and the cat must then either be fed on finely minced meat or destroyed, as they cannot possibly eat large pieces of meat, and milk food is starvation to old animals.
CHAPTER XLVIII. COLDS IN CATS
Colds are easily contracted from sudden changes of the weather, but if cats are strong and well fed an ordinary cold passes off without any serious developments, though in cases of weakly cats or kittens a cold is apt to turn to distemper, bronchitis or pneumonia, infecting other cats in the cattery. It is therefore wiser to be cautious and isolate any cat or kitten which starts to sneeze and water at the eyes, for in any case the ordinary head cold is just as catching as the more serious forms.
With kittens which are troubled with worms a head cold is a very troublesome ailment, as in their reduced state of health the cold often becomes chronic and never really clears up until the kittens are nearly full grown.
For head colds keep the patient in an even temperature, feed well on invalid diet, and keep the nose washed off with warm disinfectant and water, greasing with crude lanolin; after each washing keep the nostrils as clear as possible, also treat the eyes in the same manner, should they become affected.
The ordinary cold is usually only of a few days' duration, and the appetite quickly returns; one grain of quinine in pills given night and morning for a cat and half this dose for a kitten is a good tonic, and should be given for a week or two; quinine should not be used for cats "in kitten." If there is quick breathing and a rattling in the bronchial tube you may be sure the cat has developed bronchitis, in that case treat the same as for pneumonia. Should the cat cough and swallow a great deal, you will know it has a sore throat; this can generally be seen by opening the mouth, when the back of the throat will appear very red and inflamed. Smear a little vaseline two or three times a day on the tongue, or as often as the cat has a bad coughing spell.
CHAPTER XLIX. PARALYSIS IN CATS
Cats very seldom suffer from paralysis, when they do it usually attacks the hind quarters, leaving them practically useless. This is sometimes seen in kittens after worm fits, also in cats which have nursed too many kittens, or having stayed with them too long without exercise.
In both these cases the constitution should be well built up. In the case of a nursing cat she must be removed from her kittens at once, if not entirely at least several hours a day, letting her exercise but not jump. She will probably walk lame on all her joints, and become rapidly worse if immediate steps are not taken to relieve her of her maternal duties.
When paralysis occurs through old age the cat had better be destroyed, although warmth may be tried, and good feeding on raw meat.
Never allow cats to lie in damp places, this will produce stiffness of the joints. Gentle rubbing of the limbs and back several times a day will be beneficial.
Paralysis may also be caused by an injury to the spine by a fall, or by being shut in a door.
Place a piece of flannel on the cat's spine and iron lightly with a hot iron, not hot enough to burn the flannel; this is good in all cases. Opening medicines should be given whenever necessary.
Rickets in young kittens is often mistaken for paralysis, especially when they become lame in all their joints; treatment for this will be found in chapter on rickets.
CHAPTER L. RICKETS, OR SOFTENING OF THE BONES IN CATS
Few fanciers imagine that such a thing as rickets exists among kittens, just the same as with growing children, resulting in deformed spines and crooked legs; this is caused by improper feeding on foods which are not bone forming.
The first symptoms are lameness when jumping, and in bad cases the kittens become unable to walk at all, and cry when the spine is touched near the tail.
If steps are not taken immediately to effect a cure, the cat has to be destroyed or the spine becomes shortened and a lump forms near the tail on the back, the legs become bowed and enlarged at the joints. Excessive milk and cereal feeding cause rickets, as the animal becomes too fat and the legs are not strong enough to carry the weight. Very lean meat, quite free from fat and gristle, with no other diet, will also result in rickets, also kittens bred from old cats are very subject to this disease, and need more than an ordinary diet. To effect a speedy cure, give a raw meat diet of finely minced beef, preferably shin, on account of the gristle; add lime-water, one or two teaspoonfuls at each meal. Cod-liver oil can also be given; this is far better if procured in the dry powder form, as it is almost tasteless. It can be obtained from the Risiccol Co., 118 William Street, New York. Use for a dose a good pinch on each meal; the liquid cod-liver oil or Scott's Emulsion may also be used.
A new laid egg, beaten up and divided between several kittens is also beneficial. Keep the kittens where they cannot jump, and give them a box with a nice bed in one corner of the room. When all signs of lameness have disappeared, the lime-water should still be continued until the kitten is full grown. Cod-liver oil should not be used if it gives diarrhoea or sickness. Under this treatment I have seen kittens which could not stand improve in a week.
I have noticed many beautiful cats ruined in size and shape by rickets when they were kittens, and strange to say the owners have been quite ignorant of the cause, many thinking their cat had been injured when young. Kittens and young cats often appear to have injured themselves by jumping from high shelves or tables; but in most cases this trouble arises from a softening of the bone, which frequently causes lameness after jumping, or even injury to the spine.
CHAPTER LI. FITS IN CATS
Many cats are subject to fits, but they do not usually occur in healthy, well cared-for cats. I have not in years had a cat or a kitten have a fit in my cattery, no matter how much frightened they have become.
There are several kinds of fits which cats are subject to, the most common being those caused by worms; they may also arise from weak brain and heart trouble.
The remedy in the first case is dosing for worms, afterwards feeding the patient properly, which will alter the low state of health and condition. There is no cure for the heart and brain trouble except to improve the strength of your stock by taking in a strong out-cross and selecting the strongest specimens for breeding. Such troubles as weak brain and heart are caused usually by injudicious inbreeding with delicate stock; animals so afflicted should rightly speaking not be bred from at all, as both complaints are hereditary, and after raising cats from such parents, they are liable to die in a fit from the first shock they receive; this often happens when they are sent on a journey.
At the first signs of a fit place the cat in a large, airy basket, in a cool, dark place, to prevent its running about and injuring itself; the moment it is quiet, remove from the basket and give plenty of air for recovery. If the cat has heart trouble it often succumbs to the first attack. If the patient shows any signs of continued excitability give a grain of bromide of potassium every hour, decreasing the doses as the cat becomes quieter.
If the cat should be a long time recovering and the top of the head feels excessively hot, place a piece of ice in flannel, or a rubber bag is better to prevent wetting the fur, on the head, until the cat recovers. Half an hour, or less, will usually drive the blood from the brain and the cat recovers.
When young kittens have fits it is usually caused by worms. Give one grain of bromide every two hours in a teaspoonful of sweetened milk, then when the kitten is seemingly well again, dose for worms. (See chapter on worms.) Use the bromide of potassium every hour, decreasing the doses as the cat becomes quieter, perhaps after several doses.
Any cat or kitten afflicted with fits should not be allowed to become over-excited at play or allowed to run in the hot sun. If ice is not obtainable, use a cold water compress to the head.
CHAPTER LII. INTESTINAL DISORDERS IN CATS
Intestinal troubles which cause diarrhoea usually arise from improper feeding, such as milk and cereal diet, decomposed or even slightly tainted food. It may also be due to an internal cold. The latter is the most serious, and is relieved by applying hot bran bags, but this need only be resorted to when the cat is very ill and seems in great pain. Instructions how to apply will be found in the chapter dealing with pneumonia, only in this case the bags must be placed underneath just in front of the hind legs. For ordinary diarrhoea and chronic disorder, if slight, give only Robinson's Patent Barley, prepared with sweetened condensed milk. Add a tablespoonful of lime-water to the half pint, feed very little at a time, but often.
Should food pass through the cat undigested, only medicine should be given for twenty-four hours, then start again, giving a very little of the barley, made weak at first, mixing in a good pinch of carbonate and bismuth or sub-gallate of bismuth, the latter preferred.
In the first stages of this disease one or two teaspoonfuls of olive oil to which one or two drops of laudanum have been added may be given. This is beneficial in clearing away any foreign substance, and the laudanum relieves the pain.
If accompanied with sickness, sub-nitrate and carbonate of bismuth may be given alternately. These bismuths may be given frequently, even in half-hour doses in severe cases, as they serve to coat the stomach and intestines, so reducing the inflammation mechanically.
If the patient is in great pain and very restless, one-eighth of a grain of cocaine hydrochloride may be given every four hours for the first day; do not continue unless the animal seems in great pain. This is the dose for a cat Young kittens fed on milk foods are very subject to diarrhoea, or should tainted meat be fed, the same thing will occur. Treat as before mentioned, but they will not need the cocaine, though one drop of laudanum may be added to a small teaspoonful of olive oil (not castor).
Kittens usually become ravenously hungry with this trouble, then the point is to satisfy them without making the disease worse, as the greatest cure for this is to give very little nourishment for a few days; weak barley without milk should be given to drink, or water; on no account give cow's milk, whether boiled or not. If there is no improvement on the barley and condensed milk regime, try raw beef juice (how to prepare this will be found in chapters on invalid diet) mixed into the cooked barley or given alone.
When the patient seems better a teaspoonful of scraped beef moistened with lime-water may be given three times a day in addition to a little barley or raw beef juice. Cooked beef tea, lamb broth, or any cooked meat is the worst possible diet at all times and is fatal in this case.
All cats and kittens affected with enteritis should be separated from the healthy ones, as in most cases the disease is contagious. During this illness great care should be taken to keep the patients in perfectly clean surroundings. Have the bedding changed whenever soiled, and should the cat's coat also be soiled, the hair should be combed or cut and then cleaned with dry corn-starch. Never wash if it is possible to do without, but if compulsory wash the soiled parts with warm water, adding half alcohol; dry well with a rough bath towel, then dust with dry corn-starch. The sanitary pan should be changed whenever used. Bismuth is best shaken dry on the tongue, but as it usually upsets the patient, it may be mixed into a paste with a knife on the palm of the hand, then placed on the second finger of the right hand and smeared on the cat's tongue, keeping the head up for a second, so that it adheres to the mouth and the cat is obliged to swallow it. Bismuth can also be given with the food, and used every day until thoroughly cured. The patient should be kept warm if it is winter time and out of draughts, but should it be hot summer weather keep the cat or kitten indoors, in the shade and cool, but not where it is damp.
CHAPTER LIII. INJURIES IN CATS
Any injury to a cat should be treated at once by a good veterinary, but should you be located far from a doctor, the information given below may be of some assistance. For home surgery a bottle of cocaine should be kept handy for use in case of a bad laceration caused by fighting or by a bite from a dog or another cat, or from a wound caused by a nail or ragged wire fence.
First bathe the wound with a good disinfectant, such as peroxide, then paint with cocaine the torn edges of the wound. This has such a deadening effect that the edges of the wound can be easily sewn together. A properly shaped surgical needle is of course the best, and surgical silk to sew with.
Insert the needle, within an eighth of an inch of both edges of the wound, then tie tight together, each stitch about a distance of one inch apart; the number, of course, depending on the size of the tear or cut. I have seen this done without the cat even flinching, but without the previous use of cocaine it would be useless to try.
The stitches usually stay in a week, at the end of which time the cat manages to dislodge them by constant licking. If any inflammation or swelling should be noticed, bathe with disinfectant and grease with crude lanolin; this is very healing and stops the irritation when healing.
Only deep, long wounds need be sewn up, any surface wound only needs to be kept clean and lanolin applied daily to heal and grow the hair.
In case of a broken bone a veterinary surgeon should be called in at once, if impossible an amateur mend may be attempted, though it is a difficult operation to get the limb into its original position. This must be done by pulling into position; then hold the limb straight, use thin splints, then bind with a soft cotton bandage. The splints should project beyond the end of the foot, to prevent the cat putting it on the ground. The wood for making the splints can be cut from a very thin, light box, or from a peach basket.
Great care should be taken not to bind the limb too tightly or the circulation of the blood will be stopped and the limb will drop off; therefore in such cases a veterinary is almost indispensable.
CHAPTER LIV. DISINFECTING CATS
The use of all strong smelling disinfectants should be avoided, both at shows and in the cattery. All odours in a cattery can be avoided by strict cleanliness, having the sanitary pans washed and refilled once a day.
For cleansing purposes nothing equals permanganate of potash crystals; for ordinary purposes use enough to colour the water a light purple. This potash is used extensively in England at most of the largest hospitals; it is considered a certain germ-killer, and is practically odourless; it can be purchased in half and one pound bottles. The only objection to it is its staining properties, therefore it must not be used for rinsing blankets, etc., for disinfection. For disinfecting cages, rooms, etc., after distemper, make a very strong solution, using two teaspoonfuls of the crystals to a small pail of water. As this will stain the hands, all woodwork, wire netting, etc., can be wetted with a brush and short mop. After all the fixtures have been well wetted, then see that the floor is mopped all over with this strong solution; leave for ten minutes or so, then have it all dried with a mop and clean water, without disinfectant; the floors of a cattery should be done every week in this manner, using the weaker solution only when ordinary cleansing is necessary.
No soap or soda need be used, as the crystals cleanse as well as disinfect, and a cattery is safe from infection if everything in it is thoroughly saturated. This disinfectant has been used satisfactorily at cat shows in place of strong smelling disinfectants generally used, which affect the eyes and nose of both visitors and cats to such an extent that a temporary affection of the mucous membrane results. Carbolic in any form is deadly poison to cats, therefore it should never be used in any of its various preparations. For bathing wounds a more refined disinfectant should be used, such as dioxide of hydrogen, etc.; one which does not stain the hair, is preferable for dark cats, as both peroxide and dioxide will turn a black or blue cat red.
NORTH STAR CAT CLUB, MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA.
President, Mrs. S. B. Blossom, 3145 Clinton Avenue.
Secretary, Mrs. Agnes C. Davis, 307 Third Avenue, S. E.
Treasurer, Mrs. H. C. Pickett, 622 E. 17th Street.
Show Manager, Mrs. S. B. Blossom.
Show Secretary, Mrs. L. N. Moran, 728 Logan Avenue, N.
THE ATLANTIC CAT CLUB.
President, Mrs. F. E. J. Champion, West New Brighton, S. I., N. Y.
This Club has the finest collection of Challenge Cups and Trophies, and is the only Club which gives medals to commemorate each cup won. Join to compete for these valuable prizes.
Show held annually in New York. Dues $3.00 a year.
For information address the Secretary, Miss R. Ward, East Twenty-ninth Street, near Avenue J, Brooklyn, N. Y.
AMERICAN CAT ASSOCIATION.
Certified by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Composed of the following clubs and societies : Beresford and Boston Clubs, Blue Cat Society, Cleveland, Columbus, Colorado, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Lockehaven, Michigan, North Star, Pacific, Pittsburg, Royal Canadian, St. Louis, Syracuse, Short-Haired Cat Society, Twin City Cat Club, Silver Society, Seattle Cat Club, Tortoiseshell Society, and Washington Cat Club.
Stud Books— Vol. I, $i.oo; Vol. II, $1.25; Vol. Ill, $1.25.
Mrs. Elbert E. Besse, Sec.-Treas., 5534 Union Ave., Chicago, 111.
Fred L. Kimmey, Pres., Morgan Park, Illinois.
Mrs. Clinton Locke, Vice-Pres., Chicago, 111.
BERESFORD CAT CLUB OF AMERICA.
Founded February, 1899.
The oldest Cat Club in America.
Meetings, the l.ist Friday of the month. Annual dues, resident members's, $2.00; non-resident members, $1.00.
Mrs. Clinton Locke, President, 2825 Indiana Avenue, Chicago.
Mrs. R. M. Peare, Corresponding Secretary, 2249 Campbell Park, Chicago.
Mrs. a. Melville Smail, Recording Secretary, 5839 Peoria Street, Chicago.
CAT FANCIERS ASSOCIATION.
Certified by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Including the Connecticut, Chicago, Cat Fanciers' Association, Rochester Cat Club, Atlantic Cat Club, Toronto National Exposition, Danbury Agricultural Society, Connecticut State Fair, Silver Society, Short-Haired Cat Society, New York Poultry and Pet Stock Association.
Mrs. W. S. Hofstra, President, New York, N. Y.
Mrs. Alfred Jackson, Vice-President, Rochester, N. Y.
R. Ottolengui, Secretary-Treasurer, 80 West 40th Street, New York.
Applications for registration and stud books should be made to
Miss Ethel R. B. Champion, Recorder, Manor Road, West New Brighton, S. I., N. Y.
BIDE-A-WEE HOME ASSOCIATION.
36 Lexington Avenue, New York. Country Home, Harrington Park, New Jersey.
Supported by voluntary contributions. A charitable institution which cares for friendless cats and dogs, placing them in good, permanent homes. In one year six hundred were received, two-thirds of these being placed in homes. Funds are urgently needed to continue this work.
Life membership, $100; active membership [illegible] per annum; associate membership, $1 per annum
Booklet sent on application.
The Secretary, 36 Lexington Avenue, New York. Country Home, Harrington Park, New Jersey.