DOMESTIC AND FANCY CATS.
A Practical Treatise on Their Varieties, Breeding, Management, and Diseases
[Jennings also produced "Domestic or fancy cats: a practical treatise on their antiquity, domestication, varieties, breeding, management, diseases, exhibition and judging" in 1893]
Among several features 'suggested by the increasing popularity of Cats, both in domestic life and in the still more important arena of exhibitions, none is more prominent than the need of a book containing concise information of a practical character, embodying the many requirements of the period, and brought up to date. In response to a wish expressed by many friends, with whom, especially as a frequent adjudicator, I have long been associated, this work is written, with the earnest hope that its many details will prove acceptable, as no pains have been spared to make its contents reliable.
It is hardly necessary to state that but very few attain a high position in breeding varieties of Cat to the standard which our chief exhibitions now demand. Thus, it is important that my readers should understand that the information herein contained is not entirely the result of my own experience, but is also derived from specialists, who have as breeders and exhibitors especially distinguished themselves.
I. VARIETIES AND THEIR CHARACTERISTICS
II. HOUSES, RUNS, AND PENS
V. NURSE CATS
VII. PREPARATION FOR EXHIBITION
IX. HOMES FOR CATS CAT CLUBS
X. CAT ITEMS GRAVE, GAY, AND HUMOROUS
VARIETIES AND THEIR CHARACTERISTICS.
Of the many varieties or breeds of the cat with which we are now familiar, from the magnificent Persian down to the quite sufficiently lauded tortoise- shell, including the proverbial " Tortoise-shell tom " which has engaged the attention of past historians for many years ; it moat be remembered that, however crossed, selected, re-crossed, domesticated, or what not, we have but two breeds on which the super-structure of what is known to-day as the " classification of varieties" has been reared, viz., the Long-hair or Eastern cat, and the Short-hair or European. The term " breed " is even here used advisedly, for whatever the outer covering or coat, colour or length of fur, the contour of each and all is practically the same.
Nor is this confined to mere outline : take the skull, for example, which, measured in the usual manner with shot*, [*The skull is filled with shot and weighed, and thus its capacity is obtained.] making due allowance for difference in size, is not only similar in the different varieties of either Long or Short- hair, but even in the wild cat the anatomy varies but little, and this is in a great measure satisfactorily explained by its different conditions of life and diet, and is in unison with the fact of how even the ordinary domestic cat will undergo a change, in taking up a semi-wild outdoor existence. As illustrating this change of conditions, I remember how, some twenty years ago, I recommended a well-known Belgian hare (rabbit) breeder, who complained to me of the " want of limb and raciness " in his exhibits, to try them in long wire runs, with the result that his stock in a few years, especially in length of limb and shape, required a close comparison to distinguish them from the veritable hare Lepus timidus : and what is equally to the point here, is how the features thus gained were transmitted, as several crosses I have since been able to authenticate corroborate.
Starting, then, with the assumption that the Long-haired and Short-haired cats have distinguishing characteristics, I purpose considering and describing the principal varieties that can be ranged under each section, including especially those for which classes are provided at our standard cat exhibitions. Difference of opinion will naturally exist as to which variety should occupy the premier position, and breeders and exhibitors of both Long and Short-hair can advance sterling reasons in support of their own speciality. With this admission therefore, both must consider that I have neither the wish nor the intention of writing-up or depreciating either, except so far as is needful for the advancement of each.
The several varieties which range under Long-hair embrace Persian, Angora, Chinese, Indian, French, and Russian. While the Short-hair has also representatives in Russia and China, and includes Siamese, Abyssinian, and Manx, in addition to our well-known European cat with its sub-divisions by colour. The remarks I propose to add are based on what is now generally accepted as pertaining to the several countries, whereby selection, breeding, and probably climatic influences, certain marked peculiarities have been developed, sustained, and perpetuated.
THE PERSIAN. With the great majority of cat- fanciers, as well as visitors to exhibitions, the Persian is held in great admiration, and is generally considered the prince- of Eastern cats. And it would be a difficult matter to find a handsomer animal than a well-bred and fully matured Persian. Its colour may be white, black, blue, chinchilla, smoke, tortoise-shell, tortoise-shell and white, red, brown, grey or silver tabby, or each of these in tabbies and white. With many, the White Persian, which describes itself, is a great favourite, and if in grand condition is verily a " thing of beauty " so long as it retains its spotless condition of coat. Blue, Chinchilla, Smoke, and Black, are also much esteemed ; Blue and chinchilla almost universally more so than the former, the difficulty being to keep a white in show condition without washing, which takes a lot of time, patience and ability.
The Blue, which is a rich light slate colour, should be even in texture and long throughout, clear in colour from roots to tip of fur, the ears being well lined with hair of the same colour, which should also extend to and include the feet. The Chinchilla is a peculiar but beautiful variety ; the fur at the roots is silver, and shades to the tips to a decided slate hue, giving a most pleasing and attractive appearance. Smoke is a somewhat similar colour combination, except that the roots are of a blue-grey tint, shading to a smoky- black at the tips. A feature of high importance in all long-haired cats is a large and well-developed frill. For exhibition it is essential that they should be of mature age and sound in coat. A trace of markings a shade darker is at times observed in both the Chinchilla and Smoke. The Black needs no description beyond the mention that it should be jet-black, the least rustiness being very objectionable.
Of the other varieties of colour, a rich brown tabby stands well to the front, especially if properly developed throughout. The Brown Tabby should be well broken by the black markings, evenly balanced, the lighter ground colour being clear and in excess, this is of much greater importance than the actual distribution of markings, which if splashed in colour or having any intermixture of colours, would considerably discount any otherwise good points that a specimen might have. These remarks apply to each variety of tabby. The Tortoise-shell, which is a mixture of red, yellow, and black patches in place of the striped tabby markings, should have these patches well broken to show each colour clear and distinct, though not too large, in each patch, the red and yellow being less in evidence than the black.
The time-honoured axiom that " A good horse cannot be a bad colour " can be specially applied to Persian cats. Granted that colour is a desideratum of no mean importance, nevertheless it must not be overlooked that the chief characteristics of the breed are length of hair, which is fine in quality and evenly distributed over the body and legs, covering the toes ; good pads to the feet ; a large well-developed frill, full behind the head, extending round the neck, and covering as far as possible the chest ; and last, but not by any means least, an exceedingly bushy tail, swelling out larger towards the extremity and then terminating with a graceful taper point. The ears should be somewhat small, in carriage pointing somewhat forward, the inner surface being hidden by a growth of fur extending from the face. The head should be small for the size of cat, the male, as in other varieties, being larger, and also squarer in skull formation. The eyes should be full and in colour a rich bright amber, except in whites, when blue is the characteristic, and I may say in competition the essential tint.
The body should be long and rounding, the tail carried decidedly lower, and the head slightly rising above level of the back. The feet should be moderately short but not stumpy, and they should also be perfectly straight, especially the fore feet.
In size a mature Persian should scale 8lb to 101b. But although size is an important feature and is duly estimated in judging, I have not infrequently noticed that when they are much in excess of this weight, the coat has an objectionable wiry tendency, getting also shorter, on the face particularly. This is especially to be observed in tortoise-shell, red, and other tabbies. I have also come across several large blacks exhibiting this objectionable feature. Had some judges gone in less for markings and colour, and proportionately more for length, quality, quantity and distribution of coat, I am not alone in expressing and emphasising the opinion that we should have less of the experimental results of short-hair crosses placed before us for adjudication in long-hair classes at exhibitions.
Having fully considered the Persian, the chief representative, a few remarks will dispose of the other long-haired varieties from a practical point of view. Because a specimen is described as emanating from this, that, or the other country, my readers will do well to avoid a too hasty acceptance as to the purity or nationality of the breed. I give one instance out of very many with which I am personally acquainted to show that even judges and specialist breeders are deceived. For reasons which I am sure I shall be properly credited with, I refrain from mentioning names; suffice it to say that the cat I refer to won principal honours in long-hair classes for several seasons, making a considerable total prize-winning record. Now this specimen, to my certain know- ledge, was the result of an accidental cross quite foreign to the breed it represented. How many cases of a similar character could be adduced, especially by those who have cats on sale, I hardly like to suggest.
THE ANGORA differs from the Persian chiefly in type of coat, head, ears, and tail ; for whereas the hair of the Persian is evenly balanced all over, that of an Angora is softer in texture, exceedingly glossy, and hangs in clusters, so to speak, of great length, nearly touching the floor, the interstices being of a more woolly character. The principal colour, and that most valued for its wool by the natives of Angora is white. In its native habitats this fur forms an important article of commerce, much sought after by merchants of the surrounding countries.
The shape of the head of the Angora is more angular, compared with the Persian roundness, while an important point is well-tufted ears, making them appear larger than they actually are. The hair of the tail should hang like the coat, and taper from body 10 extremity. It is not essential to mention the other colours, but I may remark that the full Angora characteristics should be present to raise them, like Caesar's wife, beyond suspicion. And finally I must add that to maintain these characteristics the strain must be kept pure, and reliable crosses obtained from their native habitat.
THE CHINESE and INDIANS partake a great deal of the Persian, except that in India we have what is well known there as a " Tiger cat " (not the wild Tiger cat subsequently referred to), with striped markings of red and black ; it has long hair, but coarser in texture than either of the other long-haired varieties, and its ears are larger and less furred internally than the Persian, whose tail, however, it closely resembles.
THE FRENCH. - In France a breed of long-haired cats has been perpetuated for some centuries, and the name "French" has been given to a variety not indigenous to the country. The coats are exceedingly long and wonderfully silky, in which respect they partake of a Persian and Angora combination. They are whole coloured, chiefly Blue, and erstwhile were bred by the Chartreuse monks, who, in common with the brotherhood of kindred monasteries , carried out secretly such valuable experiments in the breeding and crossing of domestic animals. A certain amount of ingenuity was displayed by these brethren in seclusion, pardonable perhaps, inasmuch as their institution derived the sole benefit by all sales ; and as the income from this source was considerable, and therefore important, it is not surprising to learn that many purchases failed in reproduction, though whether due to altered circumstances or conditions, or both, I am not in a position to state. I only know that similar cases happened with a breed of rabbits, the Andalusian, in which size was a speciality bred under the same monastical supervision and restraint.
RUSSIAN. A few remarks on the Russian, and my observations on long-haired cats will be complete. As compared with the varieties already described, a certain coarseness is observable among the Russian, which is perhaps in a measure due to the type of the coat. This is by far the most woolly of cats, but interspersed throughout its coat is a wiry kind of hair which certainly contributes to the appearance of coarseness. It has the largest ears of long- haired varieties, and they are proportionately tufted, the limbs are stout, the feet short, and the tail very bushy, having a stumpy termination. The colour is generally dark ; where markings exist they are usually indistinct, and vary but few shades from the colour which predominates.
A thorough consideration of the Short-haired breed of cats can be best approached by dividing them into three sections ; viz. broken or several colours, self or whole colours, and any other distinct variety.
THE TORTOISE-SHELL. In broken colours, according to ancient custom, established usage, or what not, priority of place is accorded to the Tortoise- shell, which should be medium in size and long in, body, with graceful legs and feet and a small head, the ears erect, set well apart, angular, and not too pointed. Eyes a bright amber. Coat should be short for the size of cat, fine in texture, soft to the touch and brilliant. Far and away, however, the most important feature consists in the colours ; these should embrace red, yellow, and black patches, each being well broken and evenly distributed over the body, legs, feet, and tail ; these essential markings should also be sharp and distinct, the black being especially subservient to the other colours, though in some parts of England a much darker type is preferred. Blur, and want of definition of markings, has, however, always been the weak point with Tortoise- shells. In Tortoise-shell and white, or any other variety and white, the Dutch rabbit markings are most popular, especially as applying to blaze (face markings), feet and stops (white hind-feet extremities); the chest should be white, taking in fore-feet but not extending round the neck as in the Dutch collar. Another accepted marking is blaze and all four feet with equal white stops, this usually occurring in blue-and-white or black-and-White. There is also another broken colour marking, the other way about, in which white is the predominating colour. I do not at all recommend its propagation, and its only chance of scoring in prize-lists depends on a balance of even markings of any dark colour, which are as a whole in contradistinction.
TABBIES. The consideration of Tabbies brings us face to face with a most varied array of colour. It is the markings, however, that give it its distinguishing features ; these in some kinds are in the form of narrow bands, also called stripes, the name "Tabby" being derived so we are credibly informed from "Atab," a famous street in Bagdad inhabited by the manufacturers of silken stuffs called " Atabi," or taffety, the wavy markings of the watered silks closely resembling those of the striped Tabby cat.
We have, on the other hand, spotted Tabbies, a species of marking wonderfully resembling the spotted leopard, from which the name probably originates. But, whether striped or spotted, certain features must be incorporated in a thoroughly representative specimen.
I will deal first with colour. This may be either white, silver, blue, grey, brown, red, yellow, or chocolate, remembering that it is the ground-colour, i.e. the colour in excess, which obtains and gives the accepted name as a distinctive variety. As regards the importance of the evenness and clearness of this ground-colour, too much cannot be impressed on exhibitors generally, and breeders most especially, as cloudy or woolly shades often negative a specimen otherwise good in markings.
Which colour of Tabby should have priority of place? This query is often asked at shows, but I opine, that if any such views were classified, those who were the fortunate possessors of other equally well-marked exhibits would beg to differ from mine or any other dictum. Certain colours are, however, more difficult to breed, and some others by contrast show up better. Thus the Silver Tabby, with its narrow, black, wavy stripes, will always be much admired, and if these markings are sharp and distinct, as they should be, but not always are, it generally can be taken as evidence of great care in mating and breeding. Again, with Red Tabbies, here is a variety, especially the female or queen cat, that needs great discrimination in breeding ; at least, they are difficult to produce. The Brown Tabby is by many much esteemed, being a large, rich-coloured and grand cat, and without doubt it deserves all the encomiums that ardent owners bestow thus with each :
"Their claims, their points, their merits ; Increase with importance As your love to them extends."
The markings claim a consideration equal, at least, to colour ; in fact, with short-haired cats, first-class markings would count more in points ; these, as I have already mentioned, consist of stripes or bands, and spots. The striped markings should be somewhat narrower than the intervening colour spaces, though not to such an extreme as to give a bald appearance to the coat ; they should also be regularly distributed over the body and chest, each side matching; face, legs, and tail also being specially uniform in markings. The proper colour of these stripes is black, with a body-colour of white, silver, grey, brown, or blue : while in red, yellow, or chocolate, and al so a recent blue variety, the striped markings should be two or three shades darker than the predominating ground-colour ; otherwise sufficient to give a well-defined contrast. In size. Tabbies should be large the larger the better, if well proportioned. The ears should be fairly large, the tail long and tapering, and the coat somewhat soft in texture, and a trifle longer than Tortoise-shell.
The Spotted Tabby requires but little description beyond remarking that, as in the striped, so is the ground the distinguishing colour, and it ought to be particularly clear throughout, though it has yet to be bred up to this degree of perfection. The spots, of medium size the sharper in outline the better should, in a grand exhibit, extend in a perfectly uniform manner entirely over the body, feet, and tail, and if on the face its value is so much increased. My remarks on colour of stripes equally apply to the colour of these spots.
Spotted Tabbies ought not to be intermixed with the several colours, and "white" markings, at least, they are better without. So also, in my opinion, are the various-coloured striped Tabbies, and I personally consider that breeders could with much better advantage and profit improve and perfect those markings that are really the distinguishing characteristics of the Tabby cat. White blaze, chest and feet markings, make a grand variety when a "self," or even tortoise-shell, forms body-colour; but it often occurs to me, that the "and white" additions to Tabby colours are, at the least, decidedly incongruous.
Self-coloured cats must, as the name implies, be of one whole colour throughout ; the slightest trace of any other colour foreign to what is considered as a "self" places an otherwise good exhibit hors de combat. Under this heading, every shade of colour is admissible ; the most important, however, are blue, white, black, red, cream, and grey. We have two types in blue, the English and Russian ; the latter being far and away in advance, alike in colour and in quality of coat. In size, they closely resemble the tortoise-shell ; the coat being short, exceptionally fine in texture, and brilliant. The colour should be a bright slate-blue, and the eyes amber. The English cat of this colour is larger, though not of the tabby size ; the coat is longer, and although soft to the touch, is coarser in texture than the Russian blue. A special feature with the Russian are its ears : these are not so pointed as in the English, but are fairly large for the size of the cat, and should be well coated with fur to match the body-colour. The legs are moderately long in each, while the tail is very full, stout near the body, and tapering, though not too pointed, to its extremity.
THE WHITE should be pure and snow-like, free from any stain, with a coat soft and very silky in texture. The eyes need the attention of breeders ; they should always be blue, though lately I have met with pink and yellow more often than should be. Another important point is that the eyes should match in colour. Odd eyes are a similar blemish in some rabbits, especially " Dutch," in which a white has been used to clear the markings. Odd-eyed cats are oftimes the result of much crossing for colours and markings. In shape, size, and general contour, the lines of the English blue should be followed ; and this applies to each other self-colour.
THE BLACK. " As black and shining as coal " is a good description of the colour a Black cat should be. In texture, the coat is somewhat coarser and longer than that of the White, but still soft and brilliant. The eyes should be a rich hazel, though green is permissible.
THE RED is of a bright sandy colour, with yellow eyes, and is generally a large cat.
GREYS vary in shade from white to brown-grey, and neither takes precedence, provided each colour is even, clear, and distinct. The eyes vary from yellow to deep amber.
THE CREAM is a more modern variety of cat, and is at present only occasionally met with ; but it will, I opine, ultimately find numerous admirers. At present, good specimens are scarce, as they require great care in breeding till the variety is made or concentrated. The fur should be of a fawn ground, shading to nearly white extremities, fairly long for a short-haired cat, but exceedingly brilliant. The eyes should be hazel or green in shade, and the ears medium-sized. The body should be symmetrical in shape, neat in outline, and of medium size.
Having thus far dealt in a descriptive manner with those varieties in broken or self-colour Short-haired cats that are usually met with or recognised at standard exhibitions, I now come to what has not inaptly been called the "Haven or Refuge," viz., "Any other variety. " I trust, however, the day is not far distant when committees will obtain such support from clubs and specialist exhibitors as will enable them to provide distinctive classes. The principal varieties that are classified under this heading are, Abyssinians, Manx, and Siamese. Of course, anomalous specimens Sports in breeding ever and again recur, including six toes and other malformations; which, however interesting they may be as curios, serve no good purpose in propagation.
THE ABYSSINIAN promises to increase in popularity, and whether imported or a manufactured cross hardly matters, as it now breeds fairly true to points. Certainly, no variety bas yet rejoiced in such varied names, several countries claiming it as their own. In neither, however, can I find much approach to its type, so conclude that the art of crossing and selection has played no unimportant part in its propagation. Those who are familiar with the Belgian hare rabbit will have no difficulty in recognising the cat yclept [called] Abyssinian. The fur throughout has for ground-colour a rufous red, ticked with chocolate-black ; ears, medium-sized and laced with black; and a narrow, well- defined stripe of black running longitudinally along the spine, and continuing to the extremity of the tail, is a feature of great importance in a good exhibition specimen. The eye varies in colour, but a bright hazel is generally met with. In size, the Abyssinian resembles the self-coloured English cat. The coat should be very close and soft, and the brighter the better, though some are weak in this respect.
THE MANX, as the majority of readers are aware, is a variety conspicuous by the absence of a caudal appendage. Whether however, all the cats said to emanate from the Isle of Man are actually born and bred without tails, at least leaves room for suspicion. From an exhibition point of view, the merit of a specimen depends mainly on its having not the slightest trace of tail, though some admit a small stump, on what I consider a want of reliable information, especially when we consider that this stump is what would be likely to appear if the tail were cut in its early stages. In shape and size the Manx resembles the ordinary short-haired cat, and may be of any colour and markings, the absence of tail giving the appearance of greater length of limb. We now and again come across long-haired cats without tails, but I have yet to learn how or in what way they can be termed Manx. Generally I do not think the Isle of Man speciality will ever obtain a large following, the tailless characteristic failing to enlist popular sympathy. I am not alone in considering that "Our Cat," whose symmetry and graceful form is such an object of admiration, requires to have full possession of its tail to complete the perfect outline.
THE SIAMESE, or Royal Cat of Siam, by which name it is also distinguished, from the fact that it is propagated and protected under Royal supervision, is without doubt a magnificent animal and well worthy of the kingly patronage. A pure-bred Siamese is a valuable cat, especially the male, for like the Chartreuse monks' productions, as previously described, the majority are rendered neuter. This, when we consider how the male influences outward characteristics, may, in a measure, explain why several what I call " off colours " are now and again exhibited as Siamese, a cross probably between a pure-bred Siamese female and our short-haired self-coloured male cat. The special colour of the Siamese is a clear dun, with no trace of sooty blemishes on body. The extremities, viz. nose, ears, feet, and tail, have black markings, and those on the nose should extend and encircle the eyes. The coat is particularly short and close in texture, even, and brilliant ; the tail is not so tapering as in ordinary cats, while as regards size, medium and certainly not large, can be taken as a correct description. The eyes are deep blue in the pure breed, and are therefore important.
From the foregoing descriptive remarks, my readers will gain a good insight into the classification of varieties; and will have but little difficulty in recognising typical specimens at our Standard Exhibition.
HOUSES, RUNS, AND PENS.
To the uninitiated in catty matters the idea of erecting a habitation separate and distinct from the domestic roof will be considered a piece of extravagance, at least not warranted by their own information. And yet a little consideration will bring with it speedy conviction, that if poultry- breeders need their houses and runs; the dog fraternity their kennels; pigeon- fanciers their lofts and pens; rabbit enthusiasts their rabbitries and hutches ; then why not houses, runs, and pens for fancy cats ? The admission of these essential conditions as indispensable by the patrons of our kindred fancies will, I opine, contribute to some such means being adopted by those of our cat friends who go in extensively for breeding and exhibiting.
But while placing before readers what may be considered as a very desirable habitation, I am, of course, not suggesting that one or even more good cats cannot be bred without, for, as a matter of fact, some exhibitors who have no such houses or runs have an average share of success. This naturally applies chiefly to owners of limited studs, or to those who do not object to turning part of their residential establishment into catteries, and exercising the necessary supervision when Felis (domesticus or otherwise) take their walks abroad. However well this may be in its way, it is open to grave objections, of which the need of strict attention to sanitary considerations is not alone in importance ; and how far these conditions can be observed and maintained in conjunction with and within the domestic circle will largely depend on its dimensions and the application of our cat-loving friends.
" What is worth doing at all is worth doing well " aptly applies here, especially if the breeding and exhibiting of fancy cats, as a source of profit, is the ultimate object ; and as this work is intended to be practical, my remarks are obviously directed towards the satisfactory attainment of these results.
The first point, then, for consideration is what space you have, or wish to have, placed at disposal ; whether a distinct cattery, or a utilisation of stables, disused greenhouses, or other outbuildings. In respect of any of these erections that are to be pressed into service, I may say that they play an important part with very many breeders and exhibitors, and when the details are properly carried out are successful. Strict attention however to the sanitary conditions, as previously mentioned, is imperative. On this subject I shall subsequently go into detail. It will be apparent that the probable extent of your breeding stock will be largely regulated by the space elected to be so set apart for the purpose. The second point is, do you purpose exhibiting ? And the third and most important, do you intend to retain cats at stud ? But throughout, and whatever your plans and operations may be, never lose sight of the fact that overcrowding retards development, fosters disease, and is highly responsible for the majority of losses, among which a much-treasured specimen may succumb that has taken a considerable period to breed up to and perfect, and which a similar period of care may not always, from the variety of causes that governs the function of reproduction, produce anew.
Assuming, then, that the intention is to breed, exhibit, and keep cats at stud, the cat student should always inwardly digest the axiom that "Nothing succeeds like success," coupling with it as essential features : well-arranged houses ; warmth and immunity from sudden variations of temperature ; ventilation, runs, sun, grass, and pens. Remember, that success in the show-pen depends on certain conditions, which will be duly explained, being strictly observed and carried out; and, inasmuch as exhibition honours bring the most important item on the profit side, viz. sales and stud fees with many a considerable sum so is the need accentuated that the arrangements should be full and complete ; accommodation in excess of current requirements being reserved.
Having briefly noticed the leading features of a well-arranged cattery, essential for the development of stock, and maintaining its health and vigour, the purpose of this work will be best attained by describing in detail an establishment in which all the conditions of breeding, preparation for exhibiting, and treatment of the feline ailments can be observed, together with the separate habitation essential for stud cats, and a hospital for infectious diseases. With full details thus placed before my readers, it will be competent for them to modify or enlarge their plans, taking especial care, however, to strictly observe the parts emphasised.
The accompanying illustrations convey a general idea of the extent and arrangements of a complete cattery. On referring to Fig. 1, which is the ground-plan, it will be seen the total length is eighty-six feet, and the width forty-two feet. In selecting a position, remember that is most suitable which will admit the greatest amount of sunshine. A very effective material, apart
Fig 1. Cat house and runs ground plan.
from bricks and mortar, for the erection is corrugated galvanised iron, match-lined throughout, with five or six inches of concrete as the intervening basis between the ground and the wooden floor. For the floor, well-seasoned three-quarter inch floor-boards should be used, so that no space will exist between each board to encourage any accumulation of moisture. On damp situations it would be desirable, before laying the flooring boards, to introduce a one-inch layer of equal parts of Portland cement and sand on the top of the concrete. The system of ventilation, which is highly important, will be explained further on, but arrangements for effectually draining the roofs and carrying off rain will suggest themselves on the spot ; only, remember it must be done.
On entering by the door (A) a hall, the total width of the erection, and about six feet deep, will be observed. Ranged on each side of the door, on the outer side, and extending to each end, are placed a single tier of exhibition pens (PP). Here, cats are trained for the show-pen, and the importance and ad- vantage of this arrangement are referred to in the chapter devoted to "Preparation for Exhibition." The height of this entrance-hall must naturally depend on surrounding conditions ; the higher the better, and certainly not less than sixteen to twenty feet. In the roof, immediately over the door, is placed a ventilator, the opening to which from the ceiling being six feet by two feet, and projecting two feet outside. This exposed part should be boarded round, its three sides being covered with zinc, and be gable-shaped on top ; the front having boards arranged venetian-blind like, so that no wet can beat in. Inside, two shutters should be arranged, sliding in grooves ; these can have sash-lines and pulleys attached, so that they can be opened wide or closed, as the temperature for the time being suggests, and will perfectly ventilate the whole structure. In this hall the heating apparatus will have to be arranged: warmth in winter is essential, but it can be dispensed with in summer. For this purpose there is no better plan than a system of hot water, which can be arranged to take in the hall and the rooms that lead out of it. This will be at once apparent to the observer. The roof of the hall is ten inches higher than the roof of the rooms, the space being fitted with glazed sashes for daylight illumination (Fig. 1).
On the side of the hall opposite to the entrance will be observed five doors (BB), the upper part of each being covered with wire netting, which enables you to see the occupants if needed without disturbing them, and allowing the all- important air to circulate and effectively ventilate the rooms. These rooms consist of four actual apartments, divided as follows : C, ten by ten feet for male cats ; D, six by ten feet for weaned kittens ; E, ten by ten feet, for female cats ; and F, sixteen by ten feet, for cats with kittens, which can be sub-divided by movable partitions (GG), with, say, four compartments, each four by ten feet, or as circumstances suggest, folding doors being arranged for this purpose. Each of the various rooms can have shelves or brackets not less than eighteen inches wide, with an edge projecting upwards about six inches.
Most breeders have their fancies as to beds ; some litter the floor with straw, but I prefer boxes or shelves, comfortably littered, and moreover, all draught is thereby avoided. Sanitary arrangements in these catteries are not so difficult, for the free access to the outside runs, if cats have been trained to habits of cleanliness, will be readily sought for and discovered by them. Still it may be desirable to provide receptacles, and I know of no better than the large stoneware pans supplied by Spratts Patent, or zinc trays can be made to whatever size and shape is desired. Opinion varies as to what these are to be filled with. I have from the earliest period, and down to date, been an advocate of dry earth ; some however consider sawdust as far and away the best, and only a few years ago I was informed by a large breeder that if earth and sawdust be placed in separate receptacles, sawdust will be selected by the cat. Be this as it may, I am still open to conviction of its efficacy, over Nature's deodoriser. An efficient deodoriser or disinfectant should always be kept at hand, such as Izal, Sanitas, Jeyes', or Lawes', which rank above most others. A small hole in each apartment, for exit into the runs, completes the inner arrangements, and if protected with a wide board placed inside at an angle, will let in air but prevent draughts to the inmates.
Like the entrance hall, these rooms, I may say, have light admitted in a similar manner by making the runs about a foot lower, and, if needed, a further system of ventilation, by one or more sashes being provided with a ventilator, will be sufficiently obvious for application.
The majority of breeders will probably feed indoors, but in any case an earthen trough of clean water, frequently renewed, should be a prominent feature in the arrangements.
Passing on to the runs, each divided with wire netting, the covered ones, i.e, roofed (HH), should not be less than twenty feet in length, and if the cats are fed out of doors a strip of about five feet should be cemented, the other part being dry earth frequently renewed. These runs should be furnished with wire doors (WW) leading to each other and at the end of each run.
The grass runs (II) thirty feet long, wired at top and sides, will be utilised when conditions are favourable, and will be highly conducive to health, especially with accompanying sunshine.
For reasons which will be readily discovered, which I emphasise, stud cats need each a separate run and accommodation. Of these (JJ) ten by ten feet are the house dimensions ; many have less, but it is important that these veterans should be well housed and attended to, as they mean an investment, capable of paying a good dividend. The covered runs (KK) are each thirteen feet in length, and the grass is of the same dimensions.
The hospital (M) for any disease suspected of being infectious, finishes the programme ; but if proper supervision is exercised, it will rarely be in request with the careful exhibitor's own stock, though cats sent for stud and fresh purchases at times need isolation.
The Elevation (Fig. 2) will explain any details omitted in the previous description. The entrance door is not shown. The various roof levels will be observed, each well projecting over the other to carry off rain. A, shows the ventilator ; BB, sashes which are glazed or have extra ventilation applied ; C, entrance to covered runs ; DD, grass runs ; EE, stud-cat houses ; FF, doors glazed at top ; G, ventilator ; H, runs ; and I, hospital. Artificial illumination will, of course, be needed, but circumstances and conditions will suggest and supply omission under this head.
Fig 2. Cat house and runs. Elevation.
I need hardly observe that the expense of such an erection will be a consideration with some fanciers, and an important factor with them against adopting it in its complete form. For this reason, before bringing my instructions to a conclusion, 1 will add a few remarks, chiefly directed to those who, while wishing to breed a few good cats, or maybe keep a stud one, have but a limited fund for disposal in this direction, or very probably have not the space at command for the complete structure. To them I say, and with emphasis, "Do not keep more than two or three at the outside, and give full attention to them." The cats must kitten indoors, a cupboard or some quiet nook being reserved for them, taking care that no undue interference occurs prior to or after littering. Of course, with a cat of value, great supervision is needed to prevent an alien cross, and here an ordinary fowls' run may be requisitioned. I have frequently known large hutches to be used for this purpose with the latter arrangement, giving them, of course, exercise under supervision at periodical intervals. The fowls' run also can, failing any other convenience, be utilised for stud-cats, for these gentry are only too addicted to rambling, and their utility is thereby sacrificed. It is in any case highly desirable to have them in a given place, and accustom them to regard it as their sphere, for reasons which the purpose of stud animals will readily suggest.
Apart from either of the above means of restricting the limits of either sex, portable houses and runs claim the best consideration of cat-fanciers. These are always useful even as a reserve, while for those who have premises of considerable extent, they can be placed in positions adding to the picturesque effect, and at the same time ensuring comfort and health-giving properties to their inmates. I was much struck on a recent visit to Messrs. Spratts' Storerooms and workshops, to see some excellent houses and runs, several of which could be shifted at intervals, thereby avoiding tainted ground. Many fanciers take a pleasure in, and are quite capable of, making and adapting houses themselves ; to them the instructions throughout this chapter are ample. Otherwise I strongly advise a visit to the firm mentioned.
I think the foregoing details are sufficiently lucid to enable all to understand what is necessary. Those new to the breeding and exhibiting of fancy cats, need that instruction, which those matured friends in this rapidly growing fancy more or less possess.
THE description of breeds or varieties of fancy cats, with their ante- historical associations, and all the facilities for adequately and efficiently providing them with habitations, distinct or otherwise, ate of little use from a fancier's standpoint, unless we apply them practically in the great problem of breeding.
On the amount of judicious application hinges the perfecting of our present varieties, and the propagation of fresh ones, at all times a source of interest and instruction to the fancier, and I opine few will disagree when 1 add my personal opinion that it occupies a position of importance second to none with any chapter in the work.
At what age should the queen cat breed ? and what period of its existence is most suitable for the stud cat to be used ? are points that need premier attention. We all know that maternal duties can be undertaken very soon after six months, but those who wish to breed fancy cats to a state of decent development must not allow any earlier pairing than at nine or twelve months, and never till the queen is fully in coat. I have known many endeavour to restrain their breeding inclinations till eighteen months, and, although successful in some cases, the animals frequently turn out indifferent breeders when their natural propensities are thus kept in check for a period in advance of when Nature asserts herself.
With the stud cat, or cats intended for stud purposes, great care should be exercised not to allow access to a female cat until at least twelve months is reached, and I have no hesitation in adding that another year will add to its value at stud. It should also be remembered that the outward characteristics are in a great measure transmitted by the male cat, therefore look well to this when marking, colour and shape are being considered. Do not lose sight of the fact that age with the male cat will still further accentuate and act as a factor in this development, especially with a queen cat considerably his junior ; except in the case of breeding for the Tortoise-shell male, as explained further on, remember, when pairing, that whenever possible, ages should vary. Each animal should be in the best of condition, and with Persians and Long- haired varieties generally, fully out in coat, and not showing any indication of moult ; the most desirable period being when they are just fresh through this critical part of their existence.
The indications of the coming season are much more marked with some queen cats than with others ; in fact, it requires an expert eye to distinguish the precocious proclivities of many, especially those exceptionally high-bred. But generally their restless habits, changed character, and peculiar cry, are indications of a desire to mate that cat-breeders soon recognise. It is, however, especially important to ascertain as nearly exactly as possible this period, for nothing spoils a stud cat more than attempting to pair with him queens not in proper season. With some queens the desire for mating is retained a fortnight, though usually only for three or four days. Another point to be observed is to avoid useless pairing ; one service generally suffices, and no advantage accrues from more than twice, when union successfully takes place.
The cat's period of gestation is nine weeks, during which strict attention must be paid to feeding and general condition of health, a little flower of sulphur given occasionally being advantageous. Avoid handling the cat while in this condition. Some people are fond of nursing and pulling them about, which in cats of value in this interesting condition must not for a moment be allowed.
As the time for kittening approaches, see that good hay or straw litter is provided, and if the latter see that it is well beaten. If littering in the house as described and illustrated, some prefer the broad shelf with a high ledge, but there are times when the kittens hanging on to the teats or from other causes, fall over, and bad accidents thus arise. Baskets harbour fleas, so probably there is nothing better than a good box on the floor, which when out of use, or between being used, can be well washed, a little carbolic acid being added to the hot water for a final rinse prior to thoroughly drying. According to the weather, so must any additional wrappings be used, and if it is very severe a hot-water bottle in one corner of the nest will keep them warm and snug for many hours at a time. I need hardly remark that the box or nest must be in a position that will secure absolute quiet and freedom from interference.
For many reasons I object to feeding in the box where the cat kittens ; both mother and young get on better when fed elsewhere, and there is loss fear of the nest being tainted ; for when shut in, as some are in hutches, and fed therein, a want of cleanliness is encouraged in the mother that is highly important to avoid, not to mention the foulness of atmosphere thus engendered. The nest of kittens can also, while the mother is off to partake of her meals, etc. be examined, for now and again dead or imperfect ones are born that must be removed as early as possible. Unnecessary handling must be avoided, but the number of kittens, if large, can with advantage be reduced even at this early period by destroying the most imperfect in markings, tortoise-shell excepted, which it is generally desirable to retain.
At about the ninth day the kittens' eyes open, and in a short time they will take a little warm milk, the advantage of which is dealt with in the chapter on " Feeding." Up to two months no kittens should be weaned, and those intended to make exhibition cats should be left with mother or foster-mother at least a month longer, in fact, so long as she can be induced to suckle them. There are several reasons why this course should be adopted, but most important of all is the natural warmth and equally natural food the kittens obtain from their parent or nurse. Those cats, therefore, which suckle their young for a considerable period should be proportionately prized by their owners. It is surprising what a lengthy period some cats remain in milk, especially those of a commoner and cross-bred variety, and as there is no difficulty in transferring highly-bred kittens to foster-mothers, several of these common cats should be kept in view at about the period the valuable ones are due to kitten. You will, of course, have these nurse cats on your own premises, or under your immediate supervision.
Each cat having kittened, and two or three days elapsed for them to suckle their young, proceed to reduce the foster-mother's litter, for they generally have more in proportion to highly-bred cats.
At times, however, the reverse is the case ; therefore several nurses should litter at the same period, so that the whole of your valuable kittens. Long- haired ones especially, can be reared. Do not transfer all at once, but if you want them to develop early, and into grand specimens at a month, leave two only on each mother or nurse.
Another advantage of having foster-cats is, that while it enables you to exhibit your prize specimens, it also gives the additionally important feature of increasing your stud with kittens that will command ready sale if you occupy anything like a position in prize lists at exhibitions. In no case, however, remove all the kittens from your prize cat till she has suckled them for a fortnight ; the best method, if you intend to use foster-mothers, is to transfer, and leave a couple of these common kittens on your prize cats for that period. It is also desirable, as soon as she comes again in season, to put her to stud, so that your annual stock may be well in hand during the spring of the year, for remember that those kittens that are to develop into the specimens must have the summer to mature in.
Before passing on to the best selections for crossing and breeding the various varieties, a few words as to stud cats otherwise than your own are desirable. There is pedigree and pedigree stock, and while not for a moment casting the slightest innuendo on stud advertisements, I cannot too strongly advise where a cross is needed in this direction, to make assurance doubly sure by seeing for yourself if possible. I have had occasion lately to inspect more than one, which if by charity they could be considered to be what they professed to be on paper, revealed such " overtaxed wrecks " that there could be no reasonable prospect of obtaining kittens worth rearing. The National Cat Club is supplying a want under this head.
To produce and perfect any given variety or varieties of fancy cats can be aptly described as the science of breeding. Here the fancier asserts his skill, and according to the application brought to bear, so will the result be proportionately attained. I have on more than one occasion, in journals which deal with the subject, asserted that the great reason why certain varieties of fancy cats do not breed true, and that why certain " difficult " specialities cannot be obtained, lies in the fact that the uncontrolled has entered far too much as an agent in the great problem of breeding coupled with a want of direction in the crosses essential to obtain given results.
There is probably no variety that stands out so prominently in this respect as the tortoiseshell torn, and it will not be out of place to refer to the efforts of Mr. W. J. Nicholls (the late esteemed editor of the Stock-keeper) to produce males of this variety, at the time he so successfully bred and exhibited red Tabbies, when the queen cats of that colour were so exceptionally scarce. His modus operandi was as follows :
" A red Tabby female coming in season, for obvious reasons I confined her in a hutch, and in due course introduced a perfect Black male, without a single white hair on his body, and possessing rich golden-coloured eyes. From this pair I had four splendidly marked sandy-red toms, one of which was invincible at the Crystal Palace, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, and many other shows, winning first prizes for several years in succession. Also in the same litter I had a very good tortoise-shell she-cat, proving the mating was correct to a great extent. I continued to breed in-and-in for a considerable period, but up to the time of discontinuing my experiments had not succeeded in obtaining the male tortoise-shell. "
This matter was much discussed among catty people, and I held an opinion that had the original been a thoroughbred tortoise-shell she, it is just possible a tom of the desired colour would have been bred. Another factor in the breeding would be to have the age vary. I should recommend a young black male cat, one by preference bred from a self-colour strain from two or three generations, mated to a tortoise-shell, or if not, a tortoise-shell and white, at least two years older, and I should especially reserve any males bred from such a cross, pairing them to any tortoise-shell females bred in the previous litters by same sire, or even mating a black or any other perfectly self- coloured male with a tortoise-shell female in the same litter. The result of these crosses will indicate to the intelligent fancier further crosses and especially further breeding-in; but when once points of importance are obtained, take care not to introduce outside strains, although they may appear in outward semblance the ideal of what is required. And with it all, keep well to the front the fact that the tortoise-shell is a combination of red, yellow, and black patches, with the colours perfectly broken, not running into one another ; and as a special factor in breeding them, remember that no variety other than this colour must be introduced, unless you have ample proof that they continually produce the three desired colours.
One feature will be obvious to breeders, viz., the tortoise-shell distinctive patches, as distinguished from any striped or spotted Tabby markings. These latter should not be used if they can in any way be avoided. Red Tabbies have long since been placed aside for breeding this colour, the strong markings (stripes) being so apt to appear in subsequent litters, especially on the face. The establishment of a strain of tortoise-shells, especially males, will doubtless be a slow process. A somewhat similar difficulty existed with tortoise-shell cavies, which has been overcome by scientific application of the breeder's art, and they now breed true and to perfection in markings and colour. If there were no difficulties to surmount, there could not possibly be any credit in attaining excellence, and in breeding this variety, crossing, in-breeding, and thus concentrating, on the lines I have indicated, we shall doubtless, if coupled with the essential patience, ultimately solve the problem of the production of tortoise-shell toms.
The breeding of Short-hair Tabbies, especially to reach a high standard of perfection, will need careful observation. Many that we meet in the show-pen fail in width and distribution of the markings of either the striped or the spotted kind. It must be remembered that the ground-colour gives each variety its name, and also that it must be always somewhat wider than the darker stripes, but not to exaggeration ; or the resulting cat will present a bald appearance in its markings, especially in the lighter varieties. The stripes should occupy about one-third less than the ground-colour, though this is again subservient to which colour is under consideration. The value of a specimen will then, naturally, depend on both these contrasting colours being evenly balanced so as to give distinctness and character to each variety.
One great failing of marked cats is the cloudy nature of their definitions, giving a smudgy appearance, as though the colours run into one another. "Sharp and distinct" represents what the typical tabby markings should be in a first- class specimen.
Opinions differ as to which colour in a mixed class of tabbies should have preference, and where each breeder will naturally have a strong attachment to that which he has made his study, it is somewhat invidious to particularise. The Short-haired silver tabby is, however, always considered a cat of value ; whether from the strong contrast of its markings, by which defects are the more readily observed, or from a greater difficulty in breeding up to it. I need not attempt to decide, the pros and cons on the matter being many and the balance of running even. In breeding for this variety it is usual to mate a good marked she with a male strong in markings ; while, if ground-colour is not clear, a thoroughbred whole-coloured Silver can be used to cross, again employing the strong marked male to the subsequent progeny; but never on any account cross with tabby of another colour.
The smooth red Tabby is another attractive colour with markings of a deeper red. Some years since queen cats of the breed were hardly ever to be met with, while even now strongly defined markings are none too prominent in the variety generally. A trace of white is too often observable. On the National Cat Club, however, coming into existence, a much greater study was made in the science of cat breeding. Glasses at shows on more extended lines have been established, and they are now judged by those who really understand the subject, therefore each variety is sure to improve; especially when it is clearly laid down what has to be bred up to. In breeding red Tabbies the great point is to use a male especially strong in markings, and if necessary to cross the progeny with their sire. Self-colours have not been used to advantage in improving the definition of the markings of this variety.
To the other shades of colour, such as yellow and chocolate Tabbies, similar remarks apply.
Another difficult cat to breed is the blue Tabby with the blue markings of a darker colour well defined. I have seen a few only, but like any variety that has markings of the same colour, though of different shades, they need much care in selection of breeding stock. The usual blue Tabby has a light ground- colour, though, like rabbits known as blue, they have a decidedly slate-blue shade. The markings should be a decided blue black ; for if the definition is not perfect, a blurred appearance results.
The difficulty in breeding blue is to avoid the brown shade. A well-defined and strongly-marked silver may be used to advantage to give the character markings, recrossing with blue to restore ground-colour, though some grey Tabbies will probably appear among the litters ; but as ultimately classes for each colour in Tabbies will probably become a rule at exhibitions, these will be a source of advantage and profit.
Perhaps one of the richest in colour and most "comfortable" of Tabbies is the brown. The ground-colour should be especially a bright fine brown in shade, while markings of a dense black must be observed in a good representative. Selection of a stud cat with reliable pedigree will be found best for breeding, observing that his markings are distinctive, and, unlike some 1 know, entirely devoid of rustiness, which shows strong traces of the red Tabby, used at times, and if with due care perhaps advantageously, to improve the ground-colour. By recrossing with a strongly-marked Tabby male, this can be bred out ; but it is sometimes a slow process, for the red has an unpleasant habit of cropping up when and where it is least wanted.
Self-coloured cats, though they do not give the fancier trouble in markings, need especial care in selection if the ultimate object to be attained is a high position in prize-list at exhibitions. Black, White, Blue, Grey, and Bed are the chief colours, the first three being those principally known. The Blue is generally accepted as the premier pet of self -colours, and we have two breeds, "Russian" and " English," as representatives , the Russian being especially esteemed.
As I have previously remarked, the Blue is of a light slate-colour, and according to the brightness and lustre of its tint, and absence of any rusty shade, so does its value increase in importance. A lengthy experience in breeding this colour, especially with rabbits, induces me to emphasise the importance of keeping this colour clear of any other except black or white, though personally I should prefer selections of blue only for mating, having lighter or darker parents as the case necessitates. The quality of coat must also have due consideration, for there is no variety, breed, or colour that excels the peculiar softness and shortness of the Blue.
Blacks or Whites can be crossed to obtain either of these colours, only remember the White must be spotless and the Black must be a black with no trace of greyness or white hairs. Remember also that size in the Black in a sine quod non.
Passing on to the breeding of the different varieties of foreign Long-haired cats, it will not be out of place to again refer to quality, quantity, and distribution of coat, as against markings, minus the former qualifications of the breeds. I yield to no one in appreciating markings in these varieties, providing they are supported by proper length of coat, frill, and brush ; but that those markings have been obtained by crossing Short-haired cats is only too apparent, apart from the fact that I know those who have thus produced them. With this digression, it will be as well to point out that markings in Long-haired cats, obviously owing to the length and nature of coats, are not so defined as in the Short-haired breeds ; but in pairing for this particular feature, the various recommendations equally apply. There are, however, other recognised colours among the Long-haired varieties; the blue, chinchilla, and smoke, the former especially, as in Russian Short-hair blue, being much esteemed. They have probably the finest, quality of fur of any, and generally are a more affectionate cat than some varieties of Persians and other Long- hairs. But care should be exercised by the uninitiated in approaching all Long-haired cats, and, in fact, cats generally ; a pair of leather gloves should be worn on all occasions when handling them.
In breeding Chinchilla, the pedigree of the stud cat should be thoroughly reliable, and, if possible, the kittens he has been sire of should be seen. I am assuming that similar care has already been exercised in selecting your queens. On no account cross with either red, brown, or marked cats of any colour, though many first-class specimens of this variety exhibit a trace of markings. A blue Chinchilla is the best male to select, or, if the kittens moult out too light, a smoke-blue should be used ; but avoid any with a rusty tinge. No cats should be bred with or from while changing coat ; so that any rustiness usually assumed at the critical period of moult is not important, neither are the remarks as to colour intended to apply to them. Blacks or Whites, as in the Short-haired varieties, can be safely bred together. The clear blue is also best mated to one of its own colour, and is one of the finest varieties of Long-haired cats. With regard to Angora cats, Russians, and those of other nationalities, the same remarks are equally applicable.
Of Long-haired Tabbies, the silver and brown are equally handsome varieties, especially when the markings and colour stand well out. They, as do the majority of Tabbies of each colour, come under the heading of Persians (the Russian excepted) ; though self-colours, or nearly so, have for generations been the actual representatives of the country with which at least the name is associated.
I have already dealt with mating for the production of colour and markings, and a few remarks on the type of coat will complete all that is necessary to be advanced. A stud cat should especially excel in length of coat throughout ; the frill, a most important feature in Long-haired cats, should be full on chest, extending well round the head, and free from ragged edges. The tail, " brush " it is usually called, must be large, perfect, and exceedingly bushy. The legs, somewhat shorter than the Smooth variety, should be well furnished in length of fur, extending over and well between the toes ; and the pads of the feet should be large and folly developed.
In addition to the general varieties of both Long and Short hair, we have these in each with white markings. Black or blue are the most suitable colours, though Tortoise-shell and White, and the various Tabbies and White have many admirers. To breed, a male must be selected that is perfect in the required markings, which generally consist of an angular blaze on face, a lozenge-shaped marking downwards on chest, and white tips to the four feet. If the white markings extend too far, or spots on what should otherwise be whole colour appear, a perfect self-coloured stud cat can be used with advantage.
To breed the Spotted variety, those most uniform in spots must be selected, any trace of bars or stripes being against the specimen, while the nearer perfection of spots, especially as they approach head markings, is attained, the nearer progress to one of the most valuable of broken-colour cats. A self- colour of the proper ground can, with care, be used to correct uneven ground- colour, and once the colour of spots has been used advantageously to make them uniform ; but with either, the spotted male must intervene between any such cross. As a rule, however, a spotted male, as near as possible perfect in markings, will produce the best results.
The Royal Cat of Siam can only be properly bred by crosses of its own variety. Experiments have been tried with a view to introducing another colour other than the characteristic dun, but any deviation from the pure typical breed will, I opine, not be generally cared for, if for no other reason than its being incorrect.
The Abyssinian is another variety that cannot be readily manufactured. Fanciers cannot do better than secure specimens of this breed, and preserve its black markings by selection, especially as they breed fairly true to points.
With the Manx cat the same rule applies as to colour and markings as I have referred to with Tabbies and self -colours ; it is hardly necessary to remark that no other variety than the breed naturally minus tail must be used either in breeding or crossing.
For any further details that the breeder may need, reference to the chapter on " Varieties and their Characteristics " will doubtless apply in detail any point omitted in this ; while application of the earlier notes of the present chapter on the various conditions that bear on the science of breeding must be observed, concurrent with the instructions of crossing and breeding for the many typical colours and markings that are now recognised under the name of "fancy cats."
ALTHOUGH the two preceding chapters contain the needful information on the production of, and the beat and most approved methods and condition of keeping, kittens, there are a few features in the juvenile period of their existence which deserve to be separately dealt with. The success of the future cat, whatever its sphere is destined to be, will in a measure depend on its earlier training, housing, feeding, and general supervision by those who have its care in hand. I refer to training again, in order to emphasise the importance of inducing cleanliness from the earliest period that kittens can leave their nest. Warmth is naturally very important, and should receive due attention ; but by training kittens at feeding times to leave their comfortable quarters, and turn out in a run such as described, or in the garden or any suitable enclosure, the habit thus early engendered is soon established, and all trouble as to cleanliness is a thing of the past. Of course, this means a certain amount of attention, but the true fanciers, who love their pets, will consider it a duty to be efficiently done ; while others who do not care to put themselves to any extra trouble should leave the taking-up of any fancy to those who have the essentials of patience and consideration.
At what age should kittens cease to be regarded as such ? This is a point that should be clearly defined and answered by those who intend to breed for exhibition. I have often wondered, when criticising or judging cats at shows, either at the audacity or else at the want of a clear understanding on the part of some exhibitors as to when kittenhood ceases and gives place to the developed cat. It is my invariable practice when judging to make these extraordinary " kittens " (?) pay the penalty of disqualification, for nothing is more unfair than that the owners of legitimate specimens should be beaten by exhibits whose proper place is in the open cat classes. As in other animals, the teeth are the chief guide in deciding age. With kittens the period between four and six months is when the adult dental process is completed, and certainly after that the term " kitten " is erroneously applied and misleading. Although the remarks of some as to how their specimens have reached early maturity either by certain feeding, by capital mothers, or by some special management may be well and good, yet the classes for kittens were never intended for aught but what common sense dictates.
Of the various stages of the cat's existence, that of kittenhood is the most charming and interesting. Frolic and fun is the kitten's only consideration, and all anxiety as to a prospective future is as yet unknown. It is at this period, however, that its owner, while acknowledging the sensitive appreciation of any act of kindness and there is no animal in existence more sensitive and capable of attachment than the domestic cat or any of her progeny shapes out its intended sphere. One of the most noticeable features in the management of cats is how in maturity they reflect their earlier discipline, and the offspring will, in a great measure, depend on how the parents have been trained, fed, and housed. Born with an instinct and ability at an early age to obtain their own living, it is but natural, unless otherwise taught, that a thievish tendency will develop ; but gentle correction so soon as this is observed will, in a short time, if coupled with regular feeding at proper intervals, entirely overcome any such vice.
Those who wish their cats to add amusement to the domestic circle, will find willing actors easy of instruction in their kittens. So soon as they are well on their feet it is the time when training should commence ; one of the most usual tricks is jumping, at which a cat is facile princeps. Beginning with the hands held near the ground, and with some attractive device such as a cotton reel attached by string and suspended swinging a few feet from you, smooth the kitten down and then join hands in such a position that she cannot escape except over them. This once done, the rest is plain sailing ; the hands go higher until she jumps over whatever may be held, whatever the elevation. It is not necessary to introduce the numerous acts and tricks which cats can be taught ; everyone is acquainted with cats' specialities in this direction. All can be accomplished with kindness, perseverance, training from early age, and the never-failing acknowledgment by its owner with a tit-bit morsel for a reward when the animal has successfully achieved your desired object.
Before concluding the remarks specially concerning kittens, I wish, although our lady friends will not perhaps accept the advice with full approval, to direct attention to a practice somewhat on the increase. I refer to the decoration of the little pets with ribbons and collars. Probably these garnitures are looked upon as pretty, and, like similar embellishments of the fair sex, may be regarded by some as a pleasing innovation ; further, with Short-haired kittens the fur is not much affected. But the Long-haired varieties often have their neck-fur and ruff seriously injured by the friction of these toilet novelties, and the proper training and development of those important features, especially when developing from kitten-hood to the mature cat is thereby endangered.
Importance and utility of bringing up the whole of a litter of valuable cats is naturally of great importance to the successful exhibitor. It is exceedingly gratifying to find oneself the recipient of money prizes, and to note the cabinet or sideboard become gradually filled with specials, of more or less value. It is not however to either of these sources that the exhibitor looks for profit, or even to recoup the necessary outlay that is incurred on account of carriage, entry-fees, and the many other items that swell the account in association with shows. According to the extent of the breeding-stud and the accommodation, so will a few more additions be added to the bill ; and although with a great many breeders and exhibitors expense is no particular consideration, it is always a satisfactory feature in the abstract to find a happy combination of pleasure and profit resulting from any undertaking.
It is thus according to your success as an exhibitor that the demand and great source of profit comes in : by the sale of kittens of value ; winning cats ; and cats fit for show, but which perhaps have not yet earned their exhibition laurels. And when I state that two to five guineas is no unusual price for an untried kitten though, of course, of a good prize-winning strain it will be at once apparent that a practical fancier may make a large margin of profit.
But breeding kittens and the development of them, especially those intended for exhibition specimens, need the removal of your queen cats from the charmed circle of the show pen for a considerable period. It will therefore be at once apparent how desirable it is, if possible, to relieve them from their maternal duties within a few days of littering. It is here that the nurse cat appears on the scene, and undertakes the duties that belong to its sex in a much higher order in society.
According to the extent of your stud so will the supply and demand of these eminently useful adjuncts to the cattery be regulated. When nurse cats are not kept on your own premises, it is very desirable to keep in touch with a large circle of " catty " friends, in order to be able to obtain any number of nurses that may be needed.
The process of transferring the kittens from the mother to the foster-mother, the method of reducing the number to be kept on each foster-mother, and other minor details, will be found in the chapter on " Breeding."
Finally, remember that whereas three or four of the Short-haired varieties can be brought up on one nurse or on their own mother, not more than two of the Long-haired breed of kittens should be reared on their mother or nurse, as the growing fur is readily retarded or damaged by over-crowding.
WHATEVER views may be entertained with regard to the various conditions for breeding and housing, but one exists in placing feeding as a highly important section of the cat-fancier's programme. On the subject of foods, however, we are met with much diversity of opinion, each naturally praising the particular food and method of feeding with which he has been successful. And although it is my intention to place before the reader the reasons for, or against, the several articles of food, both solid and otherwise, which form the cats' daily dietary advanced by me, it will be in the spirit of direction rather than that of dictation.
Whatever the description of food given and the mode and periods of feeding adopted, winners cannot be made out of poor stock. Many people who visit exhibitions are too apt to consider that some occult method of feeding and rearing, or some other hidden process, contributes to the success of the exhibit. Nothing is further from the fact. Success is the result of a proper study of the points and conditions, of which this work gives full details ; and according to the application, so will be the results achieved. The " application " is important. We know full well that some fanciers, with the best of stock and all the essential conditions for successful rearing and feeding, never show their stock in good condition ; while others, with only limited resources, never turn their specimens out except in the picture of health and show form. We have in the latter the practical application, and under any conditions such fanciers always succeed.
The cat's dietary of solid and liquid food consists of meat, fish, vegetables, milk, beef -tea, and water, which we will take consecutively. Meat includes most varieties of animals or birds, beef, liver and horse-flesh forming with many the staple food. Cooked meat which comes under the category of " birds," may be regarded as superfluous ; but it is excellent food if given raw, so long as the birds are only just killed and from healthy stock. In fact, the question of raw against cooked foods is without doubt a subject that needs the fancier's earnest consideration. We are all acquainted with the fact that raw meat, especially beef, is of immense power in developing growing kittens and sustaining full grown cats ; in a similar manner the large breeds of poultry are brought to early maturity and development. But while to the latter its freshness is not of much importance, with kittens or cats it must be of the freshest. From the large number of queries in respect of cat ailments submitted to me continually through The Bazaar, and from information derived from other sources, I have no hesitation in advancing as a fact that nearly one half of the diseases especially the increasing number of worm cases are due to raw meat (and uncooked food), given in an advanced state of decomposition.
Another fruitful source of disease is horse-flesh. It hardly seems necessary to remind readers, how a considerable quantity of the carcases of these useful quadrupeds find their way into the emporium of the purveyor of " cat's meat." A piece of good horse-flesh, when a really healthy animal has had to be killed through accident, may be all right enough ; but until veterinary supervision intervenes between the diseased carcase and its subsequent retailing as food for cats, too much trust should not be placed on it for the commissariat department. Apart also from this somewhat doubtful recommendation, personally I consider that at the best horse-flesh is a "hungry" type of food. It has, perhaps, been given with some advantage when cats have gone off their feed, but as a rule no good show specimens have been brought up on it.
Boiled liver is a good stimulating food, especially if varied with any meat scraps from the table ; in addition, your butcher will always select for a trifle the coarser parts of beef ; this should be boiled, and the resulting gravy poured over so much of the scraps, including the vegetable portions, as is necessary for the particular meal; it should be given warm, and will be found to advance the growth of both kittens (from two months old) and cats immensely. It is here that any remains of poultry or game by purchase or from table come in with a considerable amount of utility.
Another important article of food is fish for at least one meal and for variety ; it is an absolutely essential feature with cats kept in semi- confinement. If meat should be fresh, then I must emphasise the need of fish being especially so. Many give it raw, and it is consumed with avidity ; but probably the best plan, so far as fish is concerned, is to vary the bill of fare, giving it alternately cooked and raw ; your fishmonger will supply you with the needful variety of fresh " cuttings " at a trifling cost, so that no alarming expense will be incurred under this needful head.
In the case of cats that can ramble at their own sweet will through woods and fields, their natural instincts to hunt for food will supply them alike constitutionally and physically with all that is needful. Such cats hardly ever ail; but when brought into a cattery or when being got up for show, your poulterer must be requisitioned to supply you with heads and the coarser parts of birds. In fact, under any circumstances, these should form about twice a week a part of the cat's diet. You will, of course, contract that they must be fresh. According to circumstances, such food can either be given raw or cooked, for variation.
Equal in importance to flesh of every description, are vegetable foods. Given any variety and variation of fish, meat, or birds, without a good proportion of vegetable diet, health of body and condition of coat cannot be attained or maintained. All vegetables used for domestic purposes can be given advantageously, and those who wish to build up cats from kittenhood to stand in good positions, and continue to hold their own at exhibitions, do not fail from the earliest period to induce the free eating of vegetables. These can be separately cooked, or those that have been dished up for the table and left can be mixed with the gravies produced according to previous instructions.
I reserve for separate note the very great importance of grass. For health- giving properties, no combination of food or method of feeding can supply its place. Those who have lawns, or the grass runs as described in the chapter on " Houses, Runs, and Pens," are provided with this necessity ; otherwise, a small portion of the garden should be wired off, and well turfed or sown with grass, keeping it closed except for your cats' or kittens' daily run. Failing even this desideratum, bunches of grass the longer the better should be securely tied together and hung at a convenient height for the cat to nibble and scratch at.
There is no more highly nutritious vegetable food, or one that has such special influence on quality of coat and development generally, than lentils. They are somewhat expensive compared with the other items of diet, but fanciers who can spare the outlay, should at least give them a trial. An early training to eat lentils is with some cats necessary, but once taken they look for more. It is necessary to soak them for a few hours, and then slowly boil till cooked. Lentils, with the meat scraps and gravy, will build up constitutions when other means have failed.
Of the solid foods sold, and the various condiments, the least generally said the better. No combination of either is within measurable distance of the foods above mentioned, while some of it is simply rubbish ; the chief efforts of the vendors being the extraction of cash, that might be advantageously spent on sound and solid nutriment. The only exception that needs mention is, " Spratt's Cat Food." From experiment, and some knowledge of its preparation and qualifications, this can at least be recommended to cat-breeders for trial without risk of disadvantage to their stock, while so far as personal experience is concerned, it is very satisfactory.
The liquid section of the cat's dietary embraces milk, which is probably the staple element of moist food, beef -tea, or the various gravies, and water. For kittens, milk is the all-important feature, and with cats generally it should form the first or early meal, and also the evening one. It should be given warm with about one-third of its bulk of water added. Bread should also be introduced, though some cats that take milk freely object to bread-and-milk. But mind, enough for them to clear up to the last particle only should be given. Kittens, according to age, at least up to three months, and whether weaned or not, must have their milk meals as a basis of feeding ; " little and fairly often " is the rule, reducing by one meal at once if they do not clear it up freely. For weakly kittens, or cats that are failing in health, or recovering from illness, beef -tea is a needful adjunct, together with the various gravies mentioned in the earlier part of this chapter. Here, again, the rule as to clearing up each meal must be observed, and arrangements made accordingly.
" Bills of fare " for daily use are all very well on paper, but actual experience is the only guide with the specimens under your observation and charge. Scarcely two cats feed alike ; and when I add how health, age, and other conditions influence the appetite, it will be at once obvious that no strict bill of daily fare can be acted upon.
While giving definite instructions that each meal should be taken with avidity and none left, there is in the remaining item, water, an exception to the above wholesome role. In the natural state of every living thing, water is as needful as it is important. With cats, nice stoneware earthen pans should be kept filled with water, and cleared out and re-charged several times during the day, according to temperature and conditions.
Speaking generally, cats will require from two to four meals per day, but no hard-and-fast rule can be laid down unless the special circumstances under which they are kept are known. Breeders will have no difficulty in arriving at the needful times of feeding, and the kinds and quantities of food. In the all - important question of feeding, the chief points may be summarised as follows: (a) regularity; (b) perfect cleanliness; (c) variety, i.e., change of food ; (d) enough and no more at each meal ; and (e) while food must never be left, water must be continually supplied.
PREPARATION FOR EXHIBITION
THE first care of the successful exhibitor is to ensure the height of condition for their show cats while on view. Two reasons often place an exhibit in a much lower position than it would otherwise have occupied : First, its coat, especially in the Long-haired varieties, may be dirty (if a white), or generally matted, or otherwise may present a dishevelled appearance through want of condition or grooming. Bear well in mind that condition means more points than actually appear under its head, as this very feature influences eye, colour, and brilliancy of marking, to an extent only to be fully appreciated when comparison is made at different periods. Secondly, probable winners fail to score in prize lists through their want of training for the exhibition pen. To point out the negative results which personal application has proved is a considerable advance towards their being remedied, and will tend to simplify the instructions. The chapters on " Feeding " and " Diseases " cannot be too carefully perused ; but it is to obtaining condition of coat that my remarks are here directed.
WASHING. Of primary importance is washing, which, when done improperly, makes bad worse, but when thoroughly performed often works marvels in the appearance of specimens that are liable to have their coats injured by dirt, etc. The remarks that one hears at times as to washing spoiling the quality of the fur more often applies to the inefficient way in which some fanciers discharge the task. The fur of the cat, either Long- haired or Short, must obviously get soiled, and I have seen specimens turned out after proper washing almost with their previous self unrecognisable, so great has been the improvement. Assiduous as healthy cats are in attending to their toilet, when once thoroughly out of order they are very rarely equal to what the show pen demands.
To effectually wash a cat, one great desideratum is patience. Armed with a plentiful supply, proceed to arrange two receptacles for water, having an attendant to assist in the various operations. To bath No. 1. For every gallon of water at a temperature of ninety degrees [fahrenheit] add a quarter of a pound of fullers-earth, and a liberal supply of good yellow soap (I find Sunlight answers admirably) ; mix this thoroughly. The next, and difficult part with a cat new to the arrangement, is to obtain the complete immersion. Coaxing and kindness are the only method. By complete immersion, I, of course, refer to immersion of the body. Washing the head comes last. A sponge or soft brush are tools to be used judiciously, the hands forming the most important implements. With plenty of lather, beginning underneath, but always in a direction from neck to tail, straight, and downwards, work the accumulated dirt thoroughly away. Any matted parts are easily unravelled when softened with the soap-water and fullers-earth. As this will take quite an hour to perform, a little hot water must be occasionally added. Finishing the face upwards from nostrils and ears with the sponge will complete the washing.
Your attendant will, meanwhile, have put in No. 2 bath (let it be large) sufficient water of the same temperature. Then, holding the cat firmly with both hands, rinse out as much soap as possible by raising her up and down in No. 1., and then thoroughly remove all that remains in the second bath. This being thoroughly accomplished, with a soft towel remove as much of the moisture as possible, in the same direction as observed in washing, and finally place the animal in a large poultry hamper containing a liberal supply of straw. It should remain in this basket in a warm room for some hours, as the heat assists the coat to assume its best appearance. Avoid any draught until the fur has thoroughly expanded. It is always as well, when washing is necessary, to let it be done at least two days before sending the cats off to the show, and of course, meanwhile, they must be kept under observation to prevent their coats from becoming soiled.
TRAINING FOR THE SHOW PEN. I need not remind old hands at exhibiting of the importance of this feature. The more recent recruits to the ranks of cat fanciers will, however, be in search of the various devices needful. On referring to the chapter on " Houses, Runs, and Pens " and the plan of the Cattery, on either side of the entrance hall will be found rows of pens of a similar size to those used at exhibitions. It is in these pens that the " education " takes place. Begin daily before feeding-time, place the cats intended for the arena of open competition in these pens, and get them used to what at first will be durance vile ; encourage by coaxing, calling, and finally feeding them ; then allow them to remain for an hour, and gradually longer till they settle comfortably and will come to the front of the pen and receive the owner's caresses. Keep these pens scrupulously clean, and liberally supplied with sawdust.
BOXES AND HAMPERS. I have now come to another important section of the exhibition programme sending to and from the show and in what receptacle ? Pages could be filled with the numerous articles pressed into service, some as inhuman and un suitable as others are ridiculous. Times innumerable have I mused, while journeying for judicial matters, on the thousand-and-one views that exhibitors thus send forth to the world embodied in their show boxes, hampers, or baskets. Often while witnessing the cramming in of these living freights in guards' vans, or the piling-up of them at junction or terminus, has the thought occurred to me how those who exercise such care, trouble, and anxiety with their valuable stud at home send their animals packed in boxes which are veritable coffins for the enclosed victims. As humanity is largely in the ascendant with cat exhibitors, it must be want of consideration or knowledge of these goings to and fro. Many accompany their specimens, and thus reduce the risk to a minimum, but if the following details are observed, no fear need be entertained of safety, constitutionally, during transit.
To avoid draughts and yet obtain for exhibits en route plenty of air is the desideratum. Many exhibitors use baskets, whose convenience and lightness, an important item in railway carriage, are desirable points for consideration. If used for sending without personal attendance, let them be large, deep, oval or round, and lined with American cloth, leaving a free ventilation well above the heads of the inmates. A safe depth is twenty inches. In the rim of the lid provision can be made for a perfect current of air, while the inner top of the lid should be lined with the same material as the sides, in order to effectually prevent wet of any kind from obtaining access. In order to prevent contagious influence in your stud, see that these baskets (that mix with others at shows) are frequently scalded, diluted carbolic acid being freely used for a final rinse. To the credit of baskets or hampers I may add, a case of death occurring through their use for forwarding exhibits to show has seldom come under my own observation, nor do I remember an accident of this character being reported. Baskets are also less liable to damage by the railway officials' varied rendering of " with care " though, owing I suppose to a knowledge of the revenue derived from exhibition sources, railway companies are now giving the safety of, and proper attention to, the exhibits entrusted to their charge a far closer supervision.
There is, however, a security about properly-constructed travelling-boxes that will commend them to many exhibitors. The following dimensions should be observed for a full-grown cat of the Long-haired variety : length, twenty inches ; depth, fourteen inches ; height, twenty inches.
The lid should have entirely round its rim a row of one-inch holes, and one inch apart ; over these and outside a piece of perforated zinc should be nailed, which will prevent too much curiosity in transit, or injury to the cat. These boxes should have iron bands at the comers, if not dove-tailed, and in place of a lock (the key of which is often lost or mislaid at shows, thus causing delay) use strong straps fixed with screws to the box. A couple of stout handles will complete the exhibition cat box.
The objection urged against boxes is that owing to their favourable shape they get packed close together on rail, etc., thus excluding air from the inmates. Some breeders may recollect that I brought this matter prominently forward about ten years ago, when a large number of rabbits consigned to a particular show had been suffocated in transit. I suggested that fixing blocks of wood or having fixed handles (as above) at the sides would have obviated all loss or danger thus arising, and I am pleased to find on the large majority of hampers, baskets, or boxes that some such adaptation is gradually being observed by exhibitors.
For Short-haired cats or single kittens a smaller box can, of course, be used, but by observing the various details and instructions given above, the condition of show specimens can be maintained, and all risk in transit to and from exhibitions thus reduced to a minimum.
DISEASES. THE domestication of cats, as with birds and animals generally , by removing them from their natural conditions, where instinctively they obtain all things essential to their maintenance, brings a legacy in the shape of various diseases, which sooner or later breeders and keepers have to make themselves acquainted with, and provide against.
It is not my intention to pose as an alarmist, or to introduce an unnecessary category of ailments to which the feline race are susceptible ; bat as it has been my province for some considerable period to advise on all matters, diseases and otherwise, pertaining to cats in The Bazaar and elsewhere, I have had a varied experience on the subject, and particularly on many varieties of ailments that are not usually observed or anticipated.
There is not the slightest doubt that the bulk of cat diseases belong to the class " preventable " and especially in fancy cats do they arise from want of sufficient exercise, undue exposure at shows, over and improper feeding, and want of proper sanitation. These neglected conditions soon develop disease, and it is painful to note the delay that occurs from the time symptoms of disease are revealed before the owners make efforts to alleviate suffering. Prevention is, in every sense, preferable to cure, but, failing this, " a stitch in time " unquestionably saves the proverbial " nine."
The principal ailments are distemper, mange, eczema and other skin diseases, parasites, ulcers, colds, inflammation of the ear, catarrhal ophthalmia, bronchitis, diarrhoea, dysentery, fits, inflammation of the stomach, worms, paralysis, etc. It will thus be seen that in catteries of considerable importance, a hospital where cases can be isolated is an essential feature.
To administer medicine to cats, simply mixing with food is not generally efficacious. An assistant is useful to hold the cat, all four feet of which for security should be previously enveloped in a wrapper. Having the medicine ready, with the thumb and fore-finger of your left hand open its mouth, in the usual manner of examining the jaws of animals from the back ; you can then administer the mixture with ease. Remember a teaspoonful is as much as a cat can conveniently swallow at once, so a larger dose must be given by degrees.
DISTEMPER. This complaint is getting far too prevalent among cats ; neglected conditions, such as cold, generate it and frequently communicate the infection to healthy cats. The symptoms which generally indicate distemper are : no appetite, unusual loss of flesh, giddiness, thirst, extremities hot and cold in turns, sneezing, cough, and discharges from nose and eyes, which, as the disease continues, form a mucous covering that is highly infectious. The bowels may be constipated, but looseness is more usual.
Isolate the cat at once in a room free from draughts, and with warm water sponge any accumulated mucus away, freely bathing the parts with a mixture of Condy's fluid, one drachm ; warm water, one pint ; this should be repeated so soon as a further accumulation appears. As medicine, give for a full-grown cat one drop of tincture of aconite In milk, followed in two hours with one drop of the homoeopathic solution of arsenic ; in the same order continue this treatment three times a day, for three days, and afterwards once a day till improvement is apparent. In cases where the constitution has been impaired by the severity of the attack, continue for a fortnight (longer if necessary) to give a dessertspoonful thrice daily of the following mixture: Tincture of cinchona bark, one ounce ; water, one pint. This is at all times a useful medicine for cats, especially those with debilitated constitutions.
Nourishing foods must be given for distemper, as soon as the patient can take them, strong beef-tea being about the best. Finally, in bad cases of this complaint a thorough bath with Condy's fluid diluted according to the instructions, and separate advice is desirable before restoring the cat to associate with others. Perfect cleanliness must be observed, all excretions being immediately removed, and straw bedding frequently renewed and burned.
MANGE, ECZEMA, AND OTHER SKIN DISEASE. Although, unfortunately, there are a variety of skin diseases, which neglected cats quickly inherit and spread contagion, the treatment of these generally will be sufficiently met by dealing with mange and eczema, which are often confounded under one heading. Mange is a parasitic disease of a grey scaly character and highly contagious. Eczema is the result of highly inflamed and disordered blood, and differs from mange inasmuch as the eruptions, which usually first affect the limbs, are small, closely packed, and discharge a watery fluid, which has the property of stiffening when dried any linen or article used for its absorption. In bad cases, eczema spreads over the entire body, is most irritating to the animal, and takes months to properly cure. It is also somewhat hereditary, so breeders will do well in keeping as clear as possible from any cats liable to eczema. To deal with either complaint, the primary feature is thorough washing, especially the eruptions, in water at 100 deg. to which carbonate of soda (half an ounce to the gallon) has been added, using carbolic soap freely. After drying, if not a very bad case, dress each place with sulphur ointment, which repeat twice a day for a week ; an intermediate wash being an assistance. Bad cases are treated with mercurial ointment, which is however dangerous in application, a mixture for cats being, green iodide of mercury four grains, lard one ounce, well incorporated together and effectually rubbed in the affected parts. Sulphuric acid ointment is another powerful agent. A useful treatment for this disease is a mixture of creosote one part, olive oil six parts. Well mix and add one part of strong solution of caustic soda ; apply twice a week. For eczema, carbolic-acid ointment is desirable, especially during the discharges. It must be used with great care, however, and be well rubbed in. An excellent lotion that should be used three times a day, is composed of water, one pint; Goulard's extract of lead, eighty grains ; Wright's solution of coal-tar, half- an-ounce. Where there is much irritation, bismuth ointment is also of great value. Washing frequently with warm soft water and carbolic soap will do much to hasten recovery.
The fur, which should have been clipped away from the parts affected by the disease, will, after its eradication, need a little treatment to fix and promote its growth. Boracic-acid ointment should be applied three times a day till the surface of the skin resumes its natural condition, and the use of glycerine should then be continued at the same periods, to prevent looseness of coat. To cause the fur to thicken and develop, the following is an excellent ointment : Oil of rosemary, one drachm ; tincture of cantharides, fifty grains ; vaseline, one ounce. This should be rubbed well into the roots twice daily.
Thus far, outward applications have been dealt with. Cooling medicines are the essential features to be administered in each case. 1 have found six grains each of Epsom salts and magnesia given three times a day, very useful in this respect. And, as a variation, using the same quantity of flowers of sulphur in place of Epsom salts. In bad cases, however, arsenic may be needed, in which case, give one drop of Fowler's solution of arsenic on alternate days with the sulphur and magnesia. Liberal feeding will be imperative, and my remarks on the advantage of grass irons especially apply to cats suffering with these complaints.
PARASITES. These pests do not appear on well-kept cats unless they are in failing health, in which case the cure of the disease will provide a certain remedy. It is, of course, desirable, especially when coming from shows, to see that the animals have no insects upon them. In any case the free use of pyrethrum powder, known by various names, one kind of which is sold in tins with perforated lids by Keating, will prevent any trouble arising under this heading. All bedding while in use should have a sprinkling of the powder.
ULCERS. These are not nearly of such frequent occurrence as skin disease. When such appear, if constitutional, give daily one drop of Fowler's solution of arsenic for a fortnight, followed by six grains of flowers of sulphur on alternate days. The ulcers must be bathed and dressed with zinc ointment till healed, after which use vaseline or glycerine to obtain soundness of fur.
COLDS. The foundation of the greater part of complaints that cats are affected with must be taken in time. Warmth and comfortable housing till the symptoms disappear, are Nature's best restoratives. To treat, administer every hour for a day, one drop of camphor in half a teaspoonful of water. The usual remedy is aconite if the earliest period is taken from treatment (which, unfortunately, is not often the case) one drop in milk three times a day. If the cold reaches the chest, add to the aconite dose one drop of bryonia. Milk should enter largely into the dietary, meat being reserved till the cold has subsided.
INFLAMMATION OF THE EAR. Cats that are sent to shows are often affected with ear complaints, through particles from pens, etc. It is desirable to examine these organs occasionally, for if neglected, canker and other more serious complications may arise. To remove any foreign substance great care must be exercised. If any incrustation has taken place, take one ounce of carbonate of Soda and half a pint of hot water, and with an unbroken feather work this solution round the ear ; this will generally dissolve the waxy particles. If the wax has hardened, olive oil will soften it, and a final treatment with carbolic acid, one part to eighty of ,water, will clear the ear.
CANKER.- For the treatment of this complaint, mix one ounce of glycerine and half a drachm of carbolic acid, and apply twice a day with a feather or soft linen rag, which should be burnt after each application.
CATARRHAL OPHTHALMIA. Eye affections arising from colds usually yield to comfortable housing, the eyes being protected from draughts. Warm water should be used to remove any discharge, after which bathe with a lotion of sulphate of zinc four grains, rose water one drachm, distilled water one ounce. The cat's head must be held back so that this lotion freely circulates in the eye. Providing the lotion does not cure in a week, apply three times a day the following ointment : flowers of sulphur, six grains; lard, one ounce. It is as well that some opening medicine should be given, one dessert-spoonful of castor oil for a full grown cat, and for a kitten one teaspoonful, being the dose.
BRONCHITIS. Neglected colds and other causes produce this acute inflammation of the air-tubes of the lungs. It must be taken in time, or the results will be fatal. In the earlier stages, there are runnings at nose, and cough, and removal at once to warm quarters is of the highest importance. Fomentations of hot water that she can inhale are useful in very bad cases. Give one table-spoonful of castor oil at once, and again after an interval of twenty-four hours. Administer one drop of aconite in milk every three hours for the first day, and follow with one drop of bryonia and one drop of aconite mixed and given three times a day till recovery. Nutritious food will be needed when the feverish symptoms have abated, and if the constitution is debilitated, a dessert-spoonful of cod-liver oil can be given once a day for two or three months with advantage.
DIARRHOEA. Never allow a cat to continue long with this ailment. When undue looseness of the bowels is indicated, give at once according to size of cat, a teaspoonful to a dessertspoonful of castor oil. After three hours follow with the following mixture : Chalk, six grains ; laudanum, three drops; water, one ounce; give a dessert-spoonful three times a day till cured. Dry arrowroot will also check an ordinary case.
DYSENTERY. This follows neglected diarrhoea, and is often fatal owing to the impoverished condition to which this disease rapidly reduces the cat. Perfect quiet is needful, and a large pen, or two in one, in a warm room with plenty of litter is a useful contrivance. Aconite as a medicine, as prescribed for bronchitis, can be given, and where great thirst is apparent add the bryonia. The constitution will require a deal of rebuilding after an attack; every nourishing food must be given and at least a three months' course of cod liver oil as recommended for bronchitis is also desirable. In some cases injections of warm water will produce excellent results.
FITS. These quite as frequently occur with kittens as with matured cats, and when the animals are in a healthy condition but little good results from medical treatment. Quiet and air are the best incentives to recovery. As with rabbits, bleeding from an ear- vein prevents a recurrence; giving one grain bromide of potassium daily in the cat's food, coupled with proper constitutional conditions, is all that can be done in these cases.
INFLAMMATION OF THE STOMACH.This is a somewhat unusual complaint with cats. It results from impaired digestion, wet, attempts to poison, etc. One teaspoonful of castor oil should be first given. Aconite is the best remedy, in the same proportions as previously recommended. Nourishing liquid foods must also be given, such as beef- tea and milk ; a course of cod-liver oil is of immense benefit.
WORMS. - Cats are more troubled with worms than many imagine, and the presence of the pests could in many cases have been easily prevented by their owners. In an article in The Bazaar, which has I find been reprinted elsewhere, I fully described each of these intestinal parasites. Briefly, the worms that affect cats are of three species : (1) Oxyuris vermicularia (small thread- worm), (2) Ascaris lumbricoides (long round- worm), and (3) Taenia solium (common tapeworm). The first of these, which forms in bunches, does not usually affect cats. It is No. 2, which somewhat resembles our common earth-worm, that gives most trouble. The most prominent cause of this worm is eating decomposed food, raw or underdone meat, or raw fish not sufficiently fresh. It is therefore obvious that if raw meat, etc., be given, it must be perfectly fresh ; and if cooked let it be fairly well done.
In reference to Ascaris, a special feature has been noticed in many cases that have been submitted to me for treatment, that is to say, in some instances cats have been choked. This particular worm, which inhabits chiefly the small intestines, not infrequently passes into the stomach and is vomited, as well as expelled with the evacuations. They also find their way into the air-passages by way of the oesophagus and trachea, causing death by asphyxia. As they rapidly accumulate, it is highly important to treat on the manifestation of the very earliest symptoms.
The Taenia solium, or tapeworm, is not so often seen in cats, but requires much longer treatment to clear the system of it.
There are several remedies for the expulsion of worms, the commonest and most useful being santonine ; and it serves for either pest. From one to three grains, according to the size of the cat, should be given in milk after fasting for six hours. In three hours administer a teaspoonful of castor oil, of course keeping the patient confined to her quarters. This treatment should be repeated, allowing one day intervals, for a week, feeding sparingly meanwhile.
A specific which I have found to produce excellent results when the above has failed to clear the system is six grains of freshly ground areca nut and one grain of santonine mixed as a dose for a large and full-sized cat; castor oil to follow in the usual manner. If these remedies fail, a modified use of Heald's or Spratt's worm powders, or Castrique, will come within the category of treatment.
For tapeworms the homeopathic Filix-mas (oil of male fern) is considered a valuable specific.
The ravages which these parasites make on the system of the cat at once indicate liberal and sound feeding to restore their condition. They should also be closely observed for any future indications of a recurrence.
PARALYSIS Cats at times, though fortunately not often, suffer from paralysis of the hind-quarters. When thus affected, the cat falls over on one side, and on rising tries to drag the hind legs after it.
Warmth in a pen, as recommended for dysentery, is needed, and the hind- quarters should be dressed twice daily with turpentine.
Other supposed ailments may from time to time occur, but a careful surrey of those described will usually be found to contain, in a great measure, a diagnosis and treatment of the new one.
HOMES FOR CATS CAT CLUBS
IT frequently happens that people leave houses for periodical sojourn, and at times remove, without the consideration or provision for the domestic cat, that has been considered an essential of the household for the time being. Far be it from me to accuse those whom it may concern with deliberate cruelty ; we all know how in the hurry and worry of each matters, many important things are at the last moment left undone, and thus the unfortunate cat at times numbers among the items that should have received attention. But I hope these remarks will not fall altogether on stony ground.
Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen personally remarked at the jubilee meeting in London of the Royal Society foe the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: "No civilisation is complete which does not include the dumb and defenceless of God's creatures within the sphere of charity and mercy." Her Majesty (who is naturally a most earnest supporter of this institution), had also previously written " that she should be very happy if anything could be done for cats, having noticed they are rather a persecuted race." Practical example is also an especially valuable adjunct to precept, and the Queen in this respect seta one worthy of imitation and general adoption, by taking the Windsor cats in wicker baskets when Her Majesty emigrates to other royal residences.
Of other societies working in the direction of extending and developing feelings of humanity towards dumb creation, the Animals' Hospital and Institute, Kinnerton Street, London, S.W., and the London Institution for Lost and Starving Cats, Parkhill Road, Hampstead, N.W., deserve notice.
At certain shows classes are devoted to cats the property of working people, and the competition in this section encourages the better treatment of the animals, as owners must exhibit their specimens in the best condition if they wish their names to appear in the prize-list.
Apart from the many individuals, including veterinary surgeons, who usually advertise in the "fancy" papers that they will take in cats as boarders, there is the "Home" at Battersea, London, S.W. (Mr. Henry James Ward, Secretary), where, at a trifling cost, accommodation for cats can be afforded, with proper supervision, cleanliness, feeding, and housing ; and as they can be sent, after the necessary arrangements have been made, by rail, carrier, or hand, no legitimate excuse for cruelty by neglect exists with owners who are temporarily vacating their residences. Miss Harper's home for cats at Brighton is also to be recommended.
Excellent as are the arrangements of these institutions and the conditions of several others that 1 have visited, by far the most complete is Miss Swifte's Home for Starving and Forsaken Cats, Grand Canal Quay, Dublin. The inception of the idea, down to its latest detail, is the entire work of Miss Swifte, who at an early period was so deeply impressed with the many cases of neglect or ill-treatment of cats, that with a very small sum at commencement, assisted by the incentive of what was to her a labour of love, the place gradually developed, and is now unique of its kind, being a perfect cattery on a large scale, with houses, grass runs, and every arrangement that thought and willing application could perfect. To use Miss Swifte's own words : " The principal object of this home is to receive, feed, and shelter cats found starving, lost, or deserted, abandoned often by heartless people, until they can be humanely disposed of. Cats are also taken in as boarders at a shilling per week each and kittens at sixpence. No experiments are allowed to be made on any of them. Cats may be purchased, but none are allowed to leave the Home without an order from Miss Swifte, or the secretary of the R.S.F.C.A., and inquiry is to be made as to the nature of their future residence." In order to thoroughly appreciate this labour of mercy, it should be remembered that the humane work of sheltering: and feeding' these unfortunate animals is performed by the institution, without any subsidy or grant whatever, and the home is entirely dependent on the voluntary aid of sympathetic friends.
The expense of efficiently mantaining such homes must necessarily be considerable, and those readers with an excess of this world's goods could with advantage assist such undertakings by a periodical loosening of their purse- strings. Lethargic sympathy is the chief difficulty that has to be contended with in all charitable institutions, but I nevertheless trust that all those who wish to alleviate the sufferings of, and minimise the cruelties practised on, the dumb creation, especially cats, will not allow these remarks to have been written in vain.
There are two clubs which look after the interests of the domestic Felidae, the National Cat Club (Hon. Sec,, Mrs. Stennard Robinson, 5, Great James Street, Bedford Row, W.C.) and the Cat Club (Hon. Sec, Hrs. C. J. Bagster, 15, Paternoster Row, E.C.). The Cat Club issues a Stud Book, and no charge is made for registration. Any cat exhibited at shows promoted by the latter club must be registered.
CAT ITEMS GRAVE, GAY, HUMOROUS.
THE previous pages of this work contain, I think, all essential information of all that is alike historical, and from a breeding and exhibition point of view. Apart from this, however, the cat hoe been so often the subject of folk- lore, superstition, and humour, that I purpose in this, the concluding chapter, giving a few items, which I think should claim the fancier's interest.
The wisdom of cats in matters pertaining to our meteorological conditions has given rise to a most extensive folk-lore, forming an interesting subject for those who delight in peculiar research. It is almost universally believed that good weather may be expected when the cat washes herself, but bad when she licks her coat against the grain, or washes her face over her ear, or sts with her tail towards the fire.
Not only is the cat supposed to be thus weatherwise in her " forecasts," but she is superstitiously held to have a good shore in the arrangement of it. Sailors, for example, think it most unwise to provoke a oat for fear of incurring her displeasure, and for this reason endeavour to avoid having one on board the vessel they are serving on ; and the popular saying among those that follow the sea, " the cat has got a gale of wind in her tail, " refers to an animal that is more frisky than usual.
In the case of a "calm" a charm is often resorted to by throwing a cat overboard. According to a Hungarian proverb, " as a cat does not die in water, (?)its paws disturb the surface," hence the flaws on the surface of the waters are known by sailors as " cat's paws." In the same sense an extended disturbance of the water's surface is a " cat's skin " ; while in some parts of England the popular name for the north-west winds is the " cat's nose."
Among other items in which the weather and the cat are associated, I may mention that there is in Germany a superstition that if it rains when women have a large wash on hand, it is an infallible sign of spite through the cat being ill-treated. Again there is a German belief that any one who, during his lifetime, may have made cats his enemies, is certain to be accompanied to the grave by storm and rain.
The Dtch have also attributed a rainy wedding-day to the bride's not feeding the cat. In the valleys of the Tyrol, girls who are fond of cats are said always to marry early an evidence, as has been remarked, that household virtues are appreciated in them by the men.
But apart from the weather superstitions associated with the cat, there is an extensive field of belief relating to " folk-medicine." Thus in Cornwall the little formations on children's eyelids, locally known as " whelks," are cured by passing the tail of a black cat nine times over the part affected. It will be remembered that as recently as 1867 a woman in Pennsylvania was publicly accused of witchcraft (which she denied) for administering three drops of a black cat's blood to a child as a remedy for croup, from which it speedily recovered, as was proved by a large number of witnesses. In some parts of the country there is also a belief that keeping a black oat is both an antidote and a cure for epilepsy.
Formerly in Scotland, when a family removed from one house to another, the cat was always taken, as it served for a protection against disease ; and so strong was this superstition, that before a member of the family entered the new residence, the cat was thrown into it. There was also a notion that if a curse or disease had been associated with the house, the cat became the victim and died, to the saving of the family's lives.
In the North-Western Highlands a remedy for erysipelas was lately practised in the parish of Locharron, which consisted in cutting off one half of the ear of a cat and letting the blood drop on the part affected. In the North-East of Scotland, if a cow or other domestic animal was seized with disease, one mode of cure was to twist a rope of straw the contrary way, join the two ends, and put the diseased animal through the loop with a cat. By this means the disease was supposed to be transferred to the cat, the cow's life being spared by the cat dying.
Equally unfortunate is it for a cat to sneeze, this act being supposed to initiate colds throughout the household. In some districts, if the cat is ever such a favourite, it is instantly put out of doors on the first sneeze ; for if it be repeated three times indoors all the household will have colds.
The colours of cats in association with dreams give rise to strong superstitious beliefs in Germany, especially with a black cat and Christmas, as being a sure omen of some alarming illness during the coming year. Cats born in May are supposed to be associated with melancholy, bringing nothing but sadness to the house that shelters her.
Passing on to the humorous as pertaining to cats, a few quotations from the pen of that inimitable humourist. Josh Billings, will be read with interest :
A kat iz sed to hav nine lives, but i beleaf they dont have but one square death.
It is allmost impossible to tell when a kat iz dead without the aid of a koroners jury.
I hav only one way miself to judge ov a ded kat. If a kat iz killed in the fall of the year, and thrown over the stun wall into yure nabors lot, and lays thare all winter under a sno bank, and dont thaw out in the spring, and keeps quiet during the summer months, and aint missing when winter sets in agin, I have alwus sed, that " that kat " waz ded, or waz playing the thing dreadful fine. I hay studdyed kats clusely for years, and hav found them adikted tew a wild state. They aint got affeckshuns, nor vartue of enny kind : they will scratch their best friends, and wont ketch mice unless they are hungry.
It haz bin sed that tha are good to make up into sassages ; this is a grate mistake. I hav bin told by a sassage maker tha dont kompare with dogs.
There iz one thing sartin, they are very anxious tew live. You may turn one inside out, and hang him up bi the tale, and az soon az you are out ov sight he will manage to turn a back somerset, and cum around al rite in a f u days.
It iz very hard work to loze a kat. If one gits carried oph in a bag bi mistake a grate ways into the kuntry, they wont stay lose onla a short time, but soon appear tew make the family happy with their presence.
Speaking of kats, mi opinyim iz, and will continue to be, that the old fashioned kaliko coulered kats iz the best breed for a man ov moderate means, who aint got but little munny to put into kats.
They propogate the most intensely, and lay around the stove more regular than the maltese, or the brindle kind.
The yeller kat iz a fair kat, but they aint reliable ; they are apt tew stay out late nights, and once in a while git on a bad bust.
Blak kats hav a way ov gitting on the top ov the wood-house when other folks hav gone tew bed, and singing dewets till their voices spile, and their tails swell till it seems as tho they must split.
Old maids are very fond of kats, for the reason, I suppose, that kats never marry if they hav ever so good a chance. Thare iz one thing about kats I dont like, if you step on their tales by acksident they git mad rite oph, and make a grate fuss about it.
Thare is another thing about them, which makes them a good investment for poor folks. A pair of kats will yield each year, without any outlay, something like eight hundred per cent.
Kats and dogs hav never bin able tew agree on the main question, tha both seem to want the affirmatiff side tew onst.
Tew pik out a good kat, one that will tend to bizzness and not astronomize nights, nor praktiss operatik strains, is an evidence ot genius. I dont luv kats enuff tew pik out one ennyhow, but if I could hav my way there wouldn't be enny more kats born, unless they could show a certificate of good moral karakter.
Kats with blue eyes, and very long whiskers, with the points of their ears a little rounded are not to be trusted. They will steal young chickens, and hook kream oph from the milk pans, every good chance they kan git.
Kats with gra eyes, very short whiskers, and four white toes are the best kats there iz to lay in front ov the kitchen stove all day, and be stepped on their tails every fu minnitts.
Kats with blak eyes, no whiskers at all, and sharp pointed ears, are liabel to phitts. These are mi views about kats, rather hastily wove together, and if I haint ced ennff agin them, it is only because I lack the infomashun.