FRANCES SIMPSON AND OTHERS IN EVERYWOMAN'S ENCYCLOPAEDIA, 1910-1912EVERY WOMAN'S ENCYCLOPAEDIA VOL 1.
WHITE AND BLACK PERSIAN CATS
By Frances Simpson
Judge and Expert, Author of " The Book of the Cat," and " Cats for Pleasure and Profit"
The Essential Points of Black Persians - The Care Necessary for the Breed - White Persians a: their Points - Blue Eyes and Deafness - Some Well-known Fanciers
Black Persians have never received the amount of admiration and attention which they deserve. As in other self-coloured cats, the chief point in a black is absolute uniformity of colour. The coat should be glossy, with no bands or bars in the full light. It should have no lighter shade in the undercoat, and, above all, no spot or tuft of white hairs at the throat. This latter is a very common fault amongst black cats. In most black litters, one kitten at least will have this blemish. Apparently, no precautions can prevent or eradicate this fault.
A really good specimen of the black Persian breed must have full round eyes of deep orange - and very attractive are these gleaming orbs, shining forth from their dense black surroundings.
When black cats are changing their coats they generally present a very rusty appearance. New-born kittens, also, are often like balls of brown fluff, and sometimes they do not become a good colour until about six or seven months old. Long-haired blacks, as a class, are not so heavily coated as some other breeds, but they are generally massively built cats, and are very strong and healthy.
A tortoiseshell female is a splendid mate for a black male, and some of the most noted blacks in the fancy have been bred in this way. Two brown tabbies will often produce one, if not more, good blacks in a litter. Breeders of silver tabbies and smokes have found a black cross occasionally very useful and satisfactory, as these two breeds require sometimes to have their markings and colourings intensified. A silver tabby with grey markings, and a smoke with an upper coat of cinder colour, are not true to type, and a black strain introduced will be of great advantage in these cases. To keep their coats glossy and bright, black cats should be brushed regularly and frequently rubbed with a soft cloth. The application of brilliantine in small quantities is advisable when preparing for the show-pen.
Miss Frances Simpson judging a white kitten at the Crystal Palace Show
The entries in the black classes, even at the largest cat shows, are generally few in number, and often the sexes are amalgamated. In reports of shows, such remarks as the following frequently appear: "Good blacks with orange eyes were conspicuous by their absence," or, again, "The black classes, as usual, were poorly filled."
But, as "every dog has his day," so, perhaps, there is a good time coming for black Persian cats. Certainly novices in the fancy might do worse than provide themselves with a thoroughly good black "queen" (or female), for, in exhibiting, the chance of honours is very much greater than when competing in classes in which there are so many entries, as in the case of blues and silvers. There is truly not much demand for black kittens at the present time, and very high prices are seldom asked or given for specimens of this rather neglected breed. As everyone knows, a vast amount of superstition is connected with a black cat. But, although black cats are supposed to be the harbingers of evil under some conditions, yet cat fanciers and others are inclined to believe in the probable luck that a stray black cat may bring them.
WHITE PERSIAN CATS
These lovely cats, when seen in full coat, spotlessly clean, and with deep blue eyes, are certainly things of beauty. A great change has taken place in the quantity and quality of this fascinating breed of Persians.
Formerly, blue eyes were the exception, now they are the rule. It would be quite useless to exhibit a yellow-eyed white at one of our large shows.
There are two points peculiar to white cats, and the mystery of these particular traits has yet to be solved. One is that white cats with blue eyes are generally stone deaf, and the other is that this is the only variety in which odd eyes appear. These are usually yellow and blue, though, some-times, green and blue eyes appear. It would not be surprising if white cats, like human albinos, had pink eyes, but these are unknown in the feline race.
COLOUR OF THE EYES
The correct eye colour for whites is a deep sapphire blue. The colour of kittens' eyes can be told earlier than in any other breed. The eyes are generally a bright blue from the beginning, without a shade of the grey which exists in the opening eyes of all other breeds. It frequently happens that white kittens are born with a patch of grey on the top of the head. This blemish, however, gradually disappears as the kitten grows its coat.
As regards breeding blue-eyed whites, it is not necessary or essential that both parents should be blue eyed. Experience proves that kittens by odd-eyed parents, or, at least, when one of the parents has different coloured eyes, have all proved blue-eyed. Again, a pair of blue-eyed whites may have odd-eyed kittens in the litter.
The difficulty of keeping white cats clean, especially in towns, no doubt deters fanciers from breeding them, and others from purchasing the kittens. A white cat soiled is a white cat spoiled. If a specimen of this breed is sent to a show with a dirty coat, he will assuredly be "put down" by the judge, although in other points he may excel. It is, therefore, most important to specially prepare white Persians for exhibition. All our best cat shows take place in the late autumn or during the winter months, and therefore it is extremely risky to wash long-haired cats, also such treatment tends to coarsen the soft silkiness of their coats. A process of dry cleaning is, therefore, advisable, and one of the dry shampoo preparations now so much used for the purpose is more satisfactory and suitable. The powder, which is quite harmless, is rubbed into the coat and brushed out briskly. This process cleanses the long fur beautifully. Exhibitors who accompany their white cats to shows should be careful to ascertain that the pens are perfectly clean, otherwise a grievous disappointment may await them, when they find their spotless puss a dirty grey, and no award cards on the pen that has damaged their beauty.
POPULARITY OF THE BREED
There have been more white Persians imported into this country than any other breed. The most perfect type of a white long-haired cat is assuredly to be found amongst these. There is a certain beauty of form and silkiness of fur which is not frequently possessed by the specimens bred in this country. Imported whites are distinguished by unusually long coats, round heads, tiny ears, and wonderful toe tufts. Such a perfect type was to be found in "Nourmahal," which was owned and exhibited by Lady Marcus Beresford in 1900.
At the present time, we have some enthusiastic breeders of white Persians, and each year the entries in the white classes increase in number. In the north of England, and especially in Scotland, some of our best specimens are to be seen.
THE BLACK AND WHITE CLUB
The Hon. Mrs. Clive Behrens possesses a marvel of beauty in Swinton Day Dream, a cat that has frequently carried all before her at our largest shows. Lady Decies has a splendid team of whites, and is particularly partial to this fascinating breed. At recent shows, Master Currie, a youthful fancier, has been doing most of the winning with his lovely white cats and kittens, always exhibited in the pink of condition. In America, white Persians are prime favourites, and many fine cats have been exported to breeders over the water. One of the latest specialist societies to be formed is the Black and White Club, which interests itself in both long and short-haired cats of these two handsome varieties.
CHINCHILLA PERSIAN CATS
By Frances Simpson judge and Expert, Authoress of " The Book of the Cat," and " Cats for Pleasure and Profit"
Markings and Appearance of the Chinchilla - Difficulties of Breeding - The Kittens - How to keep the Cat Clean - Prices, etc.
Perhaps no breed or variety of long-haired cat has been so much thought about, talked about, and fought about in the fancy as chinchilla Persians. At the present time chinchillas, or silvers, are the most fashionable breed after blue Persians. It is, however, much more difficult to breed a good chinchilla than a blue, and the notoriety that this charming variety enjoys has been in a great degree brought about by the efforts of breeders and exhibitors to produce a perfect specimen.
DIFFICULTIES OF BREEDING
There is a greater delicacy amongst chinchilla cats and more difficulty in rearing the kittens than in any other breed. This may be accounted for by the immense amount of inbreeding which was carried on indiscriminately at the beginning of the rage for silver cats. Originally these cats were bred from silver tabbies, and the ambition of breeders is now to obtain an unmarked chinchilla; that is, a cat without any shadings or tabby markings.
It is not easy to give a correct idea of the real colour and appearance of these aristocratic-looking cats. Strictly speaking, the name " chinchilla " is a misnomer as applied to them. The soft, grey coat of the little animal whose lovely fur is so much prized as an article of ladies' dress differs diametrically from the cat called chinchilla. The fur of the chinchilla is dark at the roots, and shades to quite a pale grey at the tips. The cat's fur, on the contrary, is of the palest grey, almost white at the roots, and is just tipped or shaded with a sort of silvery grey on the extreme outer edges.
To the uninitiated a really perfect silver cat appears as a slightly soiled white cat, but when anything pure white is placed beside a cat of this variety a difference will be observed. The tabby markings, which should not exist in this breed, are generally on the legs and head, and frequently there are dark rings round the tail. Some cats are heavily shaded on the body, although there are no visible tabby side markings.
To the novice breeder of chinchillas, it is always a surprise to find, when a litter of kittens is born, that the kittens are nearly black or very heavily barred and striped. The experienced fancier, however, will " possess her soul in patience," knowing that every day the little mites will grow paler, and that the tabbiness will disappear like magic, if, of course, the parents are correct in type.
In making a selection from a litter of young silver kittens it is advisable to choose the one with the least markings on head and face.
The question as to the correct colour of eyes for a chinchilla, or silver, cat has only been decided of late years. Formerly green or yellow eyes were admissible, but the prize-winners of to-day must have bright emerald green eyes. This colour certainly tones better with the silvery coat than yellow or orange.
THE EYES OF CHINCHILLAS
There is one rather peculiar feature in the eyes of some silver cats. This is the dark rim which often encircles the eye, and certainly enhances its beauty, making it appear larger than it really is. Fluffy ear-tufts and toe-tufts are adjuncts which go to make up a perfect chinchilla. The nose is a dull brick red, darkening slightly towards the edges.
All Persian cats suffer severely in appearance during the process of shedding their coats, but silvers present an extra ragged appearance at this period of their existence. The lovely, fluffy, light silver under-coat almost disappears and the top markings stand out very distinctly, so that a cat that in full coat would be considered a light, unmarked specimen will appear streaked and dark after the coat has been shed.
As regards the mating of chinchillas, it is best to keep to the same breed, the only other variety With which silvers may safely be crossed is With smokes. It is, however, more than probable that some nondescript sort of kitten or kittens will result. These light silver smokes are exceedingly pretty cats, and make fascinating pets, but they are useless for breeding purposes or exhibiting. Several experiments have been made of crossing white Persians with silvers in order to get pale-coloured kittens, but this appears seldom to succeed unless the whites have a silver strain in them.
Some breeders have tried blues, but there is a danger of introducing a smudgy appearance, and of destroying the purity of colour in the silvers.
Chinchillas are not suitable cats to keep in large towns, as their delicate-coloured coats are so easily soiled. It is never advisable to wash long-haired cats, as there is always a risk of their catching cold, and cats are not partial to water. It is better to give them a bran bath, or to rub in fine white fuller's earth, and then use a soft brush.
Chinchilla and white Persians require special preparation for the show pen, and the most successful exhibitors are those who pay the greatest attention to the condition of their cats. An almost perfect chinchilla as regards points will fail to catch the judge's eye if it is penned with a soiled coat and draggled fur.
There is a specialist society to look after the interests of chinchilla Persians, and the following is the standard of points drawn up for the benefit of judges and exhibitors.
" Silvers, or chinchillas, should be as pale and unmarked as it is possible to breed them. Any brown or cream tinge is a great drawback; the eves to be green."
Value of Points
Head - 20
Shape - 15
Colour of coat - 25
Coat and condition - 20
Colour, shape, and expression of eyes - 10
Tail - 10
At some of the large cat shows classes are given for silvers and shaded silvers. This latter variety is really a dark chinchilla or silver, and though shadings down the spine line are correct, yet tabby markings on both head and legs should be just as slight as it is possible.
Very high prices are asked and obtained for unmarked pale chinchillas. A well-known breeder and exhibitor of this variety recently sold a silver male to America for £100.
VALUE OF THE SHORT-HAIRED CAT
This is the highest sum ever paid for a long or short-haired cat. As regards the sale of chinchilla kittens, if pure in colour and fairly free from tabby markings the price, at about eight weeks old, Varies from £3 3s. to £5 5s.
Silver kittens, however, are very speculative purchases. A kitten at three months old may be a thing of veritable beauty, and before it has reached the age of eight months, bars and stripes will possibly set in, and the unmarked chinchilla may turn into a poorly marked silver tabby.
SILVER TABBY PERSIANS
By Frances Simpson
Author of " The Book of the Cat" and " Cats for Pleasure and Profit"
Popularity of Silver Tabby Persians - A Perfect Specimen Difficult to Breed - Colour and Markings - How to Select a Good Kitten - Brown Tabby Persians - A Breed once Neglected, now Returning to Favour - Points and Hints on Breeding
There is no question but that a perfectly marked silver tabby will carry off the palm even from the exquisite unmarked chinchillas.
Competent judges agree that to breed a really good specimen of this handsome variety is a difficult undertaking. Twenty years ago we had a number of silver tabbies, but in the endeavour to produce pale silvers, the markings of the tabby have been sacrificed.
There are two distinct kinds of tabbies, the blotched and the pencilled. The former is the type required for the show-pen.
The ground coat from tip to tail should be pale pure silver. The markings ought to be in striking contrast, a clear and dense black. Two spine lines hardly as wide as the ground colour, should reach from the shoulders to the base of the tail. On each side of the body should appear what may be called the horseshoe, both sides matching exactly. The head should be beautifully pencilled, and the cheeks have double swirls. On the forehead the lines form a complete triangle.
More or less conspicuous will be the dark rings round the chest known as the "mayor's chain." When the cat, however, is in full frill these disappear. The hindquarters and forelegs should be evenly barred, each in symmetrical correspondence with the other down to the feet. The tail should be slightly ringed with a dark shaded line to the tip.
The question of eye colour is never of so much importance in marked cats as in the self-coloured breeds. Formerly silver tabbies were bred and exhibited with hazel or orange eyes; but of late years there has been a decided move towards obtaining bright green eyes, though it is quite a matter of opinion amongst judges and fanciers as to which is the correct colour. In the standard of points drawn up by the Silver Society, orange or green eyes are allowed. A broad head and short face are most desirable points in silver tabbies, and, judging by the specimens exhibited, seem very difficult to obtain.
In judging silver tabbies the most points are given for markings. Those who have had experience in breeding these beautiful cats know that purity of pedigree on both sides is of great importance. If there is a trace of chinchilla or brown tabby blood in the ancestry it is certain sooner or later to manifest itself. Even with both parents of undoubted silver tabby pedigree, breeders will be disappointed if they expect a whole litter of correctly marked kittens.
The blacker the kittens are at birth the better. At about a month old the light markings should show up, and develop gradually till the kittens are three or four months old. Exposure to the sun considerably injures the purity of colour in silver tabbies, often producing an undesirable brown tinge.
There are not many breeders of this handsome variety. Mrs. Slingsby has bred some of the best specimens. Lady Aberdeen is an enthusiastic admirer of this variety, and has owned some fine silver tabbies.
BROWN TABBY PERSIANS
There is something very homely about the brown tabbies, and it is certain that with the "mere man" they stand out as the favourite breed. There is much more expression in the face of a well-marked brown tabby than in any other breed.
These cats are perhaps the strongest of any of the long-haired varieties. They should be massive in limb, with plenty of bone and great width of head, In colour the groundwork of the coat should be of a bright tawny shade, and the markings a very dark seal brown - almost black. The term "tiger cat" well describes the true type of a brown tabby.
The foregoing remarks as to the markings in silver tabbies apply equally to the brown tabbies. There is, however, one point in which they differ, and that is as regards the upper lip and chin, which in the brown tabbies are almost invariably white.
Some keen fanciers of this breed are striving to get rid of what they consider a blemish, but it is certain that Nature intended this variety to be possessed of these points, and therefore the coloured chins may be regarded rather as freaks of fancy, and the white will doubtless continue to crop up even when both parents have sound coloured chins. Of course, any white en the chest or stomach is a decided blemish in a brown tabby.
No kittens are more fascinating in appearance than the "brownies." They have such intelligent and expressive faces, and have coats of softest texture.
Until quite lately brown tabbies have been deliberately placed in the background, and regarded in the show world with an indifference which has proved a great stumbling-block to the improvement of this particular breed. Fanciers used to complain they could not get any sale for their brown tabby kittens, and the classification given at shows for this breed was generally a poor one. During the last three years, however, this truly handsome variety has received a great impetus by the founding of a Specialist Club, and now classes are guaranteed and prizes offered, and good prices paid for really fine specimens.
It has been chiefly through the energy of Miss Rosamund Whitney, of Dublin, that fanciers have been encouraged to interest themselves in this hitherto much neglected breed. Miss Whitney's superb male, Champion Brayfort Victory, bids fair to become as noted as the writer's well-known Persimmon, from whom most of the present-day winners are descended.
It is best not to cross brown tabbies with any other breed, and to be careful to get an even balance of bright groundwork and dense markings. Too much dark back or saddle colour is a serious fault in brown tabbies.
As regards eyes, golden or orange are vastly preferable to yellow or green, and tone much better with the brown and tawny coat.
The brown tabby is supposed to be the common ancestor of all our cats. There seems little doubt that the ancient and much beloved cat of the Egyptians was a barred or brindled animal answering, to some extent, to the description of our homely brown tabby.
A SUGGESTED DAILY MENU
Here is the day's menu: For breakfast, a small quantity of boiled rice and milk. Rice is much better for the animal than bread. For dinner, about an ounce of raw, fresh, lean beef, or, as a change, fish - but never salt fish. Another alternative, and one specially good for the pet, is fried or boiled liver, which acts as an aperient! If pussy expresses dissatisfaction - and very often she does at a dinner of liver - she may have some sardines, which must, however, be preserved in oil, and not on any account in vinegar. In the middle of the day the pet's lunch ought to consist of some green vegetable, breadcrumbs, and gravy. Cat's-meat is not advisable, and should not be given.
Modern veterinary surgery: setting a broken leg Photo C. Vandyk
THE FEEDING AND CARE OF CATS
A Daily Menu for Cats-animal Hospitals-cats as "Paying Patients"-the Training of a Cat cats are properly treated and cared for from their early kitten-hood they become as human in their companionship and as keenly intelligent in their ways as the most intelligent dog. But, from hereditary reasons - they being of the tiger tribe - it takes a trifle longer, and requires a little more patience to humanise them.
A well-known authority on this subject - the matron of the Cats' Hospital - declares that for healthy, happy cats the same three essentials are required that are given to the healthy human baby - namely, warmth, fresh air, and cleanliness. The two former demand no elaboration, but in connection with cleanliness it is essential that cats should be carefully brushed every day. This is particularly necessary when they are changing their coats, as they are otherwise liable, by getting the loose hairs into their mouths, to contract a painful cats' disease known as "hair-balls."
The best cure for this is to give the cat a teaspoonful of olive-oil - indeed, olive-oil acts as an excellent general preservative, and if the animal will take it, its mistress ought to give it a teaspoonful or half a teaspoonful every day. Pussy should always [have access to fresh water. Milk is by no means sufficient for her to drink, and the fact that the cat cannot obtain clear drinking water often leads to illness.
But it is in the matter of pussy's diet that her masters and mistresses make perhaps the gravest mistakes. The following is, therefore, commended as an "ideal" diet both for the animal's health and for the appearance of its coat. Of course, it is understood that a cat's personal taste is to be consulted just like a child's, and food that it does not like should not be forced upon it.
When pussy shows signs of a cold she ought to get instant attention, and be isolated, both for her own sake and because nothing spreads infection, particularly amongst children, so quickly as a cat. Pussy can be at once taken, when she shows signs of illness, to one of the many " private nursing homes." The cat will be received at the Sanatorium, Beddington Lane, Surrey, or at Althorpe Road, Bridge Road, West Battersea. Or the owner can apply by telephone to the Matron of the Animals' Hospital, who will give other addresses. Or, on the other hand, she can be attended, like any human mortal, at her own home by a specially trained cats' nurse, and be daily visited by the veterinary surgeon. The Animals' Hospital at No. 1, Hugh Street, Pimlico. S.W., owned by "Our Dumb Friends' League," has special wards for cats, where pussies suffering from every kind of disease are treated. This famous hospital, which is supported only by voluntary contributions, exists for the treatment of the animals of the poor, and has no paying department, but the matron can recommend homes for paying patients. If cats are to be " humanised," they must be frequently spoken to and noticed by their owners, and they must also have plenty of playthings, etc., to keep them bright and lively.
To train a cat never to leave the house, by no means injures it or makes it unhappy, providing that it is allowed plenty of fresh air and plenty of room. The making, in fact, of a perfect race of cats resembles closely the necessary proceedings for the making of a perfect race of babies.
Cat owners should remember that when it is absolutely necessary to punish pussy this ought to be done immediately after the fault is committed. Do not whip or strike to punish immediately an offence has been committed, but take the cat and press the hand on the back of the neck firmly enough to hold the animal with head down on the ground. Hold it steadily for some five minutes, talking to it and scolding it gently all the time. If the fault is repeated, bump the nose gently several times. " This is quite sufficient to teach any ordinary cat all that is necessary.
Cats are passionately fond of the taste and smell of aniseed, a fact that can be utilised in training them either to cleanly habits or to the performance of homely tricks. A cat that is taught by kindness to sit up and beg for some special dainty enjoys it all the more, and the education is good for it.
EVERY WOMAN'S ENCYCLOPAEDIA VOL 2.
ORANGE AND CREAM PERSIAN CATS
By Frances Simpson
Judge and Expert, Author of " The Book of the Cat," and " Cats For Pleasure and Profit"
The Three Varieties of Orange Persians - How the Breed Has been Evolved - Points of a Good Orange Persian - How to Breed It
Orange cats are sometimes called "red," but the former term gives a better idea of the colour desired in a good specimen of this handsome variety.
In former days a white chin in orange cats was the rule and not the exception, but to-day it would be quite useless to pen an orange cat with this blemish. The upper and lower lip should be of the same tone of colour as the coat, and, of course, a white spot on the throat or a light or white tip to the tail is a very serious defect. There are really three varieties of orange Persians - the tabby, the self-coloured, and a specimen that is neither one nor the other, for, although the body is self-coloured, there are distinct tabby markings on the head and legs. This species has been brought into the fancy by breeders who endeavour to eliminate the markings so as to obtain a self-coloured cat. No doubt, as time goes on, breeders will bring these self orange cats to perfection.
In the tabby variety, colour and markings combined are the chief considerations, but if the class is a mixed one-namely, for tabby or self-coloured - then colour should gain most points.
As regards other distinctive features in this breed, it is the exception to find round heads, short noses, and small ears. As to the eyes of orange cats, it is most essential that they should be a deep golden, and if a dash of bronze is added, so much the better. It is very unusual nowadays to see a pale yellow or green-eyed orange cat. The texture of the coat in this breed should be particularly soft and silky, and is often of great length and thickness. The kittens, when born, are often dull in colour, and brighten gradually as they grow older.
In the matter of mating, orange cats make a good cross with black sand tortoise-shells. A self-orange may be mated sometimes with advantage with a brown tabby that needs some brighter colouring.
A specialist society for orange, cream, and tortoise-shell cats was founded in 1900, and although its members are few in number, yet they have proved a strong body of staunch supporters of these breeds, and have succeeded in obtaining better classification at shows and in improving the breed. With the general public orange Persians are not popular. They are disparagingly called "sandy" cats, and their pink noses are often disliked.
The Cream Persian
This variety may be said to be the very latest in Persian breeds, and is one which has made rapid strides in the fancy.
The term "cream" does not describe the exact colour of the cats entered under this heading at our shows, as they are almost invariably a great deal darker in tone than the richest cream in the dairy. Formerly the colour was almost fawn, but with cautious and wise discrimination in mating, the paler tone, free from tabby markings, now predominates. Good cream cats should have no blue tint in the coat, and be without any bars of darker colour on the legs or head.
There must always be a certain amount of shading in cream cats - that is, the spine line will be darker, and will shade off to the sides and under the stomach and tail. Fanciers, however, should try to breed their cats as level in colour as possible. It is difficult to obtain a very pale cream that has not any white in the chest and flanks. Eyes should be a golden brown, which colour shades beautifully with the creamy coat.
To secure the short head, orange eye, fine body shape, and short legs desired, it is best to mate a cream with a good cobby blue. There may be blue creams in the litter, these being a curious mixture of the two colours, quite valueless for the show-pen, but useful to breed from. The eyes in this breed should be deep golden in colour, and the fur should have no white markings or spots
It has been distinctly proved, however, that it is best to breed creams with creams for purity of colour. This breed, that was once looked upon as a freak in the fancy, is now quite a fashionable variety, and a number of cream males are placed at stud. Cream females are now fairly common, and good specimens will always command a better price than males.
Kittens of this variety are not eagerly sought after, one reason being, perhaps, that, with their pale, delicate coats, they are not suitable as town pets. As with orange cats, so with creams, much has been done by the specialist society to popularise the breed, and it is not at all uncommon to read in a report of some exhibition of cats that the cream and orange classes were quite one of the features of the show.
[image] Champion Wilful of Thorpe, a famous prize-winning Cream Persian male, owned by Mrs. Slingsby. This breed should be as uniform in tint of colour as possible, and free from tabby markings
By Frances Simpson
Author of " The Book of the Cat" and " Cats for Pleasure and Profit"
A New Variety of Persian - what Constitutes a Good Specimen - how the Variety is Obtained - the Difficulty of Breeding Good Smoke Persians
Smoke Persians may be considered a comparatively new breed. It is only within recent years that this charming variety has come into notice, and even now smokes are somewhat neglected in the fancy. It was not until the year 1893 that they were considered sufficiently popular to deserve a class to them-selves at our shows. They were formerly relegated to the "any other colour" class.
A really good smoke is indeed a thing of beauty. The definition drawn up by the Silver and Smoke Society is as follows: "a smoke cat must be black, shading to smoke, with as light an under - coat as possible, and black points, light frill and ear-tufts; eyes to be orange." These cats have been bred from crossing blues, blacks and silvers. It is most important that the coat of a smoke should be full and long, otherwise the chief beauty of the contrast between the light under-coat and dark upper-coat is not seen to full advantage.
The chief failing in many otherwise good smokes is the appearance of tabby markings on the head. The tail, too, should be quite free from any rings of light and dark. Some smokes are so dense in the surface-coat as to be really black cats with white undercoats, having none of the modulated grades of dark and light grey. Then, again, there are light smokes, which might be called silver smokes, very beautiful cats to look at but useless for either breeding purposes or showing.
It is a curious fact that the kittens, when first born, appear to be almost dead black, with no trace of a white under-coat. This appears gradually as the kittens grow, and at about three weeks old the lighter coat becomes visible.
If a smoke strain of good type is to be established, it is imperative that other colours should be kept out of this variety. In times past many owners of smoke queens have mated them with any coloured cat which took their fancy, in the hopes of getting something in the litter besides smokes. But, thanks to the careful mating of some of our breeders of smokes, these lovely cats are not the "flukes" they once were. A really good smoke may justly be considered one of the most beautiful of the many breeds of long-haired cats, and a bad smoke one of the plainest.
It is most undesirable to mate smokes with tabbies, neither is it advisable to select a blue as a cross. The blue tinge destroys the purity of the white under-coat, which is one of the glories of a perfect smoke. It is a case of " like to like " in breeding smokes. Failing this, a good black sire should be selected. This is especially advantageous if the queen is light in colour, but if she is too dark, a chinchilla may be used, avoiding a green-eyed specimen. It is more difficult to breed a really excellent female smoke than a male, and these latter generally predominate in a litter.
There is no question as to the colour of eyes in this breed, for they should be a deep orange. If beauty and a hardy constitution count for much, smokes should be more popular even than they are at present, but no doubt the extreme difficulty of breeding a good, unmarked, properly shaded specimen deters many breeders from taking up this variety. Litter after litter of kittens may appear, grand in shape and strong in limbs, but in a few months, when the kittens moult, their shadings will become a hopeless confusion of light and dark. Tabby markings also may develop, showing traces of the far-away silver tabby ancestors. It is only at about a year old that the type for good or bad in a smoke cat can be determined.
The chief failing of the majority of the smokes now being exhibited is the pale colour of their eyes.
BLUE PERSIAN CATS
A Most Popular Variety - Points of a Good Specimen - How to Breed Blue Persians - Some Famous Blue Persians - Cost of Rearing the Kittens - Grooming - Feeding - Travelling
It is a curious fact that, although blue Persians are undoubtedly the favourites amongst fancy varieties of cats, they were practically unknown until about thirty years ago, when Miss Frances Simpson exhibited a couple of blue kittens at the Crystal Palace Cat Show. Previous to this the breed had been known as "London Smokes," but gradually, through the determined efforts of Mr. Clarke, well known as one of the pioneers of the National Cat Club, Miss Frances Simpson, and various other breeders, it was improved so greatly that in 1889 a special class was created at the Crystal Palace Show for " blue, self-coloured, without white." In the following year Brighton also adopted the "Self Blue" class, and from that time forward the breed has improved by leaps and bounds. In this same year (1890) blue kittens were entered for the first time in competition with the black and white, there being eight entries in each class. Miss Frances Simpson's Beauty Boy carried off the first prize for males, and Mrs. H. B. Thompson's Winks the first for females. So rapidly did the popularity of the blue increase, that a year later there were thirty-two entries in the Crystal Palace Show.
The blue Persian, so like silver fox fur in colour, varies from a pale lilac to a deep slate blue, some fanciers preferring one shade and some another. A good medium blue is the colour most sought after by breeders. The fur must be even in texture and long throughout, the same shade continuing to the roots, so that when the hair is blown apart there is no difference in colour between the inner and the outer portion. Well-lined, small ears, with a forward poise, are greatly admired; the eyes should be full, and orange or bright amber in colour, the former being the more prized.
POINTS OF THE BLUE PERSIAN
Though the head must be broad and round, with width between the ears, the face and nose should be short, the face being well covered and the cheeks developed. The nose and pads are a shade darker than the rest of the colouring. Some fanciers prefer a long body, but this is a matter of personal taste; the cobby body, low on the legs, gives, as a rule, a better appearance to the cat. The tail ought to be short and bushy, and the feet moderately small, though not stumpy, with perfectly straight toes, especially in the forefeet, and well covered with fur. The cat should have long, strong whiskers, which denote strength in their owner; and a feature of great importance is a well-developed frill, extending round the neck. As nearly one-third of the marks awarded are given for the coat, it can easily be seen how important it is to keep it in good condition.
Sometimes a kitten will show the dreaded tabby markings or a poor frill, but this frequently rectifies itself when the coat is changed. Great care is necessary when choosing a sire, for there are pedigrees and pedigrees, and frequently a cat which sounds well in an advertisement will prove, upon closer acquaintance, to be anything but desirable; therefore, when possible, always see him before making final arrangements. Though it is best to mate a blue with one of her own colour, a black can be used with safety, the result being generally that the kittens are of a darker colour. Choose a male that will be likely to counteract the weak points in the "Queen," or female. For instance, should the female possess eyes of a bad colour, see that the male chosen has perfect orange orbs, and hope for the best.
SOME FAMOUS CATS
Curiously enough, the original blues shown by Miss Frances Simpson were the progeny of a blue paired with a tabby, but the remaining two of the litter were tabbies. One of these kittens was quickly bought at its catalogue price, Miss Frances Simpson buying in the other herself, from which have been bred many well-known blues. Mrs. W. R. Hawkins' Wooloomooloo and Mrs. H. B. Thompson's Don Juan were both very celebrated sires in the early days of the blue, and many prize-winners trace their ancestry to one or other of them. Big Ben, a son of. Blue Boy II., owned by Miss Frances Simpson, has sired numbers of famous kittens since the year 1908, when he was a prize-winner in the kitten class at the Crystal Palace. He has a massive broad head, with beautiful orange eyes; and his kitten Cherub, owned by Mrs. Chilcott, of Winkfield, Windsor Forest, bids fair to become a magnificent specimen, with its wonderful ruff and coat, being already a little prize-winner.
PRICE AND VALUE
Miss Wilson, of Purley, possesses a perfect blue in Sir Archie II. of Anandale, who has to his credit not only numbers of first prizes, but five N.c.c. championships. He began his victorious career in 1907, when only seven months old, by carrying off a challenge trophy at Birmingham. Billy Button, the property of Miss G. R. Savory, a famous cat, gained the first prize for blue males at the Crystal Palace (1909). The cost of a blue Persian depends largely upon his points; high prices may be given for a good specimen, but quite a nice cat can be purchased for £1 or £1 10s., provided it is not required for show purposes. Not long ago a lady refused an offer of £60 for her blue, and £160 was cheerfully paid by another purchaser for a cat that she wished to send abroad which possessed the exact points that she required.
HINTS TO BREEDERS
Cleaning the Cat - Feeding and Training the Kitten
Should it be necessary to remove the kittens from the mother, do so one at a time, otherwise there is danger of the mother getting milk-fever - a most severe illness. Avoid all unnecessary handling of the offspring, and never remove them from the mother until a fortnight has elapsed.
See that she has a comfortable basket if she is a house cat. Should the weather be very cold, everything can be made snug and warm by placing a hot-water bottle beneath one corner of the cushion. Flowers of sulphur sprinkled on the bed will stop all annoyance from fleas. Oat straw is preferred by many fanciers, but this is apt to litter the room in the case of a household pet.
Felines are exceedingly clean by nature, and seldom give trouble if a box, or, better still, a galvanised pan one inch deep is provided. This must be filled with clean earth or sawdust (the latter being preferable, as it can be burnt), and placed in a dark, well-ventilated corner.
Every day the cat must be brushed with a soft brush, but do not use a comb, as this breaks the hair and renders the coat hard. Cut away any hard lumps which refuse to answer to soft persuasion, or in endeavouring to tidy herself puss will swallow them, and probably die. Never wash her if it can possibly be avoided.
The great secret of successful feeding is to keep all dishes immaculately clean, to scald them after every meal, and never allow food to remain long in them.
Milk is the principal article of a cat's dietary, but sour milk produces digestive troubles, especially diarrhoea. Never give milk in any form when a cat is suffering from this complaint. Cats suffer from digestive troubles from tainted food more than any other animal, hence the reason for proverbial fastidiousness.
See that puss has access to a dish of clean water, for, although milk is taken for nourishment, water is preferred to quench the thirst; and be careful to vary her diet, for often, when a cat is off her feed, a change of menu will work wonders.
There is on the market a special cake for cats, this and oatmeal porridge forming an excellent dish. Although cats are carnivorous by nature, vegetables should frequently be given, but see that meat is also provided. An occasional meal of boiled liver acts as a laxative, but is not good diet for regular use. As a rule, cats prefer mutton to beef.
Train kittens early to take doses of milk or water from a spoon, then, when medicine is necessary, half the battle will be fought by the fact that they are not spoon-shy, and the dose will be down before they know what has happened. This little precaution will save the owner countless scratches in later days.
Always provide grass for caged cats, for this is the means by which they vomit hairs swallowed during the process of washing.
Although cat-breeding necessitates the spending of much time and trouble, the hobby repays itself, for not only is it intensely interesting, but, what is more to the point, profitable, if undertaken on business lines.
TORTOISESHELL AND TORTOISESHELL-AND-WHITE PERSIAN CATS
The Tortoiseshell Persian Cat, Its Points and Markings - rarity of Males in this Breed - the Tortoiseshell-and-white Persian - a Perfect Specimen and Its Points - why these Breeds are not More Popular
Tortoiseshell cats are not general favourites. They are not attractive looking cats, and make but a poor show in the pen. It is seldom that a true type of tortoise-shell is seen or exhibited, and perhaps this fact may account in some measure for the breed being neglected.
It has often been remarked, however, that this variety is favoured by the sterner sex, and our professional men judges will frequently pick out a tortoiseshell in an "any other colour" class, and give it a mark of distinction. Certainly any specimen approaching perfection should be encouraged.
There are splashed and sable tortoise-shells, and also many tortoiseshell tabbies; but these are not the genuine type. Real tortoise-shells may be called more correctly tricolour cats, for they should have three distinct colours-black, orange, and yellow. There should be no streaks, stripes, or tabby markings, but the colours should be in distinct patches solid in colour, and well broken up over the body, head, and legs. The brighter colours of red and yellow may predominate over the black. A very common fault is for tortoiseshells to be too dark. A brindled effect is undesirable, and a white spot on the throat is a great blemish. A blaze, as it is called, up the face, is considered a beauty; this should be of orange or yellow, and be continued in a straight line up one side of the nose. This blaze is a very distinctive feature of the breed, and one which a judge will look for in a good show specimen.
It is incorrect for the tail to be ringed with the colours.
There is no difference of opinion as to the correct colour for the eyes of tortoiseshells. They should be a bright golden or orange, colours that seem in perfect harmony with the tones in the coat.
Tortoiseshells never attain any great size, and may be considered quite the smallest breed in Persian cats.
A Sex Peculiarity
There is, however, one peculiarity of this variety which causes it to stand out from all others-that is, the interesting fact that tortoiseshell toms are almost unknown. Amongst short-haired tortoiseshell cats a male is very rarely found, but a long-haired specimen has never yet been seen or exhibited. Several experiments have been tried to obtain tortoiseshell toms, but it remains for some skilful and scientific breeder to solve the problem of how to produce males of this variety.
Darwin's theory that the orange torn and tortoiseshell queen were originally the male and female of the same variety is borne out by the fact that until recently orange females were also rare. Of late years, however, a number of these have been bred; therefore, if the Darwinian theory is correct, it seems hard to believe that the tortoiseshell torn must be regarded as unattainable.
As there is, apparently, no limit to the possibilities of modern science, this rara avis - if the term is permissible - may yet grace the show-pen.
How To Mate
A tortoiseshell queen is most valuable for breeding purposes, as she can be mated with a black, cream, orange, or blue. Any of these crosses will produce good results. One litter may consist of a black, a cream, an orange, and a blue. The owner of such a varied litter should have something to suit all would-be purchasers.
It is only of late years that special classes for tortoiseshells have been given; formerly they had to be shown in the "any other colour" class, always an unsatisfactory arrangement for the enthusiastic specialist breeder, and one that tends to discourage the cautious novice.
There are not many breeders of these cats. Mrs. T. B. Meson has always been faithful to tortoiseshells, and her Royal Queenie is quite one of the best specimens on the show-bench of to-day.
Photographs of tortoiseshells very poorly represent these tricoloured cats, as the coloured patches are lost, and the animals have the appearance of being bad blacks.
These fascinating cats cannot be said to have made any headway in the fancy. Perhaps the difficulty of selecting suitable mates for the queens that will perpetuate the breed may be one reason for the neglect of this showy variety. As is the case with tortoiseshells, so with tortoiseshell-and-whites-they are all females.
The old-fashioned name for this breed was " chintz " cats. The four colours should be about equally distributed-a slight preponderance of white being allowable, but some specimens are really white-and-tortoiseshell. The colours should be in distinct patches, with no white hairs sprinkled amongst them, nor any " tabbiness " of either brown or grey. The nose should be white, with a balancing of patches on the head and face. If these are badly placed and unevenly distributed the effect is displeasing, and even grotesque, and spoils the expression of the face. There is no doubt that these cats are extremely showy in the pen, where the darker varieties are at a disadvantage.
Mrs. Slingsby is very partial to the breed, and generally possesses a long and a short haired specimen of these patchwork cats. It is, however, doubtful if ever tortoiseshell-and-whites will be taken up to any appreciable extent in the cat fancy. This, from a fancier's point of view, is regrettable, since it often results in the degeneration, if not the total extinction, of an interesting type, as has been exemplified in the case of more than one breed of dogs.
THE RUSSIAN CAT
By Mrs. Harpur
The Origin of Russian Blues - A Hardy Breed - Its Points - Care of the Kittens
Of all the short-haired breeds of cats, there is none more intelligent or more deserving of the title of " ideal pet " than the Russian Blue. As soon as he is assured of your bonne camaraderie, he will regard you as his special property, and though he will tolerate the rest of the household, it is only because his feline art of reasoning tells him they are in some way connected with you.
He will show his allegiance to his owner in many different ways, and there is a sturdy independence in the Russian breed which singles it out from all others. It only needs a little patience on the part of his owner to make him a past-master in learning simple tricks.
Many years ago this breed was brought from Archangel. The old and original type had a long wedge-shaped head and large prick ears-if such a term may be applied to a cat-and the coat was of a close sealskin texture, which has been compared to cotton plush. But of late years a more cobbily built, round-headed type of cat has come into favour, and although the coat peculiar to this breed still proclaims its wearer's right to be called Russian, its other points are analogous to the ordinary British cat. Handsome though this newer comer is, he lacks in appearance the quaint, almost Egyptian, style of the original. To a breeder and successful exhibitor of the older stamp, it seems a pity it should be allowed to die out.
A step in the right direction was made by the Southern Counties Cat Club in January, when, at their show at Westminster, a class was provided for the foreign type; the round-headed blues holding their own in their proper place, and judged according to the British standard.
Billy Blue Blazes, a blue Russian cat of the correct "foreign type," bred and owned by Mrs.harpur. The handsome and more modern " British type" lacks the quaint Egyptian appearance of the original breed. Photo, F. H. Sutton
A blue Russian cat of " British type," Bred and owned by Mrs. Carew-Cox. Photo, W. T. Cook
The Short-haired Cat Society of Great Britain, recognising the claim of the older standard of type, has drawn up the following points:
Colour. Bright blue; pale or medium shades in preference to dark blue; free from tabby shadings or mark-i n g s , no white .. .. 25
Eyes. Large and full-set, rather wide apart; orange and amber preferred, but eye colour to be subservient to colour and texture of coat and type of build . . 5 points
Body, Build and Tail. Body long, lithe, and graceful in outline and carriage; tail fairly long and tapering; legs inclined to long, and feet neat and well rounded. .....15 points
Neck and Head. Skull flat and inclining to be narrow; forehead receding; face and neck longer than that of British cat.. .. 15 points
Ears. Rather large, wide at base, with very little inside furnishing; skin of ear thin and transparent, and not too thickly covered with hair.......... 5 points
Coat. Very short and close, of a sealskin-like texture and lustrous . . .. 25 points
Condition ............10 points
Total ....... 100 points
From which it will be seen that colour and texture of coat are the chief points for breeders to aim at producing.
I have always found the Russian exceptionally hardy, and impervious to extreme cold, and even damp, the enemy of most foreign cats in this country. The kittens require a little more care and attention during the first two or three months of their existence than do the ordinary short-haired kittens, and very often they are born with distinct body markings and ringed tails, but these gradually disappear altogether, leaving the coat a lovely shade of blue. Mrs". Clark, of Bath, is a great admirer of the Russian, and has done much to further its interests. From her cattery many first-class specimens have come. " Peter the Great" is of imported parentage, and many of his children have made names for themselves in the show-pen, both at home and abroad, amongst them being at least one champion son in America. Mrs. Carew-Cox, of Addiscombe, is another authority on this breed, and she and Mrs. Clark have remained true to it through all its vicissitudes, and there are very few, if any, pedigrees of these cats extant which do not contain the names of some of these ladies' Russians. " Billy Blue Blazes " is one of my most devoted dumb friends, and is now nearly five years old.
EVERY WOMAN'S ENCYCLOPAEDIA VOL 3.
"ANY OTHER COLOUR" PERSIAN CATS
By Frances Simpson,
Author of " The Book of the Cat" and " Cats for Pleasure and Profit"
Definition of the Term - Why the Class is Discouraged at Large Shows - Some Curiously Marked Specimens - Neuter Cats, Their Claims to Favour - Some Well-known Owners
This term, to the novice, will appear rather strange, but it refers to a type of cats that cannot be entered in any of the classes which have been mentioned in the previous series of articles in Every Woman's Encyclopaedia.
In the early days of the cat fancy all sorts and conditions of cats were entered in the "Any Other Colour" class at shows, and consequently the class was very well filled. Nowadays, however, it frequently happens that, even if this class is not cancelled, there will only be one or two entries in it to be penned. This is as it should be with the march of the times, for why should a class be provided for bad specimens or mismarked cats of each colour? At one time blues and blacks with white spots used to find refuge in the "any other colour" class. Blue tabbies were frequently to be met with, and until separate classes for creams and tortoise-shells had been provided these cats, perforce, were entered in the "any other colour " class.
At our large shows this class does not exist, but it is still necessary at smaller fixtures to provide such a class where the executive for want of funds cannot "run" to a large number of separate classes for each variety.
From an artistic point of view, these broken-coloured cats and kittens are extremely attractive, and if we study pictures by that cleverest of cat painters, Madame Ronner, we shall see that almost all her lovely representations of Persian kittens are of mixed colours, such as black and white, tabby and white, orange and white. As pets these cats are very fascinating, but they may be said to exist for pleasure only and not for profit.
No one will deny the dainty prettiness of the pair of kittens illustrated, and these are typical specimens of "any other colour" kittens. They were bred from a white mother and blue sire, the result being a black and white and a blue and white, both very correctly marked. When this is the case the effect is most pleasing, but unless the solid or self colour is evenly balanced, especially on the face, the result is sometimes both ugly and grotesque. Mr. Harrison Weir gives particulars in his cat book of some curiously marked cats: "One entirely white with black ears; another white with black tail only; and another with two front legs black, all else being white." American fanciers still show a partiality for broken-coloured cats, and special classes are given in the most recent schedules for orange and white cats.
A type of cat which is fast disappearing from our midst is the black and white, and some enterprising breeder might do worse than try to produce perfectly marked specimens of this really smart-looking variety; and by guaranteeing classes at our large shows, these cats would probably come into favour. It might be possible, also, to breed cats spotted like a Dalmatian hound, or a cat marked with zebra stripes could doubtless be produced by careful and judicious selection.
Neuter Persian Cats
Of late years the demand for neuter cats, or, in other words, household pet pussies, has been greatly on the increase. Within the last twelve months Mrs. Mason, the wife of the popular cat judge, has started a neuter cat specialist society which already numbers forty members. Handsome prizes are now offered for this class of cat at our shows, and an extended classification is given for neuter cats of different breeds. Very many years ago a curious custom prevailed of weighing these gelded cats, and the awards were made according to their weights. In 1886, however, the classification for neuters at the Crystal Palace was given as follows: "Gelded cats, not judged by weight, but for beauty of form, markings, etc." This was a wise alteration, for though neuter cats are nowadays judged greatly as regards size, and should be massive animals, yet they need not and should not be lumps of inert fat and fur.
There are, without doubt, a great number of people who like to keep a cat, especially a Persian, for a pet, pure and simple; and for a thoroughly comfortable domestic animal there is nothing like a neuter cat. They are very affectionate, most docile with children, and proverbially very clean in their habits. One great advantage that neuters have over the other long-haired breed is that they retain their lovely coats nearly all the year round. Certainly at shows no cats attract more attention from visitors than these big, burly cats who require a double pen to show off their size and beauty of coat.
Miss Livingstone has quite a colony of neuter cats, who have done much winning at Scotch shows. Some of these are marvels as regards size and enormous length of coat. Mrs. Corner has a superb orange Persian neuter which can boast of many prizes. There are quite a number of handsome blue Persian neuters, and a special class is always set apart at shows for these cats. Short-haired English cats, too, are frequently gelded, and these make delightful home pets, and grow into massive animals.
When To Operate
In this connection it may be well to mention that the best age for cats to be rendered neuter is between six and eight months. It is a great mistake to have quite young kittens gelded, since they will never grow so fine as when attended to later in life. It is generally supposed that neuter cats are not good mousers, but unless these pets are made lazy through too much feeding, they are just as ready to catch mice as are the ordinary cats. Neuter cats should not be given a great deal of meat.
Attention should be paid to their coats, for their very density involves the need of careful and regular grooming. If neglected, the fur will be matted, and it may even be necessary to clip away the tangled parts before anything can be done. With a careful mistress, however, this is a contingency that should not arise.
EVERY WOMAN'S ENCYCLOPAEDIA VOL 4.
By Frances Simpson, Judge and Expert
Author of "The Book of the Cat" "Cats for Pleasure and Profit"
Quaint Ideas as to the Origin of the Breed - The Cat in the Ark - How to Know a Genuine Manx Cat - The Points of the Breed - The Peculiar Characteristics - Some Fanciers
Manx cats are so quaint and interesting that they certainly deserve an article all to themselves.
What is the origin of the Manx breed ? That is a question which, in all probability, will never be answered quite satisfactorily. There is a legend that these cats came from a cross between the cat and the rabbit, but, in any case, it seems too strange to be true. It would appear more probable that Manx cats were originally imported from some foreign land, and the following remarks from Mr. Gambier Bolton are worthy of attention :
"In the Isle of Man to-day we find a rock named Spanish Rock, which stands close in to the shore, and tradition states that here one of the vessels of the Spanish Armada went down, and that amongst the rescued were some tailless cats which had been procured during one of the vessel's journeys to the Far East. The cats first swam to the rock, and then made their way to the shore at low tide. The tale seems a bit ' tall,' and yet the writer feels so satisfied of its truth that he would welcome any change in the name of this peculiar variety of the domestic cat to sweep away the idea that they sprang from the Isle of Man originally."
There is a quaint old versified explanation of the way in which pussy lost her tail :
Noah, sailing o'er the seas,
Ran high and dry on Ararat,
His dog then made a spring, and took
The tail from off a pussycat.
Puss through the window quick did fly
And bravely through the waters swam,
Nor ever stopped, till, high and dry,
She landed on the Isle of Man.
Thus tailless puss earned Mona's thanks,
And ever after was called Manx.
At one time, we may presume, the breed was kept pure in the Isle of Man ; but, alas ! the natives, with an eye to the main chance, have been led into manufacturing a spurious article, and many more tailless cats and kittens than ever were born have been sold to tourists eager to carry home some souvenir of the island. On some of the out-of-the-way farms a breed of tailless cats has been kept for generations, and some genuine specimens can thus be picked up.
Points, Characteristics, etc.
And now for the characteristic points of these quaint cats. A true Manx should have absolutely no tail, only a slight, boneless tuft of hair.
The point next in importance is the short cobby body with the great length of hind leg. With this should be coupled a round guinea-pig like rump - round as an apple - which, of course, can only be seen in a specimen which has absolutely no tail.
The fur of a Manx cat should be exactly the opposite to that of the ordinary domesticated, short-haired cat. A long and open outer coat, like that of a rabbit, with a soft, close under-coat, is the correct thing.
Then come other less essential points, such as roundness of skull, small ears, shortness of face, and, last of all, colour. The most common variety would seem to be tabbies, either silver, brown, or orange, and often these in a mixture of white. Self-colours are rarer, and perhaps more taking, than the parti-coloured breeds. A good black with orange eyes, or a snow-white Manx with deep blue eyes, are much sought after by our principal breeders.
It is only in recent years that any English fanciers have tried to breed true Manx cats. In 1901 a club was formed to encourage this breed, and to assist fanciers by giving guarantees and prizes at the larger shows. The efforts of this rather small body of fanciers have been substantially rewarded by the great improvement in the quantity and quality of the exhibits.
Judges also have come to the help of the fancier, and now award prizes to the correct specimens, whereas formerly it was no uncommon thing for a most indifferent cat, without the slightest claim to pure Manx blood, to be given a prize merely because it either had been skilfully docked or possessed but the vestige of a tail. Such a cat would be no winner nowadays.
Manx cats may be considered shy breeders, and constantly the litter will consist of one kitten only. A Manx fancier remarks, " They only care to have one family a year; many queens won't breed at all."
This peculiarity, however, is one that should be an asset in their favour to those who would like to keep a cat either as a pet or for the more utilitarian purpose of keeping down vermin. To the tender-hearted owner, the yearly or even more frequent problem of disposing of kittens is a truly painful one. It is not always an easy task to find good homes for them unless of pedigree stock; they are useless from a pecuniary point of view, and the abhorrent task of drowning them is one from which she shrinks.
Manx cats are generally very fearless of dogs, and are excellent ratters. They are hardy animals, and can be treated as other household cats in all respects. Like all of their race, they enjoy and are all the better for a daily grooming. The difference between a well-groomed cat and one which is left entirely to Nature is apparent to the veriest novice. The small amount of time and labour involved is insignificant compared with the results attained.
In feeding these cats the owner should be careful to impart as much variety as possible into their menu. In the case of the ordinary domestic puss this is not difficult to arrange, but where a cattery is maintained the matter is one requiring much careful forethought and consideration. Still, if the animals are to thrive and win honours in the show pen, their diet must be one that suits them in every respect.
Breeders of Manx cats are not numerous. Sir Claud and Lady Alexander have always possessed some fine specimens ; and Miss Samuel, who was one of the first to take up this variety, is still faithful to the tailless cats. Of late years Miss Clifton has made a special hobby of Manx, and has quite a number in her cattery at Farnham. This enthusiastic breeder has been a great supporter of Manx at our shows of recent years.
HOW TO TEACH A CAT TRICKS
A Docile Pupil to Teach - The Underlying Principle to Observe - Easy Tricks - Jumping Ringing a Bell - Asking to Go Out - Rolling a Ball - Begging
Although the cat is by nature ashy animal, she is not nearly as difficult a subject to teach tricks as people imagine. Patience and gentleness are the great secrets of success. Never lose your temper when trying to instruct a cat, for there is no intentional stupidity on her part, but simply the fact that she does not understand what you wish her to do. A few minutes' tuition regularly every day is of far greater value than a longer period of intermittent intervals, for puss soon tires of a game the meaning of which she fails to comprehend.
Watch carefully, in order to ascertain which tricks most closely correspond to her natural habits, and then set to work. At first she will greatly resent interference, but a reward in the form of a small piece of favourite food will quickly reconcile her wounded feelings, and she will before long grasp the fact that by complying with her owner's wishes she is paving the way to obtaining something tasty for herself.
Quite one of the easiest tricks to teach is to make her jump over the arms or through a hoop. In order to do this, kneel upon the ground, holding the hands clasped in front, with the cat in the space between them and yourself. Get someone to call her, and after a minute or two she will walk over the barrier. Do this several times, until she has firmly grasped what you mean her to do.
Next raise the hands slightly, but not sufficiently for her to crawl beneath, and have her again enticed out. Once this difficulty has been conquered, it is merely a matter of time to persuade her to jump higher and higher, until finally she will spring through the arms when held level with the shoulders - the trainer, of course, kneeling.
A trick successfully accomplished should always be rewarded by the dainty most appreciated by the performer; this, of course, acts as a stimulus.
To teach a cat to ring the bell for dinner is a simple matter, for every feline enjoys playing with a piece of string. Tie a light bell to the end of a thick woollen cord, and fasten this over the back of a chair - or to the wall, if preferred - and make her pull the free end before she is given her dinner. At first she will only play with it, but by holding her, and giving it a little pull, and patting her when the bell rings, she will very soon learn to pull it for herself.
Place the bell in position before feeding her, but should she fail to accomplish the task, do not rob her of her food, but try gentle persuasion. Should she prove obstinate upon any occasion - and cats are as perverse as human beings - ring the bell for her, and let her off for that day. By tinkling the little bell, she will learn to associate its sound with food.
A cat which knew this trick thoroughly used not merely to ring when he wanted food, but in the middle of eating his bread and milk would calmly walk to his bell and pull it - for more milk!
One of the most useful things a cat can be taught is to pull up the corner of the mat and drop it quickly when she wants to go out. This makes quite a loud noise. Hold her gently but firmly, and with the right hand place her paw in such a position that the claws can reach the edge of the mat. Then illustrate what you wish her to do, by pulling up the corner and letting it drop. After about half a dozen demonstrations, let her out.
Do this regularly when she goes out, and she will soon grasp what you mean. After that she will do it at the word of command, and then she will be heard to ask to be allowed out. A cat living near London was taught this so successfully that she would knock with the heavy hall mat several times in succession, and upon its failing to arouse the household, would give vent to her feelings in no soft and silvery tones, the combined music seldom failing to attract someone's attention.
One of the most simple tricks to teach a cat is to make her run a ball quickly down the room, using the forefeet alternately. Hold the cat in position, and make her hit the ball - one made of celluloid or rubber being best - first with one paw and then with the other. It will take her a little time to understand that both feet must be used, but it is a trick that she will like, for most felines enjoy playing with a ball.
Another trick, but one which requires a more experienced performer, is to place her on a big rubber ball, and teach her to propel it herself whilst keeping her balance. First she must learn to stand steadily upon its summit; this is quite a simple matter, as any cat can prowl along an inch-wide fence with ease. When that has been learned, whilst holding her firmly, push the ball a few inches and stop. Repeat this several times, and then end the lesson for that day. Do this fairly frequently, and she will soon make an effort herself. The ball, of course, moves in a backward direction as she uses the walking movement.
Although a cat can beg as easily as a rabbit, she seldom exhibits the faculty. In order to train her, hold a piece of meat just above her head, and she will try to snatch it with her paw; but do not let her get it that way. Hold her in the required position, with a firm hand on her forepaws, and with the other hand hold the meat above her, and slightly behind. She will learn to beg really prettily in a very short time.
Not long ago, a lady who had been at great pains to teach her dog to "sit up," was heard to remark that the kitten, through jealousy and watching the dog perform, had taught herself the trick! Few people appear to know that begging is a trick natural to felines.
To die for its country" is always a favourite trick. At the word "die" gently roll the cat on the ground, where she must lie motionless, until "Policeman" is softly whispered, when she must be raised to her feet. After she has successfully - or unsuccessfully at first - performed give her a reward; these little prizes have a wonderful influence. This lesson, if persevered with, should be learned in a few days.
Of course, the first trick is far the hardest to teach, for which reason it would be better to begin with something simple, such as begging, but once that is mastered instruction becomes quite an easy matter. Every trick learned lessens the trouble with the next.
[image] A cream Persian in the act of "begging." This is a trick which is acquired very readily, and it can be made the basis of other interesting tricks
THE CARE OF CATS - Miss Frances Simpson in "Hearth and Home" (1904)
Cats and kittens should be treated and dosed much in the same way as children and infants (says Miss Frances Simpson in this week's "Hearth and Home"). I do not approve of meat for kittens till they are about four or five months old. If once the little creatures taste flesh they will turn up their noses at other food. The finest kittens I hare reared have been those that I kept on milk foods, with occasional fish or chicken mixed with bread or biscuit. As with children, so with kittens; it is the weaning period that is the critical time, and care is needed in supplementing what the mother gives, with some food as nearly akin to her milk as possible. I have tried Mellin’s, Neave's, and Ridge's food with success, made about the consistency of cream. I like to begin to teach the kittens to lap when they are about three weeks old. Let the liquid be placed in a shallow plate and gently dip in the mouths of the little creatures. They will splutter and choke at first; but after one or two attempts the most knowing ones — and these are generally the females — will learn not to bury their noses too deeply, but to lightly skim the milk with their tongues. It is never advisable to take kittens away from the maternal care until they are seven or eight weeks old. The natural warmth is so essential for their well-being, especially during the hours of sleep. As a rule, a Persian cat should not be allowed to bring up more than four kittens; although I once possessed a blue female that would rear half a dozen and more with the greatest ease, and when they were ready to go forth she at once began thinking of another matrimonial alliance. But old "Mater" was an exception that proved the rule, and also I believe that the cats of to-day are not made of such tough material as were their ancestors.
THE "SMOKE" CAT - Frances Simpson in “Madame” (1904)
The chief beauty of a smoke should be a pure white undercoat, shading up to a dark cinder colour, almost blark. No tabby markings should appear anywhere. It is very seldom, however, that a smoke cat is perfectly free from a few streaks the forehead, and these show up more clearly when the cat is not in full coat. The light frill and ear tufts in these cats lend a very great charm. In fact, a really good smoke is, perhaps, one of the most beautiful breeds in long-haired cats, and a bad smoke one of the plainest! It is curious that when the kittens are first born they appear almost a dead black, with no trace of a white undercoat. This appears gradually as the kittens grow, and at about three weeks old the lighter coat begins to show. Their faces and paws should be intensely black when born, as the tendency in smokes is to get lighter and not darker. If a kitten is born with the appearance of a smoke, it will generally turn into what is commonly called a silver smoke, and these cats, though pretty in themselves, are not valuable from an exhibitor’s or breeder’s point of view. As to eye colour in smokes, there can be no two opinions, for the deeper the orange tone the better.