By Frances Simpson, Author of “The Book of the Cat.”
The Queen, 1st April 1905

It would be quite evident to even a casual reader of Shakespeare that our great poet had no love for cats, as although he refers to these animals forty-four time in his writings it is always to the disparagement of poor puss. Nevertheless, he allows that the cat is “harmless,” and even goes so far as to admit that she is “necessary.”

The cult of the cat has made rapid strides since the days of good Queen Bess. It is a common habit to compare the dog and the cat to the great discredit of the latter. I cannot do better than quote from the introduction of Mivart's great work on the cat. He says : “Whether it is the cat or the dog which is the most domestic of all our domestic animals is a question which may be disputed. The greater intelligence and affection of the dog cause men generally to prefer it to its rival. As the eager partner of our sports, or the faithful guardian of house or homestead, it is of especial value. Yet the cat is largely self-supporting, and so useful an ally against unwelcome intruders that it is the inmate of a multitude of humble homes wherein the dog has no place. The cat is also favoured by that half of the human race which is the more concerned with domestic cares, for it is a home-loving animal, and one exceptionally clean and orderly in its habits, and thus naturally commends itself to the goodwill of the thrifty housewife. Moreover, though it is much less demonstrative in its affection than is the dog, yet cats differ as men do, and the same individuals manifest strong feelings of regard for one or ether members of the family wherein they make their homes."

From the time when the cat was first put into adage, she has been the companion of the dog in evil report, and deserves to share his luck in happier times. Though the proverb only stipulates that the cat will mew and the dog will have his day, there is no just ground for asserting that the cat should not have her day too, and assuredly it is dawning in this twentieth century of ours. Dogs are undoubtedly the companion of man and cats may be called the chosen ally of womanhood, more especially, perhaps, of the "unattached " portion of our community.

Perhaps the reason why the dog has hitherto enjoyed priority over the cat may be found in human conceit. If you enter a room and there is a dog there, he either fawns upon you or resents your presence, but at least you are taken notice of. On the other hand, if the room contains a cat, you may be there quite a long time before you discover the fact, because the cat does not consider you are of sufficient importance to be noticed. She may show her appreciation of a caressing band or soothing voice, or she may remain totally indifferent; she may gently purr her thanks, or she may absent-mindedly proceed to investigate a tuft of fur at the back of her hind leg! The dog is the friend, or, perhaps, we might say the slave of man. The cat is the companion of woman, but the relationship is one of perfect equality.

The dog plays to the gallery; he lives to win approbation. The cat is independent of any admiration; she may accept your advances if she is in the mood, but if she is not you can go and try your luck with the cat next door. Cats are far more complex in character than doge, and require a great deal more understanding. It is a common mistake to suppose that all cats are alike, but anyone with a long experience of these Sphinx-like creatures knows that they differ as completely one from another as do human beings. They have their peculiarities and their individualities, and certainly they have their likes and dislikes.

A most sweeping denunciation of the cat is given by Buffon who says "the cat is an unfaithful animal, kept only from necessity in order to suppress a less domestic and unpleasant one, and, although these animals are pretty creatures, especially when they are young, they have a treacherous and perverse disposition, which increases with age, and is only disguised by training. They are inveterate thieves; only when they are well brought up they become as flattering as human rascals." But Chateaubriand comes to the rescue of the cat, he says, " Buffon has belied this animal. I am labouring at her rehabilitation, and hope to to make her appear a tolerably good sort of beast." It has been said with truth that the human race may be divided into people who love cats, and people who hate them, the neutrals being few in number. It is also certain that no one need deem it unmanly to be kind and gentle, and even loving to a cat. It is pleasant to bring to mind the number of really great men who held puss in high esteem. Victor Hugo had a favourite cat called Chanoine. Petrarch loved his cat as he loved his Laura. Dr Johnson used to indulge his cat Hodge with oysters, which he would go out himself to purchase. Cardinal Wolsey, that most arrogant of men, enjoyed the silent and perchance affectionate contempt of a beloved cat. Sir Walter Scott inspired attachment in every animal, and it is a joy to remember that a fair share of the great novelist's loving kindness was showered on "Hinse.” Scott declared that his growing esteem for cats in general and for Hinse in particular was a sign of old age and fireside proclivities. Gregory the Great was not the only pope who delighted to honour the cat, and Richelieu and Mazarin were among the cardinals who stooped to conquer the hearts of cats, although in the case of Richelieu his love was limited to kittens.

The cat in modern art has received a great deal of attention, and this is not surprising considering the fascinating studies she provides. Mine. Ronner's lovely pictures of languid cats and frolicsome kittens have a world wide renown. Who has not laughed over Louis Wain's comical cats? In photography Landor of Ealing has made a speciality of these animals, and some of his clever pictures are masterpieces of patience and prettiness. There is a secluded corner in Hyde Park known as the dogs' cemetery, but here and there amongst the tiny tombstones may be seen a few erected to the memory of lost pussies who have been privileged to take their last sleep beside the "friend of man," with whom during their earthly existence they are commonly credited with leading a quarrelsome life. And is there no future existence for our beloved animals? The question must have been asked by many a sad and sorrowing lover of our dumb friends when, after what seems so short a time, they are taken from our midst.

The following lines were written by the late Rev. S. J. Stone, author of the well-known hymn, "The Church's One Foundation."

In the centre of the lawn lies ”Sancho.” A gentleman in all but humanity; thoroughbred, single in mind, true of heart; for seventeen years the faithful and affectionate friend of his master, who loved him and now for him faintly trusts the larger Hope contained it may be in Romans viii, 19-21.he died April 26, 1883:
Not sparse of friends the world has been to me
By grace of God; sweetness and light to life
Their love has given; many a stormy strife,
Many a pulseless torpor, on my sea,
Through them - their presence or their memory-
Have been or stilled or quickened; and to thee,
My Dog, the tribute, as the term, is due,
My Friend ! not least of all dear, near, and true
These seventeen years - and through the years to be
Sure in my heart of immortality.
Must this be all ? In the great Day of the Lord,
Shall aught that is of good and beauty now Be missing ?
Shall not each gift be restored ?

By MISS FRANCES SIMPSON (Author of Book of the Cat.” etc.),
Evening Star, 17th April 1905

In former days when mention was made of the cat the mind instinctively turned towards common or garden animal, the ordinary kitchen mouser or night prowler our London streets or frequenter of house tops. But of late years greater care and more understanding have been given to this most domestic all animals, so that with the advent of shows and exhibitions of competitors, and judges, a very different state of things exists. The first Cat Show was held in 1871 at the Crystal Palace, and this function has now become an annual one under the rules and regulations of the National Cat Club. It was Harrison Weir who inaugurated Cat Shows, and he was elected President of the National Cat Club when it was formed in 1887. On his retirement through ill-health, Mr. Louis Wain was appointed and still holds the office.

Since those early days the Cat Fancy has made rapid strides, and local clubs have been started in all parts of England and Scotland, and specialist societies for almost every breed are now in existence. In America it is extraordinary how the fancy has gone ahead, and our cousins over the “herring pond” vie with each other in trying to obtain the very best stock from England to exhibit at their big shows. I have shipped quite a number of fine specimens of Persian cats to different parts of the United States, and with the assistance of the noted firm of Spratts, Limited, the precious cargo has been safely delivered. I have recently forwarded a pair of cats to Natal, and am arranging for the despatch of others to New Zealand and Tasmania.

It will be seen, therefore, that cats are becoming universally sought after, and that the feline race is deservedly attracting the attention of the human race in all countries of the world. I will now proceed to give some idea in a limited space of the different varieties of cats. It must explained that however crossed or re-crossed we have only two distinct breeds, namely, the long-haired cat and the short-haired or English cat. These may be divided into the many classes which are now recognised at our leading Cat Shows.

First I will take the self-coloured cats. As the term implies, these should be all of one colour. In black or blue cats, white toes, shirt fronts, or even tiny tufts of while hair at the throat greatly depreciate the value of the cat as a show specimen or as a breeder. Orange eyes are a great beauty in blue or black cats. The other self-coloured species is the beautiful snow white cat. The kittens are sometimes born with a splash of grey on their heads, but this disappears in course of time. There are two peculiarities attached to this breed. White cats are frequently stone deaf and very often have odd coloured eyes—one may be blue and the other yellow or green. I believe no reason has or can be given for these curious traits in this particular breed of cat. While cats, long or short haired, ought to have a pair of heavenly blue eyes to find favour with the up-to-date judge. Smoke cuts are a very distinctive and handsome variety. The upper coat ought to be almost black and the under coat white. Orange and cream cats are very often classed together, the one being a pale shade of the other. Orange cats, often called red, are, I think, the least popular, for, as a rule, their long faces and pink, noses do not appeal to the general public. I have heard people remark at shows: “Oh, come along, these are yellow cats, we don’t want look at them!"

Silver Persians, otherwise called Chinchillas, are very lovely cats, and these and Blues are decidedly the most fashionable at the present time. There is a great; desire to breed silver as light as possible, that is with only delicate shadings, and no tabby markings. In Silver Tabbies the chief beauty lies in the dense and distinct markings on a clear silver ground. These silver cats are very showy animals, but still there is something very homely and handsome about the Brown Tabbies with their tiger-like colouring, and I have always founds this breed quite the strongest amongst Persian cats.

Of course, in the short-haired varieties the markings of tabby cats are necessarily much more in evidence, and some wonderful specimens are exhibited from time to time at our shows, where the grand markings stand out with startling distinction.

The taste for Tortoiseshell cats, may be said to be acquired, for they are quaint, rather than attractive in appearance. The markings should resemble those in a piece of tortoiseshell, with patches of yellow, red and black, without any white. An old-fashioned name for these cats is chintz or patchwork cats. The great peculiarity of tortoiseshells is the absence of males from the breed, for a tortoiseshell tom is a great rarity. I recollect at one of the Crystal Palace shows a specimen was exhibited by a poor man, who had been paid a shilling by a Loudon cook to remove the troublesome animal from her area. He had no idea of the value of a tortoiseshell tom, and was therefore taken aback alter the judging was finished to find his cat’s pen covered with prize cards and a red ticket “Sold" appearing amongst them.

And now to consider the curious Royal Cat of Siam, so called from the original breed being kepi the Palace of the King of Siam. In colouring Siamese cats resemble pug dogs. When born they are white, but gradually the extremities deepen in colour, till they are dark chocolate brown and the body colour becomes fawn. The eyes should be bright blue, and these animals are almost human in the way they look at you and answer when spoken to in their somewhat unmusical croaking voice. Siamese cats are very intelligent, and make splendid companions, but the kittens are difficult to rear in our damp climate, and for this reason the breed does not grow and multiply any great extent.

Manx cats are not general favourites, but they have their followers, in spite of their want of tail. The point in this breed is that not a vestige of stump should be seen or felt - only a tuft of hair, which should be boneless. Then the next desirable features are length of hindquarters and rabbit-like texture of fur. How, when, and where pussy lost her tail, there is diversity opinion, and the origin of the Manx cat is wrapt mystery. The following explanation in verse is amusing, if not instructive:-

"Noah, sailing o’er the seas,
Ran high and dry on Ararat.
His dog then made spring and took I
The tail from off a pussy cat.
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 Man.
Thus tailless puss earned Mona's thanks
And ever after was called Manx."

Manx cats are very good ratters, and the king recently purchased some to place in his stables. It is to be hoped these pussies shared their appreciation of the honour conferred on their race by doing their duty to their country's King. Whereas Siamese cats indulge in large litters of kittens, the Manx variety are noted for their limited families.

Short-haired blues used to be called Russian cats, and, indeed, this title still sticks to them. This variety is supposed to have first come from Archangel, but the best authorities seem to agree in believing they are not a distinct breed, and therefore they are now classed at our shows amongst the short-haired English cats. These blues should be even in colour, without any white, with a short, thick coat, resembling plush in texture. Their eyes should be orange. In America this breed of cat is called Maltese, and they appear to be very common in the States. Having given a short account of the various breeds of cats. I should not like to bring my article to a close without alluding to the character of the cat from a cat lover's point of view. I have never been without some pussies, and I should be sorry indeed to dwell in a home that had no "fireside sphinx.” The delicate and dainty nature of a cat requires some understanding, and it has been truly said that no-one need deem it unmanly to kind and gentle to a cat. It is, alas! a common habit to scoff at poor puss, and to be wilfully blind to the many good qualities that lurk within the breast of these oft abused animals.

One can excuse a person for disliking cats, but ill-treating and starving them is a very different matter. To train a cat it is essential to understand the complex nature you have to deal with, so totally different from that of a dog, and very far removed from a human being. You must puzzle out her character, and those who have kept a number of cats know the great difference in disposition of these creatures. There is a supreme independence, however, about all cats. Some may show appreciation of a caressing hand and a soothing voice, whilst others will not even condescend to give a purr of thanks. Of course, the surroundings of these animals have great deal to with their characters, but if you rear them from infancy and take the trouble to look into the many sided characters of your pets, I know from a long and varied experience what sweet companions these complex creatures can become, and in return for a little understanding will give great deal of love.

By Frances Simpson
The Queen, 19th August 1905
A good deal has been written in the papers lately about the forlorn and forsaken cats that are left to starve during the temporary absence of their owners at this season of the year in our London streets. It is well that the attention of the public should be drawn to the deplorable way in which, year after year, people who in other respects are kind and pitiful seek rest and change for themselves, and yet make not provision for their pets. This suffering brought upon poor dumb animals is as often caused by want of thought as be want of heart. In the bustle and excitement of the general exodus, and in the eager desire to escape from the heat and turmoil of London, the fireside cat and the kitchen mouser are entirely passed over, or, if remembered, these hurrying holiday makers say, “Oh, the cat will be all right, she can catch mice”; or “The neighbours will look after her”; or “The caretaker will be sure to give her a drop of milk”; and off they go without a pang of conscience. I have heard of many sad and terrible experiences of the holiday cat. A lady shut up her house for six weeks, making no arrangement for the holiday pet. On returning home and going to her bedroom, she heard a faint scratching in the wardrobe, and on opening the door a fearfully emaciated creature fell out. It was the poor cat, that had been shut up all that time without food or water. She had had kittens, which were dead, and she in her famished frenzy had torn to pieces and tried to eat a sealskin jacket.

The cat is by nature timid, and she shrinks from the noise and hustle of the streets; she hates strangers, and would not willingly go forth from her home, especially in the daytime, unless forced to do so from dire necessity. It is only too true that a cat is considered fair game for the street arab to hunt and hound down. How often, also, we see a terrified cat chased by a dog, and though puss sometimes shows a brave front and baffles the enemy, yet what agony of mind the poor creature must endure ere perhaps some kindly person will give her assistance, or she herself finds a haven of rest behind some area rails; or, if within reach of a square garden, she will scramble up the nearest tree.

It is said that “for every evil under the sun there is a remedy or there is none,” and it needs some influential means of lessening the terrible suffering of these much tried and cruelly used animals. Some time ago there was a stir made in high places about the taxation of cats, and if only the same amount of energy and public correspondence could be brought to bear on the subject of providing a cats’ shelter in London under police supervision, it would indeed be a boon and a blessing to man and beast alike. There are some cats’ homes in London where the humane work of rescuing these poor waifs is carried on, but it is impossible for any one individual, with even a staff of willing helpers, to cope with the amazing number of stray cats. Then, again, the space in these institutions is very limited as regards the accommodation set apart for boarders and reliable temporary quarters for pet cats would be gladly welcomed by many who are really anxious to provide for their animals when the summer flitting of the household takes place. It has been roughly estimated that during the holiday months 5000 cats are left in a state of semi-starvation as against 500 during the winter months.

There is now a scheme under consideration of Our Dumb Friends’ League for a large hospital for animals in London, and premises have been taken near Victoria station. It has been suggested that a cats’ shelter should be started in connection with this institution, and in time to open branches in each borough of the metropolis. For the carrying out of this scheme a considerable capital would necessarily be required, and it behoves all cat lovers to endeavour individually and collectively to gather together sufficient funds to at least make a beginning, so that ere long London, Londoners, and London cats may reap the benefits that such a much-needed institution would assuredly be the means of providing. In the annual report of the Dublin Cats’ Home, which was started sixteen years ago by Miss Swifte, it is stated that this energetic and enthusiastic secretary has recently agitated for, and succeeded in obtaining, the sanction of the chief of the police to issue a special order to his men on the force to use their best endeavours to pick up and take to the institution all ill-treated, forsake, and homeless cats, and in the lethal chamber these poor waifs and strays are drifted painlessly to their last home.

If proof were needed to show how necessary it is that a boarding-house for cats should be started in London, I would refer to a letter I wrote to a contemporary in July last, headed “The Holiday cat.” In this I offered to supply the names and addresses of ladies personally known to myself where pet cats could be accommodated during the temporary absence of owners. I was quite unprepared for the enormous number of letters that I received from cat lovers in difficulties who anxiously sought information and wished for a reply by return. Some of my correspondents inclosed stamped envelopes, but others did not; however, I answered one and all during my holiday trip, and should feel more than repaid if a few poor pussies were safely and comfortably housed during the month of August, when London has been said to be given over to cats, caretakers, and curates!

I know several cat fanciers and cat lovers who make a point of taking their pussies with them on their summer outing, and although as a rule cats are not good travellers and resent a change of surroundings, yet I know from my own experience with what delight a London cat will take to the country, with what joy she leaps like a young tiger through the long grass, or dashes up a tree in the exuberance of her spirits, and then wonders how she is to get down again!

We are too accustomed to consider that a cat’s place is the home and on the hearth, forgetting that to a cat of character life has other aspects; and though she may live contentedly within four walls, yet, if given the chance, she will revel in a country holiday. It is only the few, however, that can or will take their pussies away with them, and therefore some provision should and must be made whereby our town cat and house pets may be safely housed and kindly treated during our absence. Amongst the numerous letters re “The Holiday cat” that reached me, one from a correspondent residing in a remote part of the country was in a different strain to all the rest. This simple-minded country gentleman utterly repudiated the idea that such forgetful holiday makers existed as mentioned by me, but that, if supposing anyone went away leaving a cat to starve, then those inhuman wretches should be “poleaxed”! This gentleman seemed to imagine I had rushed into print without just cause of complaint, but I think my reply must have enlightened him.

Truly the problem of providing for our thousands of stray cats is a difficult one, for not only during the holidays, but all the year round, they, like the poor, are ever with us.

By Frances Simpson
The Queen, 21st April 1906

THERE ARE FEW PEOPLE better known in the dog and cat world than Mrs Maclaren Morrison, of Kepwick Park, Northallerton, an enthusiastic fancier and exhibitor, who has for many years been prominently before the public, and at the present time is a member of the Ladies’ Kennel Association and the National Cat Club. She is known in the dog world as the possessor of various foreign breeds, and frequently acts as a judge of these classes at the leading shows, while in days gone by she was well to the fore as an exhibitor of cats. I well remember several of her beautiful Persians creating quite a sensation in the show pen, and, indeed, Mrs Maclaren Morrison has always maintained her reputation with prize-winning stock at the various cat shows held throughout the country. The Kepwick Park kennels and catteries have until recently been well filled with valuable dogs and cats, but the owner has within the last year moved most of her animals south, having decided to take two cottages at Brighton for her cats, while she has also built kennels in two different parts of the town for some of her dogs. On the occasion of my visit to the temporary home at Hove I was much interested in the wonderful collection of curious birds that were grouped together in about twenty different cages in the drawing-room. The bow window appeared like one large aviary, and the fluttering and chirping came as a most unusual welcome when I entered. Mrs Maclaren Morrison has spent a great many years of her life in India, and on one occasion courageously travelled home with fourteen cages of birds. It speaks volumes for the care and attention bestowed on these pets that they are kept alive in these very uncertain and inclement winters after having been accustomed to the hot climate of India.

There was a Calcutta crow and a hill minah from the Himalaya Mountains; a white jackdaw and four different kinds of Indian starling; while several cages full of brightly coloured little birds were also to be seen. Walking about the rooms, evidently on the best of terms with the dog, was a white fan-tailed pigeon, which, however, differed considerably from our ordinary specimens, as its feathers were not smooth, but of a fluffy texture. This I learnt was one off the sacred lace pigeons from the Temple of Madura, in India; but it seemed perfectly at home in the Hove drawing-room. On the hearthrug three little Japs [Japanese Spaniels] were luxuriating in front of the fire, and this quaint and popular breed may be considered Mrs Maclaren Morrison's speciality. The little liver and white dog which sat up, with his tongue hanging out, and expressed disapproval at my approach, is a unique specimen of his race, and much too valuable ever to be risked on the show bench. One of the beautiful black and white Japs of this group is his owner's special favourite, the two pets travelling everywhere with their devoted mistress, and they may truly be said to live in the lap of luxury.

After lunch I was taken to Silverdale, which is the name of the cat cottage, or, rather, cottages, for a second building has just been opened, the one leading into the other, and here Mrs Merlin, whose name has long been connected with the cat world, is comfortably established as caretaker. This is a most responsible post, considering the quantity and quality of valuable dogs and cats that are placed under her charge, for, although she has assistance, yet it is her watchful eye which keeps guard over the kennels and catteries at Silverdale.

In the comfortable little parlour Blanche, a white Persian cat, showed us with pride her four days old litter of kittens, while a few more special pussies were dotted about in the rooms of the cottage. Out-of-doors there is a large piece of ground and a loft 50 feet long is lined on either side by catteries, wherein groups of two or three female cats were beautifully housed in spotlessly clean places. In this lofty and spacious building there wail not a suspicion of unpleasant odour, and the inmates appeared in robust health and splendid spirits. I especially noted a grand black, with gorgeous orange, which reminded me of Mrs Maclaren Morrison's old champion Satan, who made his first appearance at the Crystal palace in 1890, and lived to the age of 15. Fairy Forget-me-not, a superb white with the true blue eyes, was only one out of a bevy of seven lovely females, while another handsome specimen was White Heather, called after a noted winner owned and exhibited by Mrs Maclaren Morrison in days gone by. There were four blue Persian queens, one a recent winner at the Reading Show; also three short-haired blues and five Manx cat.. On inquiry I learnt that the catteries indoors and out-of-doors contained no less than forty-three cats, without including the litters of young kittens.

I must not forget to mention the weird Indian Jungle cat, which lived in an upper room in the Hove house. I was warned not to touch Iti Sama, commonly called Tommy, as he is of uncertain temper; but he seemed quite friendly with me. He had rather a piteous mew, as though life abroad was not compensated for by the luxury of an English home; but he has recently lost his mate, a female tortoiseshell, also brought from India which, to the great grief of her mistress and of Iti Sama, died of pneumonia. The stud cats occupy houses on either side of the large piece of ground or field at the back of Silverdale Cottages; but the weather was so bad on the occasion of my visit that I could only cast cursory glances at the fine fellows, some of whom are well known in the cat fancy as sires and prize winners. Monarch and Donny represent longhaired blues, and Nicholas the short-haired variety; Grenadier is the only orange at the Brighton cattery, while Puck, the famous stud of this breed, is for the present at Burton-on-Trent. Orange Peel is the shorthaired representative of this variety. Bobs and Stumps are two fine specimens of the Manx tribe. Rajah is the grand white Persian stud cat, and there were others that did not show themselves.

I was most interested in the kennels, where Mrs Maclaren Morrison's famous foreign breeds were splendidly housed. There were no less than nine Lhassa terriers and three puppies; one of the points in this breed is that there should be no curl in their coats. Thibet spaniels were represented by two fine half-grown litters. The chows clamoured for attention; but these dogs require to be approached with caution, and strangers are warned not to caress them, so I kept at a respectful distance, admiring, but not touching, the fine black fellow and his kennel companion, a lovely cream, brought over from China. There were three promising chow puppies. The Samoyede dogs looked very handsome. One, which is said to be the biggest in England, is of a rare brown colour; but the poor fellow went blind after a bad attack of distemper. One and all of these dogs seemed very pleased with our visit, and their devoted mistress distributed bits of sponge cake amongst them, for which there was a fierce struggle.

Mrs Maclaren Morrison has lately removed from Brighton and taken a house in Kensington, where her 675 birds, her Japs, and some of her pet cats have found a new home. It would be difficult to imagine this enthusiastic fancier without some specimens of the creatures she loves, for they seem part and parcel of her existence. She appears to find no task too arduous and no trouble too great in ministering to the well being and happiness of the many valuable and beautiful pets of which she is the proud possessor. FRANCES SIMPSON.

The Queen, 6th May 1905

There are very many persons who positively dislike cats, and there are others who tolerate them as pretty pets; but there are few who really consider to what an extent this complex and clever creature is "necessary" to the well-being of the community.

Let me, therefore, take up the cudgels f or puss as a public benefactor, and by a few facts prove to my readers that cats are not the useless animals that some would have us believe. If it were possible to exterminate the race of felines, or even to enforce a bill for licensing cats, the result would be disastrous to the country in general. Quite recently there was an agitation set on foot for placing a tax on cats, and petitions were signed and presented to Mr Chamberlain begging him to consider the subject. Our papers contained letters for and against such taxation, but it was felt by the really practical portion of the community that no steps would be taken by those in authority to alter the status of this indispensable domestic animal. This proved to be the case, for Mr. Chamberlain's answer to the deputation was that he did not see his way to placing a tax on cats.

I think it is only natural to suppose that cats were specially created for the purpose of suppressing rats and mice and other vermin. There a popular notion that if a cat is well fed she will be rendered useless as a mouser. This is a fallacy, for the cat's inclination is to hunt for prey, not only for food, but for sport. They dearly love the pleasures of the chase, and it is the ruling passion of the race, as we aro told by Aesop and La Fontaine. I think I remember that in one of these fables a white cat bride sprang from her husband's arms to dart after a vanishing mouse! The laziest and most luxurious of Persian pets is quickly transformed into the keenest sportsman if opportunity offers and a mouse is heard scratching in the wainscotting. Perhaps some of the happiest cats are those hard-worked servants of the public who do not know their own value.

A recognition of the cat's utility is given by our Government, in that it pays annual sums for providing and feeding a number of cats in the public offices and dock yards of our land. In the national printing office in France a large army of eats are employed in keeping the premises clear of rats and mice, which otherwise would work havoc amongst the stock of papers always stored in large quantities. In Vienna there are official cats, supported in affluence by the municipality, and I believe that there is a distinction drawn between the drones and the bees, and those pussies who have done their duty to their country are placed on the retiring list and honourably pensioned when too old for active service. Our railways are well provided with cats, under whose watchful eye the corn sacks carried to the markets are placed. The London dockyards would fare badly without the necessary cat, and we might hear more often of dockyard strikes if Pussie did not work day and night, with no Sundays out or Bank Holidays on, all the year round.

Farmers are notorious grumblers, but, would they find sufficient deprecating adjectives in the vocabulary if rats and mice were allowed to breed and multiply on their premises? The newly sown peas and the corn stacks would suffer to a terrible extent, and the broods of ducklings and chickens would grow "beautifully less" if puss did not keep a vigilant watch and silently but surely fulfil the duties of her calling.

In the livestock department of the Army and Navy Stores an orange Persian cat may be seen strolling about amongst the cages of birds. Her services are retained by the company to keep down the mice that come after bird seed, which, before pussie's installation, was demolished wholesale. This cat is left alone with the fluttering birds every night, and each morning many lifeless bodies of mice are swept up. In our London theatres a cat is always kept, and turned loose in the building when it is unoccupied.

The cats in Government service in America are very numerous. The army has a regular corps of them kept at the commissary depots of the great cities. It is customary for the officer in charge of each depot to submit to the War Department a request for an allowance for the cats of meat and milk. It is estimated that in New York alone 60,000 cats depend for their daily food on garbage and the rats and mice they capture. Therefore, if each cat catches three mice or rats a week, the sum total amounts to user 9,000,000 a year!

Cats play an important role in our great cold storage warehouses, and kittens born in this icy temperature have special qualifications for enduring extreme cold [actually an urban legend!]. They preserve their health and develop extraordinary activity. There are newspaper cats, police court cats, and fire station cats, and last, but not least, there are kitchen cats, who play an important role in our downstairs premises.

A story is told regarding an insertion in one of the census papers, which ran as follows: "An enumerator, in going over a return paper, found that the householder's cat had been included as a member of the family. It was described as "Jim," the relationship to the head of the family being "lodger." The entry then stated that he was of the male sex, single, aged one last birthday. His occupation was also given “mouse catcher, worker on his own account."

I believe I am correct in stating that in England our cats are not legally protected; that is, if a neighbour chooses to make away with our household pet, we have no redress. In France a juge de paix of Fontainebleau decreed "that the domestic cat is not a thing of naught, but the property of its master, and, as such, entitled to the shelter of the law." Further, "that the utility of the cat as a destroyer of mischievous rodents being indisputable, equity demands the extension of indulgence to an animal which the law tolerates and protects."

It is pleasant to chronicle the various spheres of pussie’s usefulness, but surely she is also a worthy object for our esteem and lore, and her true place may be said to be the hearth and home rather than the warehouse and the public office. It may be well said that no house is really furnished without a shelf of books and a fireside cat.

The Queen, 10th June 1905

THERE IS AN OLD SAYING, "The cat will mew, the dog will have his day." During recent years, however, it would appear that the cat will also have her day, for the position of this once despised animal is rapidly becoming a more exalted one, and the old antipathy and misapprehension of its many qualities are visibly disappearing. The cult of the cat is indeed in a high state of development and progress at the present day. There are cat clubs and specialist societies, shows are becoming more numerous every year, artists of the highest eminence paint fascinating portrait pictures, the breeding of cats is now a pursuit of considerable importance; whilst prices realised for the best specimens are such as testify to the value of the cat from a commercial standpoint.And it is not only in the British Isles that the cat fancy flourishes, as applications for cats come from all parts of our colonies, and especially from America, where many clubs have been started and shows are held on a very large scale.

As we all know, the cat was a sacred animal in the land of Egypt, and was not only worshipped during lifetime, but after death it was carefully wrapped in fine linen and buried with all reverence and respect. The chief burying place was the holy city of Bubastes, on the banks of the Nile. Specimens of cat mummies are to be found in most of our museums, and I have in my possession a mummified kitten brought from Alexandria. It is strange that the cat, which was an object of worship and adoration to the Egyptians, should, during the long, dark years of mediaeval history, be looked upon as a diabolical creature. They were burned with witches and offered by sorcerers as oblations to Satan. But later in the world's history, especially in France, the cat resumed at least some of her old dominion and sway, for she became the favourite pet of many notable men, who deemed her worthy to be their constant companion. In prose and poem she was extolled, and artists found pleasure in depicting her graceful curves and ever-varying attitudes. Truly, the cat has had a chequered career, and possibly the neglect and ill treatment that fell to her lot during those dark Middle Ages have tended to make her the most timid, cautious, yet withal independent and self-reliant, creature of all our domestic animals.

In our own times no one has done more to raise the standard of the cat than Harrison Weir. He may be said to have specially taken up the cause of the cat when, in 1871, he instituted and carried out the first cat show at the Crystal Palace. What an amount of ridicule this animal lover must have had to bear! But, as a pioneer of the cat fancy and founder of the National C at Club, Harrison Weir has lived to see the cat "not only a useful serviceable helpmate, but an object of increasing interest, admiration, and cultured beauty." These words are quoted from Harrison Weir's well-known book, “Our Cat,” written in 1889. The classification given for cats at the show in 1871 was, of course, a very meagre one compared with that now in vogue at all our leading fixtures. But although there are so many divisions and sub-divisions of the different breeds, cats may be divided into three primary classes, namely, long-haired or Persian, short-haired or English, and foreign. There seems but little doubt that the ancient and well-beloved cat of the Egyptians was a barred or marked animal, answering to some extent to our homely tabby. Paintings and statuettes of this particular type frequently occur, therefore we may take it fur granted that the Egyptians, who were so realistic and true to nature when dealing with the animal world, would hare presented cats of other species had they then existed.

At the present time the most popular and fashionable variety is the Persian or long-haired cat, and blues and silvers claim the distinction of having the largest number of breeders and admirers. Lady Marcus Beresford until quite recently kept several lovely specimens of these cats at Bishopsgate, near Windsor. This enthusiastic cat lover has done more to raise the tone of the cat fancy than anyone else, and the cat shows held at the Westminster Aquarium will long be remembered by exhibitors and visitors as being the best exhibitions of their kind. Amongst silver fanciers Lady Decies holds a prominent place as the possessor of the renowned champion Zaida, whose record of wins is truly a marvellous one. The notoriety of this particular breed of cat, commonly called chinchilla, is chiefly due to the difficulty that has been experienced in the production of a perfect specimen. These cats should be as pale as possible, without any bars or stripes, which constitute the chief beauty of the tabby breeds.

There are several fanciers who "go in" for silver and brown tabbies. Mrs Slingsby, in Yorkshire, owns a great champion of the former breed, and Miss Whitney, of the Emerald Isle, frequently brings over her gorgeous brown tabbies to carry back highest honours from our English shows. Black, white, cream, orange, and tortoiseshell Persians all have their special admirers, and classes are provide for each of these less popular breeds nowadays. Smoke Persians claim more than a passing mention, for they are extremely quaint and beautiful, with their dark outer fur and white under coats, pale grey frills, and black faces. Mrs James, of Bristol, has made a speciality of these cats for many years. But it must not be supposed that the fluffy aristocratic pussies have it all their own way in the cat fancy. There are also specialist clubs for short-haired or English cats, and during the last three or four years several of our leading fanciers have taken up the cause of the common or garden cat. Lady Alexander has kennels and catteries at Faygate, and at the shows her contingent of short-haired cats is quite one of the features of the exhibitions. Mrs Collingwood, of Leighton Buzzard, breeds most beautiful silver tabbies, and has done much to improve the short hairs.

Siamese cats are peculiar and uncanny in appearance, and have an individuality which seems to place them apart from all other breeds of cats. The body colour resembles that of a pug dog, the points being a dark seal brown. A pair of bright blue eyes should complete the fascinating personality of the royal cat of Siam. About Manx cats there are many legends and various suppositions as to their lack of the ordinary appendage. They are quaint creatures in appearance, with their rabbity fur and long hind quarters. The short-haired blue cats, commonly called Russian, are not largely bred in this country, but in America these cats, with coats like plush, are very common, and are called Maltese. This breed is supposed to have originally come from Archangel. The Abyssinian or bunny cat and the Mexican or hairless cat are among some of the species of foreign cats.

So much for the various breeds which are usually given in the classification of our leading cat shows. After a long and varied experience in the habits and dispositions of cats it is no exaggeration to say that they differ as much in character as they do in coat. It is not, however, in catteries or in the show pen that puss is at her best, but on the hearth and in the home, where, with her loving yet Sphinx-like nature, she can win and hold our hearts, and where the peculiar charm of her personality can be felt rather than analysed.

By Frances Simpson
The Queen, 25th April 1908

PEOPLE ARE ACCUSTOMED to associate prettiness with kittens, and the idea of making any profit out of kitten rearing does not enter the mind of an ordinary mortal. At this season of the year, however, cat fanciers are greatly exercised over coming events, for it is in the spring of the year that their thoughts hopefully turn towards profitable litters. Cats are proverbially devoted to their offspring, but I must confess, after a very long and varied experience, that Persian cats are not, as a rule, good mothers. They are sometimes unduly fussy, often totally neglect the tiny mites, and, terrible to relate, occasionally nibble or eat them up. Happily, however, there are reliable mothers to be found who do their duty, and some that absolutely refuse to leave the family to snatch a hasty meal. It is a pretty sight to see a cat placing her protecting paws over the moving mass of tittle squeaking atoms. Kittens should not he taken from their mothers before two months, and those that are left another three or four weeks are generally stronger.

Avoid handling your cat when she is in-kitten, and when the family arrives resist the temptation of picking up and inspecting the tiny mites. Some mothers resent any interference to such an extent that they will often carry away and hide their offspring. It may be assumed that a satisfactory litter of Persian kittens has been reared, and that they have reached the age of 8 or10 weeks, and are therefore ready to go forth into the world. If the owner is anxious to exhibit, then it is advisable to pick out the best of the litter. If the breeder is a novice, let her seek the advice of some experienced fancier, for it needs the eye of an expert very often to discern the best of the bunch. It is always well to try to dispose of Persian kittens during their first fluffy stage of existence, namely, before they are three months old, for at about this age they begin to cast their kitten coats and what may be termed "the leggy period" sets in.

A mistake that novices frequently make is to retain two or three kittens of a litter with a view to seeing how they turn out. As a result, they become so fond of them that, if they show no good points as they mature, still, they become such loving pets that their owner has not the heart to get rid of them, and so the number increases, there is quantity instead of quality, and the expenses run up and take away any profit which might have been made from selling off the kittens when able to leave their mother. Then, again, there is always the fear of sickness, and Persian kittens have a nasty knack of catching all sorts of troubles from one another. If weak eyes start in a litter, it is more than probable that all the kittens will develop this most distressing and disfiguring complaint. There is really no reason to regard distemper as a necessary evil in cats, any more than it is to believe that all children must have the measles; but woe betide your lovely litter if one kitten shows signs of the fell disease.

It will be seen therefore that for various reasons, if profit is to be considered, it is very necessary to lay down a rule as regards disposing betimes of the stock. It is a good idea to advertise in the leading organs of the cat fancy. The prices of Persian kittens must necessarily vary considerably, according to age, points, pedigrees, and wins, but roughly speaking, good specimens of about three months may be valued at from 2 to 4 guineas. Blue Persians with orange eyes and silver Persians without markings or heavy shadings are at the present time the most saleable kittens. The competition, moreover, in blue Persians has become so keen of late years that unless fanciers start with really good stock they cannot expect to get high prices for their kittens or to take prizes in the well-filled classes set apart for this most popular breed at all the large cat shows.

Most owners of Persian cats are quite content to rear pretty, fluffy kittens of average merit and to sell them for about a £1, while other buy cheaply to sell again, and if they have a fair knowledge and some experience to grade them, this is not at all an unprofitable business. Then again, there are fanciers with an abundance of this world's goods who give very high prices for well-nigh perfect specimens, exhibit at every show, and in taking prizes amass quite a little fortune. It is, besides this, the laudable ambition of all true fanciers to breed show specimens and certainly there is infinitely more honour and glory in winning with a home-bred kitten than with a high-class specimen which has been purchased.

It must not be supposed that profitable kitten raising can be carried on without any trouble, and ignorance often spells disaster. If a large number of Persian kittens are successfully reared yearly, a still larger number "pass out." Neither does the comfortable law of the "survival of the fittest" hold good. Nature and the exhibitor are at variance, for it is generally the choicest, the sure and certain prize winners, that slip through our fingers. I believe that most of the ills that kitten flesh is heir to proceed from indigestion. The tendency of fanciers is to overload the stomachs of wee kittens, forgetting that it is not the amount of food eaten which nourishes the tiny creatures, but the quantity they are able to digest. A good test of a properly thriving kitten is its weight, and1lb. for each month up to about six months old is a fair average. Sunshine, fresh air, and wholesome food in moderation are the essentials of a kitten nursery.

Much pleasure and a fair amount of profit may be derived from breeding Persian kittens, but those intending to embark in the fancy should be very careful in the choice of their stock, so as to make a good start, which is half the battle. In things feline, as in other walks of life, "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

By Frances Simpson
The Queen, 11th July 1908

MRS SINKINS is well known amongst cat lovers as an enthusiastic bleeder and exhibitor of smoke Persian cats. This handsome breed is not very popular, and needs a few fanciers with energy and perseverance to take it up. It was about ten years ago that Mrs Sinkins started with a shaded silver female bred to a smoke, and from this strain came the famous Teufel, whose name is a household word in the cat fancy. This "king of smokes,” which was born June, 1900, and died in April, 1906, from a severe attack of jaundice, was a noted prize winner and gained as many as nine championships during his show career. No finer smoke Persian was ever penned, though he had two rivals in the well known winners, Backwell Jogram, by Mrs James, and Ranji, belonging to Mrs Stead. Mrs Sinkins was fortunate in securing from Miss Powis one of Teufel’s sons, and now Teuful II. reigns in his father's stead at Aldermoor, Colonel and Mrs Sinkins's country place situated about four miles from Southampton. The house was originally a farmhouse, and is of a delightfully quaint rambling cottage style. The garden was a blaze of colour on the occasion of my visit in June, roses climbing up the old walls, covering arbours, and trailing over rustic archways, while there were borders of all the sweet-smelling, old-fashioned flowers such as found favour with our forefathers.

The whole estate comprises fifty acres, and the woodland portion of fourteen acres was delightful, when the sun was registering 130 degrees. I first visited the stables, where three fine horses were standing, and in an adjoining loose box nine frisky young kittens were enjoying life. These consisted of five smokes and four silvers, about eight weeks old. Two of the silvers promised to be very pale, and were by Mrs Sinkins's queen Sylvie and Mrs Wellbye's noted stud Milord. The smokes were beginning to get the desirable white undercoat and orange coloured eyes. Teufel II. is the father, and Joan and Minouche share the honour of mothering them. Nothing, however, pleased Sylvie, the silver, to gather all the kittens to herself and endeavour to feed the multitude.

One of the smokes (a female) Mrs Sinkins intends keeping to see how it turns out. It is now the flower of the flock, but smokes are fickle and the most clever breeder may easily find that the ugly duckling of the litter turns out the best and biggest prize winner. These fine kittens are fed on Bengers or Mellin's food, with a meal from a sheep's head once a day, while they also have plenty of fresh air and freedom. One of the tiny silvers followed me across the garden into a distant dell in the wood, where Teufel II. has a charming homestead during the summer, under sheltering pines. Minouche was also quartered here in another movable cattery. This smoke queen is a fine specimen, with a grand, broad head and good orange eyes. She has taken many prizes, and comes from Mrs Cartwright’s famous strain. On returning through the woods I came across one of the hen runs, where some fine prize-bred white Leghorns are kept, silver Wyandottes being in another, and with both these breeds Mrs Sinkins has won championships. In the meadow opposite the house were four Jersey cows.

Colonel Sinkins cannot be said to favour the cats, but it was evident that Shah, the household pet, a nice silver neuter, was not only tolerated, but openly adored. This was clearly demonstrated when he climbed up his master's chair at dinner and seated himself on the Colonel's shoulder. Colonel Sinkins's pets also include two old English sheepdogs, and a wire-haired fox terrier. Mrs Sinkins is president of the Southern Counties Cat Club, and the two shows held at the Horticultural Hall, Westminster, in 1907 and 1908, under her excellent management, have proved the greatest success. She is now endeavouring to organise a cat fanciers' association, which it is hoped may be a representative institution for the purpose of forwarding the interests of the cat fancy generally. This society is not intended in any way to rival or encroach on the National Cat Club, yet, it would be greatly to the advantage of the whole fancy if the senior club could be induced to join forces with the various specialist societies and junior clubs, and so form one large representative association. Mrs Sinkins has the good wishes of a very large majority in her desire to promote the welfare of the entire cat fancy.

Frances Simpson.
The Queen, 23rd April 1910

This is the time of year when fanciers begin to be anxious over the arrival of furry families. April and May are considered the best months in which to rear strong and healthy Persian kittens, for the little things have the summer before them, and air and exercise are most conducive to rearing any young creatures successfully. So far this has not been a good breeding season, and an unusual number of kittens have been born dead, or have died shortly after birth. The very changeable weather may have had something to do with this, for several fanciers have complained of bad colds, sore throats, and snuffles amongst their cats. There has been a larger demand for foster mothers this spring, for many of the Persian queens have appeared unable to bring up their kittens. It is always advisable to leave kittens with their mothers till they are about eight weeks old, but at the same time it is necessary to begin assisting both mother and young by feeding the latter when a month old.

The first start should be made with warm milk and water and a pinch of sugar. This should be put in a large shallow plate, so that when the kittens attempt to lap they do not get out of their depth! Some will learn quickly to lap on the surface, but others will persist in putting their noses and heads right into the milk, with the result that they lose their breath, splutter, and become frightened. As soon as the kittens can take milk it is advisable to try some more satisfying food, such as Mellin's, Neave's, or Benger's, which must be made thinly with milk. Two meals a day whilst continuing to feed from the mother will suffice. It is very essential that kittens should be trained early to use a pan of earth, which is preferable to sawdust, as this is apt to stick to their fur. If the little ones see their mother going to her tin they will learn quickly to scratch, and thus much unpleasantness is avoided. If a kitten is seen to be searching for a corner, it should at once be placed in the earth pan, and a little patience at first saves a world of trouble later on. Some fanciers give a meat diet to quite young kittens, but for many reasons this is undesirable. When once the tiny creatures have tasted meat they turn up their noses at the nourishing milk foods, which are more suitable for their tender age and tiny teeth. It is not the amount of food which a kitten takes that nourishes and fattens it, but the quantity it can digest comfortably. Grown cats thrive well on two good meals a day, but kittens require to be fed oftener and in smaller quantities at a time.

Fish is always a welcome dish of food for cats and kittens, but for the latter it ought to be mixed with force or brown bread, as fish alone is rather too rich for the youngsters, and may upset, them. Force [wheat cereal] with boiled milk poured over it, and left to soak is more digestible than bread and milk.

The greatest trouble breeders of Persian kittens have to contend with is weak eyes [conjunctivitis], which may come from various causes. Too strong light, at the time the kittens are opening their eyes is often accountable for weakness of these tender organs, while care should be taken after the kittens have begun to run about that they do not get into draughts. It is a mistake to think that Persian kittens need any artificial heat — they are much better without it. Should one catch a cold it should at once be removed from the others or the whole litter will become affected. For weak eyes it is safer to use sweet oil or ointment rather than any liquid, as unless the eyes are very carefully dried more cold is apt to settle in them. Oil or ointment should be applied several times during the day, and especially the last thing at night, so as to prevent the lids sticking together, when inflammation will set in. If the mother will lick her kitten's eyes the tongue acts as a wonderful healer.

Another tiresome complaint which may proceed from worms, indigestion, or cold is diarrhoea, and kittens will quickly lose flesh and condition if this trouble is allowed to continue. A pinch of powdered bismuth over the food or put down the throat will generally stop the trouble. A diet of scraped raw beef and water is preferable to any milk foods or fish when kittens are suffering in this way. Kittens in perfect health are invariably ravenous for food, but they must be taught moderation. More kittens suffer from overfeeding than underfeeding, and some are really killed by kindness! The best time to dispose of Persian kittens is between eight and twelve weeks, when they are able to feed and look after themselves, and are in the full beauty of their fluffy kitten coats. Later on their legs become long, and their fur becomes short, and would-be purchasers who do not understand are naturally disappointed at the lack of coat and loss of beauty. A great deal of pleasure, and also some considerable profit, may be derived from breeding and rearing healthy saleable Persian kittens.



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