By Evelyn Grogan
Woman At Home, Volume 8, 1913

Cat lovers are far more numerous than cat haters, and scarcely any home f is without the “harmless, necessary cat.” Most people are quite content to own any common variety whom they happen to fall in love with in the kitten stage. Now if you are desirous of keeping a cat at all, why not a good one? If by the acquisition of a Persian pussy you penetrate into the world of cat fanciers, you will embark upon a very pleasant and fascinating hobby.

“Will it pay?” you ask.

Well, you do not expect a common cat to pay, and if your plebeian kitten turns out a “she,” her numerous pro¬geny must be reduced in num¬ber at birth, and those that are spared are not always easily provided with good homes. If you decide to keep a female Persian with a view to rearing kittens, you can always rely on selling the youngsters at “pet prices” —roughly speaking, at about 10s. 6d. each — and that makes the cat pay her way. If you do not want kittens, the opposite sex is the obvious remedy. Of course, to command any price at all, kittens must be pure bred, and pedigreed parents are necessary to effect easy sales. If price is no object, go to shows and take your time. Do not rush into any particular breed. Wait till you have thoroughly satisfied yourself what really takes your fancy, and then stick to your ideal. Buy a cat journal and regu¬larly study the subject. You will find there is a coterie of fanciers who are very sympathetic, helpful, and ready to welcome novices to the ranks.

Either from the paper or at shows, get into touch with the “big people.” Confide your need of help, and dis¬close the approximate price you are prepared to pay, unless you pre¬viously alight exactly on the cat you want. If possible, see the conditions under which the animal you are likely to pur¬chase is reared. Choose one that has been allowed plenty of free¬dom, and is un¬accustomed to coddling. Do not confound care with coddling. The former is neces¬sary with Persians, but need not be carried to excess. If you can open your purse strings wide, there will be no difficulty in obtaining the best, but very often money is a serious consideration when starting. Do you know, many a good female Persian can be obtained from an over-stocked breeder on breeding terms. That is, either for nothing, or for a very small sum, on condition that the breeder has the pick of the kittens, the number being a matter of arrangement. The cat, of course, is suitably mated, according to the advice of the breeder. A fancier is glad to have the first choice of a litter, which entails no trouble or risk, and she will probably buy the residue if really good and offered cheap. She has customers which you as a novice do not possess. An exchange for an unrelated male kitten most likely could be effected in time, and by perseverance and a little patience you eventually become the possessor of a pair of pedigreed Persians for nothing!


Ninety-nine persons out of a hundred do not know what points are sought for in prize Persians. Perfection all round is hard to obtain, but at least the novice should know what to look for beyond mere length of coat. Of course, the latter is of immense importance, but in judging a cat there are other things to be considered.

Bear in mind, there is such a thing as the moulting season, also an ugly age when young kittens moult off the fluffy baby fur and grow gawky for a while. This, must be allowed for. It is, on the whole, wiser to buy a cat at its best, then you know what you have got.

In the winter months the coat is finest. The ruff should be large and full, the tail bushy and short. Long caudal appendages are quite wrong from a show point of view. You are familiar with the long-tailed, stalkey cat on stilt-like legs who roams the tiles. Be sure and secure short legs as well as tail in your aristocratic pet. Breadth of head is required, a good, determined jaw, massive structure and bone. Then note the ears. The tinier the better; big ears are a great fault, so is a snipey, long nose. The snubbier the nose, the more likely the animal is to be in the running at shows. Nice, puffed-out cheeks are wanted, and last, but not least, a word concerning eyes. They should be large, round, clear, and wide apart. The colour most sought after is copper. A copper-eyed blue, black, smoke or orange cat is very beautiful, and the depth and brilliancy of the colouring bears great weight with judges. Blue orbs are required for the best whites, and tabbies indulge in green and hazel.

Go for soundness of colour in coat. If tabby, then let the marks be wide and distinct. No stray shades should intermingle with the predominating colour beyond the' actual markings. No stripes, however faint, should appear on blues. Baby black kittens have a seal-brown appearance, but when they have dispensed with their nest coat, dense black should replace the moulted fur. A good black Persian is very hard to get, as they do not always carry the density that is so usual in the common British cat. Smokes are very fascinating, but many a kit has to be picked over before a first-rate one is secured. Breeding them is a bit of a gamble. They are very deceiving when young, for they often possess a certain stripey appear¬ance which should moult out and sometimes does not! If it does, well and good. When the adult coat is obtained, a smoke should have a black overcoat. The hair when blown apart is light or nearly white at the roots. The ruff is quite a light smoke shade or white, and muzzle, head, and paws jet black.


Chapters and chapters have been written concerning the diet of show Persians. After all, only a little common sense is needed. Feed them regularly, and do not be guilty of thinking that your Cat can fend for itself. Some Persians are good hunters, but most of them have been bred so long for pets that the natural desire to obtain food on their own account has nearly vanished. Many Persians, however, are excellent mousers and even ratters, though they are often libelled in this respect.

All breeders give preference to beef as the ideal diet, giving it scraped, raw, or lightly cooked. Meat is the best cat food, but a varied menu generally is advisable. If you feed your cat three times a day on good, meaty, household scraps, she will thrive with the best, only do not expect her to catch her meals. Offer fresh warm milk night and morning. There should be a strict rule concerning the cleanliness of the saucer. Never put fresh milk into a sour utensil, or pussie will certainly suffer from internal trouble.

Make breakfast and supper the principal meals; the mid-day luncheon and kitchen dinner usually furnishes sufficient meaty scraps for a “snack” for the cats. At breakfast, milk pud¬ding, bread and milk warm and sweetened, porridge or fish, are acceptable, but meat should be well incorporated into the evening meal. It is a good thing to make up a meat mash, putting it through the mincing machine, and making up the bulk with bread, potato, rice, soaked puppy biscuit, or anything of that sort. Liver is very welcome, and flavours the meal greatly to pussy’s liking. The mash is made very tasty, if moistened with hot stock or good soup, and then it is easily apportioned out to the kittens. Lentil food squashily boiled and mixed with meat to which a little cod-liver oil is added is considered a good con¬ditioner and colour restorative. Ex¬perts also claim this virtue for car-rots. Before and after kittens arrive, three sardines at breakfast are exceed¬ingly good for mother puss, and at any time they act as a gentle laxative.

An excellent menu for a three or four months’ kit when preparing for show has been given by a writer in “Fur and Feather.” It is worth quoting:

“Give at 8 a.m. tablespoonful of ‘Force’ in a saucer of warm milk; 11 a.m., two-teaspoonfuls raw beef scraped, mixed up with lentil mash, gravy, green vegetables, and cod liver oil; 2 p.m., warm milk; 6 p.m., another mixed meal, same quantity of meat; 10 p.m., egg and milk. Proportion one yolk of egg between three kittens. This latter does much to improve the general condition, the coat, and the colour.”


A Persian should always have her toilet attended to with a brush. If she is a sluggard, and will not clean herself as much as she should, a little cream smeared in the mouth and paws helps to start the washing operation and puts on a polish. If the hair becomes matted, the lumps should be moistened, and then all old hair gently teased away. Hand grooming works up a splendid shine. Put two drops of cod liver oil into the palm, and rub the two hands together. Then – using each hand alternately – groom the right way of the fur, sweeping the back to the end of the tail, not omitting the sides, legs, chest, top of head, and round the ears. When this is done, dip your brush in white Fuller’s Earth and brush well. Then cleanse your hands of all oil and groom as before. A final rub down with a silk handkerchief puts on the gloss of per¬fection. Though the vigorous hand grooming should be done the right way of the fur, avoid stroking it in this manner when you are petting the cat. She gets quite accustomed to being “rubbed the wrong way,” and likes it. Do not train the hair to lie flat; fluff it up as much as possible, especially the ruff.

When showing, it is always more satisfactory, if possible, to accompany your exhibit. The animal will be happier if you are at hand, and you can see that it is fed judiciously. Use discretion and gauge the temperament of your pet before, sending to the show pen. A cat may be quite gentle in home surroundings, and a savage among strangers. A cross or very nervous puss will stand a bad chance of success, because the judges, with the best intentions, cannot do justice to a creature that gives untold trouble. Good temper, and a capacity for purring on the slightest provocation, are qualities worth a great deal to show cats.

Although you may not aspire to winning prizes, there is no reason why your pet should not be kept up to a show standard. A healthy, well-grown, well-groomed animal is a household pride, and might just as well be a drawing-room ornament instead of a common or kitchen cat.



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