THE TEXAS BLUE (1959 - 1965)
The Texas Blue was developed at the Texas Blue Cattery in Marshall, Texas in 1959. This cattery, owned by Rebecca M Cameron and Donald I Cameron and registered with ACFA, bred Frost Point (Lilac/Lavender Point) Siamese and American Shorthairs. The Texas Blue was described as a hybrid cat being developed, very similar to the rare and expensive Russian Blue and having some characteristics of the oriental breeds. All cats of that breed were registered in the Texas Blue Cattery books and had pending registration with ACFA (American Cat Fanciers Association) as soon as a decision on classification could be made.
Almost all of the information comes from the Marshall News Messenger. Rebecca M Cameron was on the editorial staff of the paper (Longview News-Journal, 17th April 1955 “Marshall Writers Produce Book Entitled “Jefferson Jubilee.”)
It appears that Texas Blue kittens were first advertised in June 1959 as “TEXAS BLUE KITTENS, two only, healthy, good mousing strain, rare oriental type. $5 each. Also two healthy kittens to give to good homes. All housebroken and playful.” (Marshall News Messenger, 21st June and 30th June 1959)
The Marshall News Messenger, 26th July 1959 gave a little on the origins of the breed: “Working with Mrs. Bullock to establish the East Texas Cat Club is Miss Rebecca Cameron of Marshall, who with Dr. Shirley Handler, head of the biology department at East Texas Baptist College, is currently engaged in a cat breeding project which may have three possible developments: the establishment of a new strain of cats, the admission of Texas bred cats to the Russian Blue class (an extremely rare breed in the US), or a simple addition to the already famous ‘57 varieties.’ Two generations of this strain have bred true and may be recessive to the Russian Blue which is one of the breed ancestors of the Blue Point Siamese from which these temporarily named “Texas Blues” have been developed. There is still much work to be done on this project.”
In the article “Etex [East Texas] Cat Club To Exhibit At Gregg Fair” (The Marshall News Messenger, 29th September 1959) and “Cat Club to Have Special Exhibit at Gregg Exposition” (Longview News-Journal, 4th October 1959) the Camerons are listed as exhibitors and their cats are Texas Blues and domestic shorthairs.
“On Wednesday the experimental Texas Blues and domestic shorthairs will be shown.” (The Marshall News Messenger, 29th September 1959) and “A silver-blue male kitten owned by Rebecca M. Cameron and Donald I. Cameron of Marshall won a first place blue ribbon for kittens” at the Shreve Cat Fanciers first annual Double Merit Royal Championship Cat Show (Longview News-Journal, 6th December 1959)
According to The Marshall News Messenger, 5th July 1960: “There are many blue cats of the Domestic [American] Shorthair variety, originally called Maltese, but the Texas Blue is characterised by a distinctive oriental body shape, prominent ears and pointed face – somewhat like the Siamese and [1960-style] Burmese cats. The coat is quite thick and smooth, except about the neck, and the hairs are silver tipped giving a slightly bluer coloring than either the Russian Blue or the Domestic Short Hair Blue (Maltese). The eye color of the males is usually green and of the females yellow or amber. The legs are slim and silvery and the tails slim and tapering.
In disposition the Texas Blue is very lively, slightly less vocal than the Siamese, and clever. The coat color is a dark storm cloud bluish gray with silver cast on he legs, feet and face. In kittenhood the coats appear to have a slight pattern which disappears with maturity, much as the rings on the tails of Siamese. The skin is blue. The cats have a thick undercoat. The nose leather is black and the footpads are dark.
The Texas Blue Cattery sells no kittens under 10 weeks of age as kittens are seldom housebroken before that age and few are ready to go to new homes earlier. The kittens are healthy and the domestic shorthairs come from a good mousing strain . . . Texas Blues [kittens] are available from time to time. One of the Texas Blues won a first place blue ribbon at the Shreve Cat Show last December in the kitten class, and will be entered as a Novice along with two others in the East Texas Cat Show in November.”
The Longview News Journal of 11th October 1960 had a similar description in an article about the East Texas Quadruple Championship Cat Show to be held in Longview on 4th and 5th November: “Entered also this year will be several of the Texas Blues, originated in Marshall, which are a shorthaired blue cat, of similar body build to the Siamese, but with solid blue gray coats with a silver cast to the legs and about the face. The hair is short and sleek, and eyes of the males are green and of the females yellow. They have slant eyes like the Siamese and long, slim bodies.”
Texas Blue kittens were advertised in The Marshall News Messenger in August 1960 and periodically until August 1965, but don’t seem to have been advertised beyond that. The last advert was a repeating advert by the Texas Blue Cattery for Frost Point Siamese, Texas Blues, Domestic Shorthairs [American Shorthair] and cat supplies.
What ultimately happened to the Texas Blue? We know that it did not become a new strain of cats. Were they introduced into the Russian Blue class? The description of these silvery-blue cats being “recessive to” Russian Blues suggests bluish-toned lilac/lavender, which would be logical as Cameron alsobred “Frost-point Siamese” (lilac/lavender point) which would breed true. They are described as dark bluish grey with black nose-leather and black paw-pads. The different eye colours in males and females would have been hard to achieve so the eye colour probably a ranged from yellowish to green. Were these the result of an outcross programme between Russian Blues and Siamese? “Good mousing” strains suggests the Domestic Shorthair [i.e. American Shorthair] breed was part of the mix.
Russian Blue x (Shorthair x Siamese) matings had taken place in Britain in the early 1950s; they included the Laurentide breeding experiments that led to the Havana and then the Oriental self colours.
Rebecca M. Cameron, died in January 1972. The full story of the Texas Blue seems to have died with her.