CATS AND THE CAT FANCY IN NORTH AMERICA 1910-1930s
TABBY AND TOM NOW HAVE THEIR DENTISTS, DOCTORS AND ARTISTS - El Paso Herald, September 7, 1911
Fine Cats Grow in Popularity as Pets Among the Wealthy and Many Are Highly Prized. The Connecticut Cat show, which opens today at Charter Oak Park, in Hartford, is an event of interest to cat lovers throughout the country, for this show will include feline beauties from almost every state. It divides its interest, however, with the cat show forming a part of the Canadian National exposition now on in Montreal. At this show over $1000 in cash prizes, besides numerous pieces of plate and many blue ribbons, will be awarded the happy owners of the finest kings and queens of catdom. Many American breeders have sent exhibits to this Canadian cat show and special provisions have been made with the custom officers for the admission of these valuable animals into Canada.
Breeding fine cats is rapidly developing as a business and it is one in which women are especially successful. It requires but a small outlay in the beginning and, to a woman who is fond of pets, raising beautiful cats is a congenial occupation. The animals themselves are cleanly and attractive and with ordinary care regarding their feeding and quarters, there is comparatively little difficulty. The fine cats, of course, are sensitive in some particulars and require the best conditions, but there is much less real work attached to rearing a brood of pedigreed cats than in raising enough poultry to bring in the same amount of money. So cat raising is becoming a channel by means of which many women, especially those with more social position than money, are enabled to help themselves without leaving the privacy of their homes.
The Cat Fanciers Association of America is now recognized as an organization of public utility. The department of agriculture cooperates with it in raising the standard of American bred cats, despite the opinion of at least one member of the department that the cat “Is a menace to health and has no real place in the economy of nature.” The Cat Fanciers association now issues a stud book certified by the department of agriculture and the standards of requirement are quite as high as those of finely bred horses or other stock. In fact, many complaints have been made during the past three years that the ruling for registration through the Cat Fanciers association under the requirements of the department of agriculture is altogether too stringent.
Each year the popularity of the pedigreed cat increases. While the Persian cat is, generally speaking, the one most admired, there are a number of other breeds quite worthy of attention. A new cat lately introduced comes from Australia. It has unusually long hind legs and in that particular resembles the kangaroo in its anatomy, but it shows no inclination to jump. In fact, it seems less fond of jumping than the ordinary cat and is unusually dignified in its walk. So far only a limited number of Australian cats have come here, but last year several of the larger breeders undertook to raise them with good results and Australian cats will occupy a prominent place in the present cat show.
There is no class of pets which receives a greater amount of affection from their owners than the cat. The graceful, purring, soft-haired creatures seem to return every advance and even the high bred dog does not win his mistress’ heart quite so fully. A fine cat lives in the lap of luxury. Its food is as carefully selected as that of an infant. The closest attention is given to the sanitary condition of its sleeping quarters, if indeed, these are not in the same room with its owner.
Having a cat’s portrait painted is becoming quite a fad with fashionable mistresses and there are artists of no mean skill who are glad to undertake these commissions. Cat portraits may be procured in oil or water colors, but the ultra-exclusive dame prefers to have on her dressing table a dainty gold framed miniature of her cat, showing perhaps the blue ribbons won at the last exhibition.
Cat dentistry is the latest development. Special instruments and brushes have been arranged for cleaning the teeth and various mouth washes provided. A cat that developed a badly ulcerated tooth was recently placed under an anesthetic while a skillful dentist removed the offending member. It is claimed that cats would have no trouble with their teeth if their food were right. For this reason feeding cats on ground meat or hamburg steak continuously is discouraged. They should have an occasional bone to pick and gnaw, as it is known that the wild members of the family who feed upon animals, crush the bones themselves and have perfectly preserved teeth even at extreme age.
Notwithstanding all these evidences of popularity on the part of society folk, there is a strong feeling against cats in the minds of many people and more than one physician has denounced them to his patients. A Lakewood physician lately has come out publicly with the statement that cats breed tuberculosis. E. H. Richards, secretary of the Chicago board of health, recently said: "They all should go — the backyard sloper, the spinster’s tabby and the blue ribbon winner who feasts on sirloin and lies on silk cushions. They are worst, worse and bad, and there is no health in any. As disease disseminators they are as great a menace as the rat and we are exterminating the rat because it is known to spread the bubonic plague.” In opposition to this statement, however, must be given the fact that the Japanese government is shipping in thousands of cats because it is found that they kill the rats which carry the plague. Whether in this way the cats become affected and thus spread the disease, has not as yet been ascertained by the Japanese scientists.
Cat lovers urge that the fact that cats do at times carry disease is almost entirely due to the carelessness of their owners. If cats are properly cared for they should be healthy and harmless. If cats are permitted to run into an infected district and eat improper food they necessarily become a menace to the community. Last month considerable excitement was caused in Chicago by a number of cats who managed to break into the municipal laboratories. They ate a number of guinea pigs, which for experimental purposes had been innoculated with typhoid, diphtheria, cholera and other malignant germs. Every effort was made to capture these animals, and as a result several hundred stray cats were painlessly put to death during the next week.
Many people who own cats of which they are really fond, seem to have no compunction against going away for the summer without making any provision for their feline pets. Often a house is locked up with a live cat in it and poor pussy will drive all the neighbors to distraction by her appeals for aid. Perhaps some person will come to her rescue, but often her feline ingenuity helps her to escape. Frequently a dead cat lies in the house for weeks, a menace to the health of the community and a shock to the family upon its return. If the cat is not locked up inside the house, it is generally turned loose to roam the streets finding its food as best it may. A correspondent in a cat periodical recently said if a moving picture man could exhibit a film in the hotels of various summer resorts showing the family pet scrambling around over garbage pails, into half emptied cans, lapping up dirty water from street crossings and in various other ways trying to preserve its own life, there would be much reform in this particular. Cats which have been accustomed to a home and good care suffer severely when cast forth to provide for themselves. During the month of June nearly 3000 cats were found dead on the streets of New York City, their death being caused either by the heat or by lack of proper food.
Most people would be glad to pay someone to take care of their cats during their absence, but not many persons are willing to undertake such responsibilities. For this reason a new business will likely be developed in boarding houses for cats. There are perhaps a half dozen of these institutions in different cities throughout the country, but their resources are never equal to the demand. A woman in a western city last spring announced that she would take a limited number of cats to board at a fair rate of payment. Within a few days she had her accommodations taxed to their full capacity and remuneration was sufficient to justify her in plans for a well-equipped cat house, which she will build in a few months.
Since it is the stray and uncared for cats which are a menace to the health of the community, there seems no doubt but that some restriction in regard to the number of cats permitted to roam at large would be both humane and beneficial to the public. If cats were licensed as dogs are, they would receive more care, for people naturally set greater value upon something for which they pay a price. If the stray acts of the city could be painlessly put to death and the cats having regular owners could receive the same attention as is given to dogs, the agitation against the cat as a menace to public health would soon cease.
PERIODICAL TO GIVE CAT NEWS Democrat and Chronicle, 19th July, 1912
First Number Will Be Issued on July 27th.
A new periodical is to be launched, the Cat Courier. The first number will come out Saturday, July 27th. The editor. Mrs. Elizabeth Brace, has long studied the care of cats and is well known as an authority. The journal will be published weekly.
Among the contributors to the first number is Mrs. Pauline Quirk, wife of a man of letters, Leslie W. Quirk. A department of the Courier will be devoted to the interests of Western fanciers. One corner will be devoted to dogs. There will be news notes every week and correspondence from different persons. Among the advertisers are prominent fanciers.
CAT COURIER COMES OUT Democrat and Chronicle, 31st July, 1912
New Publication Edited and Published by Rochester Woman.
Fanciers are reading with interest thin week the first number of the Cat Courier, a weekly edited and published by Mrs. Elizabeth L. Brace, president of^ the* Lockehaven Cat Club. The little paper starts out with one hundred subscribers, an excellent beginning in view of the short time that has elapsed between the editor's decision to publish the Courier and the date of its first appearance. Valuable information about the American cat and her imported cousins is found in this paper. As Mrs. Brace is president of the Nationsl Short haired Society of America, the everyday puss of obscure birth may look for a share of publicity in this attractive periodical.
C. H. Jones, formerly editor of the Cat Journal, who has given up work for the present because of a long illness, has a courteous contribution in which he writes: “Mrs Brace consulted me before she made the first move, and said that if it was going to have any bad effect on my future plans she would not start her paper. I told her that my plans were so indefinite on account of my health that she need not think of me at all, but, go ahead, and I wished her all the good fortune in the world. She cannot run a paper without advertising support any more than I could. This support must not be for one week, but for all the time and it must be liberal.”
One of the evidences of Mrs. Brace’s ability as an editor is seen in her arrangement of news. For Instance, there are “notes” about the Washington Cat Club and the Lockehaven Club, a department headed "Correspondence” and another devoted to cat lovers and their pets living beyond the Mississippi. One part, entitled "Barks from Dogland,” is devoted to the interests of dogs. A contributor to the paper whose articles will be of interest to readers is Mrs. C. S. McGuire, of Grand Rapids, Mich., who has been a breeder for years.
SECOND NUMBER OF CAT COURIER Democrat and Chronicle, 5th August, 1912
New Periodical for Fanciers Continues Interesting.
The second number of the Cat Courier has been printed, and, like the first, has various points of interest. In addition to the departments of news, this number has news about the doings of fanciers, their journeys, etc. That part of the Courier devoted to news west of the Mississippi is entitled “Fancy of the Occident.” There is an article on “Suggestions for Elevating the Stud Book.” In the department “Barks from Dog-land” is the information that Miss Christian Loebs, of this city, owner of the Christo Kennels, is a notable young breeder. The English bull Lucky Strip, of those kennels, has recently presented her owner with seven puppies sired by te famous Gotham Magna, his only offspring in America. Mrs Elizabeth L. brace, editor and publisher, urges suggestions as to the improvement of her publication.
QUERY COLUMN IN CAT COURIER Democrat and Chronicle, 29th November, 1912
Fanciers May Gain Practical Information Through It.
With the November number of the Cat Courier the editor, Mrs Elizabeth L. Brace, begins a “Query” column. Any question asked through this department will be answered as soon as the information can be obtained. Persons wishing to know about perfect markings, feeding and different points connected with cat raising will profit by this column. In a short time the Courier will have a series of articles by Joshua Cowpland entitled “recollections.” The series will be illustrated with pictures of celebrated cats of the past.
DOGS AND CATS. HOW TO CARE FOR THEM
By Miss Ethel R.B. Champion
The Record Argus, May 1, 1913.
VARIETIES AND VALUES. Cats as show animals have become a very popular feature in all our largest cities and annual cat shows are now held in New York, Boston, Chicago, Pittsburg, Washington, and as far West as Los Angeles and San Francisco. The first cat show ever held was in 1871 at the Crystal Palace, London, and one has been given there every year since that date. The first show in America was held at Madison Square Garden in 1895, so that the cat as a show animal is comparatively a novelty in this country, as it is really only within the last few years that a large number, sometimes running into hundreds of exhibits, has been shown. Most of the celebrated prize winners in America are of English descent.
To the public the chief distinction in show cuts lies between the two varieties, long haired and short haired, but for the would-be fancier there is much more to learn. Besides the Persian, or long haired variety, there is the Maine, also long haired, but of a very different type and quality to the imported specimens; their fur is usually coarser, face narrower, tail longer and coloring more inclined to be mixed or broken. They are generally considered by the breeders to be more or less mixed short haired varieties, therefore are not nearly so valuable as the cat of known aristocratic lineage, whose pedigree may be traced for many generations on the books of record kept for that purpose.
Besides the domestic short haired, with which every one is so well acquainted, there are several foreign breeds also with short fur, but very different in their characteristics. The most curious and interesting of these, perhaps, is the Royal Siamese, an animal with short, soft fur and the color and markings of a pug dog — that is to say, a light fawn or biscuit, with a dark chocolate mask or face, dark legs, feet and tail, and deep blue eyes.
They are very striking and curious in appearance, having a weird, unearthly cry, and are, apparently, very delicate and difficult to raise. People who have owned them say they are very lovable and affectionate, and will follow like a dog. They are scarce both in this country and in England, probably on account of their delicacy. They command high prices both as show specimens and as pets. As their name denotes, they came originally from the royal palace of the King of Slam, where they are very carefully kept and highly priced.
Another curious foreign breed is the Abyssinian, which is familiar [sic] in color to a Belgian rabbit — that is to say, the fur presents a picked [sic] appearance and should have no stripes or tabby markings like the domestic cat’s. They are neither especially handsome nor striking in appearance, so are not extensively raised or exhibited either here or abroad.
The Manx is a native of the Isle of Man, is a unique looking animal, being born absolutely tailless and having a curious formation of the hindquarters similar to that of the rabbit A “stumped" tail cat Is not a Manx; a true specimen has no vestige of a tail, merely a tuft of hair where the caudal appendage should be. The hindquarters are exceptionally long, the back short and the cat walks almost from the hock or second joint, after the manner of a rabbit. These cats are rarely seen in America, although the classes provided for Manx at our shows are usually well filled with ordinary short- haired cats, either accidentally or intentionally tailless.
The so-called Australian cat is peculiar in appearance, and its origin seems to be wrapped in mystery. The fur is extremely short, looking as if it were closely clipped, the feet are small and the body, tail and face the same. The most sought for color is a deep seal brown, and next to that a finely striped tabby. No decisions can be arrived at by fanciers as to the origin of these cats. There is no native cat known in Australia, although a correspondent writes that there is a wharf cat which resembles the above described animal. They are probably a cross between the domestic cat and the Siamese or Mexican hairless - most likely the latter, as they carry very little coat. They are difficult to raise, but quite popular on account of their affectionate disposition and quaint appearance.
CAT COURIER APPEARS. Democrat and Chronicle, 9th January, 1914
Fanciers who have missed the Cat Courier for some weeks are again getting their copies, owing to the partial recovery from a long illness of the editor, Mrs. Elizabeth L. Brace. Mrs Brace has mailed a number dated November 1st and 8th, in which an editorial explains the cause of many issues not being received.
[TACOMA] CAT CLUB MAY BE ORGANIZED. The Tacoma Times, 27th October, 1913
Interest developed in the Queen City Cat club’s show to be held at the Bon Marche, Seattle, November 6, 7, and 8, will probably result in the organization of a cat club in Tacoma. There are many blooded cats in this city, most of them having been entered in the Seattle show, and local lovers of the furry pets are anxious to form a club. There will be trophies amounting to $800 in value at the Seattle show, and Mrs. Frances L. Brace [Frances being Mrs Brace’s husband’s name] of New York, editor of the Cat will act as judge.
A PALACE FOR CATS
By E. I. FARRINGTON
From “TECHNICAL WORLD MAGAZINE, VOL XXI. AUGUST 1914. NO.6 (Vol 21, p 900)
HARRY PAYNE WHITNEY has his racing stables; Clarence Mackay has his steam yachts ; Pierpont Morgan had his art collection ; but Mrs. Clifford B. Harmon has her cats. They are Persians and Angoras, most of them champions, and they live in luxurious quarters, cared for by maids, in buildings that cost more than a college professor can afford to spend for his residence at Cambridge or New-Haven. Mrs. Harmon's cattery is in the heart of an aristocratic colony at Greenwich, Connecticut, and new buildings which cost twenty-five thousand dollars to complete and equip, make it the costliest establishment for the purpose in the world.
The cages are large and sunny, with outdoor runs extending to the south. The runs are protected by heavy wire netting attached to iron posts. Surrounding the enclosure and between the runs are low cement walls. At one end of each run is a platform where the cats may enjoy a sun bath without getting into the dirt. The cages within the kennels have been fitted up extravagantly. All the wood work is polished, and there are steam heat, electric lights, and running water. There are shelves for the cats to climb upon and dainty baskets for them to sleep in. They are fed and watered and brushed and groomed.
Altogether the cattery covers about two acres and the main building is a two-story structure containing the living apartments of the superintendent, Mrs. F. G. Mathis, who is known the country over as an expert breeder of prize-winning Persians. There is a large living room in this building, and a covered walk leads to the office, which is luxuriously fitted up and decorated with an interesting display of cups, medals, and blue ribbons. In the rear of the office , are T-shaped cells, which contain the nineteen pens, for the cats. Not all the animals are confined strictly to these cages, as some of the cats have the run of the buildings most of the time and enjoy the company of a lively little monkey, which seems quite at home among Mrs. Harmon's aristocratic pets. There is a nursery for the kittens and a separate building for cats that may be indisposed.
Amateurs usually give their valuable pets milk, but the expert breeders have found that raw beef given in two meals a day — half a pound at a meal—is by far the best ration. It is a common practice to give the cats olive oil to clear the stomach of hair balls, but up-to-date breeders have a better plan. They sprout oats in a box for their cats, just as poultry keepers sprout them for their chickens. When the sprouts are two or three inches high, they are ready to be fed to the cats. Some breeders keep a box of sprouted oats in the quarters of the animals and permit the cats to eat the sprouts as they please. The little oat blades seem to be almost perfect substitutes for the green grass for which cats seek when allowed their liberty in summer.
All this attention is given these cats not because it is a whim of their owner but because the care of high-bred cats is a much more complicated matter than most people suppose. Every detail of feeding must be thought out and regular grooming is highly important if the animals are to be entered at the shows. It is a common belief that Persian cats are more delicate than common cats, but this is true only in kittenhood, so that it is up to the time they are three weeks old that Persian or Angora kittens need closest attention.
In the shows both Angoras and Persians are classed simply as long-haired cats, but there is a distinct difference. Persian cats have one long coat, but Angoras have a double coat — an under-coat and an over-coat, as one might say. Persians are considered rather more valuable than Angoras, the Silver variety of the former standing at the top in the matter of price. A thousand dollars is not considered a very high price for an extra fine one. White cats come next in popularity and they also command high prices.
Hours are spent preparing the cats for the shows. Alcohol is used to clean the long hair and as a finishing touch fuller's earth is rubbed deeply into the coat. Sometimes free use is made of talcum powder and always the coat is brushed until soft and silky. The country's biggest cat show is held annually in Chicago, where the entries number four hundred or more.
PALATIAL ABODE FOR CATS
Jeffersonville Star, November 04, 1915
Red Hook Journal, November 19, 1915
House for Felines, in Connecticut, is Perfectly Appointed at Cost of $25,000. A palace for cats, which with Its furnishings cost $25,000, is the remarkable establishment erected by Mrs. Clifford B. Harmon, daughter of Commodore E. C. Benedict, at Greenwich, Conn. Mrs. Harmon is famous as a breeder of cats, especially Angoras and Persians, several of her pets having won the championship of America at different times.
To care for these blue-blooded and aristocratic felines properly, as well as to show them to the best advantage, Mrs. Harmon decided that a special building was needed. Accordingly she gave instructions to her architect to draw plans for what is undoubtedly the most modern as well as the most costly cattery in the world. The establishment, which includes, besides the kennels of the cats a ten-room cottage and office for those in direct charge of the animals, covers more than an acre.
The main kennel contains 20 pens for the cats, each of which is fitted up with every known device that will add to the comfort and health of its occupants. The partitions separating the pens are of fine woven wire on a highly-polished hardwood base, thus insuring plenty of light and air. At a convenient height in each pen are several shelves upon which the cats may climb. The pens also contain dainty individual sleeping baskets, and once a cat has been introduced to its own bed it never attempts to use that belonging to another one. Even pampered and beribboned Persian cats valued at a thousand dollars enjoy an occasional romp out of doors as much as the most plebeian.
PRIZE WINNING PERSIANS IMPORTED BY LOCAL FANCIER
Vancouver Daily World, January 14, 1916
“Silver King,” Champion of the United States, Included in Group of Princely Tabbies Which Will Be Shown at Coast Exhibitions.
The liveliest interest will be felt by cat fanciers in the announcement of the arrival in the city of a group of princely Persians representing the choicest strains of America and Great Britain. Acquired by the Vancouver Persian Cattery, these aristocratic members of catdom include the far-famed chinchilla or silver, Champion “Silver King,” and a group of blues and whites, selected by Miss Frances Simpson, the eminent English authority on the cat, and judge at the Crystal Palace, London. Ch. "Silver King,” a magnificent specimen of his breed, has traveled the length and breadth of America, being champion of the United States and winner at Madison Square, The Beresford Cat Club shows, Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis, Rochester and all other leading centres. Awarded 98 points out of a possible 100, and pronounced to be the best cat in the show by seven different judges on as many occasions, Ch. Silver King possesses no fewer than ten massive cups, 75 medals and over 150 special and championship ribbons.
Birth alone does not constitute an open sesame to the exclusive circles of catdom of Vere de Veredom in the animal world, as the owner of some young animal of prize winning stock knows to his cost, for frequently such an animal turns out to have not a good point about him. The artificial types that man has produced in abrogating to himself the function of natural selection must possess certain arbitrary essentials as decreed by breeders. There is consequently no law of primogeniture in this eugenist realm. The Persian cat, for instance, developed from the wild “manul” cat or Pallas cat of the deserts of Central Asia, bears, save in the texture of its long-furred pelt, no resemblance to its far-off ancestor. Blues, whites, blacks, tabbies, chinchillas and the tawny or erythristic type have been produced, and each in coat and eye coloration, as well as contour, must conform to the requirements set by man. With an unblended coat, must go the liquid wells of sapphire, such as “Mar-brouk” and of pure white, for instance, must be found the eye of deep sapphire, the silver Persian must possess eyes of the peculiar copper or orangy hue, and the chinchilla must have orbs of a verdant emerald
All these desirable points are to be seen in the recent arrivals, in Champion Silver King, and his lovely consort, "La Reine”; in "Mar-brouk," a beautiful spotless white, with exquisite eyes like lapis lazuli. He traces his descent from Champion King of Pearls and Queen of Pearls II, and is a notable member of the famous Pearl strain. There is also an equally famous white queen and others of the same color. Blues are represented by an exquisite pair, "Beauty Bobs” and “Rosebery Blue,” the latter having the most exquisitely modeled head. Their forbears include the famous “Beau Brummel” and “Trixie,” the latter prize-holder of best cat in the show award at the Crystal Palace, and Champion "Darius IV” and Champion “Neila Billi" (a name meaning in Hindustani blue cat). Their appearance at local shows will be eagerly looked forward to, exemplifying as they all do standard types in which fanciers are so greatly interested.
FRIEND OF CATS IS DEAD Democrat and Chronicle, 28th November, 1918
Mrs. Elizabeth Brace Was Publisher of Cat Courier.
Churchville. Nov. 27. The death of Mrs. Elizabeth Louise Lewis, wife of William Wilder Brace, occurred at her home, “The Willows,” just north of this village, at an early hour yesterday morning. She was born in Rome, Oneida county, 61 years ago and was the only daughter of the late Howland S. and Martha Wood Lewis. She resided in Oneida county until 21 years of age, when she moved with her parents to Castile, Wyoming county, where she was united in marriage to William Wilder Brace, who survives her. She has been engaged as owner, publisher and editor of the “Cat Courier,” a journal devoted to the interest of the cat.
ANOTHER LIFE FOR THE CAT
San Francisco Chronicle, 11th May, 1919
This Time as a Pampered Out-Door Pet, Softly Cuddled in the Auto or Carried Like a Living Muff in the Promenades of Fashion
To Tom’s and Tabby’s accredited nine lives has been added another period of existence, which, according to present indications, may become the most important of all. And it is all due to the doings of Dame Fashion that cats have gained another lease on life. It is her edict that cats shall be the fashionable outdoor pets.
It is estimated that already hundreds of society women living in the various cities of the United States have invested more than a quarter of a million dollars in prize pet cats of the bluest blood of feline royalty. This shows to what degree smart society women throughout the country have not only accepted Fashion's decree, but have taken up with enthusiasm the luxury of expensive pets. Today they may be seen on their walks and in their automobiles in all the principal cities, carrying cats to match the color and scheme their costumes.
And why not? Even a cat may look at a king. Tom and Tabby are coming Into their own again — a sort of a near-realization of those ancient days when, centuries ago, the Egyptians believed cats were sacred animals and worshipped them as deities, and believed there wasn't anything too good for them.
Man may delight in the dachshund and the bulldog, but woman has found beauty and a new joy in a pet cat. She likes infinite variety — from the common backyard feline to the $5000 prise winner. There are cats for every taste and purse —the old maid’s favorites, tortoise shell and Maltese tabbies [domestic shorthairs], Manx and Siamese cats, the latter distinguished by their curious chocolate coloring and affectionate disposition, which long ago won them the royal patronage of the kings of Spain.
But it is the long-haired Persians or Angoras that most women prefer as the fashionable pet. These are the classic cats, whose exquisite colors have inspired Eastern rug-makers for centuries — shimmering silver grays or chinchillas, dreamy blues, warm orange, soft creams, dazzling whites and dusky blacks. The last named supposed to bring good luck.
"Where’er the cat o’ the house la black,
The lasses o’ lovers will have no lack.”
Women also prefer the superb Persians for their delicate shell-like ears, dainty nose and graceful legs. In a masterful manner, they have harmonized the color of the eye with that of the coat — blue eyes for a green coat, green for black, and silver end golden for orange and cream.
Mrs. Harriet Vreeland Furness, who is a successful painter of cat portraits, does not marvel at the fad for carrying cats, and said that they are not spiteful, ungrateful or sinister in any of their dealings with human beings. The idea that they are, Mrs. Furness thinks, comes partly from the ancient love of cats which threw a mystery about them and made them symbols of treachery and revenge.
Miss Ava L. Pollard of Elizabeth, N.J., has a valuable blue Persian cat in “Tommy Bluestone of Tillcote,” whose pedigree stretches clear across the Atlantic. "Tommy” is a huge cat of solid color and marvellous intelligence. Miss Pollard also owns "Puritana," a white Persian queen for which she refused $2000. She sells "Puritana’s” kittens for $300 each. “Bungalow Turk’s Cap,” called the nearest perfect cat in “America,” is also owned by Miss Pollard. He is a blue Persian and ten-point champion.
Dr. Cecil French of Washington owned perhaps the strangest pet feline of all — a hairless Aztec cat. On account of the great difference in climatic conditions between Washington and Mexico, the home of this feline curiosity, Dr. French housed "Moko,” as his Aztec pet was known, in a glass case with regulated temperature.
"Don Silverra,” a society cat that can hold his own anywhere, is owned by Mrs. David Sturtevant of Boston. He is a Chinchilla, with a wonderful coat superior to that of other cats through the fact that he has been brought up in open air.
When Mrs. George B. Brayton of Brighton, Mass., became the owner of “Don Dia,” an English silver chin¬chilla cat, and “the Quakeress,” a tabby of royal blood, she startled so¬ciety by sending to owners of aristo¬cratic cats invitations to a feline betrothal party, which was carrled out in every detail.
Mrs. G. Lynas of Chicago is the proud owner of a handsome pet cat, Rob Roy II.. a Chinchilla Persian and champion of England. Rob Roy was bred by Mrs. George Wilson of Purley, England, who sold him to Mrs. Lynas for $500.
A valuable blue-blooded feline is owned by Mrs. George Fahys, a wealthy society woman of New York. This cat, worth several thousand dollars, was imported from Kensing¬ton, England, and bears the distinc¬tion of having been the only cat that ever made the trip across the Atlantic in a regular stateroom all to itself on the ill-fated Lusitania.
"White Aigrette,” owned by Miss Laura Gould Hopkins, was said to be the most valuable cat In America, held at $5000. When "White Ai¬grette” goes motoring with her mis¬tress, she wears a red velvet coat and a tiny pair of goggles. This fe-line queen has her own maid and is groomed with the greatest care to avoid damaging the texture of her fur which is softly brushed for two hours dally. A handsome velvet-lined basket and a glass pen lined with velvet cushions are a part of "White Aigrette’s" outfit. All her toilet articles are of sterling silver.
Mrs. Alfred F. Schwertz’s "Nannette,” a small Persian with a beau¬tiful black coat, is a most attractive pet. Mrs. Schwertz says "Nannette” is as good as she is beautiful, be-cause of her fine disposition.
"King Winter,” an open shaded sil¬ver Persian cat, owned by Miss Carol Macy, has made his mistress as well known to cat lovers as Dan Patch Is to the horse world.
Whenever "Argent Glorioso,” the pet of Miss Dorothy Bevill Champion of New York, is around there is no question about who is king. Glorioso is said to be one of the best silver cats in the world, and when Miss Champion appears with him, her pet becomes the centre of attraction. Glorioso is said to be a very happy cat, for his daughter, "Argent Dainty Maid,” is a record beauty. Miss Champion also has three other beau¬tiful cats — "Sunset Lassy," “Sunset Honey" and "Sunset Honeysuckle."
Mrs. F. E. Connolly of Roosevelt, L.I., owns the famous Sandalphon, a silver chinchilla cat worth approxi¬mately $5000, and whose color is said to approach the ideal that breed¬ers are striving for. When Mrs. J. J. Ketchen of New Rochelle, N. Y., wanted a pet cat she picked up by chance a plain back¬yard feline. Mrs. Ketchen’s find has turned out to be a type of the best American-bred short-haired cat, sad she has refused $450 for her pet
One of the most enthusiastic devo¬tees of the cat is Mrs. Chester W. Chapin, who is proud of her several handsome pets. One of her cats is a striped feline called “Kinka Jou," precious Jewel, whose striping is pronounced perfect by experts. "Blue Capson” Is another of Mrs. Chapin’s pets. No one is prouder of her pet cat than Mrs. Algernon Arthur Brooks is of her prize-winning Persian beauty, King Edward VII. Mrs. Brooks delights to have her pet photographed, showing him wearing his crown with kingly dignity.
SHE SPECIALIZED ON CATS.
Santa Ana Register, December 1, 1929
Milk Is Not the Natural Food for Felines Says Tabby Expert Gertrude E. Taylor, Who Knows All the Family Trees of Catdom And Who Has Handled and Judged Thousands Of Champions at the Big Prize Shows Without Ever Being Scratched.
MRS. GERTRUDE E. TAYLOR of Detroit, a small woman with bright, black eyes and small, quick-gesturing hands, is generally conceded to be the world’s greatest living authority on cats. Her career has been a remarkable experiment in specialization — outstanding even in this day of many specialists. She talks about cats as if they were friends and acquaintances. She discusses their personalities, their faults and virtues in as matter-of-fact fashion as if she were talking about members of the so-called human race. But she never resorts to the maudlin type of baby talk which ruins so many bridge games at the homes of owners of pampered pets.
At shows throughout the United States and Canada, Mrs. Taylor has judged thousands of cats. She has even gone abroad to lend the prestige of her judgment to cat shows in London and Paris. Last year show officials at Sidney [sic], Australia, offered to postpone the opening of their exposition until Mrs. Taylor could be present to help decide which of their fancy felines deserved pretty blue ribbons. But Australia, Mrs. Taylor decided, is just a bit too far away.
From one to four cats are Mrs. Taylor’s constant companions in her attractive Detroit apartment. Never more than four because Mrs. Taylor has a habit of making presents of her pets to admiring friends. In addition to these living felines, however, there are dozens of cats in effigy. Cats in amber, china, porcelain, bronze, glass, jade and silver. Most of these are presents from cat lovers all over the world. Many of them came from people Mrs. Taylor has never seen, and some are real works of art. They range in style from the simplest feline portrait bust in the academic manner to the most modernistic of emaciated alley cats in Nymphenburg porcelain from Germany.
Mrs. Taylor’s apartment is also her office. There she edits The Cat Courier, a monthly publication which is the official “cat-alogue” of the United States and has subscribers in every part of the civilized world. Her correspondence about cats is heavy enough to make the most patient mailman complain. Cat owners from all over the world write to her constantly for advice and guidance in the rearing and showing of their pets. Frequently Mrs. Taylor is asked to settle difficult problems in cat geneology, for she has intimate knowledge of the pedigrees of hundreds of cats and can tell you from memory just who were the ancestors of all the reigning cat beauties, male and female.
Almost invariably, according to Mrs. Taylor, a cat will run true to its breeding. Prize winners usually produce prize winners, and by careful selection, faults can be eliminated and good points strengthened. Once in a while, however, just as in human families, ordinary cats will produce a prize feline. And aristocratic cat parents of the best lineage will produce a scion without any of the points that go to make a good show animal.
In judging cats, every breed and variety has its own standard of perfection. With the exception of color, the points of a Persians are the same. For example, a blue Persian should be judged and credited in this fashion:
Color: The lighter the shade of blue the better, 25 points;
Condition of Coat: Gloss, length and thickness of fur, 25 points;
Tail: Long and bushy. 20 points;
Head: Round and massive with a broad skull well set on a short neck, with ears round and set wide apart, nose short and broad, cheeks full and jaws strong, 20 points;
Eyes: Color (orange), shape and set, 10 points.
To be in the running for ribbons, a cat should be able to score 65 points, but of course much depends on the competition.
In the case of Siamese cats, the judging points differ sharply from all other breeds. The head of a Siamese prize winner should be wedge-shaped; the nose, long; the ears, sharply pointed, and the eyes a beautiful blue. The cheeks will be sunken. The mask, ears, tail and feet of a Siamese cat should deepen in color as the animal gets along in years. The kittens are almost pure white. After a few weeks, however, the color points appear in light buff, deepening in color and widening in area until the cat reaches maturity. The kinks or knots which cartoonists love to put in the tails of Siamese cats are not an essential to the breed. In fact they are not desirable. According to Mrs. Taylor, these kinks probably are the result of long in-breeding.
Mrs. Taylor’s interest in cats began when she was a 10-year-old girl living in Campbellford, Ontario. Her father had given her a small black Persian kitten, and when she entered it in an important Montreal cat show it took first prize. Thereafter, cats became her absorbing study. The family moved to New York state and the girl continued her hobby. While still in her early teens she attended a cat show in Rochester and there a group of women overheard her making an intelligent criticism of the judging. They happened to be among the promoters of a large show to be held in Madison Square Garden and, after talking to the girl enough to be convinced of her unusual knowledge of feline lore, invited her to be among the judges. It was an unusual opportunity for one so young, but the girl established a reputation at once and soon she was in demand at shows all over the country.
“I judge thousands of cats every year,” says Mrs. Taylor, “and I have never once been scratched. I have been successful in my work, but I have failed in one thing — a failure which I share with many other real cat lovers. I have failed to put the common, short-haired, domestic cat in the place which I believe it deserves in the affections of the public. Given the same care that is bestowed on the fancy breeds, the short-haired domestic is just as beautiful, and many authorities believe has greater intelligence than its more exotic cousins. No less an authority than the late Harrison Weir, who put on the first cat show at the Crystal palace in London in 1871, believed that the short-haired cat has superior intelligence. Abyssinian, Australian, Manx cats, white, blue, cream and black Persians — all these varieties have their enthusiasts, but the short-haired domestic cat is neglected so far as any attention to breeding is concerned.
"It is true that for the past few years I have kept only Siamese as pets. This is because of their unusual intelligence, and also perhaps because they are difficult to rear in this country and I want to encourage this fascinating breed which is still rare in America. Not that they are common in any part of the world. Even in Siam they are not common cats in any sense of the word. They are literally royal palace cats, being owned only by persons of consequence and being still made use of to some extent in temple ceremonies. Like all hothouse things they are very delicate and it is difficult to bring them to maturity when they are transplanted. They are more affectionate than most other varieties, being as faithful as dogs. Unlike other cats, too, they do not dislike water, but seem to enjoy their baths. A friend of mine owns a Siamese that dives for fish from a pier at their summer home.
“But I love all varieties, each for its own particular charm. A study of cats leads inevitably to a study of history and literature generally. No other animal has ever had a career so varied by extremes of honor and persecution. The word for cat is almost the same in every language. There were cats in Egypt 5000 years before Christ. Here they were honored as sacred animals, but they were not so exalted as to be denied the simple, affectionate companionship of humans. They were made useful and were trained for hunting. We think of cats as belonging to China, but they were unknown there after the Christian era. Mosaics show that there were cats in Italy at a much earlier date. And they were not domesticated in France and Italy until the ninth century. The Middle Ages in Europe were a sad time for cats as they were for many humans despite the glamour of historical distance. Cats were regarded as unclean, as devils, as witches and the familiars of witches, and were treated accordingly. It is no wonder that cats sometimes seem to bestow their friendship cautiously.
“Up to a comparatively short time ago the belief persisted that domestic cats were merely a civilized version of the various wild animals that go under the general heading of wild cats. This idea is utterly without foundation. Our domestic cats are a distinct breed of animals. I cannot say with authority where the first cat came from any more than I can tell why the true Manx cat has no tail and short front legs; or why the Abyssinian cat is small with brown and white or black and white pepper and salt fur, short and thick like car plush.”
Most people know surprisingly little about the various breeds and varieties of cats. “Angora,” for instance, is a word that most people have heard frequently from childhood, but to most persons it indicates little more than an exceedingly valuable, honey-colored animal with ridiculously longhaired fur. As a matter of fact, Angoras come in colors as varied as Joseph’s famed coat, including black, slate, blue, white, fawn, red and mottled gray. Black Angoras and the dark slate-colored ones should have orange eyes, and they, with the blues and white, being the least numerous of all, are the most valued. The Angora cat comes from the province of Angora in western Asia and is a close relative of the Persian cat. It is difficult for the amateur to distinguish between the two. The head of the Persian is larger, however, its ears are less pointed, and its tail is longer. The colors of the Persian are white, black, blue, chinchilla and smoke.
Short-haired cats are of many varieties, due chiefly to their various colors. Often, however, deep-seated characteristics correspond in cats of certain colors. The tabby is the most common representative of the short-haired type and is known as the red tabby, blue or silver tabby, the spotted tabby and the brown. The Manx cat differs from the ordinary cat in being tailless, or nearly so, and in having short forelegs. Practically all feline authorities agree that they are freaks of nature, resulting from long inbreeding on the Isle of Man, the original home of the breed.
“It is true that cats as a race have had a most uneven career,” Mrs. Taylor admits. “But remember, they have always been the companions of genius. Shakespeare alone of the great ones appears to have disliked cats. They fascinated Poe, as his writings prove, and he must have loved and studied them to understand so well their value as macabre atmosphere creators. Cardinal Richelieu, Chateaubriand, Victor Hugo — all had favorite cats for pets; Oscar Wilde wrote one of his finest poems, The Sphinx, to a cat. Dr. Johnson had his favorite cat, Hodge, which he fed oysters.
“This does not mean that oysters are necessarily toe ideal diet for cats, though they probably agreed with Hodge. Dr. Johnson would have had a robust cat, we may be sure. Cats, even of the same breed, are like humans. They are individualists in the matter of food. What is good for one cat is not always good for another. Only one rule should be remembered — milk is not the natural food for cats, and too much milk is invariably bad for them. And over-feeding is as bad for a cat as for a dog."
Incidentally, Mrs. Taylor’s pair of Siamese cats have their own private bathroom, but she does not say whether this is a prerogative insisted upon by herself or by her royal pair of pets.
DETROIT PERSIAN SOCIETY - The Cat Gazette (1937)
The April meeting: of the Detroit Persian Society was held April 3 at the Hotel Detroiter with 26 members and two guests present. Two new members were voted into the club. Mrs. Mary B. Warfel wrote the society that she will be happy to judge the Detroit cat show in December. - H. B. Zieses, Sec’y.
ANOTHER NEW CLUB - The Cat Gazette (1937)
Another club was organized in Toledo, O., on March 20, 1937. It is to be known as the Northwestern Ohio Cat Club. The first meeting was held at the home of Mrs. Ray Nenzer and the following officers were elected: Mrs. W. B. Habbeler, president; Mrs. C. Baumberger, first vice-president; Mr. Otis Quigley, second vice-president; Mrs. Ray Nenzer corresponding secretary; Mrs. Agnes King, treasurer and Mrs. Otis Quigley, recording secretary.
CLEVELAND CAT FANCIERS - The Cat Gazette (1937)
The Cleveland Cat Fanciers Club met at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Klabuhn on Saturday evening, April 10. Mr. Hall, first vice-president, presided in the absence of Mrs. Olive Nott, president. After the usual routine of business, the report of the annual meeting of members of the Cat Fanciers Association was read and discussed. Much consideration was given to the choice of a judge for their early November show, who will be announced later. Mrs. Myers and Mrs. Paul Becker were accepted into membership, also three out of town breeders. After the club's adjournment, the members enjoyed a scrumptious repast and it was generally agreed that Mrs. Klabuhn was the perfect hostess. The next meeting will be held at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Woodruff on May 8. - Mrs. W. Limpert, Sec’y
Mrs. James L. Bryne of Bowdoin avenue, Dorchester, is one of the many Boston women who go to New York next week to attend the eat show. Mrs. Bryne has four prize pets to be entered, and she is confident they will return with additional honors.