REPORTS FROM EARLY BRITISH CAT SHOWS (UP TO 1871)
These are reports of the early British cat shows that I've collected from various newspapers and show catalogues. The earliest reports reflect the novelty of cat shows and describe only a few of the entrants.
1860s - WHETTING THE PUBLIC APPETITE FOR CAT SHOWS
All London has been going to the dogs this week, and a very fine show of these animals it was [. . .] I presume a cat show will be the next novelty. - Stirling Observer, 4th June 1863
On Saturday an exhibition of rather a novel character, in Ireland at least, was inaugurated in Dublin. The rage for shows of all kinds has now extended even to the canine race, and the first great Irish Dog Show, which, we presume, will be followed by others annually was commenced on Saturday, in the Rotundo Gardens [. . .] having come already to dogs, it certainly would not a very great stride if, at no distant period, we saw a great national cat show formally opened under the gracious and always readily accorded patronage of his Excellency. - Drogheda Argus and Leinster, 2nd April 1864
THE BIRDS’ NEST BAZAAR . Yesterday the annual bazaar, in aid of the Birds’ Nest Institution, York street, Kingstown, took pace under canvas, in the De Vesci Gardens, Monkstown. [. . .] Mention cannot be omitted to be made of a batch of kittens, attracting great attention, and presenting, probably, the first instance on record of a "cat show,” which, on an extensive scale, would doubtless present many beauties of interest quite as worthy a " dog show.” - Dublin Daily Express, 16th June 1864
SHOW AT THE AGRICULTURAL HALL. There is serious talk of a forthcoming “cat show." When, a week or two since, while noticing the “Donkey Show, I jokingly suggested such an exhibition, I little imagined how soon it would be my duty to record that such an exhibition was on the lapis. Apropos of “puss” and the dearth of news, a daily contemporary during the week contained a paragraph about two spinsters m America who, since the war broke out, have bred from one pair of cats 440 kittens, all of which, with their parents, are still living under the same roof, and doing well. - Gravesend Reporter, North Kent and South Essex Advertiser, 3rd September 1864
SHOW AT THE AGRICULTURAL HALL. The prediction contained in the words of the poet, "The cat will mew, the dog will have his day;' has been but partly fulfilled since the above huge Hall first rose in the once rural village of Islington. The slumbers of respectable householders in the Liverpool-road and the High-street have been frequently interrupted by the " honest watch dog's bark," or the deep bay of the bloodhound; but, as yet, the plaintive tones of feline pets in a cat show have not startled the neighbourhood. - The Era, 4th August 1864
AN EXHIBITION OF FELINE.—We have had a donkey show, and now we are to have a cat show! All we can say is that we trust the exhibition will be held at Islington, which is a distant district, for any nearer locale would be indeed a cat-astrophe. It is purposed—we beg pardon, purr-pussed-to present wedding-rings to the proprietresses of the successful com-pet-itors, as it is presumed that most of the exhibitors will be unmarried ladies. - Usk Observer, Raglan Herald, and Monmouthshire Central Advertiser, 17th September 1864
[The Crystal Palace, Sydenham] Nor must we forget the great “National Dog Show "-though as to the dogs perhaps the less we say about them the better- and the extremely rare "Cat Show," containing "the living cherry-coloured cat, which served to teach visitors what they did not seem to know before - namely, that cherries are not always red. - Caledonian Mercury, 9th July 1866
The annual fete in aid of the funds of the Royal Dramatic College, took place on Saturday and Monday, at the Crystal Palace. [. . .] One of the best things in the fair was "Mr R. Phillips's astounding and extremely rare cat show." On the walls inside were some very clever sketches illustrative of "catsup"—a cat sitting on a mushroom ; catalogue —two cats rolling log; and other words of which " cat " forms part. The exhibitor pledged himself to produce a " cherry coloured cat," and redeemed his pledge by introducing a black cat, whose coat he showed you was of the same tint as black cherries, which he held in his hand. - Newcastle Guardian and Tyne Mercury,14th July 1866
A CAT SHOW. Birmingham Daily Post , 10th December 1866
To the EDITOR of the DAILY POST. Sir,-The Dog Show has been a great success. I am told there are fifty-one varieties of the cat (proper) tribe, and as there are many of the most amiable ladies who would be glad to exhibit their feline pets, I would suggest there be a show next year. There can be little difficulty in carrying this suggestion out, and I venture to say variety, colour, size, and distinction would not only form an interesting exhibition, but raise "poor puss " to her proper standard of value, Yours most respectfully,- TABBY.
THE CAT SHOW AND THE SAUSAGE MAKERS. The sausage makers will, we doubt not, attend in numbers the Cat Show which is advertised to be held on Thursday (to-day). They may not like cat themselves, but they know very well, like the pieman in “Pickwick," that other men do, and on Thursday they will have the best opportunity that has ever been yet afforded to them of comparing the different kinds of cats and observing which is best fitted for the table. Let them beware of long-haired cats. A long-haired cat is never good eating, and for our part we don't like to see a Manx cat upon the dinner-table ; it looks so like a rabbit. The wild cat of Scotland (felis catus) has always been a favourite with epicures, but we do not counsel the trade to make any large investment in this species. Removed from his native wilds, the felts catus soon loses its flavour which is so much admired, and as cats' flesh does not keep well, it is very difficult to get the meat of this peculiar variety in anything like perfection in London. We are unable to speak of the "Siamese cat" from a culinary point view. The cats of Aleppo and Persia we can with safety recommend, but they require very careful cookery. For our part we have never found anything to equal the ordinary British domestic cat. However, cat breeders and cat butchers will have ample opportunities on Thursday of comparing our own cats with those of foreign countries. But we must not "goak,” we suppose there people who take a serious view of a cat show. —Echo. - Dundee Courier, Thursday 13th July 1871
[1869 Show] Southey mentions that the first settlers in Brazil paid $1,500 for a cat, and for kittens their weight in gold-dust. An offer of $2,500 for a Persian cat at the Sydenham Cat Show in 1869 was refused. – Cambria Freeman, December 21, 1894.
1871 FIRST (JULY) CRYSTAL PALACE CAT SHOW
WE ARE PLEASED TO SEE that something is to be done in honor of the cat. At the Crystal Palace, London in July, there is to be a cat show, and it is to be hoped that something will be said and written and done to illustrate the good qualities of that amiable, but impulsive quadruped. Volumes have been written about dogs, and their virtues and noble exploits have been the subject of glowing eulogy, and more than a thousand and one tales; but it has been the fate of poor pussy to have only her faults and weaknesses dwelt upon. She is a favorite mark for slander, this “harmless, necessary cat," and we are told that she is treacherous and spiteful, malicious and wicked, in short, everything that is bad. Now, let any one call to mind the gentle tabbies of his own acquaintance, and he will see at once that this is “very slander.” The impulsiveness of her temper makes her liable to many faultes, but who does not know that with such a disposition go many good and gentle traits. - The New York Times, June 11, 1871
THE CAT SHOW is to be held on Thursday next. It will be the first ever held. The entries closed on Saturday, and it is now known that [there] will be nearly 150 cages, containing selected examples of fine and curious animals. There will be one live wild cat of Scotland (Felis catus), exhibited by the Duke of Sutherland, and two stuffed specimens of the same variety sent by Mr. F. Buckland. The Hon, Mrs Grey contributes an imported Persian cat, of rare pedigree, besides which there will be many Persian cats of several colors, Angora, Aleppo, and other foreign sorts, including one of great rarity from Siam. Lady Lubbock sends a beautiful long-haired creature in this class. There will be several of the tailless Manx cats, and many displaying curiosities of natural development and colour, some weighing as many as 18 and 20lbs pounds, and one tortoiseshell tom. - The Times, 10th July 1871
THE CAT SHOW, Daily Telegraph & Courier (London), Thursday 13th July 1871
“Pussy-cat, Pussy cat, where have you been ?" will be the question put to poor puss on many a hearthrug, many a shop-board, many a sunny shop-window, on velvet cushions and on dining-room chairs, to the aristocratic and the humble Puss, with soft caressings behind the ear and with careful greetings in the neighbourhood of the front paw, when our cat comes back from the Crystal Palace. It is quite certain that Pussy-cat has been to London, and, if not to “see the Queen,” at any rate see the thousands her Majesty's subjects who delight in the cosy character of the cat. There is no need to ask Pussy-cat, “What did you there ?” There were no mice under the chair ; and if they had been turned on for the occasion, Puss would have only been able to glare at them from the comfortable cages provided for her lodging in the centre transept during the too brief period allotted for the famous Cat Show.
The truth must be told at once. The Cat Show only lasts for one day ; and those who are disposed to see the first show of cats had better hurry down to Sydenham as soon they read these lines. The affection of masters and mistresses for cats must be the excuse urged by; the Crystal Palace authorities for this too brief Cat festival. The cats themselves are strange to the cages. The masters and mistresses are determined not to live long without their cats. For the present all is well. The timid cats cower under the straw and tremble. The wild cats dash themselves against the bars and spit. The conceited cats pose themselves on the comfortable cushions provided for them by Mr. Wilson, of the Natural History Department, and roll themselves into delightful attitudes. The affectionate cats rub themselves against the bars and fascinate any passer-by. The sulky cats refuse to be patted, or stroked, or scratched, or coaxed, and merely make themselves ridiculously stiff, For a day or two all is well. But when the British public comes in with sticks and umbrellas a very different tale might be told. The British public, loud of voice and frantic of gesticulation, might frighten puss sedate, puss affectionate, puss conceited, or puss sulky into a fit, and make puss so wild that no cag would hold her, or no Mr. Wilson would soothe her into repose. This is for the best, therefore, however unfortunate, that the great Cat Show only lasts a day. The first Cat Show ought in every way to be a success ; and the best method of bringing these cats to Sydenham next year is to consult puss and her owners at the expense of the public.
There are rare cats to seen caged in the Centre Transept of the Crystal Palace. There is no doubt about that. Some astonishment will be expressed, perhaps, that so many fine cats are passed over. Put there is one law which shuts out the very finest fellows ; “None but male and female cats can enter for competition in the classes, save Class 25.” This canon, to which the judges have adhered sensibly and rigidly, excludes the bravest, the furriest, the noblest, the most knowing, and the most scratchable cats in the show. But they have been entered under cats male or cats female, and the judges, with regret, can only pass them over with an extra prize occasionally, but nothing more. Had not this rule been in force, what could have prevented Lady Lubbock’s noble English cat from carrying off a blue ribbon, have shut out the Hon. Mrs. Grey’s exquisitely marked and noble fellow from Class No. 1 ? Surely nothing.
The admirers of quaint cats have before them an afternoon of unmixed pleasure. Here is, of course, the Duke of Sutherland’s wild cat, bristling with passion - not all the kind of animal anyone would like to meet on a dark night — who gathers himself up in comer of his cage, and glares at the public with his wrinkled yellow face, occasionally making a fierce dash against the bars of the cage, beating his head in an ungovernable fury. Mr. Wilson drops discreetly the wild cat’s food through a hole in the top of the cage, and the den is double-barred. Here may be found the Siamese cat, a soft fawn-coloured creature, with jet-black legs—an unnatural, nightmare kind of cat. Here is the Crimean cat—an ordinary-looking tortoiseshell, playing, English-fashion, with some charming kittens. Here is the extraordinary cat with seven claws – a strange monstrosity which has already attracted the serious attention of Mr. Darwin — particularly when fact must be recorded that the seven-clawed cat is the mother of seven-clawed kittens, and there no knowing when the wealth of claws will ultimately end. Here will found also the cat with the odd eyes—not strange eyes, but eyes of different colours—one green and one grey, giving a quaint and unusual appearance to Mistress Puss. A little distance off may be seen white cat with four milk white kittens—a clever freak of nature, which will interest the sentimental old ladies. For our own part, we should like to call attention to the noble old mahogany English tabby, weighing 21and three quarter lbs, who has carried off the weight prize—a splendid sleepy fellow, made for a warm hearthrug on a bitter cold winter’s night when the red curtains are drawn and the kettle sings on the hob ; to the beautiful blue eyed, long-haired, white cat (also a first-prize animal), who suffers from the misfortune of perpetual deafness, in common with all cerulean eyed cats ; to the famous Blue Tabby, called “Old Lady," not for competition, of course, because exhibited Mr. Harrison Weir, but an exquisitely pencilled specimen, and well worth attention ; to the bold, well-fed, refreshment counter cat of the Crystal Palace, and to the famous Gaiety Theatre cat, who is, great at attitudinising. Here are Manx cats also—uncomfortable cats without tails, who sit down discreetly, apparently ashamed of their peculiarity.
The sorrow which George Wither, poet and gentleman, bid be hanged, and the care which, according to the same authority, will “kill a cat,” in spite of its nine lives, are not likely to interfere with the success of the Oat Show. There is no caterwauling whatever, Hamlet’s dictum is, as far as the show is concerned, altogether wrong. The dog certainly has his day, and makes a terrible noise ; but the cat will do anything but mew at the Crystal Palace. There never surely was such a noiseless show. Dogs, canaries, parrots, cockatoos, poultry, all give tongue, but the cats behave themselves with the greatest propriety. Let us take this opportunity of assuring anxious friends how well poor puss is cared for. Straw to curl in, cushions to loll upon, milk to drink, and scraps of meat to eat,- what more can a cat require, except the coaxing, which will come when the public is admitted. The cats, to be sure, are fancifully attired. The soft, brown Sybarite can only rest on its own sky-blue cushion, bordered and decorated with knots of bright ribbon. We left a long-haired white Persian, who had completed his own toilette, licking with great care the blue neck-ribbon with which his kind mistress had decorated him, and which, with great ingenuity, he had managed to untie. It required all the vigilance the most active police-constables to keep out the enthusiastic spinsters from their pets. It was quite proper, of course, that masters and mistresses should be banished while the judging was going on. Their presence would seriously interfere with the awful and solemn proceeding. But one old lady — the owner three cats in the show — refused to be kept within any bounds. A policeman was told off to keep the worthy old lady in order ; but as soon as Policeman X turned his back for one instant, there she was at the cage, scratching and coaxing one of her darlings. Vain was it for her to cast piteously appealing glances at Policeman X. Good-naturedly but firmly he removed the worthy dame, and he must have done so a dozen times before the good creature was quite persuaded that her pussy-cat must sleep at Sydenham in a cage, and she miles away in a bed.
Congratulations, then, and worm ones, must be offered the promoters the first Crystal Palace Cat Show. Everything must have a beginning, and if next year a little fireside affection can be got over, we may see finer show of purely English domesticated cats. The rarer specimens could not be improved upon, but owners of fine English cats should not be afraid, either on account of their cats or their reputation, to exhibit. A prettier or more interesting show, as it is, has certainly never been seen, and we could have wished that it had been open, not for one day, but for many. The judges were the Rev. J. C. Macdona — the celebrated dog-owner — Mr. Jenner Weir, and Mr. Harrison Weir, the well-known naturalist and animal painter who from the first has taken the greatest interest in the exhibition, and will leave no stone unturned to improve the breed of, and create additional interest in, that delightful animal the cat of the domestic hearth.
THE CAT SHOW. Pall Mall Gazette - Friday 14 July 1871
The cats of England must be rather surprised at the sudden display of interest in them to be observed at present. For years they have been shot by gamekeepers, pelted with stones, worried by dogs, and annoyed in the most unjustifiable manner, until the directors of the Crystal Palace, moved no doubt by a sincere love of natural history, organize a cat show, and at once the cat is elevated to the same rank in the estimation of mankind as the memory of the poet Burns or Handel or any of those other memories or sentiments which periodically affect so profoundly all connected with the Crystal Palace. Nor can it be denied that there is a halo of romance about the cat which fully justifies an ebullition of feeling on its account. Its origin is wrapped in obscurity. No one knows whether the domestic cat is descended from the wild cat, or whether it is a modification of a mysterious animal, a favoured guest in the homes of the ancient Egyptians. That these people had something equivalent to a cat in their houses there can be no doubt, and that this creature bore a striking resemblance to the puss of modern days is proved by the representations of it on the monuments of Thebes and elsewhere. Moreover, Ruppel discovered in Nubia a species of cat (Felis mauiculata) supposed to be the descendant of the Egyptian domestic cat and the ancestor of our own. Leaving this question, however, for the College of Heralds to decide, we venture to express a hope that cats will, after this exhibition at the Crystal Palace, turn over a new leaf in some respects. Society has shown its readiness to pay them every honour; let them, on the other hand, be a little less hard on Society. It is not pleasant to be awakened out of our “first sleep” by noisy arguments and flirtations carried on beneath our windows or on the tops of our houses.
THE CAT SHOW AT THE CRYSTAL PALACE --Pall Mall Gazette, 14th July 1871
The day of the Great Cat Show at Sydenham has come and gone, and as complete a success has been made with this attempt to organize an entirely new kind of exhibition as any which the Crystal Palace authorities have hitherto achieved. The wild cat which was exhibited by the Duke of Sutherland was certainly the most remarkable specimen, and that to which the first prize was granted by the judges. Such questions as the probable origin of this animal and its identity of nature with the ordinary domestic cat belong to the naturalist, and need not be considered here. What we have to do with is the general appearance and characteristics of the beast, itself, taking its claim to be a genuine "wild cat” as granted. It is probably not too much to say that this is the most terrible creature - despite its small size and limited powers - that we know of. The puff adder, to which in its venomous hatred of all who come near it this wild beast bears not a little moral resemblance, alone approaches it in the suggestion of unceasing and unappeasable fury. It seemed, ns it showed in the recesses of its dark cage, to be the very incarnation of wickedness, and, as one would think, of misery. It was certainly a strange kind of creature to look at. It had fur of a tawny grey hue, with little or no marking on it. It has a sort of tuft in the middle of its back, which it seems able to depress or erect at will, and a tail which, unlike that of ordinary cats, docs not taper towards its termination, but increases in bulk, so that the end is the thickest part of it. It has immense and glaring eyes, a nose which is what we should call in a human subject retrousse and singularly defined and finished at the tip, while its ears - most expressive feature of all in animals - were depressed and crumpled to an extent which suggested a sullen persistence in malignity, which, in combination with the passionate fury of the eyes, were very terrible to see.
The other more remarkable specimens were the Siamese cats, fawn-coloured like pug-dogs, with black points, small, sleek, lively, and the tailless cats; a group from the Crimea, and one especially of the renowned Manx breed.
The idea of getting the cat-competition up originated with one of the judges, Mr. Harrison Weir; while the practical carrying out of the scheme was entrusted to Mr. F. W. Wilson, superintendent of the Natural History Department at the Crystal Palace, On Mr, Wilson devolved the somewhat arduous task of finding out (chiefly by advertisement) who were the possessors of cats which might be worth showing, and of combating their objections to part even for a couple of days with their favourites. The owners of cats of sufficient distinction to be deemed worthy of a place in the show were met with by Mr. Wilson in all classes of society. That fewer of such owners belonged to what we are pleased to call the inferior class than to that immediately above it may be attributable to the fact that the cat proprietors of humble life felt a diffidence in putting themselves forward in such a competition. There were ultimately cats representing every grade of society in the show at Sydenham; but the most curious and important revelation which the researches necessitated by the getting up of the cat show have been instrumental in bringing to light is, that we have all been greatly mistaken in imagining that the majority of cat-fanciers are to be found among spinsters and old ladies. With the dispelling of this chimera a vast number of standard jokes on the subject of tabbies and maiden ladies will be rendered pointless. This is unfortunate, but there is no help for it. Not more than a tenth of the contributors to the cat show were ladies.
A CAT SHOW. Cornubian and Redruth Times, 14th 14 July 1871
A cat show was held at the Crystal Palace, on Wednesday. Referring to this subject on Tuesday, the “Daily Telegraph” remarks :- People are apt think of the lion as the "great relation'' of the dog and of the tiger as the cat's chief representative in nature; but both the distinguished aristocrats of the forest are felidae, and have the manners and customs of their small domestic cousin. The lion plays with his prey in the same exquisitely cruel style, and the tiger, with similar ferocity, has the secret delicacy of temperament and scrupulous cleanliness. He licks himself clean many times in a day, and will almost rather be trodden by the hunter’s elephant than walk across the hot plain with his tender feet. These great cats, together with all the leopards, ounces, panthers, and jaguars, are apparently one family ; though it would puzzle Darwin to say from which the domestic tribe had descended. The likeliest progenitor appears to be the wild cat, a live specimen, which will be exhibited the Crystal Palace by the Duke of Sutherland. All the tiger lurks in this diminutive beast – the felis catus, which is hardly distinguishable from the tabby of many hearths except its yellowish grey face and bushy tail. It the last surviving relic perhaps of large pre-glacial carnivora—a spiteful fiery little Scotch fera, which one is warned in the old saw “not to touch, but with n glove.”
Then amateurs if the cat world will feast their eyes at Sydenham on a tortoiseshell tom cat—not so very rare, after all, as is imagined; and those old feline albinos, with pink or blue eyes, which are always deaf. The Angora cat, with long silky hair, the Chartreuse, coloured blue, and the Manx cat without a tail, will also be exhibited. The wild variety of America, famous in many a Yankee proverb, is no cat at all, but a variety of the Bay Lynx. But the Persian cat, which the merchants from Bushire sell in the streets of Bombay, is a true "tom,” and one of the most beautiful; while there is an exquisite ocellated or spotted cat resident in Senegal, which is a leopard in miniature, and as lovely as it is fierce.
THE CAT SHOW AT THE CRYSTAL PALACE. Birmingham Daily Post, 14th July 1871
We were favoured on Wednesday with a private view of the domesticated members of the feline race which are to be offered for public exhibition to-day at the Crystal Palace. Some people wax funny at the idea of a cat show; but from what we have seen we have little hesitation in prophesying that this, the first, will not be the last nor will it be by any means the least popular of the annual attractions at Sydenham. The animals are accommodated in roomy zinc-bottom cages, furnished with sawdust and scarlet cushions to repose upon at choice, and earthenware crocks for milk and water to drink from, and look as comfortable as pets of the household led into captivity well could or should. The cages were arranged lengthwise in two lines on breast high platforms in the nave, between the central transept and the tropical department. Over 150 specimens have been sent in, although the entrance fee is 3s. 6d., but then it must be recollected the directors of the Crystal Palace Company have held out the inducement of nigh £70 in prizes.
Mr. F. W. Wilson, the superintendent of the natural history department, has to a great extent been instrumental in collecting so large a congregation of cats, and heaps of difficulty he had in many instances to overcome the objections of fair ladies to part even temporarily with Pussy. To organise a dog or a donkey show is easy by comparison. The "exhibits" are divided into 25 classes, according to their sex, colour, breed, and the length of their hair. The ordinary black-and-white fellow, the noisy customer that is so common in coalholes, is in the minority - kept away through shame we suppose. We took a rapid run round the pens, and were both pleased and surprised at the admirable condition and extreme beauty of the majority of the animals submitted for inspection. We cannot say we are connoisseurs in cats, but we shall be very much mistaken if some we have jotted down in our note-book do not come in for honourable mention.
"The Old Lady" is a nice, loveable, blue tabby, of the advanced age of twelve years sent in by Mr. Harrison Weir, and that the artist values her is proved by the fast that he does not condescend to subject her to competition. No. 3 is a sprightly tortoiseshell Tom - the unique sample of the kind - but he is rather too largely admixed with white; 8 is portly and symmetrical; 14 has a fine greyish-blue skin, that would make a costly muff for a Viennese beauty; 18 is a superb negress ; 33 is a timorous beauty, with long white hair and beady eyes; 37 is plump and drowsy, with a musical purr - a sort of Dudu cat; 48 is a lynx-like darling, with a lamb-like disposition; and gives her velvet head, with its ornament of green ribbon and Valdai bell, good-naturedly to be patted; 52, in. a neat mole-skin jacket, has an air of subdued ferocity, of spirit rather; 53 (Lady Lubbock's favourite) is a sweet, long-haired creature, with large lustrous eyes ; 55 is matronly and ash-coloured, as if she had lived like Cinderella; 63 (Hon.Mrs. Grey's) is a Persian of ancient pedigree; there is a pretty, snow-white family group at 71; and 99 is happy in a fond mistress, as the gaudy tie round her arching neck establishes. The cages numbered from 110 are larger and mahogany-framed; they are allocated to the aristocracy of the tribe, those who have been artificially treated, and have attained to larger size. There are some huge cats here; 118 we should take to be one of the heaviest in the show; he ought to weigh over a stone and a half, and is likely to carry off the premium for bulk. It is remarkable that the short-haired weigh more than the long-haired animals. In cage 110 there is a sleepy-eyed prisoner from “the delighful province of the Sun," which is valued at one hundred guineas - a dainty. delicate, affectionate prince of Grimalkins he looks, coiled on his blue bed of down. Number 113 has a black moustache perfectly defined ; but we fear to excite jealousies if we persevere with our catalogue.
Each animal has its own good point, and the good points of all are varied; here a satin coat, there one like the shawl goat of Tibet, now a form as supple as a panther's, beside it a richness of colour in red or yellow, black or grey, to turn an artist envious ; and a little farther on an evenness and delicacy of marking to rival the zebra or the leopard. On one side, between the statues of the Meleager of the Vatican and the Apollo of Capua, and close by his cousin-germans the Indian forest tigers, stuffed by Henry Ward, is caged the wild cat caught on the Duke of Sutherland’s estates. A savage "varmint" it is even still, and frets against its bars, or moves uneasily about like the lion Androcles physicked, holding up its wounded paw, a joint of which has been snapped off in the trap.
The Manx cats, with their stumpy tails, are as funny as the pair from Siam, shown by Mr. Maxwell, are singular and elegant in their smooth skins and ears tipped with ebon, and blue eyes with red pupils. We observed some empty cages which we presumed had been prematurely occupied by Kilkenny cats, until essured to the contrary by Mr. Shenton, the superintersdent of the literary department, who was at his post, courteous as usual.
THE CAT SHOW AT THE CRYSTAL PALACE Norfolk News, 15th July 1871
The fine weather, and the unusually interesting nature of the show to ladies, caused very large influx of feminine visitors at the Crystal Palace on Thursday morning, and the hall appropriated to the grimalkin tribe was so crowded that could scarcely get a sight of the domestic animals at all. The cats were placed in zinc-bottom cages, .with sawdust and scarlet cushions to repose upon. There were about 150 specimens of the feline tribe - enough to satisfy the most ardent admirer of the species - divided into 25 classes, comprising examples of nearly all the known varieties of Eastern and other Domestic cats, as well as a remarkable collection of British specimens, exhibited for their beauty of colour, form, weight, and condition. The Duke of Sutherland was the only exhibitor of a wild cat. This was caught on his Scotch estates a short time ago, and a joint of one of its paws was snapped off in the trap. Mr. F. Buckland also sent two stuffed specimens of the same variety. There were several tailless Manx cats and many displaying curiosities of natural development, some weighing as much as 18 and 20 lbs. - V A few specimens from Angora, Aleppo, and other foreign parts were exhibited, including one of great rarity from Siam. A beautiful long-haired creature was sent by Lady Lubbock, and one brown tabby, of a very ordinary appearance, had a notice on the cage to the effect that it was valued by its owner at 100 guineas! [Note – the owner put a prohibitive price in order not to sell] About £70 was awarded in prizes. The following were among the principal prizes given:-
Brown tabby.--1st prize, £1 10s.,Mrs. Singer.
Red tabby.—1st prize, £1 10s., Mr. James Eowley.
Longhaired white.—1st prize, £1 10s.,Mrs E. Fogerty.
Shorthaired white.—1st prize, £1 10s.,Mr. John Laing.
Longhaired any other colour. —1st prize, £1 10s.,Mr. T. Johnson.
Black.—1st prize, £1 10s., Mrs. Frances Mary Forstell
Black and white.—1st prize, £1 10s.,Mr. James Edbrook.
Any other variety.—1st prize, £1 10s.,, wild cat, his Groce the Duke of Sutherland; extra 1st prize, Persian, Miss E. D’Oyly.
Tortoiseshell—1st prize, £1 10s.,Mrs. Forehall
Tortoiseshell and White.—1st prize, £1 10s.,Mr. Elliot.
Brown Tabby- 1st prize £1 10s.,Mr. Rawlings
Black and White.- 1st prize £1 10s., Mr. Gessey.
Black. – 1st prize £1 10s.,Mr Barber.
Short-haired White – 1st prize £1 10s., Mr. Harris
Long-haired any other colour.—1st prize £1 10s.,Mr. Mushett.
Manx Cats.-1st prize, £1 10s., Mrs Alabaster.
For the Largest Cat of either sex to be judged by weight – 1st prize £1 10s., Miss Amos.
CRYSTAL PALACE CAT SHOW. Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle, 15th July 1871
The experiment tried on Thursday last at the Crystal Palace proved so successful that the directors will do wisely to make another attempt in the same direction as speedily as possible. The interest felt by the public in the show — the first of its kind that has come under our notice — was proved by the dense crowds that surrounded the comfortable cages provided for the pusseys, and had the affair been more widely known the entries would certainly have been very much more extensive. Now that people have learnt how well their pets are cared for, it may safely be anticipated that the next time the Crystal Palace Company advertise a cat show entries will pour in. As a whole, the state of the cats exhibited on Friday was not very high. There were, however, a few notable exceptions. Complaints as to the judges’ decisions were few. The only one we heard was on behalf of No. 2 in the “Long haired any other colour class.” We repeat that the experiment was a successful one, and the management will do well to repeat it, perhaps on a larger scale. The following is a list of the judges’ awards:-
CLASS l.- Tortoiseshell: Colour to be red, yellow, and black; no white. No entry.
CLASS 2.— Tortoiseshell and White: Colour to be red, yellow, black and white. First prize £1 10s, withheld; second £1, No 3, Mrs Lydia Cousins. No. 1 not a decided tortoiseshell.
CLASS 3.— Brown Tabby: Colour to be rich brown, striped, and marked with black; no white. First prize £1 10s, No. 13, Mrs Singer; second 15s, No. 12, Mrs Euphemia Wedgwood. Entered in wrong class; Special prize, first No. 8 Mr J. Rowley; second, No. 7, Mr R. Hilton.
CLASS 4.— Blue Tabby: Colour to be blue gray, striped, and marked with black; no white. Entered in wrong class: Special prize, first No. 14, Mr Arthur Butcher.
CLASS 5.— Black: Colour to be entirely black. First prize £1 10s, No 19, Mrs Frances Mary Forstall
CLASS 6.— Black and White: Colour — black evenly marked with white. First prize No. 22 £1 10s, Mr J. Edbrook; second 15s, No. 21, Mr J. Edbrook; third 10s, No. 24, Mrs Sleigh.
CLASS 7.— Spotted Tabby: Any brown, blue, or light or dark gray, richly spotted; no white. No entry.
CLASS 8.— Long-haired White: Colour to be entirely white. First prize £1 10s, No. 89, Mrs E. Fogerty; second 15s, No. 29, Mrs Jackson; third 10s, No. 54, Mrs Elisa Pratt. A very good class. Highly commended, No. 34a; commended, No. 28.
CLASS 9.— Short-haired White: Colour to be entirely white. First prize £1 10s, No. 43, Mr J. Laing; second 15s, No. 41, Miss Ford. Wrong class. Special Prize, 1st, No. 37, Mrs L Macquire.
CLASS 10.— Long-haired any other colour: Colour—any colour. First prize £1 10s, No 65a, Mr T. Johnson; second £1, No. 61, Mr H. Aste; third 15s, No. 46, Miss Keen. Commended, No. 47. Wrong class. Special prize,2d, No. 52, Mr J. H. Sims. Special commended, No. 48.
CLASS 11.— Red Tabby: Colour to be red or sandy. First prize £1 10s, No. 56a, Mr J. Rowley.
CLASS 12.— Any other variety, such as Manx, etc. First prize £l 10s, No. 59, wild cat, his Grace the Duke of Sutherland; extra first prize. No. 67, Persian, Miss E. D'Oyley; second prize £1, No. 69c, Manx, Mr P. Williams; extra second prize. No. 63, Persian, the Hon Mrs Gray; third prize 15s, No. 66, Manx, Mrs Dickenson. Special commended. No. 64, English, Mr E. Wright.
CLASS 13.— Tortoiseshell: Colour to be red, yellow, and black, no white. First prize £1 10s, No. 71, Mrs Forchall; second 15s, No. 70, Mr Bailey.
CLASS 14.— Tortoiseshell and White: Colour to be red, yellow, black, and white. First prize £1 10s, No. 79 Mr Elliott; second 15s, No. 77, Mr Cox; third 10s, 79a, Mr Shakespear. Highly commended, No. 76.
CLASS 15. — Brown Tabby: Colour to be rich brown, striped, and marked with black, no white. First prize £1 10s, No. 80, Mr Rawlings.
CLASS 17. — Black: Colour to be entirely black. First prize £1 10s, No. 87, Mr Barber; second 15s, No. 84, Mr Stubbings; third 10s, No. 86, Mr Sweet. Highly commanded. No. 83.
CLASS 18. — Black and White: Colour to be black, evenly marked with white. First prize £1 10s, No. 88, Mr Gessey; second 15s, No. 18, Mr Braddon.
CLASS 21. — Short-haired White: Colour to be entirely white. First prize £1 10s, No.99, Mr Harris; second 15s, No. 99a, Mr Heys.
CLASS 22. — Longhaired any other colour: Colour, any colour.
First prize £1 10s, No. 101; Mr Mushett; second 15s, No. 109b, Mr Watman; third 10s, No. 102, Mr Lloyd.
CLASS 24. — Any other variety, such as Manx, etc. — First prize £1 10s, No. 109, Mrs Alabaster; second £1, No. 108, Mrs Maywell; third 10s, No. 109c, Mr Williams. Highly commended, No. 109b, commended. No. 109.
CLASS 25. — For the largest cat of any sex, to be judged by weight. First prize £1 10s, No. 118. Miss Amos; extra. No. 134, Mr J. Lightfoot; second. No. 123, Mrs Tyler; extra, No. 129, Mr Nash; extra. No. 138, Mr Hall; extra. No. 110, Miss Thatcher; third, No. 116, Mr Roberts; extra. No. 120, Mr Rose. Highly commended, Nos. 124, 143, 145; commended. No. 147.
Judges : Rev J. C. Macdona; J.J. Weir, Esq. F.L.S.; H. Weir, Esq. F.R.H S.
THE CAT SHOW AT THE CRYSTAL PALACE. Morning Advertiser, 15th July 1871
Even in England, the paradise of domestic animals, the lot of the cat is not always cast in pleasant places. She is sometimes hunted about, starved, beaten, worried by that superior creature the dog, and persecuted by the still more superior animal, man. It is not so many years ago that the skinning of living cats was one of the means employed for gaining the dishonest penny, and many persons will remember that a ghastly, quivering heap of these four-footed outcasts, as innocent of fur as a defunct Ostend rabbit in an East-end shop-window, was found, more than once, down in the dark arches by the “A-del-phee.” That pleasant occupation is, we must hope, no longer followed by any London savage ; and it is some comfort to think that poor puss is allowed to retain her fur until natural or a violent death has put the seal upon her short and harmless life. The flaying alive of a cat was supposed to ensure the remaining of the gloss upon the fur, and this superstition led many brutes in human form to attempt a rough and ready surgical operation that must have been attended with considerable risk. The law of compensation, or, at all events, retribution, must have been defective, otherwise poisonous bites and scratches would have done more sternly repressive work than the Humane Society ; but we must be content to believe such atrocities have had their day, and that one form, at least, of horrible cruelty has died out amongst us.
Although some have to pass their brief existence in a state of utter neglect, and are subject to incessant ill-usage, there are many, and perhaps more, free to bask and blink in the metaphorical clover, from “kittenhood” to feline old age. The cat is capable of strong attachment to persons or places. She will watch for the home-coming master of the house, and rub herself against him in an ecstasy of affection. She will purr him a welcome louder than the much-quoted song of the kettle on the hob ; and she will turn her claws under her velvety paws, so that no harm may come to the chubby arms and hands of too demonstrative infancy. She will assist playful juveniles in reducing a carefully-wound ball of silk or cotton to a hopeless tangle, and will demolish fish-bones that would produce intense fright and partial suffocation in frail humanity.
A Cat Show is “happy thought," and something more than a concession to maids young and old, wives of all ages, and widows who laugh census papers to scorn. The weaker vessels are not alone in their admiration of the cat. A man cannot go partridge-shooting with our gentle friend of the long claws and whiskers, but he can appreciate docility and faithfulness in the lower rank of animal life. This may account for there being by no means that preponderance of ladies which might have been expected in the attendance at the Crystal Palace on Thursday, the day of the Cat Show. The exhibition was a success beyond all expectation, indeed, a handbill stating that a second show would be held “later in the year,” was printed and circulated in the Palace. All the arrangements were under the control of Mr. F. M. Wilson, the superintendent of the Natural History department; and neither this gentleman nor any other, perhaps, connected with the Palace, could have prevented the crowding and pushing that went on all the afternoon.
The cats, all in cages, were ranged in two lines down the northern nave, and the struggle to see them was quite as exciting, and to some quite as hopeless, as it is to view the roses on a flower-show day. Sometimes an ecstatic but bulky old lady would take up her position in front of particular cage and stop the stream as effectually as a lock-gate does a river flood. Entreaties from those pressed and jammed as tightly as sardines, and commands from the police were lost upon these venerable obstructives ; but neither they nor their victims lost their temper, and that was creditable, especially on the part of the victims. As for the cats themselves, their utter indifference to the turmoil in front of them was most amusing. Some of them sprawled luxuriously on their red cushions, and every now and then gave some sign of life by raising their wise-looking heads, winking deliberately two or three times, expanding and contracting their talons after the contemplative feline manner, and indulging in a stare of what seemed to be much like calm contempt. Many fine, sleek, old fellows had coiled themselves up as if tired of the whole proceeding ; and some having suffered themselves to be roused into mild action, rose slowly to their four feet, took a long stretch, indulged in a prolonged yawn, and then looked round at the people in a languid but most comical manner, as if they trusted these little performances were satisfactory. Most of the cats looked as solemn and sententious as the Arundel owls - and as for any of those vocal exhibitions which disturb light sleepers there was nothing of the kind to be heard. The behaviour of the tabbies, tortoiseshells, Manxs, and others was sedate and exemplary, and mewing seemed prohibited by general arrangement.
Among so many animals of value as regards size and colour it is impossible to notice all that may fairly claim that amount of attention, and to quote a few of the most notable examples of feline beauty is all that can be clone. The list of first prizes are subjoined, and from this it may be gathered that the show was a remarkably fine one. Miss Keene’s long-haired Persian, a splendidly formed cat of a dun colour, was much admired, and so was a black Persian, also in class 10, exhibited by Mr. Aste. Mrs. Jackson's long-haired white cat, and a superb yellow-haired Angora, numbered 126, in class 25, were two favourites. No 112 in this class, a blue tabby, was, for shape, certainly as fine a cat as any in the exhibition. An English “sandy,” No. 128, and No. 110, “the heaviest cat in the show,” attracted a great deal of attention. This champion of the heavy weights was tabby, and weighed twenty-one pounds and three-quarters.
As a matter of course in an exhibition on such a large scale there would be some animals interesting either from association or from some peculiarity of breed. These may be called the eccentricities of the show. A notice affixed to the cage of a large black English cat explained that the animal was the property of the late Lord Palmerston. Mr. Tanner, of Hanwell, exhibited this relic of the statesman's home. Another item of great interest was a Scotch wild cat, marked “dangerous,” and with a cruel, savage glitter in the eyes that seemed to justify the caution. This living exception to the general rule of mildness was exhibited by the Duke of Sutherland. Among the fancy varieties were some “Prussian half-breeds,” long-haired and black and white ; a Russian, cat from Archangel, and 10 years old ; and two Siamese cats, compact-looking animals, with short hair of dull tan colour, and black on the legs. The prizes were awarded by the Rev. C. J. Macdona, Mr. Harrison Weir (the well-known animal painter), and Mr. Jenner Weir.
The success which has attended this first Cat Show (a novelty in public exhibitions) is unquestionable ; and it is probable the forthcoming repetition in the autumn will still better attended.
CAT SHOW. Morning Advertiser, 15th July 1871
The experiment of the Cat Show has proved a decided success. The number of animals exhibited was 170; the number of prizes distributed by the judges, the RKev. Cumming Macdona, Harrison Weir, Esq., and Jenner Weir, Esq., was 54, amounting to £57, 15s. The only drawback was the difficulty of seeing the cats, owing to the crowd of visitors. Encouraged by this success, the directors have determined on repeating the show in November, when several improvements in the arrangements will made. It is hoped also that with the assistance of the Ladies’ Committee of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (of which the Baroness Burdett-Coutls is an active member) some means may be taken of promoting the exhibition cats by the working classes.
CAT SHOW at the CRYSTAL PALACE. The Era, 16th July 1871
It has been more than once whispered in our ear that beneath the Palace at Sydenham exists a city of cats. On Thursday the cats came to the top, and a “Cat Show," henceforth to be put in the list of the season exhibitions with dog shows, horse shows, cattle shows, and flower shows, was inaugurated. What next, and next? " To what base uses” will our home of the arts and sciences be next applied? To-day we have the glorious melodies of Handel or of Mendelssohn; to-morrow we listen to the caterwaulings of Puss. Whatever objections, however, may be raised against such an exhibition in such a place, there is no denying the fact that the first Cat Show was a great success, no fewer than twenty thousand persons entering the building to see the novel sight.
The Show was held in the Northern Nave, and here we found a large number of entries admirably arranged, under the care of Mr. Wilson, of the Natural History Department of the Crystal Palace. Every cat had its cage furnished with straw and with a handsome cushion in the centre. The affection with which old ladies regard the feline tribe is proverbial, and when we state that it took us something like two hours to makes the circuit of the Show, some idea may be gained of the manner in which the visitors lingered before each specimen exhibited, while the whole vocabulary of endearing epithets was exhaustible in praise of Pussy. There were cats of every conceivable colour. Tortoiseshell cats, brown cats, and even blue cats. Cats with long tails, and cats with no tails; cats sleek and lazy and tame, and cats wild and fierce.
The animals exhibited were judged with reference rather to elegance of form, richness ofcolour, beauty and evenness of markings and condition, than to mere size, and a hard time the judges must have had of it. With catalogue in hand we wandered through the Show, misquoting Pope with the query "Pray tell me, Miss, whose cat are you?" and this question we particularly applied to No. 147, in Class 25, a monstrous white animal for which a price of £50 was asked. This we learned was the property of Mrs. Crundell, who can truthfully say "What a monstrous tail our cat has got." But if Mrs. Crundell's cat is worth £50, what shall we say of' Mrs. Maguire's French African, aged ten years, and valued at five hundred pounds? lmagine " mice, and rats, and such small deer," being kept down with an outlay of £600. But most probably Mrs. Maguire's magnificent creature is never permitted to condescend to such ignoble pursuits as the destruction of vermin. So aristocratic a cat would never be a rat-catcher, and her days are probably passed in placid ease and comfort.
A great attraction in the Show was the Scotch wild cat, exhibited by his Grace the Duke of Sutherland; but in our presence the little tiger was as tame as our own domestic mouser, and neither spit nor scratched nor dashed itself against the bars of its cage, as we were led to expect. Mr. S. Carleigh, well known in the Music Hall world, exhibited a cat with twenty-six claws, and this lusus naturae excited not a little curiosity. Then there was the Refreshment Department cat, the envy of all other cats in the Show, by reason of the good things in the power of Messrs. Bertram and Roberts to supply. There were some splendid specimens of the Persian cat, and No. 50, a huge black animal, originally belonging to the late Lord Palmerston, and now shown by Mr. Tanner, of Hanwell, was an object of much remark. No. 63, a Persian cat, it was stated, was brought to this country on the shoulders of an Arab; but the force or meaning of this we failed to comprehend. In Class 19 Miss Hales exhibited a beautiful spotted tabby and three kittens, the said kittens being valued at ten shillings each. The heaviest cat in the Show was No. 118, Class25, shown by Mr. Amos, and weighing 21 and three quarter pounds. Each cat was curiously enough provided with a spittoon, and although we know that Puss is addicted to late hours, we have yet to learn that smoking is to be numbered among her bad habits.
The cats, for once, behaved with great propriety, and during the whole of the day we heard not so much as a single mew. "Care will kill a cat," says an old writer, but the Crystal Palace cats evidently had no care, and in the majority of cases they passed the day in peaceful repose, doubtless congratulating themselves on the fact that, in common with babies and barmaids and horses and dogs, they have been thought worthy of public exhibition.
THE CRYSTAL PALACE CAT SHOW. Illustrated London News, 22nd July 1871
Change of entertainment is studied at the Crystal Palace. It is but two or three weeks since a pigeon-race to Brussels was the special attraction. This has been followed by an exhibition of domestic cats. At first the proposal to hold a cat show was received with much ridicule ; but “nothing succeeds like success.” The number of entries and the multitude of visitors are a sufficient guarantee that a cat show will in future constitute one of the annual attractions in the Palace. The domestic cat is now known by naturalists to be a very composite animal. It is not, as it was formerly supposed to be, derived from one species; but it is a striking example of “miscegenation.” [interbreeding] The cat in almost every country shows traces of its alliance with the native animal of the district. In the north of Scotland the home cat partakes of the character of the wild cat; in Algeria it is like the wild animal of the Libyan Desert; at the Cape of Good Hope it resembles the Kaffir cat; in India, Persia, Ceylon, and Siam other origins are apparent. Many of these different breeds were exhibited at the Crystal Palace; so that this show had an attraction for naturalists as well as for the general public.
The animals were arranged according to colour, prizes being offered for the tortoiseshell, the different coloured tabbies, the black-and-white, and also for the long-haired or Persian cats, and for animals of the greatest weight. The existence of a tortoiseshell tom-cat is generally regarded as mythical, and the current belief was supported by this exhibition, as the animal was conspicuous only by its absence. Even the tortoiseshell-and-white tom was but poor colour and very feminine in appearance.
Perhaps the most beautiful animals in the show were the white Persians. Of these there were several, with pale blue eyes, that looked as if they had no business to be out of fairyland. But nothing earthly is perfect, and accordance with a strange law of variation, which even the intellectual acumen of Mr. Darwin has failed to elucidate, these blue-eyed beauties were all perfectly deaf. Now, why a cat with blue eyes should be deaf is, Lord Dundreary might say, a thing no fellow can understand ; but the fact, though marvellous, is no less true; and still more striking is the circumstance that in the family of the same blue-eyed white cat are found kittens with blue eyes, and others with eyes of a different colour; the blue-eyed will be deaf, whilst the others will possess the usual catlike quick appreciation of sounds. The variety class was most interesting. It contained a catamount, wild cat, from Sutherlandshire, exhibited by the Duke of Sutherland ; a singular Siamese cat, coloured precisely like a black-faced pug-dog ; several cats with the addition of a dozen extra toes, which strange peculiarity is hereditary; and these cats with superfluous limbs were balanced by other cats in which the tails were wanting. The prize for the greatest weight was awarded to an animal of 21and three-quarter pounds.
The prizes in the several classes were awarded by the Rev. J. Cumming Maodona (the great breeder of St. Bernard dogs), Mr, Jenner Weir, and Mr, Harrison Weir, The animals were exhibited in the nave, and were well shown in the pens of the Peristeronic Club, under which name the members of the Pigeon Society conceal their merits. The show was only open one day, and the attendance of visitors was inconveniently large. One myth has been cleared up by the exhibition—namely, that cats and spinsters are always associated. Of the large number of prizes offered thirty-two were awarded to gentlemen, fifteen to married ladies, and only four to spinsters ; so, after all, it is the men who are the great cat-fanciers.
At the top of our page of Illustrations is shown a very elegant and richly-coloured tortoiseshell-and-white cat belonging to Mr. Cox. To the left is the first-prize white Persian, a beautiful creature, with dark blue eyes, which have almost a sadness about them mixed with gentle contentment. This beautiful creature was the property of Mrs. E Forgerty. On the right, the delicately-coloured Persian, which took the first prize, belonging to Miss E. D’Oyley. On the right, and lower on the page, is the splendid specimen exhibited by Mr. Johnston, which gained a first prize. On the left of it is the Duke of Sutherland’s British wild cat. This is almost unique, so rare are they now. Again to the right, reclining, is Mr. Rowley’s beautifully-marked and richly-coloured first prize sandy tom-cat, a little beauty. Below it one exhibited by Mr. Nash, which gained an extra first prize ; undoubtedly one of the fattest cats at the show, with a mild and gentle manner. Last, not least—the biggest of the show - a fine brown tabby (in fact, the only real brown tabby sent), a grand animal, belonging to Miss Amos.
A CAT SHOW was to be held in London 18th instant [18th of this month], for which one hundred and fifty entries had been made when the list closed on the 8th inst. The Hon, Mrs Grey contributes an imported Persian cat, of rare pedigree, besides which there will be many Persian cats of several colors, Angora, Aleppo, and other foreign sorts, including one of great rarity from Siam. Lady Lubbock sends a beautiful long-haired creature in this class. There will be several of the tailless Manx cats, and many displaying curiosities of natural development and color, some weighing as many as eighteen and twenty pounds, and one tortoiseshell tom. - The Wilmington Morning Star, 29th July, 1871
While you sip the not bad claret of Messrs. Bertram and Roberts — and finally to spend an afternoon among the cats (we feel the bathos of our last recreation), what place like the Sydenham temple. We believe we ought to be funny about poor ' pussy [...] after the great success of the show at the Palace, and the figure the cat world there cut, will do much to raise it in the scale of nations. Men and women who came to scoff remained to admire, while devotees (not necessarily old ladies, we beg to observe) had their enthusiasm roused to a greater pitch. It was a case of the cat with many friends. The sociable tabby, the coy white mother, half pleased at, half alarmed by the admiration her offspring excited, a brown tabby Angora, Mrs. Grey's magnificent Persian, and last, not least, Mr. Harrison Weir's "Old Lady," would have appealed to the most hardened heart. The sulky cats were in the minority ; and it was impossible to believe that the docile, neat-looking ladies who came to the bars of their pens to scrub against an offered hand, and be called "dear" and "sweet" by pretty lips, were of those who would make night hideous by caterwauling. No, these were all well-behaved pattern animals, with marriage certificates and unexceptionable morals ; and very gratifying must it have been to Mr. Wilson to see the interest they excited. Of course the Duke of Sutherland's wild animal roused a respectful interest, and old ladies gazed at it in doubt whether he could belong to the same species as their Mitissas. An awful brute, who looked as if he could have eaten the four white kittens reposing opposite with satisfaction — something very uncanny about him, and by no means an animal one would have liked to encounter on a dark, or any other sort of night. But enough of Pussy. The show was a decided success, and is likely, we hear, to be repeated. - OUR VAN: THE INVOICE — JULY JOCUNDITIES, Baily’s Magazine of Sports and Pastimes. Vol. 20. August 1871
A CAT SHOW. A London letter says : No little amusement has been afforded at the Crystal Palace to-day by a cat show, more than a hundred and fifty of these domesticated members of the feline race being there exhibited for the delight and wonder of the visitors. The cats are in large cages, the floors of which are strewn with sawdust. Each cat has its own scarlet cushion on which to repose, and its own china service from which to eat and drink. They are divided into twenty-five classes according to their sex, color, breed and length of their hair. There is not an ugly cat in the lot, and some of them are exceedingly handsome. “The Old Lay” is a nice lovable blue tabby of the advanced age of 12 years, sent in by Mr Harrison Weir; No 3 is a sprightly tortoise-shell Tom – the unique sample of the kind – but he is rather too largely admixed with white; 14 has a fine grayish blue skin, that would make a costly muff for a Viennese beauty; 18 is a superb negress; 33 is a timorous beauty, with long white hair and beady eyes; 37 is plump and drowsy, with a musical purr — a sort of Duda cat; 48 is a lynx-like darling, with a lamb like disposition, and gives her velvet head, with its ornament of green ribbon and Val dia bell, good naturedly to be patted; 52, in neat, mole skin jacket, has an air of subdued ferocity, of spirit rather; 53 (Lady Lubbock's favorite) is a sweet, long haired creature, with large, lustrous eyes; 55 is matronly and ash-colored, as if she had lived like Cinderella ; 63 (Hon. Mrs. Grey’s) is a Persian of an ancient pedigree; there is a pretty, snow white family group at 71; and 98 is happy in a fond mistress, as the gaudy tie around her arching neck establishes.
The cages, numbered from 110, are large and mahogany-framed; they are allotted to the aristocracy of the tribe, those who have been artificially treated and have attained to larger size. There are some huge cats here; 118 we should take to be one of the heaviest show; he ought to weigh over a stone and a half; and is likely to carry off the premium for bulk. It is remarkable that the short haired weigh more than the long haired animals. In Cage 110 there is a sleepy-eyed prisoner from “the delightful province of the sun,” which is valued at 100 guineas — a dainty, delicate, affectionate Prince of grimalkins he looks coiled on his blue bed of down. No. 113 has a black mustache perfectly defined. Each animal has its own good points, and the good points of all are varied; here a satin coat, there one like the shawl goat of Thibet: now a form supple as a panther’s, beside it a richness of color in red or yellow, black or gray, to turn an artist envious, and a little further on an evenness and delicacy of marking to rival the zebra or leopard. On one side, between the statues of the Meleager of the Vatican and the Apollo of Capua, and close by his cousin-germans the Indian forest tigers, stuffed by Henry Ward, is caged the wildcat caught recently on the Duke of Sutherland’s estate. A savage “varmint” it is even still, and frets against its bars or moves uneasily about like the lion Androcles physicked, holding up its wounded paw, a joint of which has been snapped off in the trap. – Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette, August 9th, 1871
There seems to be a suddenly awakened interest in England in that despised animal, the cat. The directors of the Crystal Palace have, partly in deference to the popular feeling, and partly because of an inherent love of natural history, organized a cat show, thereby elevating pussy to a rank, in the estimation of the world, to which she has not been accustomed for many centuries at least. It is a singular fact that the origin of the domestic cat is as yet shrowded in obscurity, though there are those who contend that they are the descendants of a mysterious animal which was a petted guest in the homes of the ancient Egyptians, and which is represented on various Egyptian monuments - The Times Picayune, 4th August 1871
A CAT SHOW - The Sydney Morning Herald, 30th August 1871
At last we have something new under the sun - for a “Cat Show" opened with great eclat, yesterday, at the Crystal Palace. That "every dog has his day" has long been admitted; and dogs have enjoyed the honour of being gazed at by crowds; still, like the eels, they "are used to it." But "pussy” with her gifts and graces, her sleek coat, her sharp claws, her coquettish cleanliness of fur, and her wonderful passion for breaking crockery, and making away with so many other things besides cream, has had to wait until now for justice at the hands of modern society. But her hour has come at last, and she is installed, "with all honours," in the Palace of Rarities, and attracting shoals of admirers. Every known variety of the cat proper, as distinguished from her lordly relatives the tiger and the lion, have been brought together in this show.
The Duke of Sutherland exhibits a wild cat, caught by him in some mountain fastness of Scotland - fiery, spiteful, with yellowish grey face and bushy tail - a miniature tiger in all but the striped coat of the latter. A splendid tortoise-shell "tom" is one of the most beautiful specimens in the show. There are pink-eyed Albinos, and blue-eyed variety of the same, said to be invariably deaf. There is the Angora cat, with long silky hair; the Chartreuse, with its bluish coat; the Manx cat, to which mother Nature has denied a tail; the Persian cat, with its cloud of grey fur, which is said to be bought of Bushfre merchants in the bazaars of Bombay, and is a splendidly handsome variety; the spotted cat from Senegal, a miniature leopard, the most beautiful little animal imaginable, but fierce as beautiful; the wild cat of America, which is really a species of lynx; and the gloved cat of North Africa, which is supposed to have been the sacred quadruped of the Egyptians, differing from the ordinary cat only in a slight peculiarity of tail. It was, in ancient, times esteemed "consecrated," death being the penalty of killing one of them. The law in Wales, under Howell the Good, was nearly as severe, for if Taffy, in the remote days stole a kitten, he paid for it with a ewe und lamb; while, if he killed a cat, the murdered pussy was hung up by the tail, and the murderer was mulcted in as much corn as would cover her up to the tip of her tail in that position.
In point of arrangement, the cat show is worthy of all praise. The animals are placed in roomy zinc cages, well littered with sawdust, and provided with cosy cushions; and, really, few of the non-cat worshipping portion of humanity would believe, without seeing, how very pretty a sight the cats make, and what beautiful creatures they for the most part are. Mr. Harrison Weir exhibits "The Old Lady,” warranted twelve years old, and so much admired by the artist that he excludes her from competition for the £70 of prizes that are to be awarded. She is sleek, "blue," beautifully formed, and looks as loveable a pet as heart could desire.
No. 3 is the magnificent tortoiseshell alluded to above; a grand fellow, that may be safely backed for a prize, though hyper-critics might say he had a thought too much white in his glossy coat. No. 8 is remarkable for portliness and symmetry. No. 13 is “blue,” and would furnish a muff almost as fine in colour and fur as the Russian sable. No. 18 is a splendid animal, as black as jet, a sort of feline “African Venus.” No. 33 is a sensorous young beauty, with long white hair, and eyes as blue as beads, who looks far too ethereal to dream of mice. No. 37 looks much too plump and drowsy for work; but is undeniably handsome and indulges in a musical purr that seems to indicate entire contentment with her lot; which, judging from her necklace, and embroidered cushion, would seem to be tht of a petted child in a luxurious house. No. 48, though she looks lynx-like, is very gentle and affectionate, and gives her pretty head, with its jaunty green necklet and little bell, to be patted, with evident enjoyment of your flattering attention. No 52, despite her neat mole-skin jacket and demure pair of eyes has a look of subdued ferocity, and would hardly tempt the offer of a pat which she would probably resent as an unwarrantable liberty. No. 52, Lady Lubbock’s favourite, has wonderful long silky white hair, with remarkably lustrous eyes. No. 55 is large, sedate, stately, and ash-coloured, a Cinderella beauty. No. 63, Hon. Mrs. Gray’s pet, is a glorious Persian of ancient pedigree. No. 71 is a pretty family group, white as new milk. No. 99 is more gaily decorated with necklaces and tie, and has a more gorgeous cushion and little rug than any other in the show.
The cages numbered from 110 are larger and handsomer than the others, being mahogany framed, and are allotted to the aristocratic specimens, who have been artificially treated, and have attained to a larger size. Some of the cats in this part of the show are enormously large, and it is a curious fact that the shorthaired specimens weigh more than the long-haired ones. One of these weighs over a stone and a half, and, judging from appearances, should take the first prize for bulk. In cage 110 is a sleepy-eyed prisoner from “the delightful province of the Sun,” valued at 100 guineas – a most delicate Prince of Grimalkins he looks as he lies lazily coiled on his downy bed of blue silk, trimmed round with snowy lace. No. 113 has a perfectly-defined moustache, black his prevailing shade being “tabby.” But each animal in the show has its good points, these being sufficiently varied. One has a satin coat, another looks like a miniature of the “shawl-goat” of Thibet; some have a form as supple as a panther’s, others a richness of colour in red or yellow, black, blue, or grey, or a spotlessness of snowy white, to make an artist envious; others are evenly striped or delicately spotted, like their cousins of the forest and the desert.
On one side, between the statues of the “Meleager” of the Vatican and the Apollo of Capus, and close beside his far-off relatives, the jungle tigers so wonderfully stuffed by Henry Ward (whose group of a lion and a tiger locked in a death-struggle, and tearing each other to pieces, will not have been forgotten by those who saw it at the Paris Exhibition of 1867), is the Duke of Sutherland’s contribution, certainly one of the most curious of the collection. A most savage little “varmint” it seems to be, moving fretfully and angrily about, and pushing against the bars of its cage, looking defiantly askance at you, or holding up its wounded foot (one toe of which was torn off in the trap), with an air of sullen and indignant protest that one feels to be not altogether without justification.
The tailless Manx cats are so funny-looking that you can’t help laughing at them; and Mr. Maxwell’s pair of Siamese beauties, smooth as silk, of most elegant form and movement, their ears tipped with ebon black, their eyes sky-blue with red pupils, are perhaps the most curious of them all. Some empty cages, suggesting temporary occupation by Kilkenny’s classic darlings, have not,, it appears, been the scene of tragic contests, but were kept without their hosts by ladies unable, at the last moment, to part from their household, even for the short period of the exhibition, which has given its originator, Mr. F.W. Wilson, superintendent of the Natural History Department of the Palace, “no end” of trouble to get together – such has been the disinclination of owners (especially elderly ladies) to part with their “pussey.” The organisation of a dog show, a horse shoe, or even a baby show, is nothing in comparison.
Over 150 specimens have been collected, though each pays an entrance fee of 3s. 6d., the directors holding out the temptation of liberal prizes. The “exhibits” are divided into twenty-five classes, according to sex, colour, breed, and length of fur. The ordinary black and white wretches who haunt coal-holes and roof-gutters, and make night hideous on garden walls and under back windows, are scarcely to be found in the well-bred company of the present show, only one or two uncommonly fine samples being admitted to complete the classification. The animals are all in splendid condition, and suggest a query as to where we could find as many human beings in correspondingly good case. They are clean, and look tolerably happy – thanks in part to a good supply of milk, each cage having a little pan of the fluid so dear to the genus.
If the cat lovers across the Channel could know of this gathering of their favourite pet, the trumpery little steamers that have a monopoly of that stormy ditch would hardly suffice to convey them across; and it may be confidently predicted that, the brilliant idea of the Sydenham directors having been struck out, will not be long in running its way to Paris, where an exhibition of such of the felines as have escaped the stew-pan would be sure of a marvellous “run”.
THE LONDON CAT SHOW. The engravings on this page are from sketched made at the recent Cat Show at the Crystal Palace, London, with the exception of the first, which is and imaginative design, and endeavours to portray the emotions of three ladies, who are wondering whther they can part with Pussy. A good many ladies did manage to part temporarily with their purring favourites, for upward of 160 specimens of the feline tribe were sent into the exhibition. The directors of the Crystal Palace company offered £70 in prizes and the superintendant of the Natural History Department was indefatigable in his endeavours to collect as many noteworthy animals as possible. The smaller engravings represent the following specimens: The Siamese Cats, a remarkable variety, not often met with out of that country. They are described as "soft, fawn-colored creatures, with jet-black legs – an unnatural, nightmare kind of cat, singular and elegant in their smooth skins, and ears tipped with black, and blue eyes with red pupils.” Next comes the French-African cat, a very beautiful creature, with long woolly hair of a light brown colour. Thirdly, a Persian direct from Persia, remarkable for the great density of is black, grey, and white coat. He is described as a "very amiable beast." Fourthly an enormous English cat weighing 21 pounds, the biggest in the show. His color was a rich brown ground, striped with black. Fifthly, a native of the Isle of Man, with the usual Manx absence of tail. This cat was very beautifully marked with light red and yellow markings on a lighter ground of the same colour. This cat takes the water like a dog, and catches fish. Lastly, a British wild-cat, exhibited by the Duke of Sutherland. This cat is very scarce - indeed almost extinct in the British Islands. His color is sandy brown, and the form of the end of the nose and tail peculiar. He has lost the right front paw. he behaved like a mad devil, and ten men could not get him into a wire cage out of the box in which he was sent. Altogether the London Cat Show as a complete success, and we have no doubt thit will be imitated in this country, whrere dog shows have been popular. - Harper’s Weekly. Vol. 15. Jul. 1, 1871.
1871 (AUGUST) NORTH WOOLWICH CAT SHOW
CAT SHOW AT NORTH WOOLWICH GARDENS. London Evening Standard, 3rd August 1871
Mr. Holland, the proprietor of the North Woolwich Gardens, opened a great show of cats yesterday afternoon in a tent specially erected for the purpose, in the really picturesque gardens of this favourite resort of the public. The exhibition consisted of upwards of a hundred varieties of cats of all shades and colours, including several "eccentrics," so termed. There was a kangaroo cat, seldom heard of in these climes, which is not altogether unlike a Java hare; and there was a peculiarly small tabby of a darkish brown, that drew around it a number of admirers from the simple fact that it was the mother of four remarkably white and pretty little kittens. There were also several Persian cats -a sort of cross between the Egyptian and the British Whittington. With these exceptions there was little else in the shape of speciality in the exhibition, beyond of course the fact of there being many large and docile specimens of this domestic animal. Of this collection the noble tabby weighing 21 lbs., which walked off with the first prize at the Crystal Palace, came in for similar honours at Woolwich. The show is essentially one of novelty, and, as it remains open to-day (Thursday) and to-morrow (Friday) will no doubt attract a great many visitors from Fenchurch street Station to the well-known Woolwich Gardens.
THE " CAT SHOW" at NORTH WOOLWICH, - The Era, 6th August 1871
It was Mr. Holland's intention, as many of our readers know, to have given a Cat Show last season, but he was prevented from doing so by the various fetes arranged for the season. In the meantime a show of cats has been given at the Crystal Palace with remarkable success. Nowise daunted by this catastrophe - pray pardon the wicked pun, it came out before we were aware of it – Mr. Holland determined to carry out his original intention at North Woolwich, and the verdict of the public is "Quite right, Mr. Holland." Who that has watched the gambols of a frisky little kitten -who that has heard, with wakeful horror, the nocturnal serenade which often echoes in London back-yards - who that has listened to pussy purring beside the winter fire, or watched her arching her back at some passing poodle, could resist a visit to North Woolwich, We are all associated with this feline (feeling if you will, gentle reader) subject. Some by tying a tin kettle to its tail - some by en excess of indulgence which has raised the animal to a place which ought only to be occupied by a pretty girl or boy. Taking, ourselves, a medium course we believed that the cat, viewed in the light of a domestic pet or as a study in natural history, was worth consideration, especially after Mr. Holland's enterprise in that direction, we found ourselves at North Woolwich on Wednesday, prepared to judge for ourselves as well as to record the verdict of other judges.
Looking round the handsome marquee in which the cats were exhibited, we could not fail to remark a capital system of arrangement, which enabled the visitors to have a perfect view of the animals, some of which were curiosities in their way. In one instance a tabby mother had given birth to four kittens of snow-white complexion. Another handsomely shaped cat was of a beautiful mauve colour, as if it had been dipped into a vat of that fashionable dye. Another, of African extraction -to speak politely, a "coloured gentleman"- adhered to the custom of his native land so far as to have, if not bells upon his toes, at least rings in his ears. Then there was the famous Manx cat, making up in some other respects its deficiency of tail. There were cats marked like tigers, and others like the the zebra; cats with the brilliant tortoiseshell pattern upon their backs, and cats with no pattern whatever, every hair being as white as snow. One cat -which also carried away the chief prize at the Crystal Palace- was of enormous size, weighing (so we were told by the esteemed lady who had trained him up in the way he should go) twenty-two pounds. We could not help wishing some of the infant population of the East-end looked as jolly; no doubt they will eventually, if Mr. Gladstone continues in office.
Some of the kittens had a surprised look, which was wonderfully amusing, and played with their own tails as if there were no prize depending upon their good looks and decent behaviour. It must be confessed the cats demeaned themselves well. There was very little mewing, no spitting, no scratching, not a hair turned the wrong way ; though the poking of parasols some of the poor creatures endured would have been no bad training for a junior omnibus conductor. Truth to tell, they were made so comfortable, fed so well, and kept so clean, that had they been endowed with the gift of speech in addition to all the cat-like graces, they could hardly have uttered a complaint. Last, not least, we must allude to Mir. Holland's own addition to the Cat Show. A small wooden cat and two kittens, familiar to the London streets and the noses and eyes of unwary foot passengers; then a cat-n'-nine-tails, fortunately for humanity a relic of the "good old days" which some people are always wishing to see back again; and, thirdly, a specimen of his famous " Old Tom," with neither ears, eyes, or tail, but having a very potent spirit. We shall give underneath a list of the winners of prizes, which, we think, were awarded with the utmost fairness by Mr. Castang and Mr. Edward Bartlett, of the Zoological Gardens, Regent's-park. Mr. George Billet, of Southampton, undertook the management and arrangement, which did him infinites credit; and we have to thank Mr. Frank Green for his care and courtesy in a line which must be somewhat unfamiliar to him.
The following are the prizes:-
Class 2, No, 4 - Tabby, male, Persian, five months old, Mr J. H. C. Brown, 100, Camberwell-road, first prize.
Class 2, No. 6 - Two Bluish-Grey Kittens, six weeks old, Mr William Richardson, 81, East-street, Manchester-square, commended.
Class 2, No. 9 - Red Tabby, four years old, Mrs Warren, North Wool- wich, second prize.
Class 4, No. 2 - Black and White of immense size and fine shape, ten years old, Mrs Churchley, 8, Tyler-street,Regent-street, first prize.
Class 5, No 2 - Long-haired White Persian Cat, ten months old, Mrs Jackson, Dungannon Pheasantry, Walham-green, second prize.
Class 6, No. 1 - Short-haired White, eight months old, Mr. G Stubbings, 15, South Wharf-road, Paddington, second prize.
Class 7, No. 2 - Two Long-haired Black Cats, four months old, Mr J. G. Mashet, 18, Maldon-crescent, third prize.
Class 7, No. 3 - Long-haired Persian, ten months old, Mrs Jackson, Walham-green, second prize.
Class 8, No. 2 -Tabby and White, four years old, Mrs Margaret Ling, 1, White Horse-street, Piccadilly, first prize.
Class S, No. 3- Tabby and White, eighteen months old, Mrs Pollock, 13, Smith’s Rents, Greenwich, third prize.
Class 8, No. 10 - White and Tabby, 2 years old, Mr W. Shepherd, Bow, second prize.
Class 10, No. 2 - Two Tabby Kittens, Tiger-marked, two months old, Mr. Billett, Southampton, second prize.
Class 12, No. 3 - Black and White, with Black Kitten, Miss Hales, Canterbury, first prize.
Class 13, No. 1 - Long-haired White Cat, three years old, Augusta Marshall, 21A, Green-street, Grosvenor-square, first prize.
Class 10, No. 3 - Long-haired White Cat, four-and-a-half years old, Mr J. Stevens Pocock, Great Berkhampstead, second prize.
Class 14, No. 1-Short-haired White Cat, eighteen months old, Mr H. Winter, 3, Tothill-street, third prize.
Class 14, No. 3-Short-baired White, three years old, Mr T. Harris, Holmwood, Bickley, first prize.
Class 15, No. 1 - Long-haired Black, five years old, John G. Mashet, Maldon-crescent, second prize.
Class 15, No. 4 - Long-haired Persian, ten months, Mrs Jackson, Walham-green, first prize.
Class 16, No. 3 - Australien Domestic Cat, grey, eight-and-a-half years old, Mr. Gannicliff, Cowley-street, Shadwell, first prize.
Class 16, No. 13 - Yellow Striped, two months old, Master Fitzgerald, second prize.
Ciass 16, No. 12 - Tortoiseshelll and white, three years old, Master Fitzgerald, Kentish Town-road, extra second prize.
Class 16, No. 21 - Grey Female Cat, two years old, Misses Mayben and Co., Woolwich, third prize.
Class 17, No. 12 - A monster Tabby, 4 years old, Miss Amos, 87, Lynton-road, Bermsondsey, first prize (aIso won the chief Crystal Palace prize).
Class 17, No. 11 - Persian Tabby, four years old, Mr Beech, North Woolwich, extra third prize.
Glass 17, No. 4 - Tabby aid White, three years old, Mr. H. Gold, Cremorne-gardens, second prize.
Class 17, No. 5. - , Male Tabby, six years old, Mr J. Whetton, Waterloo- road, third prize.
Class 17, No. 11. - Tabby, four years old, Mr Beech, North Woolwich, extra third prize.
1871 (AUGUST) NORTH WOOLWICH GARDENS CAT SHOW
CAT SHOW AT NORTH WOOLWICH GARDENS. Morning Advertiser, 3rd August 1871
The parents and guardians of the famous White Cat were sadly wanting in intelligence. When the Princess was, according to the legend, transformed, the condition of her restoration was that prince should voluntarily fall in love with her. In order to bring this about she was shut up in a dreary old castle, where no prince worth speaking of would ever have thought of going, and therefore it was by the merest chance that her restoration to good society was ever effected. Now, what those interested in the young lady should have done was to have adopted Mr. Holland’s happy idea—and we are assured that it was his idea, though the Crystal Palace directors happen to have anticipated him—and have given a cat show. Then the Princess would have been surrounded by admirers. Then her feline beauty would have lured, not one, but dozens of young princes to impassioned adoration, and, as a consequence, she would speedily have quitted the misc en scene of her captivity —have ceased to bemoan her fate in the lays of Catullus and the music of Catalini, and have had a variety of admirers on whom to have bestowed her recovered hand.
This matter weighed upon us as we yesterday wandered among the cats at the North Woolwich Gardens. There were white cats, grey cats, and blue cats beautiful enough to have been princesses ; dear, charming creatures, soft and gentle with “beseeching eyes,” and evidently overflowing with affection. And really there could be no saying what they might really be. We live in strange times, when ladies of exceptional weight, like Mrs. Guppy, for instance, are continually adopting as their motto, “I’m afloat,” and taking aerial flights over London, and it is not only not difficult to believe in enchantment, but there is every temptation to regard it as rather a normal condition of things. So bearing in mind the saying that as nothing resembles a cat looking out of window so much one looking in,” it would not have required a great stretch of imagination to have believed that the darlings behind the wires of the cages were in some sort allied to the darlings who hovered about before them, all flutter, admiration, and bewitchingness. At all events, whatever the real value of the animals exhibited, they were wonderfully fascinating.
The show was arranged under marquee in a pleasant part of the gardens, rows of metal cages running from end to end, surmounted with and embowered in flowers. The cages were not large, but airy, and comfortably arranged, and in them the specimens reposed as comfortably as on the hearths of their respective owners. It had been predicted that any attempt at exhibiting cats would result in irrepressible restlessness and their prompt return to a state of wildness and savagery. The suggestion of a sage that the domestic cat is not the wild cat under the domination of “sweetness and light,” but a distinct species, and of Egyptian origin, subdued these fears; but the extreme tameness of the animals was remarkable. It had not even been found necessary to construct the cages with bottoms in illusive representation of tiled roofs, supposed to be indispensable to the complete satisfaction of grimalkin. Each was satisfied to curl or stretch, or sleep or feed, or otherwise idle away the agreeable time; and though some stood on a dignity not to be compromised, or an aristocratic exclusiveness not to be trifled with, the majority could be tempted into a playful recognition of attentions or a distinct proof of gratified vanity.
The weak part of the show was this—only people fond of cats came to see it; and out of these each distinctly and emphatically declared, asseverated, and was prepared to make oath, that he or she was the owner of a cat fifty times the superior of any one in the place. Nor could there be a doubt as to the genuineness of this allegation, for those who make pets make idols, and who finds fault with that which he is prepared to fall down and worship? Again, the judges, Mr. Edward Bartlett, of the Zoological Gardens, and Mr. Castang, naturalist, are perfectly competent to give opinions on the points of animals in scientific sense; but the endearing points, the captivating affection, and infinite sagacity are beyond the apprehension of all judges, and are only to be appreciated by owners. The proper judges would have been maiden ladies of mature age, with a little money in the funds and nobody to whom to bequeath it. Such a jury of spinsters, assisted by, perhaps, a single bachelor, with no liver to speak of, would have organised a show and decided on a prize-list, such as would have opened the eyes of Mr. Billett himself—and that gentleman, the manager of this display, would take some astonishing in the way of natural history.
With regard to the prize-list actually issued it will be interesting to say a few words. It embraces seventeen classes, which comprise pretty well all ordinary varieties, but prizes were not given in each. Thus there was no tortoiseshell Tom, Mr. Bowen, of Camberwell-road, took the 1st prize for tabbies; but popular admiration went in favour of two charming little blue kittens, belonging to Mr. W. Richardson, East-street, Manchester-square. The white cats were every one of them princesses in their own rights, obviously, and behaved as such in the matter of looking beautiful, and doing nothing else. Yet such is the lot of beauty even in cats, that not one of them carried off a 1st prize; but Mr. Jackson, of Walham-green, took a 2nd prize for one long-haired specimen, and deserved it even better for another.
The cat of cats—even the great cat—was one shown by Miss Amos, Lynton-road, Bermondsey, weighing close upon 22lb. This cat —which also took 1st prize at the Palace—was the admiration and wonder of the show. A great deal of interest was excited by the display of a tortoiseshell cat, nursing four pure white kittens, of which she was the putative mother—shown by Mr, Wall, of North Woolwich. Mrs. Everett, of the Great Eastern Railway, exhibited a lovely Angola; and in truth, the show abounded with beauty. There were also special varieties, such as Persian cats —animated hearth-rugs - civet cats, which in point of strong musk-like perfume would have satisfied the gentleman in Shakespeare who required of the “good apothecary” an ounce of that particular scent ; Manx cats, without so much tail as has fallen to the share of a rabbit in the general scramble for caudal appendages ; a lop-eared cat, a cat of seven claws, and even the Agouti—the Java hare —was present, on the score of being a distant relative—a “puss” in one sense, and therefore entitled to representation.
From these it will be perceived that the show was full of attractions, and they were added to by Mr. Holland’s own contributions, the nature of which will be best shown by an extract from the supplementary prize list.
Class A 1. —The best in the world. Mr. Holland’s Old Tom age, very old ; price, enquire at the bar. (We need hardly say that it had been found necessary to show this spirited specimen in a bottle !)
Class 2.—Peculiar ; nearly extinct in England ; age, very old ; price, not to be sold. (This was the famous cat o’nine tails.)
Class 3. —Tip cat and kittens, exhibited by special permission of the Commissioners of Police.
These specimens created much amusement, but not more so than a story current of what had happened overnight to those in charge of the show. All the cats and all the kittens being got together it was necessary to have watchers in charge of them, and in the middle of the night these were disturbed from their drowsy watch by horrible outcry, a scampering, a cattawauling, and a prevailing state of confusion utterly indescribable. What had happened? The general impression was that the cats had, by common consent, broken bounds, escaped from their cages, and were about to disappear. The consternation excitedprevented for a while the discovery of the state of things, but at last it was found that the cats thronging the tent within and without were not the exhibited cats. They were visitors ! —rivals, perhaps, who had dropped in uninvited from all the neighbourhood round, either by way of welcome or by way of a rival demonstration ! With this amusing fact we may fitly close our brief notice of an exhibition which has found favour, has been well attended, and is, we understand, to be, in consequence, kept open to-morrow as well as today. We append the List of Prizes.
Class 2.—1st prize, J. H. C. Bowen, 160, Camberwell-road ; 2nd, Mr. Warren, North Woolwich.
Class 4.—1st prize, Mr. Churchley, 8, Tyler-street, Regent-street.
Class 5. —2nd prize, Mr. Jackson, Dungannon Pheasantry, Walham-green.
Class 6.-2nd prize, Mr. G. Stubbings, South-wharf, Paddington.
Class 7.—2nd prize, Mrs. Jackson, Walham-green ; 3rd prize, Mr. J. Mushet, Haverstock-hill.
Class 8.—1st prize, Mrs. Ling, 1, White Horse-street, Piccadilly; 2nd prize, Mr. W. Shepherd, Bow 3rd prize, Mrs. Pollock, Greenwich.
Class 10.—2nd prize, Mr. Billett, Southampton.
Class 12. —1st prize, Miss Hales, Canterbury.
Class 13. —Ist prize, Mrs. Marshall, Green-street, Grosvenor-square; 2nd prize, Mr. J. S. Pocock, Great Berkhampstead. C
lass 14.—1st prize, Mr. T. Harris, Holmwood, Bickley Park; 3rd prize, Henry Winter, 3, Tothill-street, S. W.
Class 15.—1st prize, Mrs. Jackson, Walham-green ; 2nd prize, J. G. Mushet, Haverstock-hill.
Class 16. -1st prize, R. Gaumiclift, 55, Cowley-street, Shadwell; 2nd prize, Master D. Fitzgerald, Kentish Town-road ; 3rd prize, Mayben and Co., Woolwich ; extra 3rd prize, Master D. Fitzgerald, Kentish Town-road.
Class 17.—1st prize, Mrs. Amos, Bermondsey ;2nd prize, H. Gold, Cremorne Gardens; 3rd prize, W. J. Welton, Waterloo-road extra 3rd prize, Mr. Beach, North Woolwich.
CAT SHOW AT NORTH WOOLWICH . Hampshire Advertiser, 5th August 1871
Mr. Holland, the proprietor of the North Woolwich Gardens, claims for himself the credit of having originated the idea of a "Cat Show," such an exhibition having been projected by him last season. Owing to various reasons, it did not then take place ; but, undeterred by the recent successful display at the Crystal Palace, the manager of these pleasant gardens has now carried his plan into effect. Under a spacious tent, about a hundred specimens of the feline race have been gathered together, including several varieties of the domestic cat, and a few eccentric specimens. The entries are not numerous, but they include several fine specimens of the cat tribe, domestic and foreign. They are divided into eight classes— tortoiseshell, tabby, black, black and white, long-haired white, short-haired white, long-haired of any other variety not named above. There was besides a distinct class for the largest cat of either sex, to be judged by weight. The prize in this special class was adjudged to a fine English tabby, four years old, exhibited by Miss Amos, a lady of over eighty years of age, who brought it down herself for exhibition. This successful competitor weight 22 and a quarter pounds. There are specimens from Thibet, Angola, Dongolah, Persia, etc. Some are remarkable for their size, some for elegance of form, and some for richness and variety of colour. The prices varied from £1 10s to 10s.
CATS HOB-NOBBING Yarmouth Independent, 12th August 1871
A ludicrous story told with respect to the Cat Show held last week at Woolwich. When the cats for exhibition had been all carefully caged and cared for on the first night of their arrival, Mr. Holland, the proprietor of the Woolwich Gardens, deemed it advisable to keep up a strong light in the exhibition tent all night, and a watchman was put on guard to prevent robbery or the ill-treatment of the animals. At midnight Mr. Holland went round to pay the tabbies a last visit, when he was horrified to find the guard sound asleep and cats innumerable wandering wildly about the place. Every cat has escaped, thought he, and once the watchman was roused, and every possible effort was made to seize what wore thought to be the valuable cats intended for the exhibition. It was only after much anxiety and trouble had fallen on Mr. Holland's mind that he discovered that all the loose cats were but visitors from the surrounding country, who had only thought it proper to pay their caged country cousins a visit at the usual visiting hour.
1871 (SEPTEMBER) CAMDEN TOWN CAT SHOW
Western Mail - 25 August 1871
We are going to have what sailors would cell a back-wash from the Cat Show held lately at the Crystal Palace. The proprietor of a Music Hall in Camden Town offers prizes " to the amount of £40" to be distributed among what he calls "the various classes of the feline tribes" (sic). The cats will be “comfortably housed and hospitably treated." A grand orchestral concert will help this "grand cosmopolitan prize cat show."
GREAT COSMOPOLITAN CAT SHOW . Morning Advertiser, 26 August 1871
THE BEDFORD, High-street, Camden Town. Great Cosmopolitan Cat Show, Tuesday and Wednesday, August and 30th. Open to All the World. Money Prizes, upwards of Forty Pounds, will be Awarded among the various Classes. Apply at once for particulars to Mr. Alfred Trotman, Proprietor, at the Hall. The Rarest Specimens of the Feline Tribe will be on Exhibition. Judges—Edward Bartlett, Esq., E. W. Castang, Esq., and W. Holland, Esq., Proprietor North Woolwich Gardens. Great Day and Night Show. Grand Promenade Concerts and Varied Amusements. Admission, One Shilling.
CAT SHOW AT THE BEDFORD MUSIC HALL, CAMDEN TOWN. Holborn Journal, 2 September 1871
During four days this week, commencing on Tuesday last, the Bedford Music-hall, Camden-town, been devoted to the purposes of a Cat Show, which was open to all competitors; and it was announced that the cats would be judged with reference rather to elegance of form, richness of colour, beauty and evenness of markings, and condition, than to mere size. The entries were very numerous, especially Class 26 (for the largest cat, judged by size and weight), for which extra prizes had to awarded. No less than 11 entries were made in this class. The exhibition of feline animals has been a real treat to the friends of poor puss, there being several unique specimens worthy of the consideration of Darwin and others who take an interest in lusus naturae.
The animals were ranged in rows extending lengthwise in the hall, very conveniently for inspection, each cage bearing a label with the necessary information. There was promenade orchestral performance during the exhibitions by Mr. H. Baker's talented corps of musicians, which certainly animated the scene very agreeably. The largest cat in the exhibition belonged to Mrs. Pinfold, 13, Upper Henry-street, Portland-town, St. Jobn's-wood, but being entered too late, it was not allowed to compete. A peculiar cat, belonging to Mr. Charles Billow, 84, Pratt-street, having three cars, commanded considerable attention, as did also a fine pure black cat with an offspring consisting of two pure white kittens, belonging to Mr. E. Hasleham, of 7, Clerkenwell-green. Another great curiosity was a fine cat belonging to Mr. J. B. Schott, of the Canterbury Music-hall, which has seven toes on each foot. It received commendation from the judges, not so much for its great peculiarity as for its beautifully marked character; its selling price was put down at £25.
The largest female cat in England is the fine black cat belonging to Mrs. W. H. Liston, of the Royal Olympic Theatre, which is named “Little Em’ly” who kindly sent it to this show for exhibition. The beautiful purity of the black, without a single white hair, is a great feature. The animal may seen almost any evening at the Olympic Theatre, when the performances are going on, generally among the occupants of the stalls. It took a first prize on this occasion. Mr. Cohen, clothier and outfitter, High-street, Camden-town, won a first prize for a small Mack and white cat, remarkable for the beauty of its marks, which were of the whitest white, and blackest black, and was one of the prettiest animals in the show. The cat belonging to Mr. Meager, of 160, High- street, which has taken a fancy to rearing six squirrels, was likewise to be seen.
The foliowing also obtained first prizes:—Mr. Charles Hewett, of 98 Lever-street, St. Luke’s, for a brown tabby cat: Mr. Simons, of Yarmouth, for a black cat; Mr. Payne, 52, Grove-street, Camden-town, for a black and white cat; Mr. W. S. Hogg, Charles-street, Marylebone, for a French cat; Mr. W. J. Darling, London, for a red tabby cat; Mr. Brown, Regent's-park, for a Manx cat; Mr. J. Page, 11, Pratt-street, Camden-town, for a tortoise-shell cat; Miss Pocock, Berkhampstead, for a white Angola cat; Mr. Grove. 170, Kentish Town-road, for a short-haired white cat: Mrs. Forbes, Delaney-street, for the finest cat in size and weight. A cat belonging to Mr. W. Mander, of 1, Little Charles-street, Munster-street, took a second prize in class 25, for size and weight, the animal being a very fine one.
The Manx cats, without tails, were objects of curiosity, and were much admired. The selling price of a cat, belonging to Mr. Harrison, of 96, Park-street, was marked at £50 but it failed to get first prize. A cat, exhibited by Signor C. Minasi, of College-place, Camden-town, with doubled paw, 14 claws in front, ?? claws behind legs, was marked at £5. Mr. Darling's cat was marked at £10; others were marked at £15, and such-like high prices. Mr. Walter Burnot, 56, High-street, Camden-town, won a first prize for his “Comic Catch, Oh!”—a set of pictures, which must be seen to be appreciated. They are on view at the Bedford any evening. A portrait of Mr. Thomas Wilson, the manager of the hall, was labelled “Old Tom.” The show proved a great success.
CAMDEN TOWN CAT SHOW,- London and Provincial Entr'acte, 9 September 1871
The Bedford. The Cat Show. On Tuesday and Wednesday a prize Cat Show took place at Mr. Trotman’s well-known establishment at Camden Town, which resulted in general satisfaction to all concerned. There were on view to the many spectators, who visited the hall both morning and evening, specimens of nearly every class of the feline tribe, both foreign and English, and including the varied colours of tortoiseshell, tabby, spotted, and red. Money prizes to a considerable amount were awarded by the judges, Messrs. Bartlett, Castang, and ,W. Holland (North Woolwich Gardens), to the proprietors of the finest and choicest specimens; and, judging from the fact of appearance, the responsible duties of judgment were ably performed. Among the favourites in the exhibition, and which obtained a first prize, class 17, was a fine, large black cat, the property of Mrs. W. H. Liston, of the Olympic Theatre, and named Little Em’ly.” There were many others of rare proportions and symmetrical beauty, all obtaining first prizes in their respective classes, among which were a French cat, the property of Mr. Hogg, of Albany- street, advertised for sale at the enormous price of £50, a black and grey (Mrs. Forbes, Camden Town), brown tabby (Mrs. Penfold, Portland Town), and a long hair white (Miss Peacock [Pocock], Berkhampstead). A novel feature in the exhibition, and which obtained a prize, was a framed sketch of comic cats, by Mr. Walter Burnot.
1871 (OCTOBER) EDINBURGH CAT SHOW - SCOTTISH METROPOLITAN CAT SHOW
EDINBURGH CAT SHOW. Southern Reporter, 7th September 1871
The arrangements for this novel exhibition and competition are assuming regular form, which has been a work of some labour, owing to the unprecedentedness of such an event in Scotland. Friday and Saturday, the 6th and 7th October, have been fixed for the holding of the show, and looking to the interest that has been shown in it by the numerous patrons of the feline race since the intention to hold it was announced, there is every reason to anticipate that the enterprise will result in success to the promoters and much entertainment to the public. The competing tabbies will arranged in forty different classes according to colour, species, etc., in each of which classes, with one exception, two prizes will be awarded. The total value of these prizes will amount to £80.
We understand that the judging will be performed by three gentlemen well known in the country as skilful naturalists. A commendable rule regarding the delicate duty of these gentlemen has been adopted—it is to the effect that the cats will be judged with reference rather to elegance of form, richness of colour, beauty and regularity of markings, and condition, than to mere size. The building erected at the Gymnasium for the late dog show will be used for this show, and will be appropriately prepared for its new occupants, whose cages will be constructed similar to those used at the Crystal Palace and North Woolwich Shows. Each animal will have a cage to itself, in which will placed a stuffed red-covered cushion, neatly tasselled, on which the pussies are expected to show off their proportions to advantage. In addition to this, every care will be taken of the animals during the exhibition.
It was suggested that birds and rabbits might have been admitted to the show, but the promoters have deemed it better to limit it to cats, as the introduction other animals of the above character would inevitably have disturbed to a disagreeable degree the equanimity of those for whom the show was intended. Several ladies and gentlemen have offered to send skins and stuffed specimens of foreign wild and tame cats. Some live wild cats will also be exhibited. Among the curiosities present will be the "cabmen's cat," which was found in a famishing condition by some of the cabmen at the Royal Circus stance five years ago. They have cared for it ever since, and for some years past it has resided in little hutch made for it, and placed at the cab-stand. The cat which miraculously escaped death on the occasion of the falling of the house in the High Street in 1861 will also be shown as a competitor, being now very good looking. The provisions for the proper care of the cats will be under the superintendence of Mr George Billet, naturalist, Southampton, who managed the cat show at North Woolwich so creditably; and the general arrangements of the show are carried on by Mr J. M. D. Brown, Royal Gymnasium, secretary.—Daily Review.— A cat show is also advertised to take place in Glasgow on the 3d and 4th October.
SCOTTISH METROPOLITAN CAT SHOW. Dundee Courier , 7th October 1871
The first Scottish metropolitan cat show opened in the grounds of the Royal Gymnasium, Edinburgh, yesterday, and in point of animals exhibited has exceeded the most sanguine anticipations of the promoters. The entries were much larger than any show which has yet been held in the country. They number 256, or about a hundred more than were entered for the show at the Crystal Palace. The arrangements made for the exhibition are all that could be desired. The animals are shown in large airy cages, which have been brought for the purpose from London, being the same as those used at the Crystal Palace and North Woolwich Gardens. Each is provided with a feeding utensil, and a number of men are employed under Mr George Billet, naturalist, Southampton, in looking after the animals and attending to their comfort. The specimens shown are in general very superior, and many are of rare variety.
THE CAT SHOW. Fifeshire Advertiser, 7th October 1871
The cat show opened today [. . .] It is held in the budding where the dogs were exhibited, but which has been refitted for the comfort of the cats, and decorated with numerous greenhouse plants. The cages, as I think I have before stated, are the same as those used at the cat show at the Crystal Palace. The entries are double those exhibited at the Palace, and amount to nearly 300. There are 40 different classes, which are to be judged by skilful naturalists, who are to make their awards rather for form and uniformity of colour than to size ; yet, in addition, a special prize is given for the largest cat exhibited. Among the cats are some local celebrities, who have interesting episodes attached to their lives. First is the “Royal Tom,” Sturrock’s well-known cat, a great favourite with members of the royal family, and often to be seen basking in the sunshine of the perfumer’s window. Then there is the “cabman's cat,” abandoned by its owners on leaving for the country some years ago, and kept at the Royal Circus by the cabman in a box within the gardens; the cat rescued at the falling of the house in the High Street in 1861; a fine animal bred in Africa, and which has travelled with its master no less than 20,000 miles ; one of a large number of the native cats of Persia, and a specimen of the tame cat, with eyes of different colours. A number of stuffed specimens are exhibited, among which is one being a combination of two bodies, with the respective members joined by one head, and skins some of rare species.
CAT SHOWS IN SCOTLAND , Perthshire Advertiser, 12th October 1871
Exhibitions are the feature of the age, and the announcement of a Cat Show at the Crystal Palace, London, some time ago excited as much amusement as interest. Its success was, however, so great that similar displays have been held in many towns throughout the country. There was a Cat Show in Glasgow on Tuesday, last week, and another in Edinburgh on Friday. The Daily Review of Saturday says—The first show of cats ever held in Edinburgh, and the greatest of the very few that have taken place in this country, indeed anywhere else, was opened yesterday morning, and will continue open to-day, in the Royal Gymnasium grounds. As a show it is very successful, and no inconsiderable portion of its success, we think, is attributable to its rarity. There are indeed few animals or things attractive on account of their beauty or curiousness which have not been made the object of exhibition, and if pussy does not relish being exposed to the gaze of curious crowds, she may congratulate herself that she the last that has had to submit to the infliction.
One would imagine that in such a show there would be great sameness, but this is not the case to such an extent as is generally thought. True, there is nothing like the variety in form and size amongst cats that there is amongst dogs ; but still there is a great diversity in the colouring, striping, and spotting of their coats, whilst some cats differ from the ordinary domestic animal, with which we are so familiar, being tail-less, and others by being bushy like terriers. This show being pretty much of an experiment, no inconsiderable amount of search was required on the part of its originator to discover where curious cats were to found, and persuasion to get their owners to exhibit them. To the majority the exhibitors the pecuniary value of the prizes could be no object, and it was only upon assurances of the absolute safety of their pets that the possibility of earning the fame of owning perhaps the best cat of its kind, and carrying off the first prize, was inducement sufficient to send them to the show.
The cages which the cats are kept are those which were used at the Crystal Palace and Woolwich shows, and are much larger than the ones in which the cats at the Glasgow exhibition were cooped up. The number of entries was 256, only three or four of the cats not coming forward, while there were only 150 cats exhibited the Crystal Palace, about 100 at Woolwich, about 80 at Glasgow, that Edinburgh has greatly outstripped with its show all others. It is extremely difficult to particularise the qualities which gained for certain animals the prizes awarded to them. In those classes in which a second prize is only mentioned, no first prize was awarded, the cats not possessing sufficient merit. In the first section (males) there was nothing calling for special notice; but amongst the second section (males not entire) the first prize brown tabby, and the first and the second prize blue tabbies, were really magnificent cats. The spotted tabbies were a very numerous class, and so uniformly good that the entire class was commended. The long-haired whites were considered a beautiful class, and the same might be said of the long-haired of any other colour, the first prize of which was a splendid cat, and the second prize the most pure of the Angora breed.
Shorthaired whites were also a good class, and the red tabbies were particularly noticeable for their first-rate quality. In class 25 (any other variety), the first and second prizes were awarded to magnificent specimens of the ordinary domestic cat, one or two fine specimens of Angora crosses being only commended. There was a very evident fault in the classification here. Amongst the females there were lot of splendid animals. There were only two short-haired white ones exhibited, and the first and second prizes were divided between them. The same was the case with the long-haired of any colour. There were several prettily-marked kittens shown.
The first prize for the largest cat of any sex was carried off by Mrs Clark, Drummond Place, whose cat (five years old) distanced all competitors, its weight being 24lbs., whilst the second prize, shown by Miss Addison, Alma Hotel, was 19 and a half pounds (a ten-year-old). Sturrock’s Royal Tom weighs about 22 and a half pounds.
The prize for the best twin cats was gained by two pure whites Mr Gillespie, Howe Street. They were pretty animals, though rather long in the face. Amongst the extras for exhibition only were Royal Tom, 22 and a half pounds weight, sent by Messrs Sturrock and Son, Princes Street; the Cabmen’s Cat and Kittens, the cat saved from houses which fell in High Street, November, 1861, and now belonging Mr J. Morrison, High Street; [conjoined] twin kittens (stuffed), which lived ten hours, and stuffed dog pup, sent Mr Wiseman, Arthur Street; an English fox, nine months, exhibited Mr G. Preston, Cockburn Street; a young Arctic fox, exhibited by proprietor of Gymnasium, and a Mona monkey, exhibited by the same gentleman.
SCOTTISH METROPOLITAN CAT SHOW. Fife Herald, 12th October 1871
The first Scottish metropolitan cat show was opened in the grounds of the Royal Gymnasium, Edinburgh, on Friday. The entries were much larger than at any show which has yet been held in the country, the number being about 256, nearly a hundred more than were entered for the show at the Crystal Palace. Among the greater attractions was the " Cabmen's Cat and Kittens." This cat was number of years ago befriended by the cabmen at Circus Place when running about without a home. They constructed a small house for her to live in ; it is at present placed on the top of the cage in which " the family" are being shown. The cat is also exhibited which was saved from the houses that fell in the High Street on 24th November 1861. There is also exhibited a stuffed kitten, which lived ten hours, and has two bodies, eight legs, and one head. Another stuffed kitten has been sent in which has two faces and three eyes. The heaviest grimalkin in the exhibition is 24 lbs. Weight.
CAT SHOW TRICKS, Dundee Courier 14th October 1871
The Edinburgh correspondent of the Inverness Courier says:- We noticed one omission in the classification at the Edinburgh Cat Show, and thereby hangs a tale. Visitors to the dramatic fete at the Crystal Palace a year or two ago will know that the recent cat shows have not been the first held in this country, though popularly believed to be so. At the fete referred to, where Paul Bedford and Mr Toole opened a “Paul-ytechnic,” there was shown a "cherry coloured cat” - admission, one shilling. The presumed cat of this colour caused many persons to pay their money, when they were shown a black cat, with the assurance that cherries could be seen of that colour. In the same place a rose-coloured dove was exhibited, the bird shown being the same colour as a white rose! We recommend Mr Brown to offer a prize next year for the best "cherry-coloured cat.”
VISIT TO CAT SHOW - Londonderry Standard - Saturday 14 October 1871
A lady correspondent of the Scotsnan contributes an exhaustive account of a visit to the cat show in Edinburgh, from which we extract the following:—
As a lover of cats, I, of course, took some interest in this exhibition. Why did I not send Merry, my large white cat, the solace of my solitary garret, that he might gain the medal, which was his due? Well, for various reasons; first and foremost being, that I thought it more than probable that the whole transaction would be carried on in the characteristic ramshackle and harum-scarum style of the present generation, which defeats exactitude and prudence, and that consequently some catastrophe too awful to be thought of would befall my cherished Merry. He sits beside me on a cushion as I sip my cup of tea, and the firelight gloats over his snowy fur, while without, the Autumnal winds rage and howl. He lets you argue with him without answering you back. His purr is sedative; he is a sterling friend. What would my life be without him? I am a Conservative and will run no risks; and therefore I didn’t send my beloved Merry to the show; but on Friday morning sallied forth myself in galoshes and waterproof.
Now, there is nothing more irritating to me than rain; so, of course, it rained “cats and dogs,” as the saying is; and the facetious omnibus-driver remarked that it was an “ill day for the cats; it would gar them wet their feet.” A sawdust road led down to the show, and, on entering, a faint manifold mewing, issuing forth from all directions at once, saluted the ears. Policemen lounged about, and the judges were deciding concerning the prizes. These four men hummed and hawed, and thought first this cat should have the first prize, then that; opened the cages and handled the animals in an uncanny way, provoking scratching. Those cages were well arranged; all made of open wire, with flooring of sawdust, and a red cushion; each with blue tassels, on which the luxurious inhabitants couched. Certainly this show presented very fine and rare selection of cats, almost all of whom looked as if they deserved a prize. Most of them took their public life very quietly and carelessly, half-asleep, only showing their feeling of something unusual by scarcely touching the can of milk in the corner of their cages.
Conspicuous in beauty above all the others, like the acknowledged bell in a ballroom, was No. 29, the recipient of a medal. No. 88. who was the happy possessor of first prize for black cats was an old high-bred aristocrat, whom one would be sure would never brook an insult, never commit small meannesses, not his the paltry heart that would purloin a single haddock, or devour in secret a solitary veal cutlet. Not he, he would never deign to steal less than a whole bunch of haddocks or half-dozen cutlets. 92, clad in a glossy suit of black, a white vest and paws, was very like English clergyman. 103’s great wonder was its age, 15 years, and all its facilities in full vigour, as is said of human centenarians. 144 was sent by the sergeants’ mess of the 931 Hlghlanders, and was conspicuous for a very neat scolloped red and yellow collar of cloth, on the formation of which I congratulated these sons of Mars. No. 177, who got first prize as a longhaired white, was like a fair girl with fizzled out flossy hair, and 179, almost next door to it, sported pink ribbon.
Among toe class marked “Any other variety, such as Manx, &c.," was a rare curiosity - namely, a Siamese cat, not, as an official at the Cat Show proclaimed, to be confounded with the Siamese twins - a very strange-looking creature, of a quite mouse colour, with the most exquisitely delicate points. In mv description of specialities I must not forget to mention "Hus" and Bus," twin cats, of pure white. Many admired them, but to me they were uninteresting, fat, fair, and featureless. There was a good deal of what my young friends of the present day, with their customary bad taste slang, would call snobbishness, evinced by a large cage, displayed at one end the room, containing a certain enormous catyclept “Royal Tom.” Behind the cage was portrait of the same animal, and a former trophy, in the shape of a silver collar, given to it by a Countess, was conspicuous. The owner, a well-known Edinburgh hairdresser, was evidently utilising poor pussy an advertisement. He gave me a piece of paper telling that Royal Tom’s photograph was in royal albums, and that his Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh made a point of calling on the animal whenever he came to Edinburgh. Tut, tut,, Royal Tom was only for exhibition; but in spite of his extraordinary weight of 22 and a half pounds, he missed the prize of popularity, which was given to No. 251, who weighed 24 pound. Alas! poor pussy, you follow the fate of human beings. You are growing old, you are going on the shelf, and younger creatures, unknown in the day of your youth, steal your laurels. We old women are shoved off, and younger ones take our place likewise; but the day of emancipation is hand when old woman will be counted as good as an old man any day, and what more can one expect. But I shall be in my grave before then; so must make the best of what’s going.
There was a great social mixture amongst the cats which suits this democratic age - Causewayside cats, Highstreet cats, Cowgate cats, Inverleith-row cats, Charlotte-square cats, the Earl Hopetoun cat, Canongate cats. The earl's cat, a magnificent southern-looking long-haired creature, of warm colouring, was sleepy-looking and well fed; and the whole of the animals, from the cat accustomed to the caresswes of an earl down to the cat who was saved from the house which fell in the High-street, showed good enough breeding and much better manners than some of the enlightened British public present.
In the evening a good many shop-girls and young men, evidently engaged in business during the day, came in, and it says a good deal for the wide-spread interest in cats that these paid a shilling out of their hard earned wages for the sight. One red cat escaped, and was captured, and owners of cats came and addressed pathetic farewells, such as “Good-bye, George, and I hope you’ll be comfortable to-night;" and I heard that the parting between ladies and their cats on Thursday had been most affecting. One lady was reported as having burst into tears.
Saturday being a very fine day, there were a great many visitors. How foolishly cats are attributed entirely to old maids? Why, the schools of Edinburgh appeared to have been set loose; many professional men, with their wives and children, also were present; a very great many young ladies, who evidently were determined not to be old maids if things I could possibly be arranged otherwise.
I fell to moralising what curious resemblance there I was between cats and human beings. Do I not see a type of humanity in every cat. There is that gruff, sulky-looking one like my lawyer; there is the nervous cat, distracted by imaginary terrors, not unlike my poor friend, Mrs. Smith; there is the cat who takes everything cooly, and goes light-hearted through the world, like that heartless lassie, my niece Jeanie; and there is a sublime aristocrat, who does not demean himself to think of any one or anything, like some of my old Tory male acquaintances. . How dependent all those creatures shut in the cages are on the love of human beings, and how they would rend each other if they only knew of each other’s proximity. Each pair of sympathetic eyes fancies itself the centre of attraction, not knowing with how many others it shares. Ah! how often we in human life, as I read somewhere, think we are acting Hamlet, when we are only acting Guildenstern or Rosencrats? There was a good deal of inconsiderate rudeness displayed by men and women and boys poking the cats with sticks to make them show off. I seized upon one boy, and threatened to report him to the policeman. He said didn’t care, but I saw he took care not to do it again. Another horrid practice was for men to blow into the cages with their mouth, on which some of the creatures retired as far as possible, and others mewed to get out. Cats always dislike vulgarity, being very sensitive. At eight o’clock, the exhibitors came for their cats; some ladies and gentlemen arrived and rescued their pets, and one old lady professed surprise that those ramshackle roughs didn’t open the cages and let loose the cats. With great difficulty the door was kept open for exhibitors, and neat basket kennels, hampers, and cats in arms, &c., departed.
ROYAL TOM: THE KING OF THE CATS NO MORE! Walsall Free Press and General Advertiser, 30th December 1871
A melancholy death is reported in the Scotch papers. An immense cat, the property of a hairdresser in Princes-street, Edinburgh, breathed his last a few days ago. This animal was, it is stated, one of the sights of Edinburgh, was a model of beauty, and was the king of cats. So highly was he esteemed by citizens that he was not permitted to take part in the cat show in London the other day, it being considered that, in consequence of his extreme obesity, the journey would prove too fatiguing for him. About a month ago he began to show signs of failing health, and was removed from the shop to the private residence of his owner in the hope that change of air might prove beneficial. These hopes unfortunately, were not realised. His illness increased daily, and it was found necessary to call in the aid of tree veterinary surgeons, who, for the last few days of his life, prescribed a teaspoonful of port wine to be taken every quarter of an hour. All that skill and science could do for him was done, but it was of no avail; he died last Tuesday, aged fifteen years and a half. A post-mortem examination revealed the fact that too much fat was the actual cause of death.
1871 THE GLASGOW CAT SHOW
CAT SHOW IN GLASGOW. Fifeshire Advertiser, 7th October 1871
The cat show has proved very successful spec. for a first effort in Scotland, in following up our English neighbours. Many of the specimens were rare in their way, and wonderfully heavy. Think of a cat weighing 18and one quarter pounds! The several home and foreign varieties were well represented; but there was not one entry for “Tortoiseshell Toms,” even although extra prizes were offered for this description. What a pity Markinch - wonderful in anything - did not step forward. Mr John Thomson, Milton of Balgonie, has rare Tortoiseshell Tom, aged 10 years ; his equal has not yet been seen in that region. Under a little extra care and I feeding, Tom would have startled many visitors hail his entry been secured. We shall see what next competition does.
CAT SHOWS IN SCOTLAND , Perthshire Advertiser, 12th October 1871
Exhibitions are the feature of the age, and the announcement of a Cat Show at the Crystal Palace, London, some time ago excited as much amusement as interest. Its success was, however, so great that similar displays have been held in many towns throughout the country. There was a Cat Show in Glasgow on Tuesday, last week, and another in Edinburgh on Friday.
THE GLASGOW SHOW. The Mail says:- In these latter days everything is competitive, from civil servants and barmaids to cats and canaries, and the metropolitan example which proved so successful at the Crystal Palace, encouraged the attempt at a similar exhibition at Glasgow. The Burnbank Show is the first of the kind in Scotland, which partly accounts for the limited response made by owners of feline treasures, However, though limited in numbers, it was in quality a fair sample of what might be done under more extensive organisation. Each animal was confined in a wire cage on tables crossing the body of the hall, which enabled visitors to view Tom or Tabby from all sides. As a rule, the cats, either appalled by the novelty of their location or suffering from home-sick ness, were remarkably depressed, having scarce energy for a mew or spit, but in the stilly night they will doubtless in better spirits and voice. Unfortunately, the genuine wild cat of Britain was conspicuous by its absence, but to make amends. No. 1 was a specimen of the South American tiger cat, called in children's books the “Margay," which seemed a very promising mixture of ferocity and amiability, of velvet and venom. Class 2 was allotted to the heaviest cat of any sex, and ten gigantic entries betokened a brisk competition. No. 7, a splendid grey and white Tom, turned the scale at 18 and a quarter pounds, and even he was said to be not in his usual condition. William Allan, of Whiteinch, is the possessor of this load of cats flesh, which carried off the silver medal of his class, also a special prize. As for the "Tortoiseshell Tom” class, there was no entries, in spite of the attraction of extra prizes ; like Betsey Trotwood, this much-desiderated animal was “not forthcoming.” No. 11 could hardly be called a true tortoiseshell, being a chestnut and black curiously blended together as to present a general rich brown appearance ; but No. 13, a maternal animal with seven promising kittens, was over eleven years of age, and according to reliable authority, “we are seven" occurs about every two months. No. 17, a very discreet-looking animal from West Kilbride, was an aged female 18 or 20 years old. No 25, an immense brown tabby Tom, only 18 months old, took the first prize in his class, though No. 23, with very deep-hued fur, was in some respects a more attractive specimen.
There was an ominous collection of black Toms, in the primest condition, but decidedly “no canny ’’ in their appearance ; and Marion G. Malcolm took the first prize with No 32 who looked serenely and sleepily indifferent at the judge. No 37 was an African cat from the Gambia, probably a descendant of those cats which were exported to that coast in the olden time for as much corn as would cover them when suspended the tail, with their noses touching the floor. Grey and white was his colour, and 15 and a quarter pounds was his weight. A cat of this breed was exhibited the Crystal Palace, which had been through the Crimean campaign, perched in the thickest of the fight on a Zouave's shoulder. Unluckily by an error, the present specimen, which has travelled half over the world, had been placed among the black and white class, and therefore missed his chance of the prize which he well merited. Then there were snowy white cats, both "short” and "long,” two choice white kittens, born of a jet black mother, a huge long-haired Tom, rich chestnut in colour, and a Manx specimen, which persevered in humility at the bottom of its cage, if ashamed to confess its tailless condition. A recent traveller mentions that the cats of Saragossa, in Spain, are like their Manx kindred destitute of the usual feline adornment; but probably this is merely a traveller’s " tail.”
A meagre supply of parrots, pigeons, and canaries eked out the show. To many people the chief object of attraction was the gigantic St. Bernard dog, in attendance with his master, the Rev. J. Cumming Macdona, who acted as judge and arbiter of the cats. To drown any feline complainings, the Lilliputian Lancers performed during the day selections of music very pleasantly, though the parrots and cockatoos seemed rather bewildered by the neighbourhood of musical tunes, and put their heads on one side in the attitude of puzzled critics.
Buckingham Advertiser and Free Press, 23 December 1871
BERKHAMPSTEAD-- Cat Show—Miss S. A. Pocock, of the Black Horse Inn, Great Berkhampstead, Herts, exhibited her pure white Angola longeared [Angora long-haired] female cat the recent Crystal Palace Cat Show, and obtained the second prize. The same cat was awarded the second prize at the Royal North Woolwich Gardens, on the 2nd and 3rd of August, and also the first prize at the Bedford Music Hall, Camden Town, on the 29th and 30th of August. At the above Hall four kittens were born, which, with their mother, were safely sent home in a few days, on the 2nd of October they were sent with their mother to Glasgow, in time for the show on the two following days. The kittens were awarded the first prize, silver medal, value 30s., with the name of the owner engraved thereon, manufactured by D. C. Rait and Sons, jewellers to the Queen. The best white kitten was purchased by the judge of the show, the Rev. Cumming Macdonald [Macdona], who stated that it was the prettiest little thing of its kind that he had ever seen in his life.
1871 SECOND (DECEMBER) CRYSTAL PALACE CAT SHOW
CRYSTAL PALACE SECOND NATIONAL CAT SHOW, under the patronage of Her Grace the Duchess of Sutherland, the Hon. Lady Cust, Lady Mildred Beresford Hope, Lady Dorothy Nevill, the Hon. Mrs. Henry Walpole, and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Saturday, December 2d, and Monday, December 4th. The Exhibition will present a greater number and more remarkable varieties of the cat than have ever been brought together, and will comprise Wild Cat and Kittens, Hybrids, British and Manx, Russian and Continental, Abyssinian, Persian, Angora, Aleppo, and other varieties from the East. Special Show of working men’s Cats. The entries are more than three times in number those of the first show. Admission – Saturday, half-a-crown; Monday, one shilling; both days by guinea season ticket. - The Times, November 30, 1871
CAT SHOW AT THE CRYSTAL PALACE – London Daily News,- Saturday 2nd December 1871
It is to be feared that we are rapidly using up our resources in the way of materials for show purposes. Cattle, horse, and dog shows are of respectable antiquity, poultry shows have become the rage, the British Barmaid has been on exhibition in all her more or less blushing charms, and maternal pride has been potent enough to make up a good entry for a baby show. Since Messrs. Harrison Weir and Wilkinson first, and so successfully, struck the vein last summer, there have been two cat shows in London and another in Glasgow, where the Scottish animals came out in a great force. To-day there opens in the Northern Nave of the Crystal Palace “the Second National Cat Show," and we may assume that Cat Shows are now to be reckoned among the institutions of the country. What is to be the next novelty? We beg to suggest to the enterprising conductors of the Crystal Palace an exhibition of mothers-in- law, with a select jury of sons-in-law to act as judges.
Mr. Pope has informed us that "the proper study of mankind is man;" but it is obvious that if there was an universal concentration of study on this department of natural history, it would be difficult to find judges capable with authority of carrying out in a cat show Nelson's motto, Palmam qui meruit ferat. It is indeed sufficiently remarkable how a standard of excellence seems to step forth ready-made, like Minerva from the brain of Jove, to furnish the guide in the award of n prizes in an exhibition of anything, no matter what. How has cat-science originated and developed till, in this the second public exhibition, we find the domestic feline race divided into forty classes; and judges so up in their work as ruthlessly to disqualify animals erroneously entered, to commend one class as "good," and to withhold any prizes from another, by reason of its uniform mediocrity? The standard of excellence in flowers has long ago been reduced to a written code, illustrated with ravishing pictures; and if there is no printed vade mecun for judges of cattle, poultry, or dogs, there is a well understood and dearly defined lex non scripta. It is clear that young as the public phase of cat- science is, it must have a code of some kind, whether written or merely oral and ocular in a combination, and that the judges of yesterday - Ladies Cust, Mildred Hope, and Lady Dorothy Nevill, the Rev. J. Cumming Macdona, and Messrs Harrison Weir and Jenner Weir - had certain definite rules and precepts by which they walked in the adjudication of the prizes. But the mysteries of cat-science are not common property. Whether the judges, like Mr. Bates with his short-horns, go for quality; whether action and pace are leading requirements; whether a "mellow touch" and "sweet handling " are indispensable desiderata in a prize cat; or whether greenness of eye, length of claw, or assertiveness of whisker are among the feline sine qua none a simple outsider has no pretensions to say. A competitive examination in mousing might be suggested as the most practical test of feline excellence, since the raison d'etre of a cat seems to be capacity to kill mice, but this criterion does not appear to have been resorted to, and the judges must either have proceeded on an intuition amounting almost to inspiration with regard to this feature, or, negativing it altogether, have adjudicated the prizes according. to an artificial and esoteric standard of excellence.
Among the phenomena of the age is the ruthless demolition of positions wont to be regarded as unassailable and, indeed, almost sacred; and even a cat show allows no exemption from the iconoclastic tendency of the times. " A Tortoiseshell Tom Cat" used to be a synonyme for an impossibility, entering _ into the same category with a blue dahlia, a white elephant, and a Fenian whom money would not make a spy. But in the Show that opens to-day this proverbial impossibility is scattered to the winds by Mr L. Smith's Tortoiseshell Tom, the very first entry in the catalogue. This reprehensibly revolutionary feline is a thoroughly pure tortoiseshell, not a white hair about him, and he squats there on his cushion, imperturbably unconscious of the crash of fine old crusted convictions that the apparition of his Tortoiseshell Tomship creates. Nor e is he the only destructionist of settled convictions. With a strength of assurance not inferior to Mr. E Hampden's conviction that the earth is not round, but flat, the world has clung to the belief that a pure white cat must in the nature of things be stone deaf. It is with indescribable emotion that we announce that Mr. W. Smith has sent to the Crystal Palace a snow white half-bred Persian cat (No. 235 B), which is not only not stone deaf, but has an exceptionally keen aural development; and this animal has the additional bewildering peculiarity of having eyes of as bright a blue as any unadulterated .Anglo-Saxon of the genus homo. After this the deluge. With a real live tortoiseshell tom and a white cat that is not deaf (to say nothing of the blue eyes), we shall abandon with sorrowing despair all the ancient landmarks, and with dogged resignation will decline to be surprised to learn anything, no matter how it directly in the teeth of the most fondly cherished belief.
There are 459 entries in the catalogue, more than triple the number at the first show in July, 1 and there are cats from Australia, India, Siam, and other “parts abroad,” including one short-haired black she cat which "was in Paris during the whole s of the late siege, sitting at the window watching the barricades." We take for granted she must have been the spectatress only of the second siege, else some "Besieged Resident" or other would scarcely have failed to assimilate her in the process of digestion. Perhaps she had nine lives, and parted with only one of them. The Tabbies come to the front in great force. "Tabby" is a word of wide application. There are brown tabbies, blue tabbies, silver tabbies, red tabbies, and long-haired tabbies, Angora tabbies, sandy tabbies, and several other varieties; and the fact is that ' Tabby" means simply the striped tiger-like marking, in whatever colour; while in a tortoiseshell the colours are mixed, or broken. Among the short-haired tortoiseshell she cats, Mr. Shenton shows an old cat, which is no great things to look. at, but has satisfactory credentials in the shape of r information furnished by her owner that she killed nine rats in one morning. Mrs. Yarham's tortoiseshell and white (No. 100) is valued at £40, and is worth all the money to any one desirous of, a possessing a cat gifted with an aspect of the profoundest sapiency and a pair of remarkably bushy side whiskers. In Class 17, " Short- haired black she cats," Mr. Chantrell's Theodora fails to take a prize, notwithstanding her 14. years, and her accomplishment of " taking milk from a jug with her foot and feeding herself." Cats as a rule contrive to feed themselves, especially when the housewife's back is turned, and we have known a cat, which nobody thought of sending to a show, taking milk from a jug with her tail - sticking that member daringly into the lacteal fluid, and then sucking it as if it had been a stick of rock.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has enhanced the interest of the show by offering a series of prizes for cats the property of working men, and these animals we find entered in the catalogue under the heading "Best He or She Working Men's Cats." Both the he and the she working men have sent very creditable representatives and it is noticeable that in the classes to which they have contributed are specimens of the rarest and costliest breeds, upon not a few of which fancy prices, ranging up to £50, are put, while a considerable number are entered as not for sale at all. The Society’s silver medal for working men' s cats is worthily taken, by Mr. T. Weightman, with a fine long-haired cat. The show as a whole is a great curiosity and well deserves a visit from the student of natural history, as well as from all interested in the favourite of the domestic hearth.
CAT SHOW AT THE CRYSTAL PALACE. London Evening Standard, 2nd December 1871
The second cat show at the Crystal Palace opens today. The first, held in July last, was merely tentative, but the success attending that, and the vastly increased patronage bestowed on this later one makes of an exhibition which was looked on at first as a grotesque one something like an event. In the present display there are no less than 349 entries — a pretty fair proof in itself of the zest the public take in contemplating the rival excellences of feline prodigies. In the course of a ramble by the cages where the specimens were shown (for which we can claim no more than an amateur's knowledge in the judgments) we noticed the following as remarkable for fineness or peculiarity of appearance:—No. 1, a true tortoiseshell, struck us as a much finer specimen of the race than any previously exhibited ; No. 38, Il Penseroso," a sleepy-looking creature, was a splendid sample in the class of short haired black and white he-cats ; No. 59, a mouse- coloured animal, similar to those that are reared in coal-mines, was also very fine; likewise No. 65, a wicked earless fellow, who appears to be subdued to a certain tameness; Mr. F. J. K. Shenton put in some specimens of short haired tortoiseshell she-cats, which, by symmetry of make and docility of temper, appeared to be deserving of prizes-. Amongst the other more conspicuous " exhibits " we scored on' on our catalogue were those numbered 77, and 101, a plump delicate Persian ; 123, who was in Paris during the siege, watching the barricades ; 128, a superb Australian ; 130, a Siamese, with beautiful sleek hair ; 150, a wild jungle cat ; 158, a half-breed Persian ; 170, a long-haired he-cat of unusual colour ; 199, a Prussian (not for sale) : 285, a heavy short-haired English grimalkin ; 291, a particularly handsome blue tabby ; 326, a Bokhara beauty ; 331, a lump of Persian elegance ; and 338, an Abyssinian who was taken in the late war by an officer in the 102d Fusiliers. Judging from this show, the interest in exhibitions of the kind is on the increase, and promises to furnish a permanent source of attraction.
THE CAT SHOW. Morning Advertiser , 2nd December 1871
No intelligent foreigner can say the English are wanting in sympathy for domestic animals. We have our shows of mighty oxen, of horses, of dogs, and now of cats. Bright days have dawned upon Grimalkin, who is petted and “deared” and “darlinged” by matron and maiden, and who is the subject of solemn consultation among judges appointed to define his merits of form, size, and colour. Captivity is made enjoyable for him at Sydenham, and his comforts are attended to with elaborate care that could not be exceeded in his own snug home; but still, like the hero of burlesque, he “is not happy.” He dislikes publicity for a time, and laments piteously, or blasphemes in the feline manner, as the humour takes him. He is obliged to be taken up tenderly and lifted with care in his transit from the basket of his proprietor to the comfortable cage of the Crystal Palace, or he may make a frantic rush for liberty and become a wanderer in the courts of France, Pompeii, and ancient Egypt. Unlike the British jockey, he will not sit quietly in the scale to be weighed : but, like all properly constituted and healthy animals, he soon goes quietly to his sustenance, and then, by a very natural declension, to his soft cushion, whereupon he may indulge in the blessing of sleep.
To the Crystal Palace authorities belongs the credit of originating cat shows. We say “the credit” advisedly, because the domestic cat is an animal capable of much more than is ordinarily supposed, and is not so very inferior to the dog in attachment to home and master. At the time the first successful show was held here, in the early summer, it was announced that another exhibition of the kind would follow later in the year. This day it commences at the Crystal Palace, and we can unhesitatingly pronounce, from our experience gained yesterday at the private view, that the present show is far more complete in every sense than its predecessor. The glove first thrown down by the Palace Company was afterwards taken up at Glasgow, North Woolwich, and Camden Town, but all that has been achieved at these places is eclipsed in this last venture at Sydenham.
The cages number something over 350, which exhibits a considerable increase over the total at the first show—in fact, there are now more than as many again as on the former occasion, Mr. Wilson, who superintends the natural history department, has had the arrangements under his particular care, and it must be confessed they are admirably conceived and carried out. In each cage there is a space filled with fine white sand, instead of sawdust as before, and in the front is a soft red cushion for the cat to lie upon. Some prefer the sand, but the majority are obliging and come to the front, so that their splendid form and colour may be seen. This idea of dividing the area of the cages, and of covering the backs with green baize is Mr. Wilson’s own, and must be eminently satisfactory to the owners of the animals.
To commence with we cannot do better than transfer the following quaint extract from the catalogue : “This beaste is called amusion, for that he is enimie to Myse and Rattes. He is slye and wittie and seeth so sharpeley that he overcommeth darknes of the nighte by the shyninge lyghts of his eyne. In shape of body he is like unto a Leoparde, and hathe a great mouth. He dothe delighte that he nioyeth his libertie; and in his youthe he is swifte, plyante, and merye. He maketh a rufull noyse and gastefull when he profereth to fighte with an other. He is a cruell beaste, when he is wilde, and falleth on his owne feete from most high places; and unete is hurt therewith. When he hathe fayre skinne, he is, as it were, prowde thereof, and then he goeth faste aboute to be seene. * * The field is of the Saphire, on a chiefe-Pearle, Musion ermines.” —John Bossewell’s “Workes of Armor ie," folio. 1507.
The number of classes is 40, and to select from all of them would be impossible in the space we have at command. Home of the short-haired brown tabby variety are beautiful animals, and a still more interesting group is the blue tabby. These last words read oddly enough, and the uninitiated might imagine a “blue tabby” to be as great a myth as those floricultural and zoological impossibilities a blue dahlia and “blue lion.” The catalogue has it a “blue tabby,” and the variety so named is certainly one of the handsomest of the whole feline family. Mrs. C. Chantrell’s, No. 28, is a good example. The show of tortoiseshells is the best yet seen. Pure tortoiseshells must have no speck or hair of white about them. For rich colour Nos. 73 and 74, both exhibited by Mr. E. Horner, are remarkable. These comparatively rare cats seem to be far more shy and reserved than those of a common order.
Tortoiseshell and white is an ordinary combination, and in this section Mr. Owers shows a fine specimen, No. 90, with little of the damaging white about it. Mrs. N. Coates’s, No. 101, named “Vino Fino,” is marked on the back with flakes of a rich flame colour, and is an animal of mark among the rest. Two beautiful short-haired red tabbies form a class of themselves, and are exhibited by Mr. James Riley (111) and Miss F. M. Forshall (112). Mr. P. D. Chantrell’s short-haired black “Theodora,” No. 120, “ takes milk from a jug with her foot and feeds herself.” In class 19 is an Australian grey and blue, with the stripes very faintly marked. A pure white Persian—of the Persians generally there are some remarkably fine examples - exhibited Mrs. A. M. Lewis, and numbered 141, is worthy of notice. Signor Foli, the weil-known basso of Her Majesty’s Opera, sends a pretty little white cat and four kittens. This cage is numbered 151. Of the longhaired he-cats (unusual colour) Mrs. Franklin Persian, No. 170, is one of the best specimens. It is extraordinary beauty, and of a most peculiar grey colour. Miss A. Elphinstone's, 176, long haired white, and Miss Lloyd’s black Angora, No. 178, with Mrs. Franklin Persian, No. 195, are all noticeable. The last has a wonderfully thick and beautiful coat. Of equal beauty is Miss Hales’s Angora, “Sintram,” No. 200.
This exhibition is under the patronage of many titled ladies and persons of high degree, who have contributed and taken the greatest interest in it. Extremes, however, meet in cat shows as in other things, and a specially important section is that formed by “working men s cats.” They lose very little or nothing comparison with the feline pets from more sumptuous homes, and are plump, sleek, and look as sublimely indifferent to praise or dispraise as their four-footed betters. Of this collection we may select Mr. A. Bell's, 210, light tortoiseshell and white ; Mr. W. Nicholl’s, 220, a splendid fellow, jet black ; and Mr. A. Harris’s, 228, pure white, of neat and compact form. In this section is really one of the marvels the exhibition. Mr. W. Smith’s half-bred Persian, No. 235 B. This cat has eyes of deep violet blue, clear and defined in colour, and strangely beautiful. This comes among the eccentricities of the cat world, and the unusual characteristic is so marked that it would be almost impossible to pass by the cage. There are other feline eyes with more or less of a blue tinge, but in this case it is most decided. Mr. C. Kawlings’s English tabby, No. 270, is an instance of the gradual change of colour that sometimes takes place in cats. Here the markings have almost disappeared from the body, but are retained in the head.
In the classes where weight is a consideration and gains the prize there are same extraordinarily fine animals. No. 304, again exhibited by Miss H. Amos, gained the chief honour at the first show. No. 304 is majesty and dignity personified, and extended on his cushion there is much of the sleeping tiger about his appearance. This cat, and No. 307, shown by Messrs. Hunter and Son, weigh 21lbs. each. Lady Colquhoun has a superb Persian, with a coat as thick as a sheepskin mat, and, apparently, not the slightest inclination to accept the patronage of the well-meaning public. Next to this cage, No. 325, is the Rev. G. Chilton’s pure white cat brought from Bokhara, and one of the greatest beauties in the whole exhibition. Miss Thatcher stows a cat of a rare dove colour, No. 332, and the Earl of Hopetoun a fine tortoiseshell and white, No. 335.
The various nationalities are strongly represented in this second show ; as, for instance, by Russian, French, Prussian, to say nothing of our old friend, the tailless Manx. Among so large a number it might only be expected there would be some cats interesting from association, or from some peculiarity of colour or formation, such as, for instance, No. 63, Miss W. Bishop’s half-bred English and Russian, an ordinary-looking cat, but gifted with extra number of claws. Mrs. C. Chantrell’s “Pattens,” No. 140, has “ringed claws,” and Mr. E. Rysdale’s 65a has lost his ears. We have heard something of the “dogs of war,” and it seems there are cats which see and hear something of battles and sieges. No. 123—Miss Pyle’s sable pet—was in Paris during the Communist excitement, and was in the habit of “sitting at a window watching the barricades.” If this quadruped was also besieged by the Prussians, and escaped being devoured by the French, she has much to be thankful for. This, we believe, was the fact. The one Siamese cat (No. 30), exhibited belongs to Mr. J. H. Dawson. The peculiarity is the absence of stripes or markings, and the dark colour of the nose and ears. A Siamese cat is a decided eccentricity. No. 139 is Mrs. Neville’s, and has seven claws on the front paws, and four on the hind feet. An Indian jungle cat, a dark, long-haired tabby, is shown by Mr. G. H. Youngman ; and Mr. W, Hitchcock has a Russian, of a dark mouse colour. Miss Harris sends “Zeyla,” an Abyssinian, who has travelled much in her time. There is no great beauty in “Zeyla,” but there is a certain amount of romance connected with her. “Zeyla” was part of the war spoils of an officer in the 102nd Fusiliers, who took the cat first to India, and from thence the cat came to England. “Zeyla” is as mild as King Theodore was savage, and does not lap like any other cat. She prefers to make a spoon of her paw.
At the last show the Duke of Sutherland’s wild cat made some sensation, and this time two of the untameable savages are sent, we believe, by the Earl of Hopetoun. One seems slightly more amenable than the other, whose eye, with its cruel glitter, is a warning, or, as it is now called, a “caution.” There are also two stuffed specimens of the wild cat exhibited. Messrs. Bertram and Roberts, the well-known refreshment contractors for the Palace, have sent in some of their fine cats. There are “Butcher,” the larder cat; “Old Mangles,” the laundry cat; “Amontillado,” the wine-cellar cat, and others. The present show, being such an immense advance on all previous exhibitions of the kind, should not be missed by anyone interested in the cat, and within easy distance of the Crystal Palace.
OUR ILLUSTRATIONS - The Graphic, 2 December 1871
Not many years ago a public exhibition of specimens of the cat tribe would have been looked upon as an absurdity. But why an absurdity, asked Common Sense. Why should any collection of choice creatures be viewed as an absurdity ? If it be right to exhibit shorthorns, and Southdowns, and pigs, why should it be wrong to exhibit dogs or pigeons, rabbits or babies, barmaids or cats ? At all events, cat-shows have met with the approval of the public, and, as regards the fair sex, are perhaps more popular than displays of any other domestic quadruped. The Horse Show is popular with ladies, but it is chiefly on account of the jumping, for it is not very easy to see what the horses are like in their stalls, and most people have a wholesome horror of getting kicked. At the Cattle Show feminine interest is chiefly bestowed on the pigs, and then it is rather given in the form of compassion at their uncomfortable obesity, than from admiration of their symmetrical proportions. Out of a show, as we all know, ladies are fond of dogs, especially very big dogs - great solemn, lumbering mastiffs and Newfoundlands - or very little dogs -pugs, toy-terriers, and the like; but in a show the canine tribe have two serious drawbacks. Their collective odour is apt to be unpleasantly powerful; while the noise mode by their aggregate yelping, bariking, growling, and whining, is nearly equal to the discordance which would result from a camp-meeting of macaws and cockatoos.
Glance by comparison at PUSSY IN THE SHOW, SURROUNDED BY HER ADMIRERS. She reclines as calmly in the cage as if she were on the domestic hearthrug, and she receives the homage of the admiring crowd with the most gracious serenity of demeanour, merely evincing her gratification by purring like a Lilliputian water-wheel. But what a moral ordeal it must be ! Cats survive it, Man could not. Imagine an average dandy placed behind those bars, and subjected to a similar amount of worship. "You darling creature !" "What lovely whiskers!" "What beautiful soft fur !" "I must stroke you behind the ears." Philosophic pussy receives these compliments with equanimity, and is morally none the worse for them; but the human dandy would emerge from the cage so puffed out with self-conceit that a Society would at once have to be formed for his suppression. Gentle reader, go to the Crystal Palace to-day, watch the cats, and decide whether you could endure to be made so much of.
THE CAT SHOW. Pall Mall Gazette, 2nd December 1871
IT seems but a very few months ago since somebody, probably of Egyptian descent, introduced cat-worship at Sydenham; but the cult was found to meet with so much acceptance that a speedy revival was a matter of course. The objects of the cult yesterday underwent an examination, to the sound of distant music, or, as one ought, perhaps, under the circumstances to write, mewsic; and the candidates or, if the word be more appropriate, catechumens were classified and arranged as "dii majorum gentium" and " dii minorum gentium," and honour was paid as honour was due, by the offering of a prize, a commendation, or a proper form of salutation. The Jupiter of these household deities was Mr. L. Smith's short- haired tortoise-shell he-cat. He, not having discoverable by human eye a single white hair, was pronounced by the enthusiastic to be worth all the rest of the candidates put together. He, of course, took the first prize in the first class-
Nil majus generatur ipso,
Nec viget quicquam simile aut secundum
Proximos autem sibi vindicavit
And Pallas, on this occasion, was Mr. E. Horner's short-haired tortoise- shell she-cat, which took the first prize amongst the candidates of her sex and colour.
The cats are divided into male, female, and epicene [of no sex], and into long-haired and short-haired, and are further subdivided into tortoise-shell, pure or mixed with white, into brown tabbies, blue or silver tabbies, red tabbies, black and white, all black, all white, and into other sections, according to weight and to singularities of hue and species, whether they suggest the rainbow or the dustbin, and whether they be wild, or hybrid, or Manx, or other. It will be clear, then, that to satisfy the eager curiosity of a public dying to know the names of all those cat-worshippers who have won a first, second, or third prize, and who have been C. or H. C. or V. H. C. (which are the different degrees of commendation in the various classes), would take up about as much space as the cross-examination of a witness in the Tichborne case, and it must, therefore, suffice to immortalize the winners of first prizes only.
They are Mr. L. Smith, Mrs. Le Neve-Foster, Miss Benn, Mr. J. Penwill, Miss F. M. Forshall, Mr. A. T. Eastman, Mr. F. George, Mrs. R. J. Moore, Messrs. Bertram and Roberts, Mr. E. Horner, Mr. J. H. Elliot, Mr. W. Ellis, Mr. J. Gessey, Mrs. A. Barber, Mr. J. H. Dawson, Mrs. E. Neville, Miss E. Fogerty, Mr. J. G. Musket, Miss Mason, Mrs. Franklin, Miss A. Elphinstone, Miss M. Armitage, Miss Hales, Mr. J. S. Harrison, Mr. T. Weightman, Mr. M. Odle, Mr. W. Pratt, Mr. J. Curtis, Mr. T. B. Campbell, Miss H. Amos and Miss M B. Hawthorn (equal), Mr. E. Farnham, Mrs. J. Reeves, and the Zoological Society.
As a visitor whose forte is, no doubt, originality of idea, remarked, the cats have very different expressions of face (from the wild cat, which glares like a lunatic, to the tamest old puss which would look unconcernedly at a king), and in many cases would evidently prefer their own apartments at home to the cages, comfortable as they are, in which they have been assembled for public worship. The wild cat, however, would probably scorn the sweets of home and the monotonous regularity of daily lights, and would like better to meet the spectator by moonlight alone in a tangled portion of a wood. Among the special curiosities to be noticed are, first of all, five cats called respectively Bung, Sago, Amontillado, Mangle, and Butcher, and belonging, respectively, to the beer-cellar, the storehouse, the wine-cellar, the laundry, and the larder, which form different portions of the Crystal Palace's own refreshment department. There is, next, a Siamese cat, which is so marked as to remind one partly of an opossum and partly of a pug-dog, and which is really worth seeing.
Darwinians and anti- Darwinians, again, may find something to make them ponder in the Australian cats and in the Russian cat. The former are understood to have sprung originally from the English tabby, and to be gradually losing the distinctive marks, just as life in the bush is said to gradually remove all distinguishing traits from English baronets; and the latter is understood to be the very Ishbibenob of cats, or, at least, like the six-fingered and six-toed descendant of the giant, for the distinguished Russian has, they say, on every foot one toe more than the hypocrite Sly was wont to descry in the riddle of our childhood. There is, also, Miss Pyle's cat, which "was in Paris during the whole of the late siege, sitting at the window watching the barricades," and yet escaped the clutches of those French cooks whose sauces would make even one's grandmother eatable. There is the cat, too, with "seven claws on front paws and only five behind;" and there is the cat Light Zeyla, which was taken in Abyssinia by an English officer during the late expedition, and which "will drink from a tumbler or cup with its left paw." The popularity of the show may be inferred from the incomparably larger, and in many cases better and more interesting, exhibition of animals on this second occasion; and it must have been very gratifying to the representatives of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to see the many fine, sleek, well-tended creatures sent in to compete for the society's prizes. The show lasts two days, to-day and Monday.
CAT SHOW AT THE CRYSTAL PALACE – The Times (London), December 4, 1871
The “ Second National Cat Show " was opened at the Crystal Palace on Saturday, and will close this evening. The cats are arranged in lines of cages at the north end of the nave. Among them are many fine specimens, and both the connoisseur and the ignoramus in feline beauty will find the Show well worth a visit. The former will not be disappointed, and the latter will be delighted at seeing for the first time in his life such variety of form, such beautiful shades and textures of fur, such variously coloured eyes as those which belong to the 349 sleek favourites reposing on their red cushions, with blue ribands tied daintily round their soft necks.
The cats are divided into four divisions, entitled “short-haired cats,” “Long-haired cats,” “cats of no sex,” and “working men’s cats.” The series of prizes in the fourth division is offered by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, “ to encourage the kind treatment of domestic cats;” but it seems to us that such cats as are likely to be sent to Shows run far more chance of being killed with kindness than cruelty. While we were there a fond mistress brought her pet his supper, which was not a mouse as our readers might guess, but two smelts exquisitely fried in breadcrumbs and a savoury leg of a roast chicken. We are afraid that this exhibition, attractive as it is, does not encourage cats to fulfil the purposes of their being. So fat and well-favoured is each prize-puss, so lazily do they lie on the crimson cushions, that we doubt whether a nimble mouse might not run the gauntlet of the whole 349 and come clear off.
The four divisions we have named are subdivided into 40 classes, and, as in each class three prizes are offered, the most modest merit has a fair chance. In cage No. 1 reposes the wonder of the Show, if not of the world, a pure tortoiseshell tom, without a white hair in his whole coat. So rare is this precious creature that the judges, who may be supposed to have passed their lives among the species, have never before beheld his like. For tortoiseshell toms there is a special class, but he has neither compeer nor competitor. Among these 349 picked cats of England he is the first and the last of his kind and colour and takes his prize of 1/. 10s., by no effort but of his own royal right. Next to him are ranged the brown short-haired tabbies, then a bevy of blues and silver grays, all so sleek and handsome, that we can well understand the difficulty the judges had in determining the prize-winners. Nos. 20 and 30, are red tabby he-cats, rare and costly, one not for sale, and the other priced at 20/. Some fine black fellows in pink neck-ties, several toms of a mouse-coloured, unusual hue; others earless, curly-tailed or no- tail-at-all bring us to the fascinating group of the beer-cellar cat “Bung'” and her three kittens. Next to these is ranged a high-bred class of tortoiseshell she-cats, without a hair of white (the prevailing blemish of this species) in their superfine fur. In one cage lies a veteran of 14 years, in another a litter of kittens of scarcely as many days, snug and cosy between their mother and a sheepskin mat. Cage 349 contains a pair of Hybrid Wild Cats from the Zoological Gardens. These take a prize in their class, and deserve it. Crouching at the back of their cage with fierce, uneasy eyes, they break the succession of the tame tabbys, which arch their backs and press their heads against the wire netting in rapturous expectation of a caress.
Among the rarities of the show are a fawn-coloured Siamese cat, an Australian cat of peculiar hue, and “Zeyla,” an Abyssinian cat taken prisoner of war by an officer of the 102d Fusiliers, carried to India, and afterwards brought to England. The catalogue informs us that this travelled tabby will drink from a tumbler or cup, with left paw, almost at any time. There are no less than 42 entries of “cats of no sex.” These comprise every variety, and are the finest class in the Show. The cats of no sex attain an enormous size; two of them, Nos. 304 and 308, are the heaviest in the Show, and weigh exactly 21lb. each. Of Persian cats with their neck frills, which distinguish them from the Angora, and their long fur, there are many fine specimens. A rare black belonging to Lady Colquhon, a yellow with enormously fat cheeks, and a cream-colour exhibited by Lord Hopetown, aged 14 years, and valued at 100/. (we hope its life is insured), are the most notable.
The judges were Lady Cust, Lady Dorothy Nevill, Lady Mildred Hope, the Hon. Henry Walpole, Rev. J. C. Macdona, Messrs. Harrison Weir and J. Jenner Weir. There are too many prize winners for us to give all their names, and we feel quite unequal to deciding questions of pre-eminence among the owners of over 100 prize cats of 40 classes, and one and all, at least so they seem to us, rare and beautiful. It is fair to posterity that we should mention Mr. L. Smith, the happy possessor of the tortoiseshell tom, and we must express our sorrow that neither Mr. Whittington’s English white cat nor his red Manx tabby was good enough in quality to stand by his name.
The admissions were by season tickets, 7,966 ; on payment, 2,129 ; total, 10,095.
THE CAT SHOW AT THE CRYSTAL PALACE. Dublin Evening Mail, 8th December 1871
To think 20,000 visitors to look at 349 cats ! But all day long, on the two days of the show, crowds came and went; and it was only by dint of perseverance that a close view could be had of the dear creatures. The prizes were small, nothing above £10, but the exhibited were divided into so many classes, so that the awards were numerous. There is a spiteful fallacy abroad that cats are specially under the protection of spinsters; but there could be no greater mistake for quite as many gentlemen as ladies offered their pets for the admiration of the pensive public. The dear things were in small cages, and all did not look very happy. But some had crimson velvet cushions in the bottoms of their cages, and posed themselves quite to the admiration of their visitors. The little kittens, it is true, frisked and played as little kittens are wont to do, not being old enough to have learned “company manners," and hopelessly insensible to the dignity of the occasion.
Though the prizes were low in amount, there was a great deal of honour and glory to be had, especially in being the possessor of an animal valued at the modest figure £1,000. A lady had one these treasures, and the Rev. G. Chilton, of Littleboro', near Guildford, had another. The cats were chiefly from the neighbourhood of London, but Shropshire and Herefordshire also contributed. One family alone from the neighbourhood of Brighton exhibited twenty-one, two of which got prizes, but none of these were for sale. What beauty the twenty-one had to show may be gathered from the following names : “ Bordelia, "I Penseroso,” “Beauty," 'Mask," “ Docilia,” “Elegance," “Oceana," “Smut Nose," “Gold Eyes," "Theodora," " Fair Bosom," “Bloom," "Pattens,” “Wappus," &c.; this last being a cat with accomplishments, for is specially set forth in the catalogue that Wappus begs and catches with his forefeet. But it must not be supposed that he was the only cat who had habits. “Zeyla," an Abyssinian, aged five years and a half, who was taken in the late war by an officer of the 102nd Fusiliers, and carried to India, and from thence brought to England twenty months ago, will drink with her left paw from a tumbler any time. But it is tantalising to find we may not buy Zeyla for less than £50 and dear Theodora, the only other cat in the show of equal refinement, is not for sale.
There were three Manx cats; and one with seven claws on her front paws, and only five on her back ones; and a cat who had been in Paris during the whole of the siege, and, sitting at the windows, watched the barricades; cats with blue eyes; cats with amber; cats with coral necklaces on; cats without necklaces; Signor Foli's longhaired black cat, and shorthaired white one; the laundry cat “Mangle;" the wine-cellar cat “Ammontilado;" the beer ceilar cat “Bung;" the last must have been working cats who were in the habit getting their own living, for they took thankfully the wholesome food which the attendants served out at dinner hour, while some of the fastidious animals literally turned up their noses at the sight and smell of the cats' meat, and one naughty little pussy took up her dinner and threw it over her shoulder. One kind mistress brought her darling pet’s dinner—two fried smelts, and a leg of chicken. But to give anything like a full account of the cat show would be impossible; a letter would then, indeed, become a cat-a log.—Belfast News-Letter.
< B>CAT SHOW John Bull, 9th December 1871
Among the judges for prizes the Cat Show at the Crystal Palace were Ladies Mildred Hope, Dorothy Nevill, Cust, and the Hon. Mrs. Walpole. Miss Pyle’s black cat, said to have been witness of (he siege of Paris, was much admired, as were three Persian cats which took first prizes in the classes to which they belonged, the property of Mrs. Franklin, of Caythorpe, near Grantham. Lady Colquhoun’s black Persian of splendid dark brown and black hair with yellow eyes was also much noticed.
AN AFTERNOON WITH THE CATS - The Graphic, 9 December 1871
A NEW era has been inaugurated for cats. Hitherto, however petted and praised Puss may have been as a good mouser or a domestic ornament to the hearth rug, her fond owners never inquired into her pedigree, cared little for figure or regularity of marking, paid no attention to weight, and unless she was something very out of the common, summed up these attractions in the comprehensive term of "a beauty." As to a feline competitive examination for such perfections such an idea was never broached, until early in the year, when some energetic spirit suggested the feasibility of a cat show, and in July last the idea was acted upon by the ever-enterprising managers of the Crystal Palace. The experiment succeeded far beyond their expectations, and accordingly a second and more extensive exhibition was held on Saturday and Monday last. To judge from the excellence of the animals, as well as from the enthusiasm of the spectators, we may expect that the Cat Show will become as favourite an institution as the Equine, Canine, and Bovine Exhibitions, in which we profess to take so much delight.
The aspect of the Crystal Palace on the two days was most lively and amusing. It had been prophesied by the uninitiated that Pussy, accustomed to roam about at will, would take her confinement with a very bad grace, rend the air with pitiful mews, and scratch any unwary stranger who should attempt to caress her. It was quite the contrary, however. Beyond an occasional plaintive cry when spoken to in a tone that reminded them of home, the hearth-rug, and their mistress's lap, the cats were singularly quiet, and, barring perhaps the few wild specimens and one unfortunate tabby which a visitor would insist upon stirring up with a large cloth-gloved finger, the animals appeared of the most friendly possible disposition, and when not asleep humped their backs, arched their tails, and rubbed their heads against their iron bars, as though delighted at being the subject of so much notice. As for the kittens they appeared supremely happy, and rolled over and over in chase of the little spills of paper which lady visitors thrust into the cages for their delectation, and here let us enter a protest against the unthinking cruelty of many who constantly roused a sleepy pussy with the point of a stick or umbrella. Fancy the feelings of a fond owner at seeing his or her especial darling poked about like a prize pig or ox by a Norfolk grazier.
The greatest "attractions" of the show were naturally the wild specimens. Those sent by the Zoological Gardens carried off the palm, and then came two sent by Mr. Bouverie-Pusey, which, chained up in their cages, spat and swore in an ultra-feline style. Next in interest were the two prize Angoras, to our mind the gems of the show. Two silver medals had been offered by Miss Hales of Canterbury for the best male and female specimen. Miss Hales herself carried off the first, while the second was adjudged to Mr. J. S. Harrison. Both animals were in splendid condition, the long hair being bright and glossy, out of which their sharp little intelligent faces peered wistfully, as though asking what was the meaning of all the hubbub around them. For size and weight, however, none came up to two magnificent "short-haired," whose weight was the same to an ounce, 25 lbs., the judges awarding them a " first prize " apiece. Monstrous cats they looked, and when sitting up, in that peculiarly comfortable manner in which only cats can sit, upon the normal red cushion supplied to every cage, their size was still more apparent. The heaviest long-haired cat was a yellow Persian, and when curled up it was simply impossible for, a spectator to discover the whereabouts of either extremity, as it seemed exactly like a drawing-room door mat, or that canine beauty lately noticed by our friend Punch.
One of the most singular-looking cats was " Russ" of Muscovite origin, whose coat resembled chinchilla. Another, “Zeyla,” who had been captured during the war, was mostly remarkable for her woebegone appearance seemingly discontented at her sudden elevation into notoriety, and longing for her barbaric freedom as in the good old days of King Theodore. Another distinguished foreigner was a Parisian pussy, who was a "besieged resident," and according to the description, well versed in the building of barricades from constant watching out of windows. We strongly suspect that Miss Puss was little better than a spy, or why should she now wear such an eminently Teutonic collar of yellow and black? Talking about collars, many were of the most brilliant hue, and, as a rule, showed off the wearer to advantage, but we appeal to our lady readers, was it good taste to ornament a reddish throat with a scarlet ribbon?
Among the various unusually coloured let us mention a Penang cat, brownish yellow with black nose and ears, and an Australian grey and blue. A very splendid Persian carried off the prize for the unusually coloured "long-haired. " To come to the more homely "tabbies" their name was legion. There were tabbies red and tabbies blue, tabbies silver and tabbies brown, long-haired and short-haired, in fact of every conceivable colour and type. Amongst them may be mentioned a splendid brown exhibited by Miss Le Neve Foster, a good blue by Miss Benn, and a long-haired by Miss Mason. The "black and white" cats were comparatively poor, but there was a capital show of tortoiseshell comprising that cygnus niger of Felimaniacs -a tortoiseshell Tom.
Of the other varieties, we must confine ourselves to mentioning a capital brown tabby Manx, shown by Mrs. R. G. Moore; and " Amontillado," a tortoiseshell and white, by Messrs. Bertram and Roberts, popularly known as the "cellar cat." The same firm also exhibited their laundry, store-room, larder, and beer-cellar cats, appropriately designated "Mangle," "Sago," "Butcher," and "Bung."
Four special classes for the pets of working men had been created through the care of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals," who gave the prizes. Here the white cats formed the best class, although a fine black puss was shown by Mr. Odle. One white half-bred Persian had a most splendid pair of keen blue eyes, and was wholly free from the usual defect of her kind, deafness. We must not forget the kittens, of which some very pretty specimens were shown, notably one tiny snowball shown by Mr. J. Bertram, a little white beauty by Mr. A. Harris, and several of the long-haired and more intricate species.
The Crystal Palace Company have not rendered themselves remarkable for the tendering of unsolicited advice, except in the way of the mildest of lectures on the most uninteresting subjects by artists more or less known to fame. But they have grown of late laudably desirous of supplying want which has been long felt though, it must be confessed, unacknowledged, namely, that of more intimate acquaintance with natural history. Wombwell's menagerie was the first thin end of the wedge resorted to for this purpose, and great was the patronage bestowed upon that renowned institution while it lasted, whenever it made its welcome appearance at Sydenham. Poultry and pigeon shows next engaged the attention of visitors [...] Then, probably from the success which had attended similar exhibitions at the Agricultural Hall and Ashburnham Park, dog show was started, and with such an amount of patronage, and under such good management and care of the animals exhibited, that it may now be confidently regarded as an annual institution, and among the chief of the summer sights of the Crystal Palace. Dogs naturally suggest cats and if dog show, by parity of reasoning, why not cat show? The advantages to be derived from study of natural history ought surely to be extended to the ladies and contemplation of the different varieties of the cat species ought to be eminently beneficial to those strong-minded females who are lookingforward to the passing of their Removal of Disabilities Bill, under the auspices of Mr. Jacob Bright and the Attorney-General. Indeed the cat show is formidable rival of the canine exhibition, and bids fair to be quite as long-lived, which is but right, seeing that cats are proverbially longer lived than dogs. It is said that we are indebted to Mr. Harrison Weir, the eminent artist, for the notion and arrangement of the cat show. All honour to him for the suggestion, but let us hope that the hideous cat's head on the flaming yellow placard, which annually announces the coming cat carnival and frightens small boys at the railway stations, is not design from the pencil of the great artist. Complete in all its arrangements as the exhibition is said to have been, must not be taken to have included the unimportant matter of the advertisements, as far as regarded their pictorial illustrations. Mr. Harrison Weir was also the instigator of the late game bird show, through which Londoners, previously acquainted only with defunct or trussed game, have been enabled to view variety of specimens, thoroughbred and hybrid, in all the glory of resplendent plumage, without dragglement and free from vermicular and Norfolk Howard. - THE CRYSTAL PALACE DOG SHOW, Baily’s Magazine of Sports and Pastimes. Vol. 22. , 1872.
A new era has been inaugurated for cats. Hitherto, however petted and praised Puss may have been as a good mouser or a domestic ornament to the hearth-rug, her fond owners never inquired into her pedigree, cared little for figure or regularity of marking, paid no attention to weight, and unless she was something very out of the common, summed up these attractions in the comprehensive term of “a beauty.” As to a feline competitive examination for such perfections, such an idea was never broached until early last year, when some energetic spirit suggested the feasibility of a cat show, and in July last the idea was acted upon by the managers of the London Crystal Palace. That exhibition succeeded so well that a second and more extensive exhibition was planned and took place a few weeks since. To judge from the excellence of the animals, as well as from the enthusiasm of the spectators, we may expect that the cat show will become as favorite and institution as the equine, canine, and bovine exhibitions in which Americans and English profess to take so much delight. We confidently expect that before another year comes round New York will have a grand Cat Exhibition, beside which that of the London Crystal Palace will sink into insignificance.
The aspect of the London Crystal Palace during the two days of the show is said to have been most lively and amusing. It had been predicted by sceptical persons that Pussy, accustomed to roam about at will, would take her confinement with a very bad grace, rend the air with pitiful mews, and scratch any unwary stranger who should attempt to caress her. It was quite the contrary, however. Beyond an occasional plaintive cry when spoken to in a tone that reminded them of home, the hearth-rug, and their mistress’s lap, the cats were singularly quiet, and barring, perhaps, the few wild specimens, and one unfortunate tabby which a visitor would insist on stirring up with a large cloth-gloved finger, the animals appeared of the most friendly possible disposition, and when not asleep humped their backs, arched their tails, and rubbed their heads against their iron bars, as though delighted at being the subject of so much notice. As for the kittens, they appeared to be supremely happy, and rolled over and over in chase of the little spills of paper which lady visitors thrust into the cages for their delectation.
The first prize was won by a Persian she-cat of rare violet colour, whose portrait is given on this page. The third prize was taken by the Abyssinian cat, shown in the lower right-hand corner of the illustration. She was captured in the late Abyssinian war, and was mostly remarkable for her woe-begone appearance, seemingly discontented at her sudden elevation into notoriety, and longing for her barbaric freedom in the good old days of King Theodore. The animal that attracted most attention was “Tortoise-shell Tom.” He stood alone in his glory, the admired of all beholders. The heaviest long- (… next page missing) - AN AFTERNOON WITH THE CATS, Harper’s Weekly, Supplement, Jan 27, 1872
There is some justification for the belief that a new career of honor is opening for puss. Cat shows are likely to become institutions among us. When the Crystal Palace folk entered upon this matter half a year ago, there were no data from which the probable degree of success could be inferred. It was not known whether the owners of fine or rare cats would submit them to public view. But they did; and the display was a success. The famous question of questions was not quite solved. There was a tortoise-shell tom, but it was admitted that he had a few white hairs about him. People flocked in very large number to the north nave of the Palace, where the cats were ranged in cages; and newspapers and family circles were, for a week afterwards, discussing the merits of the Duchess of Sutherland's British wildcat, the white Persian cats, the blue-eyed deaf cats, the Siamese cat with the puppy, pug-like nose, cats without tails, cats with superabundant toes, cats with less than the proper number of toes, cats weighing more than 21 pounds each, cats with the brown tabby coat, so rarely seen. And this first cat-show having been a success, a determined on, and still more decided is pussy now in favor than before. The cats were vastly more numerous; and so were the visitors. No fewer than three hundred and forty-nine mewing, purring beauties competed for public admiration and favor, reclining pleasantly on their cushions. The animals were grouped in forty classes, and three prizes were given in each class; so that about every third man had a prize, of course much to his or her satisfaction. The short-haired and long-haired were duly classified; while the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offered prizes for choice examples of workmen's cats. Good, kindness to animals ennobles a dustman and a duke alike. The brown, blue and gray tabbies wore in strong muster; the rare mauve color was present; the Australian and the Abyssinian had not been forgotten; there was a cream color, which the enraptured owner valued at one hundred pounds; there were twenty-pound cats, and hybrid white cats, and fawn colored cats, and — oh, rarity of rarities! — a real tortoise-shell tom, in whose coat not one white hair could be found. - ABOUT CATS (1872), Indianapolis Evening Journal (Newspaper), February 6, 1872, (From Every Saturday) (Note: most likely the author meant "hybrid wild cats")
A cat-show was advertised at the Sydenham Crystal Palace last May. I went. I found on exhibition two hundred and eleven cats, many of them unwillingly torn from their domestic hearths. They were separately confined in two rows of tin cages wired in front. We who came to gaze, being marshaled in line under the surveillance of a police man, were made to march slowly up in front of one row of cats and down the other, the cages being placed back to back. If any lingered by some more attractive cat, the man in authority cried out, as in the streets of London, " Move on !"' As regards sight-seeing, the cats had the best of it, since they could sit comfortably quiet and view the endless panorama of human faces moving past them. Some of them appeared to enjoy it : others seemed indifferent. Many slept as they would on a garden wall or a warm hearth-rug, or looked on us dozingly, indicating an enviable condition of calm enjoyment and mental equilibrium.
Some were very shabby-looking cats, apparently more familiar with the cellars than the parlors of London. They belonged to the lower feline orders. They seemed of that class often to be seen in cities sleeping by day in the charred apartments of partly - burned buildings, fur rough and slovenly, eyes sore and watery, holding themselves in low estimate, lacking dignity and self-respect — rowdy cats, having neither home nor mistress, uncared-for and unpetted in kittenhood, bred in vicious and vagrant youth, perishing miserably in old age, stoned and clubbed to death by boys on the same plane of disreputability ; their corpses denied burial, being flung into the street or the filthy lakelets common to the outskirts of all large cities, where they float about for a time ghastly and gaseous lumps of bloated hideousness.
Worthy of especial notice was one stately, aristocratic cat, whose expression, as he regarded the crowd of humanity in front indicated him as a feline Sybarite, whose finer taste and habit protested against thus being made a show of, in common with low and vulgar cats and the frivolous and noisy cockatoos screeching a few yards from his cage, but whose higher philosophy served to make his present condition not only endurable, but pleasant, inasmuch as, being made a spectacle for the crowd, he retaliated by making for himself a spectacle of them, returning the stare of curiosity with the gaze of calmness, and the stare of emptiness with that of deep speculation. This was a cat who could travel with profit, whose remembrance of the showy confusion within the Crystal Palace ; the occasional burst of music from the orchestra ; the gigantic ferns here and there, giving to the whole an air of a bit of the tropics transplanted and maintained under glass ; the bustle of lunch-tables and fluffing about of solemn young waiters in white neck-cloths ; the "American Bar," with its framed list of thirty national drinks, including "eye openers" and "corpse-revivers;" the thousand and one busts of great men so thickly herded together, as if greatness had become common,—would be in after years still a clear and distinct picture, from which he would extract much material for pleasant and profitable thought.
Among the two hundred and eleven I noticed several astonished cats, who seemed all wonder that they should be dragged from their retirement, sealed in tin cages and set up before the gaze of thousands. Theirs, at this staggering era of existence, showed simple wonder, unmixed with terror or vexation, being akin to the sensation experienced by some country girl on first visiting a great city. They were humble, unaspiring cats, deeming life complete in catching their quota of rats and mice, rearing the share of kittens allotted them by destiny. and finally, having quietly slidden into a torpid old age, dying without having ever held an office or excited a revolution. But this enforced visit and confinement at the Crystal Palace will for the remainder of life stand out the most prominent incident of their earthly probation, like Aunt Jane's first, last and only trip to the city.
There was a young and innocent kitten, ornamented about the neck with blue ribbon, her time of life corresponding to the short-gown-and-pantalet era of girlhood, still in happy ignorance of all future trial, with as yet no feverish longing for matrimony nor black dread of celibacy, pleased still to play with a string, and capable of becoming completely absorbed in the pursuit of her own tail, ready to frolic with any finger thrust into her cage, and not even annoyed at the impertinent pokes she received from umbrellas, canes and parasols, her simplicity shutting from her the knowledge that such acts should be considered insults. One young mother with three kittens seemed as composed as if in her own household, being quite indifferent to the spectators while regarding the antics of her family with an air of tender gravity and superiority peculiar to all young mothers with or without claws. Louder than words this certain manner of youthful maternity says to mankind, "You, sir, may be learned in all the knowledge of the Egyptians, you may be verged in all the intricacies of law, war, science and government, but there is one territory of thought and experience you can not enter, inasmuch as you know not what it is to be a mother, and you never can or will know ; and I am by the extent of such knowledge and experience your superior, for maternity has avenues of thought all its own." - OUR MONTHLY GOSSIP - CHARACTER AT A CAT-SHOW, Prentice Mulford, Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine. Vol. 10. London: J. B. Lippincott, 1872