REPORTS FROM EARLY CONTINENTAL EUROPEAN CAT SHOWS
VIENNA CAT SHOW IN JUNE. Vienna has never had a cat show, and, In fact, such a thing has never been known in the empire. The Austro-Hungarian Bird Raisers’ association has now taken the matter up and is planning an exposition to be held there in June. Many look upon the undertaking as a huge joke or as a strictly original idea – Independence Daily Reporter, August 1st, 1900.
THE CAT SHOW IN BRUSSELS where there are congregated felines of all kinds, and from all parts of the world to the number of several hundred, will without doubt be a howling success. – Bismarck Weekly Tribune, January 5 1894
Here is a little background to the cat fancy in France. According to Kathleen Kete in “The Beast in the Boudoir, Pet-Keeping in 19th Century Paris,” the cat was the anti-pet of 19th century bourgeois life due to its associations with wanton female sexuality and its outcast status, both dating back to Middle Ages witchcraft. At the same time, cats were embraced by intellectuals and bohemians. By the end of the nineteenth century it had been rehabilitated into a family pet and distinct pedigree varieties were being bred and exhibited.
The eighteenth century's most widely influential naturalist, Buffon, hated cats, viewing them as perfidious, faithless creatures and an unfaithful servants kept out of absolute necessity to hunt mice. About the only good thing he had to say about them was that they were agile, clean and liked the softest sleeping places. He claimed this was based on careful observation of their shifty demeanour, their avoidance of direct eye contact, and the sexual voraciousness of the females that forced themselves on reluctant males. Alphonse Toussenel went even further; in his Zoologie Passionnelle of 1855 he likened the need for cats to the need for prostitution. It was also widely believed that cats were subject to the spontaneous generation of rabies and could develop rabies through sexual deprivation. Rabies contracted from cats was much rarer than rabies contracted from dog bites and this was attributed to the fact that male cats might be neutered (albeit only 10% of them) and lacked tsexual urges, while female kittens were often destroyed, as well as to the fact that cats were not as sociable with humans as were dogs.
Fée wrote that if the Parisian cat could choose his own master, it would choose the artisan (where it could hunt mice) rather than the rich bourgeois (where it would become soft and too lazy to hunt). The cat was neither bourgeois nor working class, but was associated with bohemians such as Théophile Gautier, Albéric Second, Léon Gozlan, Champfleury, Théodore Barrière, and Paul de Kock. It was also the companion of literary intellectuals, as it was content to be in their company without demanding attention in the same way as a dog. Such people were apparently attracted to cats because they had “free will.” Unlike dogs, which would lick a tormentor’s hand, cats rarely allowed themselves to be victims of vivisection and escaped the knife of those experimenters who found dogs, rabbits and pigeons far easier to sacrifice, explained Fée. Cats were obstinate, independent and constitutionally difficult to shape to utilitarian ends. To understand the cat, wrote Champfleury, "one must be a woman or a poet." Henri Lautard likened the self-contained cat to a philosopher.
Their apparent lack of fidelity and sociability and its resistance to being trained meant cats did not fit into mainstream bourgeois life. Attempts to "rehabilitate" it took the form of extolling dog-like characteristics in the cat. Stories that featured feline fidelity appeared in the bulletin of the Parisian Société Protectrice des Animaux in the mid-1860s. In the July 1864 issue, the society featured a brief story on the "attachment cats are capable of feeling toward us." Cats, like dogs, could be faithful beyond the grave, for example a cat whose master committed suicide apparently attempted suicide itself. When a cat attached itself to its master of mistress it might die of grief from having lost them. This theme was repeated into a children’s story "Jennie and Minnie." When orphan Jennie dies of mistreatment, her kitten Minnie dies on the child’s grave. Writers applauded “feminine” cats for exhibiting “masculine” dog behaviour. The Société carried a letter in its March 1873 bulletin from M. Heine about feline fraternité." The letter mentioned twin cats that had their kittens the same day and in the same basket and who shared maternal duties. Alexandre Dumas loved his cat, Mysouff, for its canine behaviour. Each day Mysouff walked with him to work, and each day it exuberantly greeted Dumas on his return.
The cat’s cleanliness and refined behaviour played significant roles in its increasing popularity. The Société wrote in 1857. That a dog left to its own devices was a glutton and would even eat the excrement of other animals. Cats liked to be clean; dogs were quite happy to be dirty. By the 1880s, pet owners needed little convincing that cats made good pets. The cat’s popularity increased greatly from then until the First World War.
Even before the Belle Epoque (which began in 1871, the same year as the first Crystal Palace Cat Show), there were cat lovers among ordinary people who were neither intellectual nor sexually unconventional. During the Paris Commune, when people had to eat or destroy their pets, some saved their cats. In the early days of the siege of Paris, when authorities attempted to save dogs from destruction, cats also had supporters. The Société Protectrice des Animaux bulletin of 1871 tells us that more than one poor devil shared his last crust of bread with him and in one club when the motion was made to ruthlessly sacrifice pets several good souls spoke on behalf of cats as not being useless mouths, despite malicious lies about them. During the late 1870s the Société defended cats more actively. In 1866 its bulletins carried no reports on cats. Ten years later it carried 20 reports including the need for a cat refuge. In the 1860s the Société was concerned with preventing the hunting of Parisian cats for their fur and in demonstrating to its readers that cats could be loyal to their owners. In the late 1870s the main feline issue was the need for a cat refuge.
The appearance of cat shows in Paris and an interest in pedigree cats was a significant step towards it becoming a household pet. Cat shows, like dog shows before them, were based on British models. There was a cat show in Paris in 1869, two years before the first Crystal Palace cat show. Henri Lautard remarked in 1909 that cat shows were held annually in London, and that Paris had had several fine cat shows during the previous few years. Cat shows resulted in breed standards, again imported from Britain where Harrison Weir had codified the “points” of those breeds known in the 1880s. While dogs, which were classified according to function and judged on gait as well as on conformation, cats were classified and judged more like rabbits, based on coat and eye colour, length of coat and conformation, but not on function or gait.
The French began to be interested in perpetuating cat breeds in the late 1870s with Abyssinians first appearing in writing in 1874, and Siamese being introduced into France by the French ambassador to Siam, Auguste Pavie, who presented one to the Jardin des plantes in 1885. In 1869, Brehm had listed only eight breeds of cats in “La Vie des Animaux Illustrée”: the Angora (white longhair), Manx, Chinese Lop, Chartreuse (grey), Persian, Rumanian, Tobolsk (red), and the red and blue cats of the Cape. Also in the 1860s, Larousse knew of only four varieties: the domestic tiger (tabby), Chartreuse (grey cat), Spanish (tortoiseshell) and Angora (longhair white). The bourgeoisie loved to collect exotic animals and to develop distinct breeds. Some types of dog were given invented and exotic histories. Abyssinian and Siamese cats would also be given fanciful histories. By 1937, Lestrange mentioned a number of exotic breeds: Persian, Sacred Birman, Siamese, red Tobolsk, black Gambian cats, Cyprus Cats and Canadian Cats.
THE FRENCH DOG AND CAT SHOW 1869. - Pall Mall Gazette, 15 June 1869
OUR English amateurs and patrons of the kennel have found imitators on the banks of the Seine, and as the French Derby treads close on the heels of the Epsom one, so the dog show at Islington is followed by the "Grande Exposition de Races Canine et Feline" in the Rue Picot. The Rue Picot, hard by that great artery by which fashionable life ebbs and flows between the Champs Elysees and the Bois, is easy enough to find when you know wbere to look for it. But to that knowledge, as our experience goes, few of the Parisians can help you, least of all the sergens de ville or even drivers of the fiacres. What increases the difficulties of the patient explorer is that the neighbouring avenue has been rechristened. The ex-avenue St. Denis now calls itself Malakhoff: Arrived there, you find the exhibition modestly or pretentiously qualified as "English." Why it should be so it is hard to say, for with the exception of bulldogs and bull terriers, English breeds are generally conspicuous by absence or weakness, while the exhibitors are almost entirely French. On the other hand, the race feline, as the affiches have it, is represented very strongly.
In the show everything is in excellent order, although the space is somewhat confined, and you occasionally find a formidable row of teeth in perilous contiguity to your calf or shoulder. An admirable set of rules stuck up everywhere seems to be strictly attended to. One of these runs-"La toilette des chiens devra se faire avant 7 heures;" and it would appear that the dogs have no cause to be dissatisfied with their valets. There is no stipulation as to the toilettes of the cats, probably because in their instincts of scrupulous cleanliness they can be trusted to see to it themselves, and it may serve as a healthful distraction in the rare moments when they are awake. [...] Finally, there was apparently an excellent show of cats and poodles, although on the points of neither do we pretend even to hint an opinion. If we should hazard a criticism on the former, we should say the society seems to be striking out in a false direction, breeding for show and not for use. No one could suspect the corpulent sleek Angoras of compromising their dignity by active motion, and breeding and feeding must stifle instinct even if the mice came gambolling between their paws.
But from the almost invariable intimation of a vendre [for sale], we presume the real intention of the exhibition is as a market more than a competition, and if the prices asked often sound exorbitant, they are by no means intended to scare off purchasers, and the exposer remains "open to an offer."
PARIS NOTES - CAT SHOW - Le Gaulois : Littéraire et Politique, Issue 3173, 7th May, 1891 [Translated from French]
A committee has just been formed in Paris to organize a cat show at the end of the month. This curious exhibition will feature the various varieties of domestic cats, from the silky Angora cat to the tabby cat, whose grey and black markings are similar to those of the tiger. On show there will also be the Chartreux breed, with its grey and shining coat, with bluish highlights, and the Spanish cat with its coat of tawny red or a mix of white, red and black. These are the four main varieties of cats which give rise to several other types of crossbreeds and non-pedigree cats.
This meeting of nocturnal virtuosos promises us some beautiful sessions of music. For, if we are to believe the opinion of some scholars, the cat is very advantageously arranged for music: it can give various modulations to its voice and nuance the expression of its song, sometimes languorous and passionate, to please the object of his love, and sometimes furiously threatening to combat the ill-intentioned advances of an abhorred rival. The cat has friends and enemies. We rank ourselves among the former. It is true that our admiration is somewhat suspect of presumption and vanity. The philosophers of the eighteenth century affirmed, in fact, that the marked preference of some people for the cat was indicative of a higher merit. Let him be forgiven for so much pride. Many people, artists, scholars, have a marked predilection for the feline. What they like about this creature is its independent nature and self-centred character. They prefer the ingratitude of the cat over the servile meanness of the dog; the cat does not know how to remember the benefits it has received. The cat pleased those the delicate and refined natures that find, with reason, that the dog is too bulky, coarse, heavy and clumsy, lacking, in the last analysis, good manners. However, the cat is something else. They admire its flexibility of movements, its sobriety of gestures, the lightness of its graceful approach - discreet, full of good taste. The cat never departs from its calm and collected attitude. It appears in the most sumptuous living room the same as it is found in Mrs. Cardinal's lodge.
The poets celebrated its glory and sang its praises. Baudelaire wrote four plays about cats. We all remember his verses of fervent lovers and austere scholars in their mature season, the high-bred and sweet cats, the pride of their house, who are as sensitive and sedentary as themselves. Buffon has violently, and probably unjustly, attacked the cats. "The cat," he wrote in a fit of temper,” is an unfaithful servant that we keep only from sheer necessity. " Rivarol also threw the sharp sting of his irony against him "Cats don't caress us - they caress themselves on us."
We could multiply endlessly the witticisms, the remarks and the observations that have been made throughout time about the cat. Montaigne admits that he took great pleasure in the games of his cats. He always had three or four -and he added that it was recreation as well as study for him. Fontenelle, the author of the plurality of worlds, had an eccentric quirk; he placed one of his cats in a chair and gave speeches to him with great seriousness. "It was," he said, "to practice speaking in public." Mrs De la Sablière suddenly fell in love with cats, replacing her dogs with just as many cats.
We know the rondeau composed by the Duchess of Maine on the merits of her cat Marlamain, and especially the famous quatrain that Mme de Lesdiguières had engraved on the white marble mausoleum of her pussy:
A Pretty Cat.
Her mistress, who loved nothing,
Loved her to madness.
Why do you say that? You can plainly see it.
Madame Deshoulières was also fond of cats. When my husband goes away, she said, "Grisette is enough for me." It was a pretty little female puss with a white coat spotted with black.
Closer to home, we can cite, among the admirers of the cat Théophile Gautier, Léon Gozlan, Champfleury, Théodore Barrière, Alberic Second, Paul de Kock, not forgetting Baudelaire. Baibey d'Aurevilly had a great affection for his black female cat Demonette. Mr. Renan has a magnificent angora, in honour of which M. Taine composed a sonnet each day. François Coppee lives in his apartment in the Rue Oudinot, surrounded by several cats that come to play with the tip of his pen when he writes. Bourget also had a cat that he liked very much and who was called Don Juan. The cat very suddenly disappeared from his home. Perhaps had he found his Elyire and run off with her. In any case, the author of Mensonges never again saw Don Juan. It is true that Noiraud [Blackie], his faithful black dog, replaced the ungrateful Don Juan.
We have said that cats have often been celebrated by poets. The painters also crushed their pigments in honour of cats. Among the most famous paintings that represent cats, one must mention those of Gérard Dov, Paul de Vos, Basan, Teniers, Hamillon, Barlow, David de Noter, and Verlat. Lambert, the distinguished painter of cats, has made several charming compositions, among them the delightful scene exhibited at the Salon of 1865, entitled A Clock that advances. He depicted a family of young cats playing with the weight of a clock and it gave the impression of accelerated movements that had nothing to do with regularity. And now that I have praised you, dear puss, do not scratch my hand today when I have the pleasure of visiting your cat show. Otherwise, I will be obliged to publicly disclaim everything I have just said about you.
PROPOSED CAT SHOW IN PARIS. A NOVELTY FOR THE FRENCH CAPITAL. Pall Mall Gazette, 5th September 1896
Our Paris correspondent writes :-On the 25th of this month it is proposed to open a great International Cat Show at the Jardin d’Acclimatation – the Paris Zoological Gardens - to which cats of every breed and colour will be admitted, gold, silver, and bronze medals being awarded to the handsomest beasts in each class. Paris has already her annual dog show, which has come of late years to have an International importance, but it has been left to the enterprise of a daily paper,: Le Journal, to make amends for the indifference with which cats have hitherto been treated. One grand gold medal is specially reserved for wild and foreign cats, such as those of Siam, of Archangel, and of Madagascar. It is expected that the tortoiseshell, or as the French call it the tricolour, cat will make a brave show. The judges will be M. Pierre-Amedee Pichot, editor of the Revue Britannique, one of the founders of the National Acclimatation Society, M. Raoul de Najac, whose passion for cats is well known, and M. Porte, the director of the Zoological Gardens. The show will be open for three days.
CAT SHOW AT THE JARDIN D’ACCLIMATATION 1896 – The Times Picayune, September 24, 1896
Buffon hated cats. “When they are young,” he wrote, “they are gentle enough, but they have an innate malice, a natural falsity and perversity which age increases, and education cannot remove." On the other hand, Balzac was a cat-lover, and Zola is among their best friends. On the 25th of this mouth a great international cat show will be opened at the Jardin d’Acclimatation, to which cats of every breed and color will be admitted, gold, silver and bronze medals being awarded to the handsomest beasts in each class, says the Paris Messenger. The Journal is responsible for this brilliant idea. One grand gold medal is specially reserved for wild and foreign cats, such as those of Siam, of Archangel, and of Madagascar. It is expected that the tortoiseshell, or, as the French call it, the tricolor, cat will make a brave show. The judges will be M. Pierre- Amedee Pichot, editor of the Revue Britannique, one of the founders of the National Acclimatatlon Society; M. Raoul de Najac, whose love of cats is well known, and M. Porte, the director of the Jardin d’Acclimatation. The show will be open for three days.
The French show of 1897 included a display of mousers, possibly giving a demonstration of their prowess. You'll note that the same Roedel painting is used for the 1898 and the 1900 show.
CAT SHOW IN PARIS PROVES A MOST GRATIFYING SUCCESS
Frenchmen of International Fame Are Interested. Zola, Silvestre, Coppee, Lambert, and Steinlen Are Members of the Jury on Awards.
The Inter Ocean, November 2nd, 1896
As fond as the French are of cats, this exposition, given under the auspices of the Jardln d’Acclimatation and the morning paper ‘Le Journal’, is the first cat show that has ever been held in Paris. For weeks the papers have been full of it, and every prominent litterateur in France has been interviewed as to his opinion regarding canine [sic. Should be feline?] pets.
Alphonse Daudet was the only one to affirm his dislike of them. He had had a positive fear of cats, he says, since when [as] a small child he was left alone in a darkened room to hear mysterious noises from the supposed to be vacant salle adjoining. These sounds, which culminated in the strange discordant playing of a piano, came from a stray cat that had entered through an open window, but he has never forgotten the shock they gave him.
Francois Coppee has furnished a whole article on the subject of his particular Mimi, regretting that, as he had promised to serve on the Jury, be could hardly expose [exhibit] it, and then consoling himself with the philosophical reflection that the little friend he thought so charming was not to be exposed to the less biased opinions of others.
It is only to be expected that Pierre Loti, that charming writer of cats, should have many anecdotes to relate of his household of canine [feline!] pets. Mile. Moumotte or Mon. Mimi, as they are all called, for the imaginative writer professes to have little imagination in regard to cat surnames, and only distinguishes them as Mimi Gris, or Moumotte Blanche.
Perhaps it is well to explain that a nice tabby cat has, generally speaking, no right to the name of Mimi, and it is only an eccentricity in our household to speak of our cat as a gentled demoiselle. We know it is bad French, but we have always done it, although she is not in the least a "new woman.” Besides, we know of a fox terrier that answers to the gentle name of Mollie because his mistress, thinking him to be an English dog, has given him the only English name she knows. By the way, our Mimi has another name, quite a proper one, meaning “little love,” but she always looks upward when she hears it, for it is only used by our kind neighbor above and means that choice bits of chicken are going to drop down on the balcony tightly rolled in a bit of paper like Christmas bon-bons.
A friend of Ernest Renan's tells of his love for cats; of his having portraits done of them by celebrated painters, and how
Distressed he was when, on moving to a new apartment, his pet cat was discontented. Zola, when asked for his opinion, said he was an ardent admirer of them and pointed to the number of cats that figure prominently in his books.
Writers who have no cats of their own to tell fabulous stories of are going into history and relating the doings of the cats of Richelieu, to which the great Cardinal and statesmen left various plump legacies; for cats and cats’ stories are very popular with us just now.
This series of interviews has included the opinions of some public women, but women hardly appear to be as fond of cats as men. They are prone to cite the faithfulness and affection of dogs.
Not the least interesting feature of the cat exposition was the morning when we waited for two long hours while the cats were being entered, some half a dozen at a time, to be arranged in their separate cages among the palms in the large building allotted to them. As one entered there was a cborus of gentle meows, but, as a rule, the cats were much more patient during the long, tedious waiting than were those in charge of them. How patient they were! Large cats curled up in small baskets, mother cats with whole families confined in a cruelly small space, and even chats sauvages in wicker cages as gentle as — well, as gentle as cats — except that they sometimes tore up the bits of straw on the bottom or rebelled in tiger-like movements against their unaccustomed confines. We felt quite proud that our cat was the only one, save a very few small kittens that had been brought without basket or cage, and that for four long miles she sat primly behind the cogher and surveyed the pouring rain and with distant admiration the great world that she had never before seen.
When the various cages were arranged the large palm house, which is the popular resting place in the Jardin – for there is a music hall on one side, and it leads to a tropical conservatory on the other, where there are many round tables covered by the morning papers — the effect was charming. The cages were placed in long avenues separated by rows of palms, and there was a nice, comfortable house for each little cat. Each owner was allowed to decorate his particular cage as he chose, but, fortunately for the general effect there was little attempt in this direction save colored cushions on which these pampered pets might recline. To be sure one cage that contained a family was fitted up with blue couches and window draped with curtains, and a wee Angora, with hardly two months of life, had a blue-lined basket to match his blue eyes, and neck ruche, and a blue worsted ball swung by a ribbon from the top of the cage. There was such a lot of Angoras and semi-Angoras, great fluffy creatures generally stolid of demeanor and uninteresting save for beauty. One who claimed the medallle d’honneur was a superb creature that must have weighed twenty pounds, pure black, with topaz eyes, bushy tail, with bunches of fur on ears and thick ruche at least three inches deep.
The foreign cats, or chats savages, were naturally the most interesting feature. A sleek Siam cat with gentle head, short ears, and a slight coat of silky yellow fur that turned to golden brown on the paws, little nose and ears, was the proud mother of four little mouse-like babies. Another cat had a velvet coat striped like a tiger’s, hut much more beautiful. He was after all a gentle little animal, glorious with a broad band and bow of red satin, and quite willing to respond by playful bitings to the compliments showered upon him. Over three of the cages stretched additional wires of fine mesh, and the sign of "Dangerous.” Two of these were occupied by fierce-looking animals superbly striped with yellow and black. “Mais ce n’est pas un chat, c’est un tigre,” said the crowd gazing at the feroclous-looklng animals that one certainly would not wish to encounter alone. The third cat marked as “dangerous” was a tiny animal, something in shape between a weasel and ordinary cat, and beautifully spotted in tints of brown and yellow [a genet?]. But tiny as he was, he paced his cage with the movements of a leopard. Some of the short-haired cats were wonderfully beautiful in regard to form and coloring, and received much attention. Indeed, after the doors were open to the general public the place was so crowded that one could with difficulty make the rounds.
The show, however, has been a great success, and Le Journal promises to repeat the experiment next year. Look at the list of prizes! A bronze by Charpentier, a bicyclette, and any amount of gold and silver medals! And the jury on awards, that comprises the names of Emile Zola, Armande SIivestre, Francois Coppee, and Lambert and Steinlen among the artists, who paint cats, is sufficient to give distinction to any undertaking. Even with Paris en fete for her “Russian party,” the exposition feline has had an importance share in public interest. (From the Boston Herald)
CAT SHOW Herts & Cambs Reporter & Royston Crow, 12th February 1897
Mr. Francois Coppee’s fondness for cats as pets is so well known that there was great fitness in placing his name first upon the jury of awards at the recent cat show in Paris. Such other well-known men as Emile Zola, Andre Thouriet, and Catullo Mendes also figured on this list. There will be an annual “Exposition Feline Internationale.”
MOUSE HUNT IN PARIS. South Wales Echo, 1st October 1897
This year's cat show at the Jardin d'Acclimatation will (says a Paris correspondent) have the additional attraction of a mouse hunt in the Palmarium on October 25th. The first prize will be 300f. in money, the owner of the second successful competitor receiving an artistic bronze statue entitled “La Victoire." The exhibition itself will be opened on October 20th. Owners will pay 3f. entry for each cat, a reduction being made where kittens accompany their maternal parent.
PARIS CAT SHOW St. Andrews Citizen, 23rd October 1897
At the Paris Cat Show this month is has occurred to the promoters to introduce a novel feature. Hitherto it has not been thought possible to get any sport out of cats, or, at least, none which the authorities regard as legitimate; but at Paris it has been arranged to hold a mouse hunt in the Palmarium of the Jardin d’Acclimation in connection with the cat show. According to the rules, it is to be a coursing match, and two cats are to be loosed in sight of the mouse, let free with in an enclosed space. Great sport is expected, which will no doubt be realised, especially if the lively mouse, with its usual ingenuity, finds a way of escape in the barrier which protects lovely and helpless women from its wild rush.
PARIS CAT SHOW. Various, November 7th, 1897 Paris is to have a cat show of a unique character. It is the “Exposition Feline,” to be hold at the Jardin d’Acclimation Oct. 22, 23 and 24. It is the second annual “concours de chats,” or cat concert, and, considering the great number and variety of cats to be found in Paris (where the jokes about the identity of alleged rabbit at certain restaurants are not altogether jokes,) the convention should be a success. But the feature of the cat show is the mouse-killing contest. The cat that can kill the greatest number of mice in a given time will be declared the winner, decorated with the red ribbon of the cat’s legion of honor, and endowed with a money prize or object of art for the benefit of the owner.
Tom will be placed inside a room of certain size, and provided with the mice at a rate suiting his killng power. There will be no rats In the game. Some of the rats in Paris are as large as small cats and there could be only one result of an encounter between a languorous cat from the Champs Elysees and a ravenous rat from the sewers. Cats and dogs In Paris are near to the hearts of the people; they are never abused. The cat is scarcely ever troublesome, but the French capital is sorely in need of a piper or a pound-master who will entice the dogs away. The cat show in question ought to be a dog show and the contest should be between the dogs themselves all at a time, the bell to be rung* when only a few of the choicer grades of dogs remained surviving. J. M. ERWIN.
Note: The first French cat club, the Cat Club of France and Belgium; it was founded in 1913 and the first cat show was held before the 1914 war. According to the magazines of the 1920s, cat shows had been held in provincial locations such as Nice and Cannes from 1912 and in Aix-les-Bains in 1914. Cat shows then had a wartime hiatus until they were reintroduced after the war. There was a notable cat show in Cannes in 1923, and a large international cat show of Paris in 1926. The latter had been planned for January 1926 but cold weather meant it was postponed until 14th and 15th May, 1926. Approximately 300 cats were exhibited, mainly Persians and Siamese. It was also the debut of the French-developed Birman breed – three were exhibited..
LOTI AND THE FELINES – The Galveston Daily News, 26th March, 1905 (from the New York Herald Company)
Paris, March 26. Pierre Loti, novelist and academician, who in private life is Julian Viand, a naval officer in command of the French guardship off Constantinople, has accepted the honorary presidency of the cat show, which will be opened at Bordeaux in the middle of May. M. Lott was quizzed in the Paris papers recently for solemnly baptizing a favorite kitten in the waters of Bosphorus. In a letter to the Mayor of Bordeaux accepting the tendered presidency of the show the novelist humorously insisted that he must not "toast” the poor kittens.
PIERRE LOTI RUNNING A CAT SHOW– New York Times, 21st May, 1905
Pierre Loti, the French writer, is conducting a cat exposition at Bordeaux. There are 200 entries
LOTI – CAT SHOW AT BORDEAUX – Los Angeles Herald, 18th June, 1905
PARIS, June 17.—As Pierre Loti, the academician, is known as a great lover of cats, there was nothing surprising in his opening of a cat show at Bordeaux, but he refused to make a speech, saying: “Let’s imitate our friend, the cat. He’s a silent creature.”
1914. PARC CHAMBRUN. Nearly a thousand people visited the three days' dog and cat show of the Country Club — of which Baron Jacques de St. Marc is president — held in the Parc Chambrun. - The Times, Wednesday, April 8th, 1914.
CAT SHOW IN THE SALLE WAGRAM, PARIS - The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (New York) 8th May, 1930
Paris, May 1 - What is thought to be the only naturally hairless cat alive, completely disgusted at the attention given to his nakedness, drowses boredly, the focus of all eyes at the cat show in the Salle Wagram. A wretched bundle of bones in a thin wrinkled bag of mottled skin, he demonstrates that, whether or not clothes make the man, it is beyond a doubt hair that makes the cat.
The complicated geographical divisions on this side of the water have few advantages, and one of them is the increased interest they give to a cat exhibition. The "rose mousers” from Turkey would be much less exciting if they were merely from one of the United States of Europe. The seven Abyssinian cats, which incidentally come from Vienna, are infinitely more attractive as from Austria; a definite nation, than if they merely came from a European Chicago.
Sacred cats from Burma there are among the others. They are innocent enough looking, these Burmese pussies. Nobody would suspect from looking at them that each is a Burmese monk reincarnated, at least so the Burmese say. Only a hundred of them are supposed to be alive, 98 In a Burmese monastery, where each awaits the death of his master, ready to receive his soul.
Another ordinary-looking cat is the cat of the Chevreuse, doomed to extinction, the cat experts say, because there remains no Chevreuse Tommy to father the next generation. A Brazilian kitten exhibited with the house cats turned out to be nothing less than a baby Brazilian jaguar.
The long-haired cats were neglected this year. Cage after cage of lazy Persians and Angoras yawned through the wire netting into empty space. Nobody had time to waste on them. Aside from his royal nakedness, the hairless cat, the black-eared and black-footed Siameses, with blue eyes and bass voices, ran away with the exhibition. All day long Parisians clambered past them three and four deep, exclaiming admiration. The Siamese has swept the country like an epidemic in the last few years. They are half savage, and yowl more dismally than any alley cat. But they are extremely decorative. They leap like kangaroos. And their short, stiff bristles are exceeding inhospitable to fleas.
TOPICS IN FRENCH CAPITAL - CAT SHOW CREATES INTEREST – The Sydney Morning Herald, 4th March, 1937
(From a Correspondent)
PARIS, Feb. 12.
The Cat Show in the Salle Wagram is a highly social event. It also means a flood of ink being spread over the daily newspapers from the pens of the intellectual. Well-dressed men and women stand in admiration before the luxurious cages in which are imprisoned the beautiful and inscrutable animals, some of which arrived by air from London.
What is it in cats which compels intellectuals to bow down before them has never been clearly explained, but Mr. Paul Morand has written this week an article in the “Figaro" which leaves no doubt about the fact. From the days of the Greek philosophers up to our present times, when, Mme. Colette leading, writers of distinction accept the cat as a creature to be admitted to their most sacred silences, Mr. Morand quotes name after name from a long line of distinguished men and women in letters as being cat-lovers, or rather cat worshippers. To them may well be added many an inglorious Milton; old ladies whose life is bound up in a sleepy overfed tabby, surly old men who snap at their wives and caress their smug tortoiseshell. Finally, Mr. Morand, like the rest of men, points to the affinity of cats and women. Both are riddles to which man has not yet found the answer.
GERMANY AND AUSTRIA
MUNICH CAT SHOW Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette, 6th September 1897
A cat show is to be opened in Munich next month, and two animal painters are to be the judges.
MUNICH CAT SHOW Herts and Cambs Reporter & Royston Crow, 17th September 1897
Cat shows are ancient institutions with us but comparative novelties the Continent. One is to be held at Munich in the first week of October. The judges are to be two animal painters. A naturalist might have been added, but Munich evidently sets less store points than by pussy’s aesthetic claims.
THE GERMAN TABBY Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette , 11th October 1897
An exhibition which is keeping the South German papers in state of wonder and merriment is just being held at Munich. It is the “first German cat-show” ever held, and, judging by the number of exhibits, it “supplies a long-felt want.” The amazement among the visitors of the show knows no bounds at the fancy prices some of the exhibitors are asking for their cats, and the Frankfort stockbroker, who asks 1,000 marks for his lily-white tomcat, is the man of the moment whose name is in everybody’s mouth. The show is held for the purpose of raising interest in the cat as a domestic animal. This may sound strange to British ears, but there is need for such a course in Germany, where, should you suggest, that a cat would be the better for an occasional drop of milk or dish of food, the surprised and surprising answer is “Feed the cat? Why, cats feed themselves, on birds and mice, and that sort thing.” Wherefore, let us wish the Munich cat-show every success.
BERLIN, March 30 – The first International Cat exposition will be held in Berlin next month.- Marietta Daily Leader, March 30, 1900.
CAT’S LONG PEDIGREE – The Leavenworth Times, 1st June, 1905
The pride of the great cat show which was held at Hamburg was Dodo, a splendid [white] Angora female, who won the grand prize of £250 at Paris, and whose pedigree goes back to 1794.
Private Correspondence: In my (presumably first) edition of "The Book of the Cat" by Wolf von Metzsch-Schilbach, the author expressed hopes of the Dresden club co-operating with the other cat club in Nuremberg. In the Autumn 1926 edition, he wrote that in his experience co-operation with the club in Nuremberg was impossible and he lamented the typical German eccentricities. The Nuremberg Club's attitude towards Shorthair cats was quite different from the Dresden Club’s attitude and they considered that only the Persian-type cats were valuable enough to be worth breeding. The Dresden club was supported by Schwangart who was a known opponent of Magerl who was affiliated to the Nuremberg club. Magerl was the author of a book called “Angora Cats.” The Nuremberg club went on to become the German Fife member (DEKZV) and the continued mutual enmity between Magerl and Schwangart was one of the reasons that the German Longhair had no chance of being recognized by the DEKZV during the 1960s. Even now there are two opposing version of longhaired German Cats, the German Longhair and the German Angora.
Cat Gossip 30 November, 1927: We have received from Berlin the first few numbers of the German cat paper, “Unsere Katze,” (“Our Cat”) and can safely say it absolutely puts in the shade any catty paper that has ever been produced in this or any other country. Whereas papers of this nature usually confine themselves mostly to purely "Fancy" and “Breeders’” matters — and thereby miss the support of the vastly more numerous body of cat-lovers who are not “Fanciers” (most of whom, as we know from our own correspondence, find purely Fancy matters very boring), the German paper, which is of good size, excellently printed on good paper, and beautifully illustrated, not only caters for “fanciers” — it is the organ of several Cat Clubs — but provides for the great body of cat-lovers. Whatever their tastes may be, matter of every kind connected with the cat is provided for them; poems and literature, by writers of all nations and all periods; portraits, and reproductions of the works of cat painters; veterinary, scientific, legendary, historical, natural history, and humanitarian matter dealing with the feline tribe is to be found in tins paper, which would be a credit to any country, and, considering that the Cult of the Cat is but in its infancy in Germany, is really a marvellous production. – HC Brooke
Cat Gossip, 18 April 1928: Yet a new cat paper has been started, this time by the Club of Friends of the Cat, in Vienna. The new undertaking, which starts in a very modest way, is to appear fortnightly, and is entitled “Die Katze” (“The Cat”). Our friend M. Armami Steens, that ideal of a genuine cat lover, has ceased contributing to “Chasse et Peche," (Hunting and Fishing) owing, we understand, to a difference of opinion with the directorate regarding the destruction of stray cats by shooting them with revolvers (a risky method unless the operator be a skilled shot) to feed the birds of prey in the Zoological Gardens. M. Steens now runs a separate column for the Belgian Cat Fancy in Dr. Jumaud's paper, “Les Tablettes.” – HC Brooke
Cat Gossip June 27 1928: [Regard a show in Vienna] Did we mention that here the blues are called Persians, the others Angoras? — a foolish distinction. A class was provided for Zwerg-Angora — dwarf Angoras. If this class be retained care will have to be taken that it does not become the happy hunting-ground of “weeds.” An exhibitor, who is doing good work in the production of amber-eyed whites, tells us he is producing a breed of dwarf cats, perfect and typical in every respect, but which he will not show until he has fixed a strain which, full grown, shall be but half the average size. Such a tiny cat would almost have the charm of perpetual kittenhood. – HC Brooke
FLORENCE, ITALY CAT SHOW. When the Bayonne came to Philadelphia about seven weeks ago it had a pet, an ordinary black and white pussy, whose birthplace was far off beyond the Italian Alps. The cat was a present to Captain Von Hugro and had accompanied him on several voyages. It is, moreover, no ordinary tabby, as it is the proud possessor of a pedigree and appearance equally remarkable. Italy is not blessed with many cats — in fact, they are almost a rarity. Therefore, to the great cat show held last year at Florence there were vast crowds attracted. The mascot of the Bayonne was present and carried off a big gold medal, which Captain Von Hugo personally exhibits to visitors - a tribute to the finest specimen of feline aristocracy represented at the exhibition. – The Atlanta Constitution, December 11, 1898
AMSTERDAM CAT SHOW. Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 30th April 1890
There are thirty-and-three varieties of domestic cats, from the long-tailed black cat of Sutherland, to the no-tailed, many coloured cat of Man. So it stated in the catalogue of the Cat Show which is about to be opened at Amsterdam. It is to be the greatest of all the cat exhibitions. At this moment caterwaulers are being sent up to the Dutch city from all the towns of Europe.
ROTTERDAM SHOW Hull Daily Mail, 23rd June 1899
“Pussy” is becoming a very important subject amongst fanciers. There is to be an International Cat Show in Rotterdam in July.
Marcel Chamonin, a Swiss breeder of Siamese and Birman cats, was an important figure in the Swiss cat fancy. In December 1932, Mr. Trachsel, President of l'Association des Intérêts de Genève, visited the Salle Wagram Cat Show in Paris and was hooked on the idea of cat shows. He decided to hold the first cat show in Geneva and his request for interested parties was published in the newspapers. M. Chamonin responded. The first Swiss cat show was held at the Kursaal in Geneva the following year and showcased 130 cats. In 1934, M. Chamonin became the first president of the Geneva Cat Club. It presented 130 cats and attracted 11,584 visitors.