REPORTS FROM EARLY CAT SHOWS IN THE USA - MILWAUKEE

TABBIES AT A SHOW. MILWAUKEE CATS OF HIGH DEGREE WILL GO ON EXHIBITION. - Chicago Daily Tribune, March 23, 1895

Furry Pets Who Live Like Princes To Enter A Contest For Prizes Where The Public Can Get A Peep At Them – The High Bred Angora In A Cage Alongside The Plain And Plebeian Thomas Wno Perhaps Has Suffered Pain From Coming In Contact With A Bootjack.

Milwaukee. Wis., March 22.— (Special Correspondence.)—While the effete East Is buzzing and blowing about its cat show, which is to dazzle and bewilder the natives at Madison Square Garden during May, some Milwaukee enthusiasts have gone quietly to work and perfected the arrangements for a Tabbie show, to be held in this city April 4, 5, and 6. W. T. Walthall, who has the management of the show, has improved on the Eastern idea, and will combine with the cat show an exhibition of parrots. This unique exhibition owes its origin to the articles on cats which appeared in The Tribune. These articles caused society people here to talk and brag about the superiority of each and every Tabbie in the town, until a number of the young men decided to give an exhibition, where every owner of a cat could test the good points of his pet in open competition with every other cat in town. The simple announcement by Manager Walthall that there would be a cat show was enough to set the town on fire. Business-men, lawyers, clergymen, retired old Germans, who were never before known to enthuse except at Turnerbund or Sangerfest, society women, schoolteachers, young girls, old maids, and a legion of small boys beseiged Mr. Walthall at his office in the Exposition Music Hall to learn all the particulars of the cat show. Not having had any experience in the exhibition of felines, he did not know how to proceed at first, but the knowledge which he has obtained during the last three days from the army of cat fanciers, old and young, which have come in person and have written to him has enabled him to form definite plans in regard to the show.

Every Kind, Color, and Age. He has learned that there is no dearth of cats of every kind, color, age. and description in the city, and that every owner of a half-way respectable cat is anxious to place his or her cat where the public can get a peep at it. He has also learned that much more than dog fanciers, the lovers of tabbie are addicted to the same vice which has made horse-traders, fishermen, and the relators of snake stories famous. Nearly every second man who has come with a cat has told Mr. Walthall a tale of the wonderful beauty which he had. The description in every case made the cat as large as a 3-month old calf, but unfortunately all of these monstrosities are dead. There are big cats left, though. Tonight an old German from the Ninth Ward came into the office. He said: “ Where vas dot Mr. Valthall yet?” The obliging manager wanted to know what he could do for him. “ Och, I vas so glad! I hev de biggest cat by de Nord Seid, und he yost follow me like a dog.” Then he whistled, and a cat as large as a good-sized water spaniel came purring into the office. The man was told to come back Monday and get an entry blank for his wonder.

Start a Cat Collecting Club. The staid old German had hardly taken his departure when a crowd of boys came in. The spokesman said, “ We're from Seventeenth street and we've got a club to collect cats for the show. Do we get them in?" They were dismissed with a genial “Sure thing."

“ You see,” said the manager, “how the show is taking. People from all classes of society and all stations in life want to exhibit their cats. At first we thought of exhibiting only the finer breed of cats, but on examination we found that the cat is the most democratic of all animals, and while there are a few distinct breeds there is absolutely no aristocracy of blood among them. There are no cat pedigrees or family trees for the tabbies who aspire to social distinction to look up to, so we decided to make the exhibition in keeping with the most predominant characteristic of the animal and it will be a thoroughly democratic show. Cats of high and low degree will be admitted and each and every one will get a fair show for the medals. As there are no pedigrees every cat will have to win or lose according to the way it can impress the judges with its good points."

Liederkranz Hall, directly across from the Exposition Building, has been selected as the place for holding this unique show. The hall could not be better adapted if it had been built expressly for the purpose. On the right of the main hall is an annex in which win be the exhibit of Angoras. The owners of these animals are fearful lest they will be exposed to drafts, but no chilly blasts can get at them there, as it has no openings to let in the air. In the main hall there will be a tier of cages on three sides and two double tiers down the center. The exhibit of parrots will be placed on the stage. The scope of the exhibit may be judged from the prizes which will be offered. Gold medals will be given for the best Angora, the best Maltese, the best tortoise-shell, and the best mongrel; also for the oldest, the largest, the most handsome, and the homeliest cat, for the best litter of kittens, and for the best collection of cats entered by one person. The most popular cat will also be awarded a gold medal which has been donated by A. K. Camp. The popularity of the cat is to be decided by vote at five cents a vote, the proceeds to go to the Babies’ Home.

The management has taken every precaution for the care of the cats. Dr. Frank Touissant, who was State Veterinary Surgeon for four years, will examine all entries, and no cats suffering from any disease will be placed on exhibition. Besides, Dr. Touissant, who has made a most thorough study of animal and bird life, will nightly during the show deliver a lecture on the hygiene of cats and the care of parrots and canary birds. Supt. Whitehead of the Humane Society has given his sanction to the show, and has promised to be in attendance daily to see that the cats are properly fed and cared for. Three prominent society men. Francis B. Keene. Bradley D. Schley, and Dr. John R. McDall will pass upon the good points of the cats and determine to which the prizes shall be awarded.

The cat show has developed the fact that Milwaukee is possessed of all kinds of cats In abundance. Among them are Angoras, Maltese, tiger, tortoise-shell, tabbies, and the rare and valuable Zabrina. It has also shown that men and women who are devoted to cats are more devoted to their pets than any other class of animal fanciers. This is the more surprising when it is the popular notion that the cat is a thing to be despised as a nuisance and only fit to have a bootjack thrown at it.

The Angora is largely represented in this city, and in appearance would indicate that it was possessed of a pedigree. One frequently hears mention of Persian and Spanish cats as a distinct family, but they are really nothing more nor less than Angoras, possibly with a few trivial characteristics not possessed by other Angoras. Angora cats were brought to Milwaukee Ant net more than a decade ago. They owe their introduction in this city to the Kilbourns the Whalings, and the Allis families. The first Angora was brought here by Dr. Kilbourn. The descendants of this cat are occupying comfortable homes in and around Milwaukee. Mrs. E. P. Allis has had during the last seven years Angoras which have made themselves famous for their beauty and intelligence. Her first cat was Bijou, which came from a dealer in New York, and which is reputed to have known more than some human beings. Two of the prettiest and best Angoras to be found are the property of Mrs. Abbot Thorndike and her sister, Miss Mary Kilbourn. One of them is Betty of a most striking appearance.

Probably the most intelligent Maltese cat to be found in the city is owned by Mrs. James S. Peck. It is unusually large and the family regard it as they would a child. It has done many things without any training which have to be taught to the most intelligent dogs. L. W. Halsey has a fine white cat with pink ears, which is reputed to be the best mouser in the city, and which does many things which people would not suspect him of.

Andrew Scwab owns the only Zabrina cat known of in Milwaukee. It is of a blue-ish color, with stripes somewhat resembling those of a zebra, and is quite a rarity. Dr. Rosa Upson has quite a large collection of cats, there being six or eight of them about her house at all times, some with pedigrees, some without, but all pretty and attractive, and very fond of their mistress. Dr. Upson also has quite a collection of parrots and magpies. The most pugnacious cat in the city is owned by Pius Dreher, of the Milwaukee Garden. It is a young tiger cat, bigger than the average, and with a deep-seated hatred for dogs. One of the most notorious cats in the city is “Traveling Tom," owned by Frank R. Larkin of Seventeenth street. He gets his name from the fact that he makes a trip to the South every year about the time of the approach of winter. He starts some time in September or October, and returns between February and April. How far he goes has never been definitely settled. He has been traced several hundred miles south, and the supposition is that he continues his way to the coast. He has done this for the last five years. As he recently returned from a trip which was begun last September. “Tom” probably heard of the cat show and hurried back to it, as he did not return last year until April.

These cats and 200 others have been promised for the exhibition within three days. But while the cat feature of the show is monopolizing the attention of the greater portion of the people, there are a large number of persons interested in that portion of the exhibition which will display that indispensable sharer with tabby in the affections of the old maid, the parrot. Parrots are by no means as plentiful as cats, and it seems at the present time as if it will be impossible to get more than seventy-five birds in the city for exhibition purposes. [. . .] The Introduction of the parrot feature to the show was ridiculed at first, but it is meeting with a degree of popular favor which proportionately equals the interest In the cat show proper.

The success of the show Is already assured as prominent society people who have cats and parrots have taken up the latest Eastern fad and are pushing it with such energy that while Milwaukee may not have as large a show as the Madison Square Garden affair, yet it will "scoop” New York and will have the first show. There will be as large a variety of breeds, and the management promises to teach the New-Yorkers a thing or two in the way of novelties before the show is over.

MILWAUKEE TO HAVE A CAT SHOW Milwaukee, March 26. — A cat show is to be given at Liederkranz hall here next week and is already attracting great attention. The prizes will be gold medals in all classes. The most popular cat in the show is to be decided by ballot. The ballots will cost 5 cents each and the proceeds will go to the Infant's home. – various, Mar 26, 1895

ALL SORTS OF QUEER TABBIES TO BE EXHIBITED. The Mouse-Catchers Will Be There by Hundreds Thursday – Descriptions of Some of the Beauties. Milwaukee, Wis. April 2. The cat show, which will open next Thursday, promises to be the feature of spring amusements in society circles. Entries and applications for blanks are not only coming from this city in great numbers, but also from Chicago and from towns in the interior, The management has secured among, other features a cat with a wooden leg, a cat born with only three legs, a Manx cat, a cat which has served a sentence of sixteen years in the state prison at Waupun, Frances Willard's wonderful Angora, and an entry which is said to be the greatest novelty In the feline world, consisting of four flying cats from some of the islands of the South Pacific ocean, These cats are members of the bat family, and, while they have bodies which resemble those of cats, they have a hairy membrane which runs along the fore and hind legs and which they can extend or spread out for about eighteen inches. Cat No. 999, the mascot of the concatenations of the Hoo-Hoos, will be brought from Chicago and will be placed on exhibition. Manager Walthall has received word that Frances Willard’s cat, which Lady Henry Somerset has pronounced to be the finest specimen of an Angora in the world, would be placed on exhibition, provided the management would pay the expenses of the keeper. Special arrangements have been made for the care of such fine bred cats. A fine exhibit of Angora beauties, including an entry of six long haired kittens, by Miss E. Gifford of Hartland, Wis., has been secured already. One of the great features of the show will be the dark scene. Twice during each evening the electric lights will be turned out for one minute at a time, and the spectators will see 200 pairs of cats' eyes glowing in the cages. – various, April 4th, 1895

CAT SHOW IN MILWAUKEE. April 5. Judging by the opening day, the Milwaukee cat show, the first ever given in the west, will be a big success. Society turned out in force. There are 150 cats on exhibition, many of them remarkably fine specimens. The display of Angoras is especially good. – Daily Democrat, April 5th, 1895

MILWAUKEE, Wis. The cat show was attended by 2000 people to-day. The judges will finish their work to-morrow afternoon, and the prizes and medals will be awarded in the evening. – various, April 5, 1895

MILWAUKEE’S CAT SHOW A SUCCESS. Leading Society Men Act as Judges and Award Prizes. Milwaukee, Wis., April 4.— A cat show, the first in Milwaukee's history, was opened today under most favorable auspices at Liederkranz Hail on Fifth street. About 100 felines occupy the cages, some of them rare specimens of their kind. The pet cat of the Wisconsin Hoo-Hoo Order and “Jeff Davis,” from Waupun prison, and a wooden-legged feline are objects of attraction. A German-speaking parrot is the center of attraction in the bird section. About twenty-five parrots are on exhibition. Bradley G. Schley and Francis B. Keene began the work of judging; tonight, taking notes on height, fur, color, ears, tails, etc., the quality of form being based on an English authority for breeds, such as the Angora and Manx, a number of specimens of which are on exhibition. The hall has been crowded with people all day and tonight and the show is a great success. – The Inter Ocean, April 5, 1895<.p>

MILWAUKEE'S CAT AND PARROT SHOW - Chicago Daily Tribune April 6, 1895

One Hundred and Ninety Six Specimens Are on Exhibition.
Milwaukee, Wis.,April 5.—(Special.) — Tom, Maria, and Poll are the rulers of the town. The Milwaukee Cat and Parrot show opened yesterday at the Liederkrantz Hall. For an hour before the opening people flocked to the hall, and there was a stream of visitors to the show from 2 o’clock until after 10 at night. The hall could not hold all who wanted to get in. The show has caught the town and on every street corner and in every home in Milwaukee tonight the wonderful success of the cat show is the sole topic of conversation. The success of the show is due much to the choice selection of cats and the great care of the management to exhibit them to the best advantage. By actual count there are 190 representatives of the feline family on exhibition. These include Angoras, Manx, Maltese, Tigers, Tortoise Shell, Blue Persians, and a number of other varieties and breeds of cats the names of which are unknown, but which are entered under the caption “ just cats.” Besides these there are some curios in the cat line. There is a wooden-legged and a three-legged cat, a cat which lived thirteen years at the Soldiers’ Home, one which lived sixteen years in the Waupun State Prison, one which has traveled 3,500 miles in five months, and one which goes South to spend the winter, returning to Northern climes in spring.

All of these tabbies of high and low degree are at home and contented at the show. The management wisely had the cages placed upon the floor, and it gave the cats a chance to look natural. They sat up in the cages on their haunches, just as they do in front of a warm fire, and blinked and mewed and purred and yowled just as cats did when first consecrated to Isis, or as they do now in a comfortable modern home. By far the most attractive cats are those of the Angora variety. There are only a few of them on exhibition, but the women and children thronged round their cages. The best specimens are “ Nixie,” a white, and ” Bijou," a white, yellow, black, and brown mixture, with three kittens, entered by Miss E. Gifford of Hartland; “ Zisi," a white, entered by Mrs. J. J. Sands, Hartland; “Roxy” entered by Mrs. Seville Johnson, and “Pewaukee" entered by Miss Jennie Edgerton. “Babe Sawyer,” a pure white; " Beauty,” a white cat with a black tail; “Kittle," a pure tortoise-shell; ” Romeo and Juliet,” a pair of maltese kittens, and “Bombas and Fritz,” two monster tiger cats, attracted a great deal of attention.

The show is so good it is hard to pick the stars. Judges Dr. John McDill, Bradley Schley, and Francis Keene have obtained a treatise on cats, issued by the National Cat Association of England some years ago, and every cat is passed upon according to the standards there laid down. Women and children made up the bulk of the audiences, as was expected, but the men were also out in force, and all pronounce the first cat show held in the West a success. One of the peculiar features of the show is that every exhibiter wants to sit near the cage of his or her cat and explain its good points to the visitors. They also insist on feeding their own cats, and Manager Walthall is in hot water constantly because a draft from some window or door happens to strike some fair one's pet tabbie. In the center of the hall hangs a solitary canary bird, Daniel. It is truly in a lion's den, and when it made its appearance the cats almost tore the wire off the cages in their efforts to get at it.

There are seventeen cages of parrots on exhibition and two magpies. The former have been awed into silence by the presence of the cats, but the latter keep up an incessant chattering which with the joyous cries of the children and the exclamations of admiration of the women make the show the liveliest place in town. Everyone was well pleased with the exhibition, and already it can be seen that it has stimulated a desire for better bred cats. The success of the show has made every one in town desirous of placing his cat on exhibition. Numbers at cat fanciers from out of town have come to the show. Among the latter were Mrs. Locke, wife of the Rev. Clinton Locke, Mrs. George P. Plant, and Mr. and Mrs. Leland T. Norton of Chicago. Mrs. Norton, who has seen all of the good specimens of cats in Chicago, says that Miss Gifford’s Nixie, Mrs. E. P. Allis’ Dandy, and Mrs. Sands' Zizi are finer Angoras than any there.

MILWAUKEE CAT SHOW. Milwaukee is enjoying a cat show. The Sentinel printed pictures of some of the more notable felines. From appearances it must be the owners rather than the cats who are notable. Many little girls in Oshkosh could show handsomer pet kitties than those pictured in the paper. – Oshkosh Daily Northwestern – April 5, 1895

CATS HAVE THEIR TURN. Milwaukee. The first cat show to be held in the west opens to-day in Liederkranz Hall. There are nearly 300 entries, including a genuine Manx cat, the tailless species from the Isle of Man, and which is the only imported cat in the west, and the famous Angora, "Dandy,” owned by Mrs. E. P. Allis, wife of the millionaire iron worker. The prizes will be gold medals, and the most popular cat will be decided by ballot. In connection with this show there is also an exhibition of parrots, and a competition of talking birds in English and German has been arranged. It is said that a large majority of the parrots of this city speak German. - Various, April 6, 1895.

MILWAUKEE CAT SHOW Milwaukee, Wis., April 6.— The cat show closed to-night. During its three days' session It was attended by 5, 000 people. The principal prizes were awarded as follows: Best male Angola and best female Angora, Miss E. Gifford, Hartland; short haired cat. Dr. Arthur Holbrook; striped tabby or tiger, Edith M. Hoffman; largest cat (16 pounds), Mrs. F. Gibson. These received gold medals and twenty others received honorable mention. – Detroit Free Press, April 7, 1895

MILWAUKEE CAT-SHOW PRIZES. Mrs E Gibson’s Sixteen Pounder the Largest of the Species. The cat show closed tonight. During its three days’ session it was attended by 5,000 people. The principal prizes were awarded as follows: Best mala Angora and best female Angora, Miss B. Gifford, Hartland; short haired cat, Dr. Arthur Holbrook; striped tabby, or tiger, Edith M. Hoffman; largest cat (sixteen pounds), Mrs. K. Gibson. These received gold medals, and twenty others received honorable mention. – The Inter Ocean, April 7, 1895.

* * *

PET SHOW, MILWAUKEE. Chicago Daily Tribune, April 16, 1898. Milwaukee, Wis., April 15 [1898]. [Special.]— Amid the yowling of cats, the barking of dogs, and the screeching of parrots and magpie» the public pet show opened in the Stafford Building this afternoon. It was arranged and is managed by the members of the Kemper Hall association of Milwaukee and is a social function as well as an exhibition of pets.

A cat and parrot exhibition is not a new diversion to Milwaukee. It has had a cat show with a parrot attachment before. But the exhibition of all of the family pets at one time is a novelty. [. . .] Of course the cats and dogs are the main feature of the show. The exhibition opened at noon and all morning the precious pets which society so jealously nourishes were brought in closed carriages, carefully wrapped in silken blankets, pillows, and rugs to protect them from the sharp air. Chicago is well represented and there are a number of high-class cats from other places.

The highly nervous temperament of cats with pedigrees has long been acknowledged. The longer the pedigree the more nervous the cat. Dogs do not seem to be so high strung. [. . .] These public pets are acting strangely to-day. Never before have they been exhibited In connection with a large and assorted line of cats. They are rather averse to being pitted against an “ordinary” or an extraordinary cat. They show their bad temper by tearing at the cages and attempting to get to annihilate their feline neighbors. Failing, they content themselves by growling in such a manner as to almost scare the cats to death.

Some of the best cats in the country, including King Puss, the Kemper Hall cat, Tootsie, the famous Frances Willard feline, Sweetheart, and Plume, and numbers of others, are there. These cats have been exhibited elsewhere and they seem to take pride in showing the marks of distinction which they have inherited from their proud ancestry. But their highly sensitive organisms are badly affected by the presence of the dogs, and they try to bury themselves in the shavings at the bottom of the cages so that they cannot hear the incessant barking.

In strong contrast to the action of the high-bred cats is that of the mongrels — the low-down blue cats, the alley cats, the marauders that walk the back fences at night and occasionally give a good-sized dog a hard tussle. They listen with perfect equanimity to the puny barking of these society dogs. They even sleep without giving the least exhibition of being disturbed. The whole array of pet dogs would not frighten one of these cats. They seem rather to enjoy the change. They are not accustomed to one cow's milk, nor to any cow’s milk, for that matter, and it is a novelty for them to be allowed to drink pure cream from a cut glass dish and to eat the best of sirloin steak from off a china plate. They were brought to the show in soap boxes or in the arms of a small boy, and they looked with wonder when they saw the more favored aristocracy of their own species wrapped in silk blankets or lace curtains. They seem to be contented, and their sparkling eyes and gentle purrs seem to say, “How long will this luxury last?”

Among the cats which bring from the visitors exclamations of admiration is the Frances Willard cat. It is in a cage and is carefully covered with a little quilt. It is in charge of Mrs. Leland Norton of Chicago. Mrs. Josiah Cratty of Chicago has Sweetheart, a magnificent specimen of the Angora cat, on exhibition, while Mrs. Warren Eames Colbrun of Chicago has her magnificent Paris, and Mrs. C. F. Smith of Chicago has Plume on exhibition. King Puss, the famous Kemper Hall cat, came attended by her maid, who sits by the cage all of the time and studies every want of the seventeen-pound pet.

The awards will be made tomorrow. The proceeds of the exhibition are for the benefit of the gymnasium at Kemper Hall. The promoters of the exhibition are Mrs. Oliver Greenslade, Miss Belle McGregor. Mrs, William Passmore, Miss Martha Wollaeger, Mrs. Charles Lemon, Mrs. W. D. Kimball, Miss Alice Hooker, Miss Alice Button, and Miss Jennie Morehouse.

* * *

HUMANE SOCIETY DOG SHOW – Vicksburg Evening Post, 11th March, 1906
Milwaukee, Wis., March 12. — The second annual Dog, Cat and Pet Stock Show under the auspices of the Wis¬consin Humane Society will open at Terry’s Hall this evening. The first half of the week will be devoted to the cat show, which was such a suc¬cessful feature of last year’s show. The last three days will be given ov¬er to the bench show which is unus¬ually tine this year, judging from the large number of entries and the numerous fine animals sent here for the show. The prizes offered at the two combined shows aggregate about $1,500. Besides cash prizes there are a number of cups and trophies to be competed for.

MILWAUKEE CAT SHOW – Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, 13th March, 1906
A Milwaukee cat, Kittie the First, a beautiful tortoise shell animal, owned by Mrs. Charles Kissling, carried off first honors in the cat show, which opened yesterday in this city, the honor being enhanced by the fact that Mrs. Kissling is a member of the Beresford Cat club of Chicago, the largest and best known cat club in the country, and that her Kittie the First competed with Bay Norton, owned by Dr. V.A. Brockway of Chicago, whose cat carried off two specials and two blue ribbons in addition to a silver cup at last year’s cat show in Chicago. Kittie the First won a Beresford club silver medal for being the best short haired cat in the show, and becomes eligible for championship honors.

The first day of the pet show at the Wisconsin Humane Society was a great success, the hall being thronged the entire afternoon and the crowd being especially large at night. Some of the best-known cats in the country were on exhibition, including Wolverine and Thelma of Arrandale, both Michigan cats with honors gathered at every cat show in the country.

Judging began at one o’clock in the afternoon and continued until 5.30. All the first, second and third ribbons were awarded, four of the principal special prizes, and sixty-six special prizes. Eddie Henmann, with his black male, Pete, captured both a blue ribbon and a special prize for the best short-haired male in the show. Mrs. Horace Davis of Milwaukee captured the silver cup given by Mrs. Bart J. Ruddle for the best neuter in the show, her beautiful cat Tod Sloan winning. Thelma of Arrandale, owned by Mrs. H.G. Dykehouse of Grand rapids, Mich., captured the Beresford silver medal for the best long haired cat in the show. It had been expected that Wolverine, owned by Mrs. W.M. Chapman, Romeo, Mich., would capture this prize, but Wolverine was not in good coat. The winning at this show makes Thelma of Arrandale champion of the American Cat association in her class.

Among the freak features of the show was Pinkie, a black female owned by Mrs. R. Hupfer, who exhibited a second litter of white kittens from the coal black kittens. The father is a pure white cat. It was explained by officials of the show that the same cat showed a litter of pure white kittens at the show of last year. [Note: fanciers in 1906 did not know that the “solid white” gene was dominant over all other colours)

MESSYBEAST.COM HISTORY INDEX

You are visitor number