I am almost afraid to think, much less to say, how many years ago it was that I attended the first Cat Show held at the Crystal Palace, which was organised by Mr. Harrison Weir. I well remember, however, when the National Cat Club was founded in 1887; and since that date the. number of fanciers has steadily increased, and many new clubs and societies have been formed. Instead of one show a year, there are many, and Mr. Harrison Weir's prophecy is fulfilled. I quote from the preface of his book on cats written in 1889: "But should a new order of things arise the cat will not only be a useful, serviceable helpmate, but an object of increasing interest, admiration, and cultured beauty, and thus being of value, will also be profitable."
The National Cat Club, now under the able management of Mrs. Stennard-Robinson, holds its two principal shows at the Crystal Palace and the Botanical Gardens, and every year the entries increase and the improvement in the various breeds of cats is most noticeable.
The Cat Club came into existence in 1898, being instituted by Lady Marcus Beresford, who has done such good work in the cat world. The excellently managed shows held yearly at St. Stephen's Hall, Westminster, testify to the unwearied exertions and lavish generosity of the founder of the club. These shows have been held in aid of various deserving charities.
Other cat shows in all parts of England are held during the year, under the rules of either of these parent clubs, or independently.
In addition to the two principal clubs, which are well known to all cat fanciers, it may be interesting and useful to give a complete list of the Cat Clubs and Specialists Societies up to date, with names and addresses of their respective hon. secretaries.
List Of Cat Clubs And Societies
The National Cat Club, founded 1887. Hon. sec., Mrs. A. Stennard-Robinson, 5 Great James Street, Bedford Row, London, W.C. Annual subscription, I guinea.
The Cat Club, founded 1898. Hon. sec., Mrs. Bagster, 15A Paternoster Row, London, E.C. Entrance fee, 20s.; annual subscription, 10s. 6d.
The Northern Counties Cat Club, founded 1900. Hon. sec., Mrs. Herbert Ransome, Altnncham. Annual subscription, 1OS.
The Silver and Smoke Persian Cat Society, founded 1900. Hon. sec, Mrs. H. V. James, Backwell, near Bristol. Annual subscription, 5s.
The Blue Persian Cat Society, founded 1901. Hon. sec., Miss Frances Simpson, Durdans House, St. Margaret's-on-Thames. Annual subscription, 5s.
The Siamese Club, founded 1900. Hon. sec., Mrs. Baker, 13 Wyndham Place, Bryanston Square, W. Annual subscription, 4s.
The Orange, Cream, Fawn and Tortoiseshell Society, founded 1900. Hon. sec., Miss Mildred Beal, Ronaldkirk Rectory, Darlington. Annual subscription, 10s.
The Chinchilla Cat Club, founded May 1901. Hon. sec, Mrs. Balding, 92 Goldsmith Avenue, Acton. Annual subscription, 5s.
The Short-haired Cat Club, founded 1901. Hon. sec., Mrs. Middleton, 67 Cheyne Court, Chelsea. Annual subscription, 5s.; 2S. 6d. to working classes.
The Scottish Cat Club, founded 1894. Hon. sec, J. F. Dewar, 2 St. Patrick Square, Edinburgh. Annual subscription, 5s.
The Midland Counties Cat Club, founded at Wolverhampton 1901. Hon. sec, Miss Cope, 136 Bristol Road, Birmingham. Annual subscription, 5s.
The British Cat Club, founded 1901. Hon. sec, Sir Claude Alexander, Faygate Wood, Sussex. Subscription, 5s.
The Manx Cat Club, founded 1901. Miss Hester Cochran, Witchampton, Wimborne. Subscription, 10s.
Clubs In The United States
The Beresford Cat Club (Chicago), founded 1899. President, Mrs. Clinton Locke; corresponding secretary, Mrs. A. Michelson, 220 East Sixtieth Street, Chicago. Annual subscription, 1 dollar.
The Chicago Cat Club, founded 1899. President, Mrs. Leland Norton, Drexel Kennels, Drexel Boulevard, Chicago.
The Louisville Cat Club, founded 1900. Corresponding secretary, Miss E. Converse. Annual subscription, 50 cents.
The Pacific Cat Club, founded 1900. Corresponding secretary, Mrs. A. H. Brod, 114 Broderick Street, San Francisco. Annual subscription, 1 dollar.
The Atlantic Cat Club, recently founded in New York in February 1902. President, Col. Mann; corresponding secretary, Dr. Ottolesgui, 80 West Fortieth Street, New York.
It will be seen from this list that the only long-haired breeds not provided for by any specialist club are Blacks, Whites, and Brown Tabbies. When the Blue Persian Cat Society was founded, the idea of making it a self-coloured society and including Blacks and Whites was raised, but the "Blue" fanciers wished to keep to their own colour. Probably before another year is out some enterprising and enthusiastic "self" breeder will gather these handsome breeds within the fold of specialist societies. Then the dear "Brownies" will be the only remaining variety, and I would fain start a little Society myself for these—my pet pussies, I frankly confess—but I fear I must leave it to some other friend of the Brown Tabby to muster the breeders of these handsome but neglected cats.
As will be seen from the list, America is well provided with Cat Clubs. The Chicago Club was the first in the field, followed by The Beresford Cat Club, which was founded in 1899 by Mrs. Clinton Locke of Chicago, and was called after Lady Marcus Beresford. I think I am correct in stating that the members now number nearly 200. A very large Cat Show is held by this Club every year in January, where a wonderfully liberal classification is given. It is well known that our American cousins like everything of the best, and somehow they generally get it! Several very beautiful and noted cats have recently left these shores, and are now established in the States. "The Stud Book of the Beresford Cat Club," vol. ii., just received, is really well drawn up and arranged in a neat book of handy size.
Miss Rosamound Whitney's Brown Tabby Neuter "Persimmon Laddie"
There were no fewer than seventy-five classes at the last Cat Show held January 1902. Only two prizes in each class are given, the third award being a V. H. C. card and the fourth H. C. The White classes in long-haired, open and novice include separate ones for blue-eyed and golden-eyed males and females. This Club provides for Orange and White in both the long- and short-haired sections and tor Blue Tabbies, there being special classes for these cats, that on this side are relegated to the "Any other colour" class. Neuters are well provided for with four long-haired classes and three short-haired. There is a class for Blue or Maltese cats, male or female. Grey Tabbies are included with Brown Tabbies. These are the chief differences between the classification of the principal American Cat Club and our own.
I think it will be useful to give the standard of points drawn up by each Specialist Club. I therefore append the following list:
CoatAny shade of blue allowable; sound and even in colour; free from markings, shadings, or any white hairs. Fur long, thick and soft in texture. Frill full 30 HeadBroad and round, with width between the ears. Face and nose short. Ears small and tufted. Cheeks well developed 25 EyesOrange; large, round and full 20 BodyCobby and low on the legs 15 TailShort and full, not tapering 10
Silver Or Chinchillas
Silvers or Chinchillas should be as pale and unmarked a silver as it is possible to breed them. Any brown or cream tinge a great drawback. The eyes to be green or orange.
Value of points: Head 20 Shape 15 Colour of coat 25 Coat and condition 20 Colour, shape and expression of eyes 10 Tail 10
Shaded Silvers should be a pale clear silver, shaded on face, legs and back, but having as few tabby markings as possible; eyes, green or orange. Any brown or cream tinge a great drawback.
Value of points: Head 20 Colour of coat 25 Coat and condition 20 Colour, shape and expression of eyes 10 Shape 15 Tail 10
Silver Tabbies should be a pale clear silver, with distinct black markings. Any brown or cream tinge a great drawback; eyes to be Orange or green.
Value of points: Head and expression 25 Colour and markings 25 Colour of eyes 5 Coat and condition 20 Shape 15 Tail 10
Smoke Cats should be black, shading to smoke grey) with a light an undercoat as possible; light frill and ear tufts; eyes to be orange.
Values of points: Head and expression 20 Colour of eyes 15 Colour of undercoat 10 Absence of markings 15 Coat and condition 20 Tail 10 Shape 10
Cream Or Fawn
ColourTo be as pure as possible without marking or shading, either paler or darker, dulness and white to be particularly avoided. All shades from the palest fawn to be allowable 25 CoatTo be very long and fluffy 25 Size and ShapeTo be large, not coarse, but massive, with plenty of bone and substance, short legs 20 HeadTo be round and broad, with short nose, ears small and well opened 15 Eyes To be large and full, and bright orange or hazel in colour 5 Condition 10
Orange, Self Or Tabby
Colour and MarkingColour to be as bright as possible, and either self, or markings to be as distinct as can be got 25 CoatTo be silky, very long and fluffy 25 Size and ShapeTo be large, not coarse, but massive, with plenty of bone and substance, short legs 20 HeadTo be round and broad, with short nose, ears small and well opened 15 EyesTo be large and full, and bright orange or hazel in colour 5 Condition 10
Colour and MarkingThe three colours, Black, Orange, and Yellow, to be well broken, and as bright and well defined as possible; free from Tabby markings. No white 30 CoatTo be silky, very long and fluffy 20 Size and ShapeTo be large, not coarse, but massive, with plenty of bone and substance, short legs 25 HeadTo be round and broad, with short nose, ears small and well opened 15 EyesTo be large and full, and bright orange or hazel in colour 5 Condition 10
Used also in America. The Chinchilla Cat Club having been invited to draw up the standard for judging Chinchilla Cats in the U.S.A.
Colour of CoatPalest silver lavender tint preferred, nearly white at roots. No dark stripes, blotches, or brown tint. Darker tips to the long hairs give the coat an appearance of being lightly peppered with a darker shade, or with black. The whole appearance of the cat to be very pale 30 CoatLong and thick 20 Texture of CoatFine and soft 10 Tufts of hair inside and round the ears and between the toes 10 HeadBroad and round. Forehead wide. Ears small and set low, nose short 25 ShapeBack level, not too short. Legs short. Paws round. Brush short, wide, and carried low 20 EyesLarge, luminous. Colour, green, or green and yellow mixture (called hazel in connection with cats), 5 points. Not yellow or orange 10
Royal Cat Of Siam
Body Colour as light and even as possible, cream being the most desirable, but fawn also admissible, with streaks, bars, blotches, or other body markings.
Body colour 20 Shape 10 Coat 10 Head 10 Eyes 20 Mask 15 Density of points (i.e., mask, feet and legs, tail) 15
White Cats should be pure white, without markings; eyes, blue.
Black: Pure and rich black; no white; eyes, orange.
Blue: Pure blue without markings; no white; eyes, orange.
Tortoiseshell: Patched yellow, orange and black; no stripes, no white; eyes, orange.
Tortoiseshell with white: White patched with yellow, orange and black; no stripes; eyes, orange.
Silver Tabby: Pale silver grey, marked with rich black stripes or bars; no pure white; eyes, green or orange.
Brown Tabby: Golden brown, marked with rich black stripes or bars; no white; eyes, orange or green.
Orange Tabby: Light orange or red, with darker stripes or bars; no white; eyes, hazel or golden brown.
Manx: Any colour, eyes to follow colour as above; outer-coat rather long, and having a soft rabbit-like under-coat; no tail; hind quarters rather higher than fore quarters.
Entering for Exhibition
On the next page is a copy of the entry form used by The National Cat Club, which will serve as a sample of the general form used by various club secretaries:
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ | TENTH CHAMPIONSHIP SHOW, | Class No. as | | open to all, | per Schedule. | | To be held under N.C.C. Rules on | | | Wednesday and Thursday, August 14th and 15th, 1901, | | | In Grounds adjoining the Railway Station, Harrogate. | | |_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________| | RULE AS TO REGISTRATION OF CATS' NAMES. | Also entered | | Every Cat exhibited at a Show held under the National Cat Club Rules must, previous to the time of entry for such | in Classes | |Show be entered in a Registry kept by the National Cat Club at their offices. A charge of 1s. each Cat will be made | | |for Registration. In such registry shall be inserted the name and breed of the Cat, and its Breeder's name, the date | | |of birth, names of sire and dam, and of grand-sires and grand-dams, and if the dam was served by two or more Cats, | | |their several names must be stated. If the age, pedigree, or breeder's name be not known, the Cat must be registered | | |as breeder, age, or pedigree "unknown," any or all as the case may be. If the name of a Cat be changed or an | | |old name be re-assumed, such Cat must be again registered and identified before exhibited in its altered name. | | |_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________| | | CERTIFICATE OF ENTRY. | | | I hereby certify that the Cat to be exhibited by me as below is bona fide my property, and I enter it at my |_________________| |own risk, subject to the Rules of the National Cat Club and the Regulations of this Exhibition. | State Specials | | | eligible for | | Signature of Exhibitor (in full) ..............................................................| | | Rev., Mr., Mrs. or Miss | | | Address .......................................................................................| | |Entries absolutely Name of Cat......................................................... Breed.....................| | |Close on Friday, (If in Stud Book add number, or if Registered state so.) | | |August 2nd, 1901. Date of Birth .............................. Breeder.........................................| | | Sire........................................ Dam.............................................|_________________| | Prizes Won.....................................................................................| Please not to | |Price £ : : (if not for Sale state so). Postage Stamps taken 13 to the Shilling. | write in | |All Communications and Entries to be addressed | this space | | To the Hon. Secretary and Treasurer, Mrs. A. STENNARD-ROBINSON, 5, Gt James St, Bedford Row, London,W.C | | |Exhibitors are particularly requested to write distinctly and also to be careful to name correctly the Class in | | | which they intend to exhibit their Cat or Cats, also what Specials they are competing for. | | |Cheques and Money Orders to be made payable to A. Stennard-Robinson, Hon. Sec, and crossed | | |_______________________________________________________________________________London & South-Western Bank.__________|_________________|
Miss Frances Simpson's Blue Kitten "Bonnie Boy"
I feel I cannot bring my remarks to a close without making some reference to those excellent institutions which must appeal to the hearts of the animal-loving public. I mean the homes for poor stray and starving cats. The first organised attempt to deal with this question in London was started in 1895 under the title of "The Society for the Protection of Cats." In connection with this there is now A Home for Starving and Forsaken Cats. Mrs. Gordon is a most able and energetic Hon. Secretary, and devotes a great deal of her time to the poor animals that are brought or sent to Gordon Cottage, King Street, Hammersmith. Let those interested in the humane work carried on at this excellent institution send for a report, or, better still, pay a visit to the cottage home, where they will be welcomed between the hours of 2 and 5 P.M.
In the North of London there is another excellent institution for Lost and Starving Cats, to which her Majesty the Queen has graciously given her patronage. This home is entirely dependent on the voluntary aid of sympathetic friends, and when I mention that during last year nearly 12,000 cats were received, some idea will be given of the amount of funds required to carry on this work of mercy. The premises have lately been enlarged, and the Hon. Manageress, Mrs. Morgan (35, Ferdinand Street, Camden Town, N.W.), is sorely in need of donations towards the extra expenses incurred. I have personally visited both these institutions, and can testify to the excellent arrangements for feeding, and also for painlessly destroying them when no homes can be found.
The Dublin Cats' Home was started by Miss Swifte sixteen years ago. I have been deeply interested in reading the annual report. It speaks well for the natives of the Emerald Isle and for the hearts of the Irish people, that they should be the first to recognise the needs of poor stray and forsaken cats. With characteristic enthusiasm they set about erecting an institution at Grand Canal Quay, Dublin. Miss Swifte, the President and Hon. Treasurer, was the pioneer of the movement and has carried on her good work in the face of many difficulties and, I have no doubt, also that she and the other founders of like institutions have had to suffer much ridicule, for the majority of human beings have very little sympathy with "mere cats," and seem to think they, of all animals, are least deserving of kindness and consideration. Miss Swifte's private address is 2 Earls-fort Mansions, Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin.
The Battersea Home for Lost Dogs has also accommodation for cats as strays and boarders.
And now a few words about the boarding out of our pussies. I am constantly asked if I know of a good place where cats will be taken care of during the absence of the owner. I wonder that more cat lovers and cat fanciers wishing to add to their incomes do not start boarding-houses for cats. I think there is a great opening for such an enterprise. At present I only know personally of two ladies who receive pussies at so much per week. Miss Harper, of Briarlea, Haywards Heath, is well known in the Fancy, and although I have not been to see her "catteries," I am told they are capitally planned, and I have often recommended my friends to send their cats to be taken care of by Miss Harper, who gives her personal attention to all the boarders entrusted to her.
I have also had testimony to the excellent manner in which Mrs. Carew Cox caters for her pussy visitors. A fancier who had placed her cats at the Kremlin, New Milton, Hants, for some months, was so surprised and delighted at the appearance of her pets on their return that she wrote asking for a special description of the menu provided.
Mrs. Carew Cox and Miss Harper are both successful breeders of prize-winning cats, and they have also that genuine love for the animals which is so necessary and essential when taking charge of other people's pets.
I may here mention that the chief organs of the cat world in England are Fur and Feather and Our Cats, and in America, The Cat Journal, The American Cat News, and Field and Fancy.
In regard to the Blue "Maltese" (a name which, perhaps, has as much justification as the English "Russian") in America, Mr. E. N. Barker says: "There are lots of Blues, light and dark, short-haired, and these are always called Maltese. The origin of the term I never could trace to its foundation, but they are much treasured. Occasionally you find Maltese (so called) of other colours, and Blue and White. The owners are generally under the impression that these cats are a special breed to themselves; this point, however, is open to doubt."
The same authority, referring to Tortoiseshells, says: "I doubt if this breed will ever find favour in America, and Blacks are too sombre for this country, where people enjoy a good deal of sunshine, the fancy being more apt to run to lively colours."
Another curious item about American cats is that there have been for many years, in the States of Maine and Massachusetts, and on the islands off that coast, quite a number of longhaired cats, called by the natives "Coon cats," because of their jackets. History relates that they were brought from the East on ships, and being landed on the islands are tolerably pure, though some have crossed with wild cats and ordinary cats and have varied also from climatic influence. They are mostly rather large, strong cats, well coated, with wonderful tails, big in the ear, short of fur over the head and inclined to be long in the nose. Amongst the Maine cats are some of a curious seal-brown colour, or deep mahogany red, with not a vestige or sign of markings, giving them an undoubted suggestion (however impossible) of a 'coon (raccoon) strain in them. Hence, presumably, the name.
I confess that I should like to see specimens of these cats in England.
Miss Helen M. Winslow in her book concerning cats says that by many people this Blue or Maltese cat is not considered a distinct breed. It seems vaguely to be known as the Archangel, Russian, Spanish and Chartreuse, and yet probably it is only a cross between Blacks and Whites. Miss Winslow gives a picture of her "Pretty Lady" and describes her as a "beautiful, fascinating and seductive Maltese, with white trimmings to her coat." The illustration suggests a cross between a Russian and a short-haired English cat with an expansive white shirt front and white gloves.