INTRODUCTION

Texte und Bilder aus “THE BOOK OF THE CAT” von Frances Simpson aus dem Jahre 1903

THE BOOK OF THE CAT

BY …

FRANCES SIMPSON

CASSELL AND COMPANY, LIMITED

INTRODUCTION

BLACK PERSIAN (Painted specially by Madame Henriette Ronner.)
BLACK PERSIAN (Painted specially by Madame Henriette Ronner.)

FANCIERS have long felt the want of a work dealing in a popular manner with cats, and it was therefore with great pleasure that I undertook to write THE BOOK OF THE CAT, and to give the results of a long experience in as simple and interesting a form as possible, so that the book might be instructive to cat fanciers, and also readable to that portion of the community which loves cats for themselves and not only for their prizes and pedigrees. It is possible that the beautiful reproductions in this work may result in the conversion of some cat haters, who, seeing the error of their ways, may give poor puss a corner in their hearts. Dogs are more essentially the friends of men, and cats may be considered as the chosen allies of womankind.


In the past, as I have endeavoured to show, many noted celebrities of the sterner sex have shown a sympathetic feeling for the feline race. At the present time the number of men fanciers on our cat club lists and exhibitors at our shows tends to prove that the cat is gradually creeping into the affections of mankind, even in this busy work-a-day world. I have given a full description of the various breeds, and have suggested advice as to the feeding, housing, and general treatment of cats. The chapters on the management of shows, containing also simple rules for the guidance of exhibitors, will, I trust, prove useful and instructive.

In my work I have received most valuable assistance, for which I am deeply grateful, from Mr. H. Gray, the well-known veterinary surgeon, whose chapter on the diseases of cats will, I am sure, be very interesting to breeders and fanciers. To Mr. H. C. Brooke I must tender my sincere vthanks for his chapter on foreign cats, and to Mr. E. N. Barker for his excellent survey of the American cat fancy, and to Mrs. Pierce for her notes on Maine cats. Mr. Robert Holding’s chapter on the anatomy of the cat, with its excellent diagrams, forms a valuable addition to the work. To Mrs. S. F. Clarke I am greatly indebted for the number of clever photographs with which she has so kindly supplied me.


To many of my “ catty “ friends I offer grateful thanks for interesting items, paragraphs, and pretty photographs; and last, but not least, I have to thank that veteran, Harrison Weir, for his kindly encouragement, and I feel I cannot do better than quote from his letter, received on the completion of my work-enclosing a few remarks for my preface:—

“ Miss Frances Simpson has kindly dedicated her labour of love, the fascinating BOOK OF THE CAT, to me, and truly the honour is great. Words cannot convey my feelings, but out of its fulness the heart speaketh—Thanks! I carry my mind back to the long, long ago, when the cat was a god or ideal, and worshipped. Then later, ‚ our gentle Will‘ called it ‚ the harmless, necessary cat,‘ and that it has ever been, and more than that to many. It is a lonely home without a cat; and for awhile—and I hope for long—cats are the fashion. Thirty years ago it was apparent to me that cats were not valued at their true worth, and then I suggested a show of cats! Let anyone try to start anything new, though novelty is said to charm! Many were the gibes, jokes, and jeers that were thrown at me then. But nothing succeeds like success. Now, if I may without offence say a few words as to present-day shows, it is that they have not answered my expectations. Why ? Because particular breeds are catered for and run after. Why such breathless talk all about long-haired cats, be they blues or silvers ? This is not cat breeding. I want, I wish, and, if I live, I hope to see far more of the ‚ harmless, necessary cat‘ at our shows; for a high-class short-haired cat is one of the most perfect animals ever created.

“ Far more I might, and perhaps am expected to add; but my life’s work is well-nigh done. He who fights honourably the good fight sinks at last. Miss Frances Simpson has rendered me her debtor; and others, beside myself, will tender her grateful thanks for her work in the cause of the cat and for the welfare of the fancy. Adieu ! “

Mr. Harrison Weir’s words are precious to me, and now that my “ labour of love“ is ended I can only re-echo his wish and express a hope that the many pages I have devoted to the “ harmless, necessary cat,“ whose fireside friendship I have enjoyed all the years of my life, may awaken and arouse a greater interest in and admiration for these gentle, complex creatures, who in return for a little understanding will give a great deal of love.

FRANCES SIMPSON. KENSINGTON,

August, 1903.