Texte und Bilder aus “THE BOOK OF THE CAT” von Frances Simpson aus dem Jahre 1903
THE BOOK OF THE CAT
CATS OF TO-DAY
The term “ Cat ” is applied in its widest sense to all feline animals. The following are the various names by which the cat is known in different countries, and it is curious to note that, with two exceptions, they all begin with a ” C ” or a ” K,” and differ very little in pronunciation : Irish and Scotch, Cat ; French, Chat ; Dutch, Kat ; Danish, Kat ; Swedish, Katt ; German, Katti or Katze> ; Italian, Gatto ; Portuguese and Spanish, Gato ; Polish, Kot ; Russian, Kots ; Turkish, Keti; Welsh, Cetti; Corn- ish, Katt ; American, Katz.
In the English house and home we call her ” puss,” and it is the name which appeals most to our hearts. No woman likes to be called a ” cat,” but to be likened to a puss or pussy is suggestive of something or someone soft and pretty, with gentle, winning ways. Archbishop Whately has said that only one English noun had a true vocative case, ” Nominative,
cat ; vocative, puss.” I do not think that in any other country there is a pet name for the cat, just as there is no word in any foreign language that breathes the same tender truth to the hearts as ” home.” Puss and home ! The terms seem so closely connected with each other, and suggest peaceful happiness and restful repose.
Truly, the history of the cat has been a strangely chequered one. Perhaps, because she is such a secret, complex, and independent creature she has remained somewhat of a puzzle to humankind, and is therefore to a great extent misunder- stood ; but those who will take the trouble to consider the cat and try to understand her, will find that puss is- none of those things she has been accused of being. It is only those who are in constant contact with cats who understand how intelligent they really are ; although their intelligence is quite in a different mould from that of the dog. I may mention that the household cat outnumbers, it is said, the household dog in London by the proportion of four to one. This fact may be accounted for by the non-taxation of cats. The question of the taxation of cats has very often been raised, and I do not think that anyone who really values his cat would object to pay a yearly tax ; but the proposal is as unpractical as it is ridiculous, and it is certain that taxation would not help in exterminating the poor, disreputable, half-starved members of the feline tribe, who have no fixed abode and whose only means of existence is by plunder.
The figure and number nine seems to be an important one in connection with cats. There is a popular saying that a cat has nine lives. The expostulating tabby in Gay’s Fables says to the old beldame :
” ‘Tis infamy to serve a hag, Cats are thought imps, her broom a nag ; And boys against our lives combine, Because, ’tis said, your cats have nine.”
Cats probably owe this reputation to their extraordinary powers of endurance, and certain it is that they have a greater tenacity to life than any other animal. At the Battersea Home a dog and a cat have been placed in the lethal chamber, and it was observed that the dog died in five minutes, whereas the cat breathed for forty minutes longer. A short time ago I received the following letter from a cat fancier :
” At 11 p.m. two kittens, a few hours old, were placed in a pail of water, and left there for rather over ten minutes. Seeing them at the bottom with their months open, it was taken for granted they were dead ; the bodies were then transferred to the ashpit, and early next morning they were discovered to be alive and quite chirpy. Restoring them to the mother, they have grown nice, strong, healthy little kits, and have justleft for comfortable homes.”
In Thistleton Dyer’s interesting book on ” English Folklore,” reference is made to this subject. ” Cats,” he says, ” from their great suppleness and aptitude to fall on their feet, are commonly said to have nine lives ; hence Ben Johnson, in ‘ Every Man in his Humour,’ says, ‘ ‘Tis a pity you had not ten lives a cat’s and your own.’ ‘
” In the Middle Ages a witch was empowered to take cat’s body nine times,” so writes an eminent old zoologist.
The “cat-o’-nine-tails” is a dreaded object to some light-fingered and heavy-handed miscreants. I have heard a magistrate remark that he considers this form of punishment the best way in which to give hints to the wicked.
Garrotting was virtually stamped out by its use. Wife-beating would be less common if the brute-husband were treated to a taste of the cat-o’-nine-tails. This implement of torture consists of nine pieces of cord put together, and in each cord are nine knots. Consequently every stroke inflicts a large number of long and severe marks not unlike the clawing and scratching of a savage cat, producing crossing and re-crossing wounds.
In my long and varied experience of cats, I have noticed that more of these creatures succumb to the common enemy at about nine years of age than at any other period.
We have heard of cats attaining the age of twenty years, but the following account surpasses all previous records of longevity in the feline world :
To THE EDITOR OF THE
Sir, Seeing you have a column in your paper devoted to cats, I thought it might interest your readers to hear that in our village there is a cat thirty-
one years old. She is quite
lively, and looks like living
a few more years. It
belongs to a poor widow, who told me she had
it as a kitten when she married. (Her hus-
band lived twenty-seven years, and has been
Newbury, Bucks. W. B. HERMAN.
It is strange that the poor dead bodies of cats have often been used as objects of foolish and vulgar so-called sport. Dead cats and rotten eggs were, and are sometimes still, considered legitimate missiles to make use of at borough and county elections.
All sorts of stories are related of pussy’s superhuman intelligence, but the most uncanny one of very recent date I will refer to here. It may be remembered that in the winter of 1901 a vessel named the Salmon was wrecked. On the morning of the accident, this vessel was lying alongside the Sturgeon, and her two cats, who had all their lives shown the most perfect contentment with their home and surroundings, made desperate efforts to get on board the Sturgeon.
The crew drove them off again and again, and the ship’s dog attacked them, but they would not be deterred, and when the Salmon at last cast off, the two cats landed with one frantic and final spring on to the Sturgeon’s deck. It seems absurd to argue that those cats knew of the coming disaster, yet why should they take such a sudden and utterly unreasonable aversion to the ship which had always been their home ? And why should they insist on making their way to another vessel from which they had been so inhospitably repulsed ?
We have many proofs of the extraordinary extent to which a cat’s sense of hearing and smell are developed. On my voyage out to Australia flying fish would sometimes fall on to the deck. The cats that are always somewhere about the ship might be comfortably curled up asleep below, but the peculiar sound would fetch them up in a greal hurry, and they would rush to secure the prize. The crew used to amuse themselves sometimes by trying to imitate the noise in various ways to deceive them ; but the cats were not to be ” had ” they could distinguish the peculiar thud of the flying fish from all other sounds.
Various theories have been put forward to account for the marvellous instinct which a
cat possesses, enabling her to find her way home although miles and miles of untraversed country lay between her and the place from which she has been taken. It is contended that a cat which is conveyed in a bag or blindfolded will have its sense of smell in full exercise, and will, by this means take note of the successive odours encountered on the way, and that these will leave in its mind sufficient information of the route so as to make it an easy matter for the animal to find its way back again. Be this as it may, many of us can state facts which are even stranger than fiction of mysterious reappearances of cats who, with a hoing instinct as true as any carrier – pigeon, return to the haven where they would be.
The instinct of maternity is, perhaps, more largely developed in the cat than in any other animal. No creature shows such anxiety for the safety and welfare of her offspring as she does, and often her natural timidness will give place to bold and fearless courage when her little ones have been in any difficulty or danger. Mivart tells us of a cat that plunged into a swiftly running stream and rescued her three drowning kittens, bringing them one by one in safety to the shore. During a fire in a London theatre, which took place a few years ago, a poor cat with her family was left forgotten at the back of the stage. Three times the faithful mother rushed into the flaming building and reappeared each time with a kitten in her mouth. But alas! with fatal persistence the devoted creature returned to rescue the
was proved, for after the fire was extinguished, the charred bodies of mother and child were found lying side by side.
A clever writer has stated that ” the human race may be divided into people who love cats and people who hate them ; the neutrals being few in numbers.” This is very true. There are also differences of opinion as to whether cats are desirable inmates of a household or not, but there can be no question as to the great utility of these animals, and it is only natural to suppose that they were created for the purpose of suppressing rats and mice and other vermin. There is a popular notion that if a cat is petted and well fed she will become less useful as a mouser.
This is a fallacy, for the cat’s inclination is to hunt the mouse or rat, not for food, but for sport, and an animal that is enfeebled by neglect and starvation is not in the best condition to successfully catch its prey. This love of sport is not, however, inherent in all cats, but is hereditary in the feline tribe as it is in the human race. It may not be generally known that the Government pays annual sums for the purpose of providing, keeping, and feeding numerous ” harmless, necessary cats ” in their public offices, dockyards, and stores, thereby attesting to the worth and capability of pussy’s services.
In the National Printing Office in France a considerable number of cats are employed in keeping the premises clear of rats and mice which would otherwise work havoc amongst remaining one, and that she reached the spot the stock of paper always stored in large quantities.
In Vienna, cats are placed on active service in the municipal buildings. At many of our great railway stations there is a feline staff engaged in the various warehouses and offices.
The farmer will readily admit the usefulness of puss in his barns, stables, out- houses and fields Farmers are notorious grumblers, but they would have greater cause for discontent and disappointment if rats and mice were allowed to live and thrive, and breed and multiply on their premises. The newly sown peas and corn stacks would suffer to a terrible extent, and the broods of ducklings and chickens would speedily vanish if puss did not keep a vigilant eye and silently but surely fulfil the duties of her calling.
In the live stock department of the Army and Navy Stores in London, an orange Persian cat may be seen strolling about amongst the cages of birds of every sort. The attendant informed me she had been on the premises three or four years, and had saved the company a ” tidy sum.”
Previous to obtaining ner services the packets of bird-seed disappeared like magic, for they were demolished wholesale by the swarms of great mice.
Now rarely one is nibbled, and every. morning dozens of lifeless bodies are cleared away. Curiously enough these dead mice have their tails eaten off, for apparently this cat has a weakness for the appendage, whereas, usually the head is considered the delicate morsel amongst the feline race. It seems that although the cat is left alone with all the fluttering birds at night, she never has attempted to molest them in any way.
I lately had occasion to visit one of our London theatres during the daytime, when it to a terrible extent, and the broods of ducklings was empty ; and observing a big brown cat and chickens walking about amongst the stalls, I made some remark about him to the official who accompanied me. He said they found it quite impossible to get along without a cat ; they had tried, but the place be- came overrun with mice. During pussy’s occupation of the empty play-house plenty of bodies were dis-covered, but never a live mouse had been seen disporting itself.
The cats in Government service in America are very numerous. The army has a regular corps of them kept at the commissary depots of the cities. It is customary for the officer in charge of each depot to submit to the War Department a request for an allowance for the cats of meat and milk.
More than three hundred cats are in the employ of the Post Office Department, distributed among about fifty of the largest offices.
The New York City office expends sixty dollars annually in cats’- meat. At Pittsburg, there is a “cold-storage” breed of cats, which has special qualifications for enduring extreme cold. These cats are short tailed, with long and heavy fur, and their eyebrows and whiskers are extraordinarily long and strong. It is said they do not thrive when transferred to an ordinary atmosphere.
The following extract from the Daily Mail of February ist, 1902, gives us an account of a most exemplary, well trained, and up- to-date cat, and opens up a fresh fresh field indeed, if one recalls the fact that Puss was already a ” retriever ” in ancient Egypt.
A PING-PONG CAT.
Hunting for balls is undoubtedly the one great draw- back to ping-pong. Might I suggest a novel and easy method of accomplishing this difficult and unpleasant task ?
My cat is now an expert in the art of finding ping-pong balls. Immediately the ball touches the floor the cat is after it, and brings it from its hiding-place to the side of the table at which I am playing thus saving me from unnecessary exertion.
F. S. W.
The thought suggests itself that pussy’s teeth and claws might work serious havoc amongst the ping-pong balls, and that some of these would be produced in a mutilated condition.
Of all animals the cat appears most to re-sent being taught or trained to do tricks. Puss has a natural antipathy to be forced to do anything, or remain anywhere against her will. Hence the few exhibitions of really clever performing cats in comparison with the marvellous feats achieved by dogs. It has been stated that the cat is the hardest animal to teach ; it takes years to train a cat to perform some simple trick which a dog would learn in as many weeks. Once a cat is trained, it becomes a very valuable possession.
We have all seen the Happy Family, consisting of monkeys, guinea-pigs, canaries, pigeons, and mice, whilst a cat is seated demurely in the midst of this incongruous assembly. No doubt some training was required to cause puss to disregard the natural instincts of her race.
The cat is a most cleanly creature, and perhaps more particular about her appearance than any other animal. As Miss Agnes Repplier, in her delightful book. ” The Fireside Sphinx,” says: “Pussy’s adroitness is equalled only by her delicacy and tact. Her cleanliness and her careful attention to her toilet show respect for herself and for us.” One of the strangest and most profitable trades in London is the wholesale and retail business of horsemeat for cats. In barrows and carts the hawkers of this horse-flesh cry their wares throughout the city and suburbs, and find a ready sale for them. It is stated that 26,000 horses, maimed, or past work, are slaughtered and cut up every year to feed our household pets.
Each horse means on an average 275 pounds of meat, and this is sold by pussy’s butcher in half pennyworths skewered on bits of wood. The magnitude of this trade can be estimated by the fact that it keeps constantly employed thirty wholesale salesmen.
I may here mention that a cats’-meat men’s supper was organised last year in London by the editor of Our Cats, assisted by Mr. Louis Wain and others ; and a most successful entertainment was given at the City of New York Restaurant.
The applications for tickets were so numerous that 400 men had to be refused ; and when the 250 guests were seated, it was clearly proved that every available inch of accommodation had been utilised. Having been present, I can testify to the excellent supper and entertainment provided for the cats’-meat men of London.
The most casual observer cannot have failed to remark the wonderful development of late years in ” Catty ” Christmas souvenirs, thus giving proof of the growth of love and admiration for pussy. We have cat almanacks, cat calendars, and cat annuals, and I can testify to the innumerable Christmas cards with designs of cats of all sorts and conditions which have found their was into my hands expressive of good wishes at the festive season.
The official mind would probably frown at the suggestion that the census returns should be enlivened with incidental humour. However, after the last census, the following statement appeared in the press: ” An enumerator in going over a return paper found that the household cat had been included as a member of the family. It was described as ‘ Jim,’ the relationship to the head of the family being “lodger”. The entry then stated that he was of the male sex, single, aged on last birthday.
His occupation was also given – “mouse-catcher, worker on his own account. A description of the ordinary domestic cat is hardly necessary, but befor I pass on to mention matters of general interest concerning cats of today, I will give a quotation from a Board School boy’s essay which speaks for itself:
“The house-cat is a four-legged quadruped, the legs as usual being at the corners. It is. what is some times called a tame animal, though it feeds on mice and birds of prey. Its colours are striped, it does not bark, but breathes through its nose instead of its mouth: Cats also mow, which you have all heard. Cats have nine liveses, but which is seldom wanted in this country, coz’ of Christianity. Cats eat meat and most anythink speshuelly where you can’t afford; This is all about cats.”
Perhaps my readers may think that after such a lucid description of the subject in hand, further comments are unnecessary !
I will proceed, however, to give a glance round at the Cat Fancy in general before mentioning particulars of Clubs and Cats of the cards with designs of cats of all sorts and present day. The question has often been conditions which have found their way into asked whether the Cat Fancy will ever be-my hands expressive of good wishes at the come as popular and fashionable as the breed festive season. ing of dogs, poultry, and birds ?
I think this question may be answered in the affirmative, when we consider that during last year a dozen and more large cat shows have been held in different parts of England and Scotland, to say nothing of numerous mixed shows where a section for cats was provided. Every year the number of fanciers increases, and although this particular hobby is almost entirely confined to the gentler sex, yet it is really surprising to find how many more men are beginning to take an interest in the pussies, and are keenly excited in the winnings of the household pet or the king of the cattery. As a friend once said to me, ” You know what men are ; if only the cats win prizes, my husband does not mind, but it is a different matter if I return from a show with no award ; then he declares we must get rid of all the cats ! ” I am afraid that cat fanciers must be looked upon as a rather quarrelsome set, interest has been manifested, better classification given, and a larger number of cats exhibited. It was, therefore, considered advisable to have some definite organisation, and the National Cat Club was instituted in 1887, with Mr. Harrison Weir as president. I will now proceed to give a list, which I believe to be complete and correct, of the various other clubs and societies in England and America which and there is no doubt that petty jealousies have been organised and which are all at this and spiteful gossip retard in many ways the development and improvement of the fancy.
Another question that is often asked is whether cats can be made to pay or, in other words, whether cat breeding is a profit-able undertaking. From my own experience, which has extended over a number of years, I can unhesitatingly say I have derived not only much pleasure but a good deal of profit from keeping cats, and also I have started many who have gone on and prospered.
The dangers that beset begin- well, near Bristol, ners are many, and the chief difficulty is to know how to limit the number of our pussies and so avoid overcrowding, or retaining poor stock which will not prove creditable or profitable. Cat keeping on an extensive scale means a large outlay, followed by constant and untiring attention. I do not intend, however, in’ this chapter to enter into any details as to the care and management of cats, for this and other subjects connected with their interests will be fully dealt with later on.
In my preceding chapter I alluded to the first Cat Show held at the Crystal Palace in 1871. This exhibition of cats has become present time in thoroughly good working order.
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, 15 A, Paternoster Row, London, E.G. Annual subscription, i guinea.
The Northern Counties’ Cat Club, founded 1900, Hon. sec., Mrs. Herbert, Ra.nsome, Altrincham. Annual subscription, IDS.
The Silver and Smoke Persian Cat Society, founded 1900. Hon. sec., Mrs. H. V. James, Backwell, near Bristol, Annual subscription, 5S.
Black and White Club. Hon. sees., Miss Kerswill and Miss White Atkins. Entrance fee, 18.; annual subscription, 4S.
The Blue Persian Cat Society, founded 1901. Hon. sec., Miss Frances Simpson, Durdans House, St. Margaret’s-on-Thames. Annual subscription, 55.
The Siamese Club, founded 1900. Hon. sec., Mrs. Baker, i3,Wyndham Place, Bryanston Square, W.
Annual subscription, 4.5. ; to working classes, 2s. 6d.
The Orange, Cream, Fawn and Tortoise-shell Society, founded 1900. Hon. sec., Miss Mildred Beal, Ronaldkirk Rectory, Darlington. Annual subscription, IDS.
The Chinchilla Cat Club, founded May, 1901 . Hon. sec., Mrs. Balding, 92, Goldsmith Avenue, Acton. Annual subscription, 53.
The Short-haired Cat Club, founded 1901. Hon. Sec. Mrs. Middleton, 67, Cheyne Court, Chelsea
The Scottish Cat Club, founded 1894. Hon. sec., J. F. Dewar, 2, St. Patrick Square, Edinburgh. Annual subscription, 53.
The Midland Counties Cat Club, founded at Wolverhampton, 1901. Hon sec., Miss Cope, 136, Bristol Road, Birmingham. Annual subscription, 53.
The British Cat Club, founded 1901: Hon. sec., Sir Claude Alexander, Faygate Wood, Sussex. Subscription, 53.
The Manx Cat Club, founded 1901. Miss Hester Cochran,Witchampton,Wimborne. Subscription, 53.
The Beresford Cat Club (Chicago), founded 1899. President, Mrs. Clinton Locke ; corresponding secretary, Mrs. A. Michelson, 220, East Sixtieth Street, Chicago. Annual subscription, resident members, 2 dollars ; non-resi-dent, i dollar.
The Chicago Cat Club, founded 1899. President, Mrs. Leland Norton, Drexel Kennels, Drexel Boulevarde, 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, Brodcrick Street, San Francisco. Annual subscription, 1 dollar.
The Atlantic Club, founded in New York, 1902. Corresponding secretary, Dr. Ottolengui, So, West Fortieth Street, New York.
Since the formation of the National Cat Club, many changes in its constitution have taken place. On the retirement of Mr. Harrison Weir from the presidency, Mr. Louis Wain was appointed, and still holds the office. The N.C.C. is fortunate in having so energetic a hon. sec. and treasurer as Mrs. Stennard-Robinson, whose name is so well known in the ” doggy ” world. The following is a list of officers of the National Cat Club at the time of writing and a summary of the objects for which the Club was organized
THE NATIONAL CAT CLUB.
Patron. H.H. Princess Victoria of Schleswig Holstein.
President. Her Grace the Duchess of Bedford.
Vice-Presidents. The Right Hon. the Countess of Warwick, The Viscountess Maitland, The Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava, The Countess of Aberdeen, The Lady Hothfield, Lady Willoughby, Lady Reid, The Hon. Mrs. McLaren Morrison, The Lady Granville Gordon, Lady Decies, The Hon. Mrs. Baillie, Madame Ronner, Mr. Isaac Woodiwiss, Mr. Sam Woodiwiss.
Committee. Louis Wain (President), Lady Decies, Lady Alexander, The Hon. Mrs. McLaren Morrison, Mrs.Vallance, Mrs. Balding, Miss Hamilton, Dr. Roper, Mrs. Herring, Mrs. Ransome, Mrs. G. H. Walker.
Hon. Sec. and Treasurer. Mrs. A. Stennard Robinson, 13, Wyndham Place, Bryanstone Square, W. (Telegraphic address “Bow-wow, London.”)
The National Cat Club was organised (1) to promote honesty in the breeding of Cats, so as to ensure purity in each distinct breed or variety ; (2) to determine the classification required, and to encourage the adoption of such classification by breeders,, exhibitors, judges, and the committees of all Cat Shows ; (3) to maintain and keep the National Register of Cats; (4) to assist the Showing and Breeding of Cats, by holding Cat Shows under the best sanitary conditions, giving Championship and other prizes, and otherwise doing all in its power to protect and advance the interests of Cats and their owners.
The National Cat Clubis also a Court of Inquiry and Appeal in all matters relating to Cats, or affect- ing the ownership of Cats, and so saves the expense to its Members of litigation.
The National Cat Club founded its Stud Book some twelve years ago, and it is the only reliable source of information concerning the pedigree of Cats. The Registration Fee is is. for the Register of Names, but for the Stud Book the fee is 55. for Approved Cats exhibited under N.C.C. Rules.
The two principal shows of the National Cat Club are held annually at the Botanical Gardens in connection with the Ladies’ Kennel Association in June, and at the Crystal Palace in October. In 1901 the total number of cats shown at the Palace was 601, and the entries numbered 1,021. There were 106 classes provided for long- and short – haired cats.
The following is the definition of the classes :
DEFINITION OF CLASSES.
Open Classes. Open to all Cats, Prize-winners or Novices.
Limit Classes. For Cats of any age that have not won Three First Prizes.
Novice Classes. For Cats of any age that have never won a First Prize at any Show.
Special Novice Cats. For Cats or Kittens over 6 months that have never won a Prize of any sort at a Crystal Palace Show.
Neuter Classes. For Gelded Cats.
Stud Classes. For Male Cats that have sired Kittens which are entered a ad on exhibition in this Show.
BroodQuenn Class. For Queen Cats whose Kittens are entered in this Show.
Selling Class. For Cats of any colour or Sex to be sold at a price not exceeding 3 guineas in Long – haired or 2 guineas in Short : haired and Foreign.
Ring Class. For Cats shown in collar, and lead.
Kitten. Classes. Single entries to be over 3 months and under 8 months, unless otherwise stated.
Brace. For 2 Cats, age over 6 months.
Team. For three or more Cats, age over 6 months.
No Cats can be entered in brace or teams unless also entered in one other class.
The money prizes in each class are First, i ; Second, ros. ; Third, 53. The list of special prizes, including Challenge Trophies and medals, numbered 262 at the last Crystal Palace Show in 1901.
In addition to the two regular fixtures of the N .C.C. , other catshows are held in different places in connection with the Club and under its rules.
The National Cat Club reigned alone until 1898, when Lady Marcus Beresford started and founded the Cat Club. This ardent cat lover has done more for pussy than anyone in the fancy. She is most lavish in her generosity and unwearying in her efforts to promote the welfare of the Club. It was Lady Marcus who first started the idea of holding cat shows in aid of charity. The Cat Club’s first show, held at St. Stephen’s Hall, Westminster, in 1899, was in aid of the Children’s Guild of the Deptford Fund. In 1900 the families of the soldiers and sailors who had fallen in the Transvaal were benefited to a large extent by the proceeds of the show. In 1901 the Children’s Hospital, Great Ormond Street, was the charity selected to receive a handsome donation of 100. The Westminster shows have always been splendidly managed, a noticeable feature being the wonderful array of beautiful special prizes offered for competition. The following is the list of officials connected with the Cat Club :
THE CAT CLUB
(Founded by Lady Marcus Beresford.)
The objects of the Club are the general good of the Cat, the promoting of true breeding of Cats, the holding of a Winter Show, so that Cats may be exhibited at their best, and taking other steps that shall be for the welfare of the Cat.
The annual Subscription is 1 Pfd., payable on election, and on the 1st of January in each succeeding year.
A Stud Book and a Register of Cats are kept by the Club.
Presidents. Lily, Duchess of Marlborough : Edith, Duchess of Wellington ; Lord Marcus Beresforu.
Vice-Presidents. Isabella, Countess Howe ; Viscountess Maitland, Viscountess Esher, Lady Ridley, Lady de Trafford, The Hon. Mrs. Bampfylde, Lady Lister, Lady Gooch, Mrs. Barnet, Mrs. Alfred files, Mrs. Walter Campbell, Mrs. Chaine, Mrs. George Dawkins, Mrs. Gary Elwes, Mrs. C. Hill, Mrs. King, Mrs. Nicholay, Mrs. Tottie, Mrs. Pestoa Whyte, Lord Walter Gordon Lennox, A, E. Bateman, Esq., Colonel Chaine, Henry King, Esq.
Committee. Lady Marcus Beresford, Mrs. Vary Campbell, Mrs Dean, Mrs. Paul Hardy, Mrs. C. Hill, Miss Anderson Leake, Mrs. R. Blair Maconochie, Mrs. Neild, Mrs. Simon, Mrs. Mackenzie Stewart, Mr. L. P. C. Astley, Mr. Gambier Bolton, Rev. P. L. Cosway, Mr. W. R. Hawkins, Mr. E. W. Witt.
Hon. Treasurer. Lord Marcus Beresford.
Hon. Secretary. Mrs. C. J. Bagster, 15 A, Paternoster Row, London, E.G.
and required to register their cats in each club if they exhibit at the respective shows. It would be a great benefit to the cat world in general and to the exhibitor in particular if some arrangement could be made whereby one independent register should be kept, and that both clubs might work together and assist each other in endeavouring to scrutinise and verify all entries made in the joint register, so that inaccuracies should be detected and fraud prevented.
There is really ample room for two parent clubs, as the Fancy is making such rapid strides,and, no doubt, well-appointed shows with good classification do a great deal to benefit breeders and assist fanciers. Between the National Cat Club and the Cat Club there is one point of serious disagreement, namely, as regards registration. At present members are expected
The Northern Counties Cat Club is affiliated with the N.C.C., and has quite a large number of members. This enterprising club holds two shows in Manchester every year, which hitherto have been capitally managed by the energetic hon. sec. As a natural sequence a Midland Counties Club has lately been started, having its working centre at Birmingham. No doubt arrangements will be made for holding a cat show in this or some other equally central Midland town.
The Scottish Cat Club is in a flourishing condition, and has been steadily working up members since 1894. A show is annually held in Edinburgh, and fanciers over the border are taking a much keener interest in cats.
In America the fancy has gone ahead in a wonderful way. It was in 1895 that the first cat show of general interest was held at Madison Square Gardens, New York. There had previously been some private attempts to have exhibitions of cats in connection with poultry and pigeon shows. In 1896 an American Cat Club was organised, which did some good work. Then Chicago started a Cat Club in January, 1899, and this was followed by a most successful enterprise on the part of Mrs. Clinton Locke, who founded the Beresford Cat Club, called after Lady Marcus Beresford, and now numbering about 200 members. In January, 1900, the club held its first big show. The classification was of a most comprehensive nature, and the list of special prizes a very liberal one. This show is now an annual fixture, and the Cat Club of England sends medals and prizes to be competed for.
Many of the best cats exhibited at these shows have been exported from England, and Americans are very keen in trying to procure the very best possible stock high prices in many cases being offered to induce English fanciers to part with prize-winning specimens.
The following is a list of officials of the
BERESFORD CAT CLUB OF AMERICA.
Officers. Mrs. Clinton Locke, 2825 Indiana Ave., (President); Mrs. Charles H. Lane, 5323 Madison Ave., (First Vice- President} ; Mrs. F. A. Howe, 3041 Grand Boulevard (Second Vice-President) ; Mrs. A. A. Michelson, 220 E. 6oth Street (Corresponding Secretary) ; Miss L. C. Johnstone, 5323 Madison Ave. (Recording Secretary) ; Mrs. Elwood H. Tolman, 5403 Madison Ave. (Treasurer).
Directors. Mrs. J.H.Pratt, 5816 Rosalie Court; Mrs. Lincoln Nicholson, Lee Centre, Illinois ; Miss Louise Fergus, 3220 Sheidan Road; Mrs. Blanch P. Robinson 6, Langley Place; Mrs. Vincent E. Gregg, 736 North Park Avenue.
At the Cat Show held in January, 1902, as many as 75 classes were provided, and it is plain to see from these that Americans have not the same antipathy for broken colours that is, cats with white markings as we have in England, as there are classes specially for orange and white, and black and white cats. In another part of this work I shall refer to varieties and breeds of cats existing in America which differ from those in England. The Beresford Cat Club have an extremely well arranged stud book and register, which is published annually. I am sure that the Cat Fancy in America has a great future before it, and we cannot help being greatly struck with the earnestness, thoroughness, and enthusiasm with which Americans have taken up this hobby. When we consider the great distances in the States and the paucity of good stud cats, and the few opportunities of exhibiting at well organised shows, we cannot fail to admire the energy and enterprise dis-played by our American fellow-fanciers.
Specialist Clubs for Cats are of very recent growth. The first was started by an ardent breeder of silver Persians in 1900. It was then called the Silver Society, and it included smokes and silver tabbies. The title of this society has since been changed to the Silver and Smoke Persian Cat Society. In the following year Blue Persian Breeders bestirred themselves and formed a society for this most popular breed. In the same year the Orange, Cream, and Tortoiseshell Society, the Siamese Club, and the Chinchilla Club were inaugurated, also a Manx Club came into existence, and two clubs for short-haired cats were started.
Particulars concerning these specialist societies and their objects will be found in future chapters on the various breeds of cats.
It will be noticed by the list of clubs given that for brown tabby and black and white Persians no societies have as yet been formed, but doubtless ere long these varieties will be gathered into the fold of specialist clubs.
A good deal of discussion has taken place in”catty circles as to the desirability of having specialist societies, but I am sure a vast and marked improvement has taken place in the different breeds since their formation, and the fact of publishing a standard of points has certainly assisted breeders in coming to a more correct idea of what constitutes a good cat of a particular breed. The number of challenge prizes, medals and specials offered by these societies at various shows act as an incentive to exhibitors, and thus entries increase and competition becomes keener. Specialist clubs are not altogether popular with the parent clubs, who regard them with rather a suspicious and jealous eye. They think that exhibitors may join these less expensive societies and yet continue to show and win prizes without subscribing to the club that holds the show. No doubt there is something in this, and specialist clubs should be ready and willing not only to offer prizes for which their members only can compete, but they ought also to guarantee classes, and perhaps give a donation towards the expenses of the show.
There have been quite a number of catty cases in our courts of late years, and these generally seem to cause considerable amusement to the legal as well as to the public mind.
At a recent trial, where a lady was wrongfully accused of starving a Persian cat, the magistrate, wishing for information, inquired of the witness (who was a veterinary surgeon) how long a cat could live without food. The reply was, ” I am sure I could not say, sir, for cats are the funniest animals we have to deal with.” And it is very true that these creatures, being so complex, require to be specially studied, and our principal veterinaries, who lead busy lives, are just a little superior to the many ailments and infirmities of these too often despised animals. It is therefore a subject of satisfaction for cat fanciers that two clever and kind animal-loving men have taken up the doctoring of cats, and by personal experience are learning ” pretty pussy’s ways ” in sickness and in health. Mr. Ward, of Manchester, and “Salvo,” of Hertford Heath, are now two household names in the cat fancier’s vocabulary. To the many excellent remedies prepared by these clever specialists I shall refer later on in my work. Suffice it here to say that when in doubt or difficulty about your pussy’s state of health I would recommend you to write to either of these commonsense practitioners.
The cat literature of the present day has been steadily on the increase. The first paper to supply special cat columns was Fur and Feather, which, as its title infers, treats besides of birds, rabbits, poultry, cavies, mice. This weekly paper has a large circulation amongst the various fanciers. In 1899 Our Cats was started, and is widely read by the ever-growing circle of cat lovers, and claims the unique distinction of being ” The only news paper in the world solely devoted to cats.” In both these papers there are stud advertisements of cats and a register of visits of queens and births of kittens.
In America the chief organs in the cat world are The Cat Journal, The Pet Stock News, and Field and Fancy.
And now a few words on those most excellent institutions which should appeal to the hearts of the animal loving public I mean the homes for poor stray and starving cats. It is a mercy that there are now several of these refuges in our great metropolis. I have personally visited Gordon Cottage at Argyle Road, Hammersmith, and the London Institution in Camden Town. The objects of both these institutions are practically the same, namely :
(1) To receive and collect homeless and diseased cats and painlessly destroy them.
(2) To provide a temporary home “for lost cats.
(3) To board cats at a moderate weekly charge
The Camden Town Institution to which Her Majesty the Queen has graciously given Her Patronage, was founded by Mrs. Morgan in 1896, and up to the end of 1901 has received the enormous number of 47,212 lost and starving cats. The average received weekly is 300, and in one day as many as 91 cats have been taken in. Not a day passes without several wretched cats having to be destroyed at once on admission, and 80 per cent, are destroyed within twenty-four hours of admittance. No charge is made to the poor, and only is. 6d. for a painless death in the lethal chamber is asked from those who can afford this most merciful mode of destroying life. The dead cats are cremated at the Battersea Dogs’ Home at a charge of 3d. each body.
A motorcar is employed to go round and collect stray cats, and will call at any house if due notice has been given to the hon. manageress. It is estimated that the number of cats in London is close upon three quarters of a million, of which from 80,000 to 100,000 are homeless. It is during the summer months, when householders leave town for their holidays, that poor pussy is forsaken and forgotten, and no provision being made for her, she is forced to take to the streets, where she seeks in vain to stalk the wily London sparrow or pick up any scraps from the gutter. The humbler folk very frequently manifest vastly greater solicitude for the Tom or the Tabby of their hearths than do their social superiors. All lovers of cats owe a debt of gratitude to those truly noble ladies who have begun and carry on such a merciful work in our midst. To attempt to alleviate suffering must appeal to all ; and even those who have an instinctive dislike to harmless cats cannot fail to see the immense benefit to be derived by the public at large from the noble endeavour to clear our London streets, squares, parks, and empty houses of these poor forlorn and friendless creatures.
At the Battersea Home for Lost Dogs there are also splendid arrangements for stray cats, and at a very small charge per week cats can be ^ taken in to board. The catteries are capitally arranged, and the feeding is excellent.
In our sister isle there is a Cats’ Home, established sixteen years ago by Miss Swifte in Dublin, and she has most gallantly carried out the beneficent objects with which she started her humane work. No doubt she and other founders of similar institutions have had to suffer a considerable amount of ridicule, for with many human beings the cat is regarded as little deserving of commiseration or kindness. It is, however, a sign of increased justice and benevolence that these homes for cats do exist and obtain public support, although the funds received are, according to all accounts, very inadequate to meet all the expenses. This must surely be partly because these splendid institutions are so little known to the general public.
Our American cousins are not behindhand in their laudable endeavours to cope with the question of lost and starving cats, and an institution similar to our Battersea Home was started in the early ‘eighties in the district of Boston, and is called the ” Ellen M. Gifford Sheltering Home for Animals.” The lady giving her name to this humane institution left a large sum of money to endow the home, and over the office is a tablet bearing the following extract from one of Miss Gifford’s letters about the time the home was opened :
” If only the waifs, the strays, the sick, the abused would be sure to get entrance to the home, and anybody could feel at liberty to bring in a starved or ill-treated animal and have it cared for without pay, my object would be attained. March 27, 1884.”
According to Miss Helen Winslow, the authoress of ” Concerning Cats,” there is another institution in Philadelphia which does not limit its good work to tending cats and dogs, but cares for all living and suffering animals, bringing relief to the unfortunate creatures by means of a painless death.
It was as early as 1874 that this institution was founded, and in 1889 it was reorganised and incorporated as the ” Morris Refuge for Homeless and Suffering Animals,” having for its motto ” The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.”
The efforts of the charitable ladies who so ably assisted in the establishment of these institutions have been followed by others, and a proposal to found a home for animals in Montreal has, I believe, proved successful. Miss Winslow tells us that there are several cat asylums and refuges in the Far West, and a Sheltering Home at Brighton, Mass. In 1901 a Cat Refuge was started in Chicago by a well-known cat-lover, Mrs. Leland Norton, and probably, as time goes on, some further organised attempt will be made to deal with the question of lost and starving cats in American towns.
The love of the cat still lingers in Egypt, and I have been told that free rations to starving cats are dealt out every day at the Palace of the Cadi and the Bazar of Khan Kheleel ; also that a cats’ home has been founded Cairo for the lodging and feeding of homeless cats.
There was a report that in order to cope with the innumerable lost and starving cats the American Legislature had decided to enforce a bill for licensing cats, but if such a law came into existence in any country the result would surely be that thousands of cats with good homes would be thrust out into the streets, and that rats and mice would multiply to an alarming extent. It is estimated that in New York city alone 60,000 cats depend for their daily food on garbage and the mice and rats that they capture. Therefore, if each cat catches three mice or rats a week, the sum total am ounts to over 9,000,000 a year !
I have often wondered why some of our numerous “distressed ladies” do not set up private homes for the care of cats. A really comfortable country home for cats is an enterprise in which many a woman, who is hopelessly at sea for some means of earning
an honest livelihood in this overcrowded work-a-day world, might thus combine pleasure with profit. Many fanciers feel the difficulty and well nigh impossibility of leaving their catteries for any length of time, and few have a permanent and responsible caretaker on the premises. An opening, therefore, presents itself not only for boarding homes for cats, but for temporary helps who could be engaged by the week or month to take charge of the cattery during the absence of the owner. Of course, such a person should have had experience with cats and kit- tens, and above all should be an animal lover. To dwellers in any of our large cities the sojourn in some country place would come as a boon and a blessing, and if the owner of thecattery is fully as sured of the capabilities of the caretaker, then all anxiety of mind as to the welfare of the pets would be allayed.
There is a secluded corner in Hyde Park known as the Dog’s Cemetery, and amongst the many headstones I noticed two or three erected in memory of lost pussies who have been privileged to rest in this quiet burying ground.
When we see poor pussies packed into dirty cages in the shops of dealers of beasts and birds in our great metropolis, and when we are made sad by the sight of the wretched starving cats of our streets, we can breathe no better wish for them than a speedy deliverance from their life of misery, even if it be to embark with the grim ferryman in their free transportation to the Feline Elysium.
” There shall the worthies of the whiskered race, Elysian mice o’er floors of sapphire chace, ‘Midst beds of aromatic marum stray, Or raptur’d rove beside the milky way.”
A French writer of the early part of the eighteenth century, a famous Jesuit Father, suggests a very strange theory on the old idea as to the nature of the soul of animals. I am sure that the question of a future existence for those pets who during so short a time in this world have been our faithful and loving companions must have often entered into the hearts and minds of true animal lovers.
A wise and good man a writer of some of our most beautiful hymns, and who passed to his rest within the last year wrote and gave me these lines when he lost his faithful dog :
SANCHO : AN OLD FRIEND.
A large brown Irish retriever : buried in the Vicarage Garden of St. Paul’s, Haggerston : a stone to his memory is on the school wall, with this inscription :
” In the centre of this lawn lies
a gentleman in all but humanity ;
thorough-bred, single in mind, true
of heart ; for seventeen years the
faithful and affectionate friend of
his master, who loved him, and now
for him ‘ faintly trusts the larger
Hope ‘ contained, it may be, in
Romans viii. 19-21.
He died April 26, 1883.”
NOT sparse of friends the world has been to me By grace of GOD sweetness and light to life Their love has given ; many a stormy strife,
Many a pulseless torpor, on my sea,
Through them their presence or their memory
Have been or stilled or quickened ; and to thee,
My Dog, the tribute, as the term, is due,
My Friend ! not least of all dear, near, and true
These seventeen years and through the years to be
Sure in my heart of immortality.
Must this be all ? I’ the great Day of the LORD,
Shall aught that is of good and beauty now
Be missing ? Shall not each gift be restored ?
Paul says ” the whole creation ” why not thou ?
CATS’ TOMBSTONES IN THK DOGS’ CKMETKKV, HYDK PARK.
(Photo : Cassell & Co., Ltd.)