Felis Historica July 2021 Volume 1 Number 12

Page 1

JULY 2021 Volume 2 No.1


150 YEARS! 1871-2021






“Today’s achievements are part of tomorrow’s history”




John G. Smithson


editor@felishistorica.com HISTORY PARTNERS The CFA Foundation

EDITORIAL – THE START OF OUR SECOND YEAR! The Editor outlines the contents of Felis Historica – Volume 2 No.1!



CONTRIBUTING TEAM MEMBERS Gallery of our Team of Columnists, Contributors & Correspondents


SYLVIE (1879) - by John G. Smithson The history behind one of the earliest Silver Longhair winners!


THE FELINE HISTORICAL MUSEUM – Part Two - by Karen Lawrence Establishment of the CFA Foundation, Inc.






MISS TOODLES (1903) – by John G. Smithson A phenomenally successful early 20th Century English Shorthair


THE DESCENDANTS OF BASTET – by Karen Lawrence. New Book release information…


A PERSIAN RHAPSODY IN BLUE – by John Smithson. New Book release information…


THE YEAR OF THE CAT – by John Smithson We celebrate 150 years of Cat Shows! Harrison Weir, Lady Dorothy Nevill, Dr. Charles Darwin and others!






CAT POEMS and OTHER FANCIES / & TEN CATS – by Graham Harrop


Karen Lawrence (St. Catharines, Canada)

Lorraine Shelton (California, USA)


Dr. Leslie Lyons (Missouri, USA)


Chloe Chung (Hong Kong)

Laura Vocelle (Muscat, Oman)

Dr. Victor Zaalov (Acre, Israel)

Valerie Sheldrake Feline Historian (Suffolk, UK)

Jamie Christian (Ohio, USA)


Helmi & Ken Flick (Florida, USA)


Jack Terry (Florida, USA)

CONTENT All Rights Reserved © A-Cat-Emy Concepts SUBSCRIPTIONS Published Monthly Single Issue $4.00 USD ANNUAL $48.00 USD


OUR COVER PHOTO ‘The Harrison Weir Tankard’ also known as ‘The Crystal Palace Tankard’ presented to Harrison Weir by the Crystal Palace Company, July 1871, to commemorate the success of the first Crystal Palace Cat Show. Now part of the Silver Plate of The Lewes Town Council. Photo: Tom Reeves COPYRIGHT ISSN: 2744-4430 National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa © A-CAT-EMY CONCEPTS / FELIS HISTORICA THE HARRISON WEIR COLLECTION No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, screen capture, or otherwise, without prior written permission. No responsibility is accepted for accuracy of advertisements or information. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED www.felis-historica.com www.harrisonweir.com

The month of July 2021 represents a significant milestone in the history of the Cat Fancy, as on July 13th, we celebrate the sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary of the first organised Cat Show at the Sydenham Crystal Palace, in London – hosted by the Crystal Palace Company, and managed by Mr. Fred Wilson, head of the Natural History Department. This show, the brainchild of Mr. Harrison Weir, who was subsequently dubbed ‘The Father of the Cat Fancy,’ essentially marks the founding point of the hobby now linked to cat associations world-wide, which today represent literally millions of faithful adherents. In the realm of human-animal relationships, cats can hold their own. Back in the 1990’s when I served a term as National President of the New Zealand Cat Fancy, I sought some statistics on cats within my own country, situated as it was, 12,000 miles from where the birth of cat shows took place in England. At that time, there were 3.5 cats for every dog in New Zealand, and we were able to boast the highest per capita population of cats, of any nation on earth! It has long been known that cats sell, and that is certainly evidenced by the constant use of cats in advertising world-wide, beginning in the mid to late 19th century. Neither Harrison Weir, nor the Crystal Palace Company were prepared for the public response to that first show. The railway line to the Crystal Palace was so packed, that on the second day the Crystal Palace Company was forced to put on more trains to move the capacity crowds. In two days, approximately 20,000 visitors attended the show of cats, an unprecedented number even for the most popular natural history exhibitions of the day! As a result, the Crystal Palace Company decided to honour Weir for his idea, presenting him with a silver tankard, as a memorial of the event, and immediately began planning a second National Cat Show at the Palace for December that year. A photo of that tankard, now housed in the Silver Plate of the Lewes Town Council, is featured on the cover of this month’s issue.

JULY 2021



Due to the length of our feature on the 1871 shows, we have had to pull at least one other regular article from this month’s magazine. But we still have our regular columns from both Karen Lawrence of the CFA Foundation’s Feline Historical Museum, which opens its doors again in Alliance Ohio this month; plus the regular Genetics article by Dr. Leslie Lyons, which this month informs us as to what genetic testing is currently available for domestic cats. On a personal level, to celebrate this memorable milestone in the fancy, both Karen Lawrence and I have also each published a book on the history and development of specific breeds. Karen’s on the early history of the Abyssinian cat, while my own examines the early role of the Blue Persian cat in the development of the Persian breed. Both books are limited editions and are currently available, so take this golden opportunity to acquire one for yourself or a dear friend as a gift. The history articles in this issue deal with Silvers, an early longhair named ‘Sylvie’, who was a forerunner of the modern-day Chinchilla, and recognised by Weir as unique. Our modern-day feature Chinchilla is RW, SGC Missionhill Timeless Enchantment, bred by Munira Murrey, who is based in British Columbia, Canada.

Above and below: GC. Missionhill Fait Accompli - as a winning kitten in 1997, and as a winning adult cat in 1998. In

If you wish to stay abreast of the latest Feline History discoveries, then ‘Felis Historica’ is surely your first port of call – share the love! and purchase a subscription for a friend. Happy ‘Cat Show’ Anniversary to one and all! Enjoy!


Photos: courtesy of Missionhill Cattery





ADVERTISING MANAGER advertising@felis-historica.com Director: CFA Foundation, Inc Manager: Feline Historical Museum Co-Editor: The History Project

AUTHOR/LECTURER ‘Robinson’s Genetics for Cat Breeders & Veterinarians’ Director: CFA Foundation, Inc www.wegies.net www.featherland.net

RESEARCHER/COLUMNIST FELINE GENETICS SPECIALIST Prof. of Comparative Medicine Dept. of Vet. Medicine & Surgery University of Missouri






COLUMNIST/AUTHOR FELINE HISTORY & ART HISTORIAN Creator and Founder The Great Cat www.thegreatcat.org






‘THE RESTORIAN’ Photo & Graphics Specialist Photo Humourist

President of World Organisation of Cats





















































































Miss Saunders ‘SYLVIE’ Silver (Very light Blue Silver Tabby, lacking barring) female, born September 1879. Breeder: Unknown. Owners: Mrs. Christopher, Miss Saunders. (NCC: 1200) Illustration: Line drawing by Harrison William Weir (1924-1906) Published in ‘Our Cats – And All About Them’ (1889) by Harrison Weir. Publisher: R.Clements & Co,Mt. Pleasant. Tunbridge Wells Image: The Harrison Weir Collection Backgrounds © www.gographic.com




Adapted from the author’s text for ‘Sylviue’ @ The History Project www.cat-o-pedia.org

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND When fellow author Gillian Vine, wrote her chapter on ‘Silver Longhairs’ in 1978, she headed it with the title “Ethereal Silvers Win All Hearts”; a statement that could not have been closer to the truth. From the very beginning, silver tabbies, with their striking markings, then lighter silver tabbies and eventually shaded silvers and clearcoated Chinchillas, have caught the imagination of breeders and cat fanciers alike. But it is to the words of Mrs Balding, (formerly Miss Dorothy Gresham) and the owner of the famed ‘Silver Lambkin’ that we turn for a clear description of the appearance of clearer coated Silvers. “It is something like twenty years ago that, amongst the competitors in the classes for longhaired tabbies, at the Crystal Palace and other important shows, was occasionally to be seen an alien with the ground colour of the silver tabby, but with very few stripes on the body. These cats were evidently sports from the silver tabby, so much so that the class for that section was the only one open to them; and, although they invariably showed great quality, breeders were loath to exhibit them in the medley of different coloured tabbies, where one of their chief beauties – the absence of stripes –

was the only one open to them; and, although they invariably showed great quality, breeders were loath to exhibit them in the medley of different coloured tabbies, where one of their chief beauties – the absence of stripes – became a disadvantage.” “Amongst these outcasts, was a cat of striking beauty, whose like has not been seen again. This was ‘Sylvie,’ of unknown pedigree, owned by the late Mrs Christopher, at whose death she became the property of the late Miss Saunders of Peterborough. A beautiful portrait of this exquisite chinchilla, is given in Mr Harrison Weir’s book ‘Our Cats’. “When judging at the Crystal Palace in 1886, this connoisseur and judge of world-wide repute awarded her first prize, medal and special for the best long-haired cat, getting over the difficulty of her silvery, unmarked coat, by calling her a very light blue tabby, though the puzzle was to find the tabby.” ²

And thus, even before a class for the ‘Self-Silver’ or ‘Chinchilla’ was even created, the existence of a clearer coated silver is confirmed, and the desire to emulate the ethereal beauty of ‘Sylvie’ firmly established.

PARENTAGE & OWNERSHIP Born in 1879, to some extent at least, Sylvie has been largely overlooked as the ‘genesis’ of the desire to create the erroneously named ‘SelfSilver’, or a silver cat without tabby marks or barring, which eventually developed into what became the modern day Chinchilla. But in fact, she caused a sensation when shown at the Crystal Palace in 1886, when she came to the attention of the judge, and was assessed by the keen and observant eyes of the ubiquitous Mr Harrison Weir. Although entered by her then owner, Mrs. Christopher, into the only class available to her at that time, she was an unlikely candidate for a win, being as she was, forced to be entered into a mixed class of what were generally considered to be poor silver tabbies, lacking in barring. There clearly existed an unrecognised desire amongst breeders to create a silver cat without barring, and the action of Mr. Weir in recognising the obvious qualities of a cat which most closely resembled this desire, no doubt helped to encapsulate and promote the idea amongst fanciers, who from that moment forward seemed to gain the courage to forge ahead with even more determination, in the creation and development of a clear-coated silver Persian. Harrison Weir’s courage, in so doing, whether intentional or not, became the ‘wind beneath the wings’ to a new generation of breeders looking to establish a new variety known as ‘chinchillas.’

Frances Simpson, in her chapter on ‘Silver or Chinchilla Persians’, elaborates on the lack of a suitable class: “Previous to the introduction of a Chinchilla class at the Crystal Palace in 1894, the class for Silver Tabbies included blue tabbies ‘with or without white’, and it is curious to read in the old catalogues of the Crystal Palace shows, the titles given to the various cats by the owners, some describing their cats as ‘chinchilla tabby’, ‘light grey tabby’, ‘silver grey’, ‘silver chinchilla’, ‘blue or silver striped’. We may infer that these cats were either blue tabbies or silver tabbies or something betwixt and between.” ²

SIBLINGS & SHOWS ‘Sylvie’ was in fact drawn by Harrison Weir, not once but twice, with both illustrations of her being published in his epic work, ‘Our Cats’ published in 1889. That she was an influential cat and that he was proud to be associated with her winning ways, is evidenced by her double appearance in this work. The first illustration is a whole body image, appearing on page 24, and in the list of illustrations, she is described by the artist in the following terms: “Miss Saunders very light Blue Tabby, ‘Sylvie’. A great beauty and winner of first prize, silver medal, and silver sugar basin, at the Crystal Palace 1886, as the best longhaired cat in the show; then the property of Mrs Christopher.” ¹ When Mrs Balding explains that Harrison Weir got “…over the difficulty of her silvery, unmarked coat, by calling her a very light blue tabby, though the puzzle was to find the tabby..” she inadvertently hit upon the crux of what ‘he’ had also unwittingly achieved.

Above: Miss F Moore’s silver kittens, ‘Dinah’ and ‘Chloe’. Prize-winners from 1887. Illustrated by Harrison Weir. From pages 23 and 119, ‘Our Cats – and All About Them’ (1889) by Harrison Weir. ¹

tabby...” she inadvertently hit upon the crux of what ‘he’ had also unwittingly achieved. He recognised Sylvie for the beauty of her luxurious clear silver coat, but he continued to refer to her as a ‘tabby’, and by doing so, he had stumbled upon a truth of fact: - that all clear-coated silvers were still genetically tabbies! They remained in essence ‘agouti’ cats, but with a great difference, ...that the pattern was prevented to show itself effectively due to the presence of the ‘’inhibitor” factor. (a polygenic variation unknown to the cat fancy for almost another 100 years!) Of course, none of this was known in the 1870’s, but what the breeders of the time were unknowingly doing, was ‘selecting’ for the degree of expression or action of ‘inhibitor’ factor in their cats, and by so doing, creating bloodlines which would self-perpetuate this action through linebreeding.

cats, and by so doing, creating bloodlines which would self-perpetuate this action through linebreeding.

BREEDING & PROGENY There are no official records of progeny from ‘Sylvie’. But wins by other early silvers with minimal barring followed. These included Miss F. Moore’s long-haired kittens ‘Dinah’ and ‘Chloe’, both of whose likenesses were captured by the pen of Harrison Weir. As kittens they won first prize and a medal at the Crystal Palace Show, as well as at the Brighton and Bexley Cat Shows of 1887. Again, from Mrs Balding (formerly Dorothy Gresham), we gain clarification of other early clear-coated silvers who turned heads while there was yet no dedicated class for them:-

Above: Miss Mary Gresham’s original, ‘Lambkin 1’ and ‘Lambkin 2’, sired by ‘Rahman’. Illustrated by Harrison Weir. From pages 33 and 36, ‘Our Cats – and All About Them’ (1889) by Harrison Weir. ¹

clear-coated silvers who turned heads while there was yet no dedicated class for them: “Another chinchilla of the early eighties was Miss Florence Moore’s ‘Queenie’, who would, had chinchilla classes been provided at that time, have been loaded with championships and honours. In colour she was as light as any of our present-day celebrities, and might easily, from her freedom from markings, have earned the dubious compliment of the uninitiated so highly prized by owners of chinchillas of being mistaken for a grubby white.” “……two never to be forgotten pairs of chinchilla kittens – Miss Florence Moore’s ‘Chloe’ and ‘Dinah’ , winners of first and medal on three consecutive occasions at the Crystal Palace, Brighton and Bexley, 1887 (they being the only chinchillas at any of these shows), and Miss Gresham’s ‘Silver Lambkins’, who swept the board in 1888, winning the specials at the Crystal Palace from forty-six pairs of other competitors of all

Brighton and Bexley, 1887 (they being the only chinchillas at any of these shows), and Miss Gresham’s ‘Silver Lambkins’, who swept the board in 1888, winning the specials at the Crystal Palace from forty-six pairs of other competitors of all colours – could in each case, trace descent to the Cheltenham stock , ‘Chloe’ and ‘Dinah’ through the aforementioned ‘Judy’ and the ‘Silver Lambkins’ through their sire ‘Rahman’, bred by Mrs Brydges.”

IN SUMMARY It seems fitting that Mrs Balding’s own Silver male, a later ‘Silver Lambkin’ by ‘Champion Perso’ and out of ‘Beauty of Bridgeyate’ should be designated as the ‘father’ of the Chinchilla breed, although a study of silver pedigrees would tend to suggest that his dam, ‘Beauty of Bridgeyate’

Miss Saunder’s ‘SYLVIE’, a full body illustration by Harrison Weir. From page 24, ‘Our Cats – and All About Them’ (1889) by Harrison Weir ¹

Chinchilla breed, although a study of silver pedigrees would tend to suggest that his dam, ‘Beauty of Bridgeyate’ could be equally deserving of the honour as a ‘foundation’ of this colour variety. In any event, this ‘Silver Lambkin’ became the prime progenitor of this everpopular breed, so much so, that when he passed away late in 1906 at the ripe old age of 17 years, his death was widely reported in the press, the news reaching even to the farthest corners of the globe! But it is important that we not forget that the dream to produce the Chinchilla, first took flight in 1886, well before the birth of ‘Silver Lambkin’,

with the classic win by a clearer coated silver female, named ‘Sylvie’, whose natural form and beauty of colour and coat, captured the eye and imagination of the greatest of cat fanciers, Mr Harrison William Weir. Mrs Balding was careful to note this for us, and it is to her, to whom we turn, in recognition of her great work with the Silver Persian, moulding what was initially only a hope and a dream, into a worldwide reality. References: 1. ‘Our Cats – And All About Them’ (1889), by Harrison Weir. 2. ‘The Book of The Cat’ (1903) by Frances Simpson. 3. ‘Long-haired Cats in New Zealand’ (1978) by Gillian Vine. 4. Illustrations and Quotations as per credits noted.

The CFA Foundation’s

Feline Historical Museum

The importance, work, and difficulties of preserving our feline historical heritage… pre CENTRAL GALLERY & MEZZANINE STAIRCASE OF THE FELINE HISTORICAL MUSEUM in Alliance, Ohio. Ground Floor, Headquarters Building of The Cat Fanciers’ Association.

Establishment of the Cat Fanciers’ Association Foundation Inc, (CFAF) and the Feline Historical Museum BY


PART TWO When CFA moved to Alliance, Ohio and the CFA Foundation opened its museum in 2011, it never occurred to us that we would come across a “cat fancy” connection to this little city.

From a 1935 edition of The Cat Gazette, we learned that the cat fancy had actually been active in Alliance, Ohio where CFA’s Central Office is now located. Pictured on the magazine cover is Mrs. Charles Naylor’s chinchilla Persian, Rose Crest’s Singing Sally, identified as living at Rosecrest Farms in Alliance. Several other cats bred by, or belonging to, Mrs. Naylor could be found in additional copies of the magazine over the years.

Photo by Karen Lawrence

Framed original charcoal drawing of Kilravock Don Giovanni, by H.V. Furness in the collection of The CFA Foundation, at the Feline Historical Museum.

We learned, through additional newspaper research, that Mrs. Naylor was quite a successful breeder and her cats were in demand throughout Ohio. We also learned of the tragedy in her life – the loss of her husband during a railroad accident – that eventually led to her remarriage and ultimately the end of her days as a breeder of fine Persians. We even met someone at one of our presentations in the Alliance area who remembered visiting Rosecrest Farm as a child and playing with the cats there.

Images above and right: ‘The Cat Review’ magazine, from May 1914, with an image taken from the charcoal drawing, clearly identifying the cat as (Kilravock) Don Giovanni. A second advertisement for the Kiowa Cattery, from the Western Cat Fancier, dating from Aug-Sept, 1915; also using the same image from the original charcoal drawing by H.V. Furness.

Hand-in-hand with our seeking out of historical cat fancy trophies and medals, researching our finds is a large part of what we do at the Feline Historical Museum. It’s amazing at what we have discovered in our old magazines over the past 10 years! Several years ago, the Foundation purchased a lovely piece of original artwork, depicting an early Persian, which we were lucky enough to find available online. Even though the cat was not identified, the artist – Harriett V. Furness – was known to us. Mrs. Furness was an artist, photographer, and a breeder of CFA registered Persians in the New York City area at the beginning of the 20th century. The Persian, in charcoal, was exquisitely rendered, and in a beautiful original civil war era frame, but the subject remained unidentified – until, while scanning photos in early magazines, we came across a picture of our painting, complete with a caption identifying the cat as “Kilravock Don Giovanni”.

Right: A photo of Kilravock Don Giovanni, published in Volume II of the CFA Studbook, 1912. (CFA: 564) Below: An advertisement for Don Giovanni, from the Western Cat Review, dated September 1910.

Below: The famous sire of Kilravock Don Giovanni, ‘Db.Ch. SOUSA’, this image from the ‘Western Cat Review’, dated April 1911.

Turns out that Kilravock Don Giovanni was a blue-eyed white Persian male, born on July 9, 1908 and registered with both CFA and ACA. The picture was published in The Cat Review in May, 1914 which allows us to be very confident in dating the drawing itself as rendered between 1908 and 1914. Indeed, quite a find! This 100+ year old drawing is now proudly displayed in the Feline Historical Museum. Two years ago, CFA’s Central Office donated an old, framed Siamese pedigree. This lead to the important discovery of Wong Mau, an imported Burmese hybrid, being a 3rd-generation ancestor on the pedigree. We also discovered that there was a son of Wong Mau on the pedigree, named Pak Kwai Mau, that was a favorite of Wong Mau’s importer, Dr. Joseph C. Thompson. Further research uncovered a statue named “Pak Kwai Mau” by the sculptor Jacques Schnier, in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Scrounging through newspaper articles uncovered the fact that Dr. Thompson was Jacque Schnier’s psychiatrist, so the chances that the statue was commissioned by Dr. Thompson are huge. We reached out to the research department of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and they provided us with a photograph of the statue. In turn, we are providing them with the history of the cat itself for their provenance records. It’s often the little things that we can tie together than eventually become a full-fledged story that are important.

The statue of ‘Pak Kwai Mau’- a son of the Burmese hybrid ‘Wong Mau’, by sculptor Jacques Schnier. Photo by: Katherine Du Tiel. Image courtesy of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The CFA Foundation, Inc.

Below: A page from ‘Felis Historica’ featuring The Royal Canadian Cat Club

The CFA Foundation’s Booth at the Garden State Cat Club’s show, 2013. Photo: Karen Lawrence.

In addition to research on our historical artifacts, we have completed in-depth histories of cat clubs – Empire Cat Club and the Royal Canadian Cat Club. Our historical findings for the Empire Cat Club were published in conjunction with their Centennial celebration in 2013. The centennial was celebrated in conjunction with the Garden State Cat Club of New Jersey show in July 2013, at which the CFA Foundation had a booth exhibiting our Empire Cat Club artifacts. The Royal Canadian Cat Club history was recently published in an issue of Felis Historica, and detailed their history of shows held as part of the annual Canadian National Exhibition. Contact with the CNE archivists resulted in a treasure trove of photos taken at shows over the years. While we recognized many of the people and cats in the photos, the CNE Archives knew little about the photos. So, we made an exchange – we received permission to use numerous of their photos in exchange for us providing info for their provenance records.

CFA FOUNDATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS The CFA Foundation Board of Directors consists of ten breeders, judges, and historians who are dedicated to the cat fancy and the mission of the foundation. When adding up their years of experience, we find well over 200-years worth of cat fancy experience and history. We have also endeavored to have a Board of Directors that spans several countries and cat-registering associations. President: Vice-President: Secretary: Treasurer: Directors:

Donald J. Williams (Florida, USA) Carol Krzanowski (New Jersey, USA) Liz Watson (Louisiana, USA) Kathy Calhoun (Illinois, USA) Desiree Bobby (Michigan, USA) Pam DelaBar (Finland) Roeann Fulkerson (Florida, USA) Karen Lawrence (Canada) Lorraine Shelton (California, USA) John Smithson (New Zealand)

HOW YOU CAN HELP Donations (greatly appreciated!) from various people that we assist with their research are extremely helpful to the CFA Foundation. A great deal of research time is required to complete these histories and collect photos and artifacts that can accompany them. This is, however, basically a labor of love to spend days locating and scanning required information. At this point – we need your help. We know that our efforts in assisting with research have been appreciated in the past. We know that people enjoy looking at the photos and histories posted on our Facebook pages. We know that cat fanciers are enjoying the stories we publish on The History Project web site. But, in order to continue our mission, and continue to assist folks in their research projects, plus seek out and purchase historical cat fancy artifacts, we require additional funding. It’s as simple as that. Research is time consuming and our staff of one person is often overwhelmed with all that is required to run the museum plus keep up with research requests. Historical artifacts are rarely available, and always command a rather high price when we do find them. In the coming weeks, we will be establishing a “patrons” program that will encourage donations to the CFA Foundation on a regular basis. In exchange for a monthly pledge, or annual donation, we will offer a variety of incentives to donors. Keep a look out for additional information as we roll out this new program. And, please support our mission! REMEMBER, IT’S YOUR MUSEUM! Remember, that while we love collecting the history of the cat fancy and the various artifacts associated with it, we are doing this for YOU. This is YOUR history that we are preserving so that generations to come can know of our trials, tribulations and successes as we work diligently with our stunning breeds and show off our beautiful cats to the world.

Everything you need to know about Genetics… You can learn from your Cat! PART THIRTEEN BY


College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri

Backgrounds © www.gographic.com

‘GENETIC TESTING’ for Domestic Cats ! The article in this series from the June 2021 issue entitled “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and the Slippery Slope of Cat Health Management” provided a table of all the health – related traits that should be tested in the different cat breeds. Most of these traits should be eradicated from our cats to promote good health and good welfare. Besides undesired conditions, cats can be genetically tested for traits of interest, which are desired, many of which are aesthetic traits. Using genetic testing in this regard can make breeding programs more efficient, supporting breeders in the argument regarding cat “overpopulation” since breeders would be producing less cats that are not of their preference for show or to sell. Thus, many genetic tests are available for cats, which are not focused on diseases. Over 20 laboratories worldwide provide DNA profiling, for both aesthetic traits and disease genetic testing for cats. But overall, be wise with your genetic testing, you do get what you pay for and try to invest in commercial groups supporting new research and discovery.

EDITOR: This is the Thirteenth article in a series based on feline genetics by Dr Leslie Lyons being published in FELIS HISTORICA during the 2020/2022 period Article Graphics ©www.gograph.com

DNA profiling and parentage testing Via the International Society of Animal Genetics (ISAG), sets (panels) of DNA markers have been scrutinized and standardized and are used by laboratories around the world to identify cats. ISAG has recommended both a panel of short tandem repeat DNA markers (STRs) and a panel of single nucleotide variants (SNVs) (a.k.a. single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for use in cat DNA profiling. DNA profiles, just like the ones produced during criminal investigations, can be produced for cats with either one of these DNA panels. The DNA profiles will be unique to a cat and the markers and testing techniques have been standardized for use around the world.

Ch. Missionhill Divine Heritage – Shaded Silver male, at 1 year, 2 months. Photo courtesy of Munira Murrey.

College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri

ISAG actually holds what are called “comparison tests” where the same cat DNA samples are sent to participating laboratories around the world and they then generate the DNA profiles using the STR and or SNP markers. The data is then collated and scored by the cat comparison test workshop committee and each laboratory is provided a ranking as to their efficiency and accuracy. These ISAG rankings are often posted on the laboratory websites. An example of the ISAG rankings and certificates can be found at the University of California, Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory site. (https://vgl.ucdavis.edu/about/accreditations-and-affiliations).

Missionhill Beloved Inshallah – Chinchilla Silver female, at the age of 4 months. Photo courtesy of Munira Murrey.

EDITOR: This is the Thirteenth article in a series based on feline genetics by Dr Leslie Lyons being published in FELIS HISTORICA during the 2020/2022 period

Breeders should look for these types of accreditations and certificates for the laboratories they use in commercial testing. Any lab with an ISAG certificate should be providing the exact same genetic profile for a cat using either the STR or SNP DNA panels. These DNA profiling panels are used to help to properly identify a cat but also to help resolve parentage issues. For other species such as dog, horse, and cattle, DNA profiles are required for registration purposes, which significantly supports the accuracy of pedigrees! There are at least 20 laboratories around the world that participate in the ISAG DNA panel comparison testing for the domestic cat.

Table 1 Part 1 - The genes and DNA variants for phenotypic traits of the domestic cat. Disease / Trait (alleles) OMIA Entry MOI‡ Agouti (A+, a, APbe) AR 000201 Brown (B+, b, bl) AR 001249 Color (C+, Cb, Cs, c, c2, cm) AR 000202

Phenotype Banded fur to solid


Brown, light brown color variants Burmese, Siamese color pattern, full albino


Dilution (D+, d) AR Black to grey / blue, 000206 Orange to cream Dwarfism AD Shortening of long bones 000299 Extension (E+, e, er, ec) – Amber, AR Brown/red color variant russet, copal 001199 Fold (Fd, fd+) AD Ventral ear fold 000319 Glitter AR Pigment glitter Gloves (G+, g) AR White feet 001580 Grizzled Multi-gene? Hairless (Hr+, hr)[ AR Atrichia 001583 Inhibitor (I, i+) AD Absence of phaeomelanin 001583 Japanese Bobtail (J, j+) 001987 AD Kinked tail Kurl (K, k+) AD Rostral curled pinnea 000244 LaPerm AD Curly LaPerm 000245 Longhair (L+, l) AR Long fur 000439 Ragdoll, NFC, MCC, various Lykoi (Hr+, hrTN, hrFR, hrTX, hrNC, hrCA, AR Absent undercoat hrVA

Manx (M, m+) 000975 Orange (O, o+) 001201 Peterbald – Don Sphynx 001866 Polydactyla (Pd, pd+) 000810 Rexing (R+, r) 001684


Mutation c.122_123delCA; Pbe haplotype b = IVS6(1262)+5G>A, bl = c.298C>T cb = c.715G>T, cs = c.940G>A, c = c.975delC, c2 = c.1204C>T (DSH), c.820_936delinsAATCTC c.83delT


3.3 kb del & rearrangement


c.250G>A; c.del439TCT; c.del638_667



Known KIT

~500 bp indel c.1035_1036delinsCA

Known KRT71




HES7 unknown

c.5A>G unknown




c.356_367insT, c.406C>T, c.474delT, c.475A>C c.1255_1256dupGT, c.1404+2delTinsCAG, c.2112G>A, c.2243 C>T, c.2593 C>T, c.3389insGACA c.998delT, c.1169delC, c.1199delC, c.998_1014dup17delGCC 5kb indel




Absence/short tail


X linked

Change in pigment hue



Hairless, brush coat



Extra toes Hemingway, UK1, UK2 Curly Cornish Rex




c.479A>G, c.257G>C, c.481A>T c.250_253delTTTG

Cat ancestry and breed identification College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri

At the current time, three laboratories (UC Davis VGL, Mars Wisdom Panel Complete and BasePaws) offer DNA testing that will make an association of your submitted cat’s DNA to a specific breed or cat population. Ancestry genetics is all the rage for humans and now we have examples where ancestry testing has supported criminal investigations, especially cold cases.

Table 1 Part 2 - The genes and DNA variants for phenotypic traits of the domestic cat. Disease / Trait (alleles) OMIA Entry MOI‡ Rexing (Re+, re) AR 001581

Phenotype Curly Devon Rex

Gene KRT71

Rexing (RS, rs+) 001712 Rexing (RU, ru) Spotting (S, s+) 000214 Tabby(TM, tb) 001429 Ticked (Ta, TCK, t,) 001484 White (W, w+) 000209 Wide-band


Curly Selkirk Rex


AR Co-dom

Curly Ural Rex Bicolor / van white



Blotched/classic pattern



No Tabby pattern


c.478-483delTCCGGG 7125ins intron 1 FERV1 element c.176C>A; c.416C>A; c.682C>A; c.2522G>A c.53C>T; c.188G>A


Loss of pigmentation


~700ins intron 1 FERV1 LTR

Mutation c.11084_1184delinsAGTTGGAG, c.1196insT c.445-1G>C


Length of pheomelanin band CORIN c.2383C>T (Siberians only) ‡ Mode of inheritance of the non-wild type variant. A “+” implies the wild type allele when known. In reference to the mutant allele, AD implies autosomal dominant, AR implies autosomal recessive, co-D implies co-dominant. OMIA: Online Mendelian Inheritance in Animals (http://omia.angis.org.au/home/) entries provides links to citations and clinical descriptions of the phenotypes. Tennessee Rex and American wirehair are also not known.

However, ancestry and breed testing should be used with caution. The associations are only as accurate as the quality of the database used to make the matching. Quality includes; 1) having samples from known individuals of breeds and populations, 2) samples representing different lineages of a specific breed or population, 3) samples representing different registries and or countries, 4) as many breeds as possible, 5) estimations of the relatedness of the samples (unrelated to grandparents is standard) and, 6) a sample size truly representative of the breed.

EDITOR: This is the Thirteenth article in a series based on feline genetics by Dr Leslie Lyons being published in FELIS HISTORICA during the 2020/2022 period

If a breed or population is not represented in the dataset, then a match cannot be made and then the next best matched is reported. The laboratories background knowledge of cat breeds and populations is also very important for making proper interpretations and associations. Ancestry and breed testing is mainly meant to be a fun conversation piece and some of the claims regarding low percentages of breed contributions and relationships to other species of cats can be fairly misleading. In some instances, ancestry and breed information can be used to help predict potential health concerns of an individual cat. For example, if your cat had a high percentage of Persian influence, you may want to consider monitoring renal health and a test for polycystic kidney disease. However, inaccuracies in these tests could cause unneeded concern.

TICA RW SGC. CFA Ch. Missionhill Timeless Enchantment at 4 months. (Ch. Missionhill Divine Heritage x Missionhill Beloved Inshallah). Photo: Courtesy of Munira Murrey.

Consultation with a veterinarian or cat geneticist is always recommended before using ancestry and breed testing for health related decisions. UC Davis VGL - vgl.ucdavis.edu/test/cat-ancestry College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri

Mars WisdomPanel - www.wisdompanel.com/en-us/cat-dnatests/complete-for-cats Basepaws - basepaws.com/

DNA tests for genetic diversity Mars (WisdomPanel) currently offers a test to breeders that compares a cat’s DNA profile to other cats, and especially to other cats within the breed.

This data can be used to help select individual cats that are genetically diverse and hence lower the inbreeding coefficient for the offspring. Used wisely, this type of diversity testing can be useful, however, overall, these mating schemes do not increase the overall diversity of the breed. Thus, the breed groups need to stay aware of the overall genetic diversity of the breed. Here too, the quality of the datasets for comparison are very important to the accuracy of the information.

Genetic testing for aesthetic traits Presented in the earlier tables are the known DNA mutations for desired traits in cats and their breeds. Some of the traits are controversial and affect health, such as the Manx, Scottish Fold and perhaps the dwarfism mutations. The Dominant White DNA variant should be monitored, in regard, to the association with deafness. These tests are highly accurate for the determination of carriers and the presence of the traits / phenotypes. All have been published and have strong supportive data. However, many laboratories are now offering large panels for these tests, thus, many DNA tests are combined into one type of assay. These panel offerings can be accurate, but many are still under development depending on the technology being used. Also, because of the type of the DNA mutation, meaning how the DNA is altered, some DNA mutations are more difficult to test than others, depending on the technology. Older assay techniques, such as direct Sanger sequencing, fragment analyses and allele-specific PCR are highly accurate but a bit more costly and not as friendly to high volume. Newer techniques, such as DNA arrays and genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) are more friendly to high throughput, but need a high degree of validation and some mutations are not conducive to testing by the technology, thus, these tests will be absent from the panels.

EDITOR: This is the Thirteenth article in a series based on feline genetics by Dr Leslie Lyons being published in FELIS HISTORICA during the 2020/2022 period

The strongest commercial testing laboratories will use multiple types of technology to complete genetic testing – the right technology for the right mutation. Overall, there is “more than one way to skin a cat” and different techniques can certainly be appropriate.Groups like ISAG are working towards developing standards for the different technologies and helping to determine specificity and sensitivity estimates for different assay techniques. Besides DNA profiling markers, ISAG has actively conducted comparison testing for many cat diseases, such as polycystic kidney disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and pyruvate kinase deficiency as well as for many coat colors and hair types. DNA arrays have shown to be highly accurate in these comparisons for the diseases and traits under consideration and GBS technology is quickly making strong improvements.


TICA RW, QGC. MISSIONHILL KEY TO ETERNITY – Chinchilla Silver male Breeder/ Photo: Munira Murrey


TICA QGC. MISSIONHILL MISTY MORNING TRYST – Shaded Silver male with TICA Judges Yvonne Patrick (above) and Pamela Barrett (below), winning Best Male Congress. Photos: Courtesy of Breeder: Munira Murrey


Above: Ch. Missionhill Eternal Wisdom (Imp.Canada) (aka. Wizzy) bred by Munira Murrey. Below: his son, Gold Db.Gr.Ch. Ashdene Eternal Vision (aka. Henry) bred by Dianne Hayes. . Photos: Munira Murrey and Dianne Hayes, respectively.


Above: Ashdene Simply Precious. Bred by Dianne Hayes (Australia) Below: Triple Gr.Ch. Brettachtal’s Kohinoor (Imp. Germany) Bred by Karin Sinn Photos: Dianne Hayes.


Above: Ashdene Charmed. Bred by Dianne Hayes, owned by Allan Harvey (Queensland, Australia) Below: Silver Gr. Ch. Missionhill Crown Prince (Imp.Canada) Bred by Munira Murrey. Photos: Allan Harvey and Dianne Hayes, respectively.

CHAMPION MISS TOODLES Silver Classic Tabby English Shorthair female, born July 1, 1903. Cropped Photo: ‘Our Cats’ September 1904. © The Harrison Weir Collection. Backgrounds © www.gographic.com




Adapted from the author’s text for ‘Miss Toodles’ @ The History Project www.cat-o-pedia.org

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND In the relatively narrow sphere of Silver Classic Tabby Shorthairs, three males and three females had particularly startling show careers. All were related. All were descended from the same foundation root stock, down from Mr T. Sugden’s ‘King of the Fancy’, born in the early 1880’s. The first three stars in this firmament, were Mrs Herring’s ‘Champion Jimmy’, a son of Mr Sugden’s ‘King of the Fancy’. The other two, were his close relatives, his sister ‘Champion Laurel Queen’ owned by Mr Charles Lane, and her son, ‘Champion Laurel King’. Although there were other Silver Tabbies that competed with these three, they combined were the dominant and representative specimens of the variety. Mr Charles Lane comments: “I believe it is not only unique in the fact that the three champions were so closely related, brother, sister, and nephew, and had taken more and better prizes than any three shorthaired cats living or ever seen, but that it was the only instance on record where there were three champions in existence at the same time of any variety of shorthaired cat.” ¹⁵

were three champions in existence at the same time of any variety of shorthaired cat.” ¹⁵

BLUE LONGHAIR MALELaurel Although ‘Champion

Queen’ amassed two Gold and many Silver medals, plus thirtyfive Specials and hundreds of First Prizes, ‘Champion Jimmy’ was overall the pre-eminent show cat, with Gold and Silver medals and Specials innumerable! But ‘Champion Jimmy’, who was born in 1890, was finally replaced and eclipsed in glory by his own son and namesake, ‘Champion James II’, born in 1901, and owned by Mrs Collingwood. ‘James II’ had unprecedented success on the show bench in his day, winning many championships, as well as multiple Best Shorthair Cat and Best Cat in Show awards. He was a highly respected show cat and sire, and it was his own daughter, in the form of ‘Champion Toodles’, who blazed into the limelight in 1903 as a kitten and then outstripped all-comers again as a young adult, in 1904. Her successes were then unmatched until 1908, when, in the United States, another descendant of ‘James II’ a female named ‘Genesee Valley Jane’ took all before her in a short but spectacular career on the show bench.

“She is the most beautifully marked silver tabby short-hair, and has done alot of winning, frequently gaining the special honour for the best cat in the show over the longhaired specimens. She is absolutely pure in colour and is exquisitely shaped in head and limbs...” ⁹


A related later contemporary across the Atlantic, ‘Genesee Valley Jane’ Photo: Western Cat Review, September 1910 © The Harrison Weir Collection

of ‘James II’ a female named ‘Genesee Valley Jane’ took all before her in a short but spectacular career on the show bench. Both ‘Miss Toodles’ and ‘Genesee Valley Jane’ were quite remarkable examples of their breed, and in all likelihood, would still be winners, if their like were able to be shown in this day. What is singularly remarkable in hindsight, is that all of these great silver tabbies were descendants from one and the same family tree! The best reference for any show quality specimen, is the respect shown in kind judgment by a knowledgeable contemporary, who gives their opinion first-hand. In describing ‘Miss Toodles’, Frances Simpson provides this glowing verbal illustration:

‘Miss Toodles’ was born on 1st July 1903, at the Bossington Cattery of Mrs Collingwood, of Leighton Buzzard. Her sire was Mrs Collingwood’s famous ‘Champion James II’ and her dam was ‘Nanie’. From the beginning she was a notably superior specimen of the variety and her show career began early when at the age of four months, she debuted at Cheltenham, in November of 1903. Even as early as December of that year, Mrs Collingwood was conscious of the fact that as an adult, there was potential for her to defeat her famous sire. On the character of Mrs Collingwood as later his owner, Frances Simpson also makes this observation:“I know many cat-loving people, but I do not think that I have ever seen greater devotion shown to the feline race than is displayed at Bossington. Mrs Collingwood is ever ready to support cat shows by entries, by guaranteeing classes, and by giving handsome prizes. Her cats are all shown in the pink of condition, and it is seldom that they appear in the pens unless their devoted mistress is in attendance.” ² We then find an interesting tid-bit about the home-life of ‘James II’, along with early information on his daughter ‘Miss Toodles’ in an excerpt taken from an article about Mrs Collingwood’s cattery and cats, that was published in the Christmas (Dec.19th) issue of ‘Our Cats’ in 1903:-

Mrs Collingwood with ‘James II’, the high profile sire of ‘Miss Toodles’ Photo: Alice Hughes, Gower St. ‘Our Cats’ Magazine. © The Harrison Weir Collection

A Cat House and Run at Bossington Photo: ‘Our Cats’ Magazine, December 19, 1903. ¹ © Image courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection

an excerpt taken from an article about Mrs Collingwood’s cattery and cats, that was published in the Christmas (Dec.19th) issue of ‘Our Cats’ in 1903: “It is rare to find a lover of one kind of animal only. Those who have this taste inborn usually find room in their hearts for many, or, at least, several kinds. Mrs Collingwood is an enthusiast in the hunting field, and the stables at Bossington contain about a dozen horses. “But we are more particularly concerned with the cats, and with the cat of all others, Ch. James II., the silver tabby short-hair, whose wins during a short show career constitute a record,

the silver tabby short-hair, whose wins during a short show career constitute a record, and are recorded in full in another place in these pages. Jim is quite the pet of the establishment, and has the free run of the house. He appreciates the comfort of the kitchen fire, and always sleeps at the bottom of his mistress’ bed. It is not at all extraordinary that Mrs Collingwood, having this perfect silver tabby male in her possession, should have turned her attention seriously to the breed. She has procured one or two very good queens as his mates, and has met with the most conspicuous success in her breeding this season.

Another example of the Portable Cat Houses at Bossington. Photo: ‘Our Cats’ Magazine, December 19, 1903. ¹ Image © The Harrison Weir Collection

mates, and has met with the most conspicuous success in her breeding this season. “Toodles, whose portrait appears in our supplement, taken at four months old, made her debut at Cheltenham, and has since been shown at Brighton and Birmingham. On each occasion she has won highest honours in her class, and we are inclined to agree with her mistress, who thinks that, when full grown, she will beat her famous sire! ‘Dame Fortune’, Mrs Bonny’s noted winner, is an elder daughter of ‘James II’. “Mrs Collingwood has undoubtedly got the best strain of short-hair silver tabbies in existence, and has proved that not only are they invincible in the show pen, but breed true to type.

“As may be seen from our photographs, there are cat houses of various sorts and sizes dotted about the grounds at Bossington. But the cats are seldom shut up in them for any length of time. For instance, ‘Royal Bobs’, the Blue Persian who has done a good deal of winning, is allowed his freedom largely in the day and always at night. If he so wishes, he can retire into his cosy house, but if he feels restless he can roam the grounds at will.” ¹

SIBLINGS & SHOWS: Only one full sibling is known, born more than two years after ‘Miss Toodles’. PRETTY FLOWER (Silver Tabby Female) born 14th June, 1905. (OC: 30/Sept/1905) Sire: Ch. James II. Dam: Nanie. Listed as bred and owned by Mrs Collingwood.

Mrs J. Mellor Bonny’s ‘Ch. Dame Fortune’ Photo: L.R.Stickels, Cranbrook. ‘The Book of The Cat’ (1903) by Frances Simpson ²

However, there are of course, many sire siblings, some of which are ‘Miss Toodles’ own progeny, including two sons, a daughter and a granddaughter. Sire Siblings include: Ch. DAME FORTUNE (Silver Tabby Female) born: 1st March, 1902. (shown above) Sire: Ch. James II. Dam: Heather Belle. Bred and owned by Mrs J. Mellor Bonny. An excellent show cat and breeder in her own right, ‘Dame Fortune’ produced many fine specimens in her variety, notable among whom were ‘Dame Fortune II’ by ‘Sweet William’, and ‘Dame Fortune III’, breeding.

‘Dame Fortune III’, sired by ‘Silvester’. ‘Dame Fortune II’, was exported to Mrs J. Cathcart (USA) (ACA:501) (ACA v2), where she won many prizes at shows, becoming an American Champion. ‘Dame Fortune III’ was retained by Mrs Mellor Bonny for breeding. O’LIZA (Silver Tabby Female) born: May 2, 1903. (OC:28/Aug/1903) Sire: Ch. James II. Dam: Tiddles. Bred and owned by Mrs Collingwood. ‘O’Liza’ was ultimately bred back to her sire to produce ‘Bubbles’ who was sold to Mrs Roch.

Mrs Collingwood’s ‘Miss Toodles’, a winner at The Crystal Palace Show. Photo: ‘The Tatler’, November 1904.⁴ Image courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection

WYNNSTAY SYLVIA (Silver Tabby Female) born 28th April 1904. (OC:28/Aug/1904) Sire: Ch. James II. Dam: Wynnstay Silver Princess. Bred by Mr Walby. Owned by Mrs F.W. Western. (MCCC:1904)

BUBBLES (Silver Tabby Female) born 12th June, 1904. (OC:10th/Jun/1904). Sire: Ch.James II. Dam: O’Liza. Bred by Mrs. Collingwood and owned by Mrs Roch.

WYNNSTAY SILVER JIM (Silver Tabby Male) born 28th April 1904. (OC:03/Sep/1904). Sire: Ch. James II. Dam: Wynnstay Silver Princess. Bred by Mr Walby. Owned by Mrs F.W. Western. (MCCC:1904)

SALLY UGLY MUG (Silver Tabby Female) born 20th April, 1905. (MCCC: 1905). (Daughter). Sire: Ch. James II. Dam: Ch. Miss Toodles. The product of a father/daughter breeding, ‘Sally’ could claim to be from the two best silver tabby shorthairs known to be living at the time.

YOUNG LADY (Silver Tabby Female) born May 21 1904. (OC:11/Feb/1905). Sire: Ch. James II. Dam: Muttie. Bred and owned by Mrs Collingwood. ‘Young Lady’ would also be bred back to her sire, to produce ‘Simple Simon II.’

FLASH JIM (Silver Tabby Male) born 20th April, 1905 (MCCC: 1905). (Son). Sire: Ch. James II. Dam: Ch. Miss Toodles. Litter brother to ‘Sally Ugly Mug’, ‘Flash Jim’ was kept by Mrs. Collingwood. (OC: July 29, 1905).

Mrs E.T. Moore’s ‘Holmefield Tabby Boy’ Photo: The Cat: Its Points and Management (1908) by F.T.Barton ⁷

JA-ME (Son) (Silver Tabby Female) born 20th April, 1905. (MCCC: 1905) Sire: Ch. James II. Dam: Ch. Miss Toodles. Litter brother to ‘Sally Ugly Mug’, ‘Ja-Me’ was also retained by Mrs Collingwood. (OC: 29/July/1905). HOLMEFIELD TABBY BOY (Silver Tabby Male) born April 23, 1905. (MCCC: 1905) Sire: Ch. James II. Dam: Titsie (aka Tessie). Bred by Mrs Chivers and owned by Mrs E. T. Moore. Well-known under his original name, but also listed under the name of ‘Holmefield Silver Tabby Boy’ as the sire of ‘Silver Prince Fortunatus’ (ACA:502) out of ‘Dame Fortune II’, (ACA:501). ‘Silver Prince Fortunatus’ was bred by Mrs Bonny and exported to Miss J.Cathcart (USA).

He was later sold to Lady Decies, when his name was then changed to ‘Fulmer Tabby Boy’ (NCC:5810). HOLMEFIELD TABBY GIRL - (Silver Tabby Female) born 23rd April 1905. (MCCC: 1905). Sire: Ch. James II Dam: Titsie (aka Tessie). Bred by Mrs Chivers and owned by Mrs E. T. Moore. Litter sister to ‘Holmefield Tabby Boy.’ SIMPLE SIMON (Silver Tabby Male) born May, 1905. (MCCC: 1905). Sire: Ch. James II. Dam: Rambling Kate. Bred by Mrs. Thompson. Owned by Mrs Collingwood. PRETTY CORRECT (Silver Tabby Male) born 28th October 1905. (CFA: 18, Vol.1).

Mrs J.C. Mitchelson’s ‘The Buzzing Silver’ Photo: Stud Book & Register of the Cat Fanciers Association (1909) Vol.1 ⁸

Sire: Ch. James II. Dam: Bunnie (b.1900/CCR). Bred by Mrs. Collingwood. Owned by Miss J.R. Cathcart, New Jersey. SILVER STRIPES (Silver Tabby Male) born: 28th October 1905. (ACA: 424, Vol 2). Sire: Ch. James II. Dam: Bunnie. (b.1900/CCR). Bred by Mrs. Collingwood. Owned by Miss J.R. Cathcart, New Jersey. ‘Silver Stripes’ went on to sire exceptional kittens, among their number being the outstanding ‘Genesee Valley Jane’, whose dam was his niece, ‘Dame Fortune II’. THE BUZZING SILVER (Silver Tabby Female) born 9th June 1906. (CFA: 312,v1). (Grand/Daughter). Sire: Ch.James II. Dam: Sally Ugly Mug.

Bred by Mrs. Collingwood. Owned by Mrs J.C. Mitchelson, Tariffville, Connecticut. ‘The Buzzing Silver’ was the most line-bred of all the cats sired by ‘Ch. James II’ being his daughter, grand-daughter, (as sire of ‘Sally Ugly Mug’) and great- grand-daughter, (as the sire of ‘Miss Toodles’). SIMPLE SIMON II (Silver Tabby Male) born 22nd October 1906 (MCCC: 1907). Sire: Ch. James II. Dam: Young Lady. Bred and owned by Mrs Collingwood.

SHOW RESULTS ‘Miss Toodles’ was the outstanding short-hair kitten of 1903. She was only able to be shown three times during that short season, but managed to accumulate the following outstanding kitten wins:-

three times during that short season, but managed to accumulate the following outstanding kitten wins: 1st and Special for Best Shorthair Kitten, Cheltenham, 1903. 1st and Special for Best Shorthair Kitten, Brighton, 1903. 1st and Special for the Best Kitten in the Show, Birmingham, 1903. Then as a young adult in 1904, she had almost unprecedented success. The following are just a sampling of comments gleaned from some of the published show reports: At the Sandy Show of 1904, ‘Miss Toodles’ was Best Short-haired Cat in Show, opposite ‘Don Pedro of Thorpe’ who was Best Long-haired Cat. “At Sandy on August 25th, Mrs Herbert Ransome and Mr Mason judged. Mrs Balding being unfortunately unable to fulfil her engagement. Most of the best cats put in an appearance, and noted winners took most of the prizes. Two silver tabbies won as best long and short-hair respectively – Ch. Don Pedro of Thorpe and Ch. Miss Toodles.” Judge’s commentary on ‘Miss Toodles’ on her win at the Sandy Show of August 1904: “Silver Tabby – 1, Championship and Special for Best Short-hair, Mrs Collingwood, Miss Toodles, who continues to improve steadily; she has an unusually neat shape and head for a short-hair, and her dense markings show up most beautifully on the pale silver ground. 2. Mrs Bonny, Ch. Dame Fortune, sister to winner, another exquisite queen, if one may criticise, her markings are a trifle heavy on the back.’’ “Sheffield Championship Show, on November 17th, was a wonderful success for a first venture. Miss Simpson and Mr T.B. Mason judged the Open, and Mrs Tom Fletcher, the Local classes. Old winners scored in most of the classes. Ch. Zaida won as Best Long-hair and Ch. Miss Toodles as Best Cat in the show.”

Miss Simpson and Mr T.B. Mason judged the Open, and Mrs Tom Fletcher, the Local classes. Old winners scored in most of the classes. Ch. Zaida won as Best Long-hair and Ch. Miss Toodles as Best Cat in the show.” “Birmingham Show had a capital entry, indeed a record one in blues. Ch.Don Pedro and Ch.Miss Toodles repeated their wins as best in their respective sections. More than one noted winner fell from their high estate on this occasion. The judges were Lady Marcus Beresford, Mr. Mason and Mr. Ambrose. BREEDING AND PROGENY Only one litter of record can be found for ‘Miss Toodles’. In that instance, she was bred back to her sire and in a litter born 20th April, 1905, she produced three Silver Tabbies, two males and one female. The males were ‘Flash Jim’ and ‘Ja-Me’ respectively. The female was ‘Sally Ugly Mug’ which from her name may suggest that she was not considered to be of sufficient merit in the head, to be a show specimen. This is somewhat surprising considering her breeding, as she could boast the best possible pedigree and her parentage was the best that could be had, for her variety. Her dam, ‘Toodles’ had what was considered to be a near perfect head. Never-the-less, there are no show records to be found for ‘Sally Ugly Mug’. She was, however, used for breeding, and in an unusual move, this double daughter of ‘James II’ was put back to her sire/grandsire in a direct tripling on ‘James’. The result was another female, ‘The Buzzing Silver’, who was exported to the United States, to Mrs J. C. Mitchelson. No doubt Mrs Mitchelson was keen to obtain such a line-bred (and inbred) cat based upon the most successful Silver Tabby Short-hair male to

A corner of the Bossington Catteries Photo: A. J. Anderson & Co., Luton. The Book of The Cat (1903) by Frances Simpson².

Silver’, who was exported to the United States, to Mrs J. C. Mitchelson. No doubt Mrs Mitchelson was keen to obtain such a line-bred (and inbred) cat based upon the most successful Silver Tabby Short-hair male to date!

IN SUMMARY The rise of ‘Miss Toodles’ was immediate and meteoric. In her only three shows as a kitten, she was Best Shorthair Kitten, three times. A more purr-fect result could not have been expected.

‘Miss Toodles’, after her Best Short-hair Cat in Show win at ‘Sandy’ in 1904. Photo: ‘Our Cats’, September 3, 1904 ³ Image © The Harrison Weir Collection

expected. As an adult, she blazed a similar trail gaining Best Shorthair Cat and even Best Cat in Show over the Longhairs. These exceptional wins followed on the tail of a long list of great wins by her sire, firmly setting Mrs Collingwood’s fame in short-haired silver Tabbies. When taking a closer look at the decisions made by Mrs Collingwood in her breeding program, we cannot but admire her tenacity and her wisdom. Her cats were given as much freedom as possible, without prejudicing their safety or the long-term goals of her breeding plans. They were pets first, and show cats second. She was careful to keep back-up males and females, selling only those kittens that she could afford to let go, to insure there was always a future

without prejudicing their safety or the longterm goals of her breeding plans. They were pets first, and show cats second. She was careful to keep back-up males and females, selling only those kittens that she could afford to let go, to insure there was always a future in her own cattery. She was ultimately convinced to share her studs’ lines with others, which she did, and she personally contributed to the gene pool internationally with her exports. mpionship bloodlines?

Champion Miss Toodles A Cowan’s ‘Noted Cats’ Series collectors card, from 1925. ⁵ Image © The Harrison Weir Collection. Note, that similarly between the photograph opposite and the above trading card, which is clearly based upon that same image. Similar to ‘Ch. Don Pedro of Thorpe’, ‘Miss Toodles’ is also misrepresented as a Brown Tabby. But at least in this case, they managed to spell her name correctly!

internationally with her exports. There are lessons to be learned from this. How often have you seen exceptional lines lost, simply because the breeder concerned would not let out or share their championship bloodlines? What benefit is this to the breed? What does that breeder achieve in the long term, but to prove that they knew how to select and produce show winners, and to take them to success on the show bench? Where is the heritage that they have passed on to succeeding generations? The win will always pass, and ‘all is vanity’. The answer is, - love your cats, do all that you can to preserve the best lines, but share them with other responsible breeders who will do the same. Ultimately, the only contribution worth making, is the one which adds value to the future potential of your breed. It most certainly does not lie in the accolades collected on the way!

the one which adds value to the future potential of your breed. It most certainly does not lie in the accolades collected on the way. References: 1. ‘Our Cats’ Magazine’ 19th December, 1903 2. ‘The Book of The Cat’ (1903) by Frances Simpson. 3. ‘Our Cats’ Magazine, 3rd September, 1904. 4. ‘The Tatler’, November, 1904. 5. ‘Cowan’s Noted Cat’ Series Collectors Cards (1925) 6. ‘Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia’,1909. 7. ‘The Cat: Its Points and Management’ (1908) by F.T. Barton. 8. ‘Stud Book & Register of The Cat Fanciers Assoc. (Vol.1), 1909. 9. ‘Cats for Pleasure and Profit’ (1920) by Frances Simpson. 10. ‘Incorporated Cat Fanciers Association of Great Britain’ (1909). 11. ‘Our Cats’ Magazine, Various issues, 1904. 12. ‘Our Cats’ Magazine, Various issues, 1905. 13. ‘Stud Book of the American Cat Association’ (Vol.2). 14. ‘Show Catalogues’ of the Midland Counties Cat Club (1902-1907) 15. ‘Rabbits, Cats and Cavies’ (1903) by Charles H. Lane. 16. Photos and Quotations as per credits noted.


‘The Descendants of Bastet’ gives a complete overview of the first century of the Abyssinian breed, from the first mention of the breed in the early 1870s through until circa 1970. Additionally, chapters on the later development of the colors red, blue, and fawn ar included – plus the longhair version of the breed is discussed in a chapter on the originas of the Somali. The book is 8 1/2 x 11. Pre-index, it is 265 pages chock full of historical information for Abyssinian lovers! It includes a great deal of registration information, pedigrees, progeny reports and photos of cats important to the breed history. Preview of the introductory pages here – http://bit.ly/3aBqFys Contact Karen (catfanrep@gmail.com) for pre-order form. No payment is due at this time; you will be contacted when the book is available for mailing.

A word from the Author… The origins of the Abyssinian breed are unknown, and are likely to stay that way. While anecdotal stories tell of cats being imported from Abyssinia (now Somalia), geneticists have expounded theories that the breed originated in countries bordering on the Indian Ocean. Records relate the early importation of cats, but from where is never specified. Breeders have told stories of cats resembling the Abyssinian being found in Abyssinia, but they are hearsay and cannot be positively confirmed. So while origins will remain guesswork, and are explored in-depth herein, the unknown bits are most likely to remain guesswork forever.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Descendants of Bastet weaves together what we do know and what can be confirmed regarding the history of the breed growth, in intimate detail, using pedigrees, progeny reports and historical records, starting with that first mention of Zula, on to Queen Jumbo who was the first registered Abyssinian. While we don’t know Queen Jumbo’s birthdate, we do know that she died in 1893. Other Abys of her era included Sedgemere Peaty and Sedgemere Bottle, both produced from unknown heritage; both, however, important to the early development of the breed and pedigrees.

This book is the exciting culmination of years of research, studying of pedigrees, scanning of photos and scrupulous reading of many old magazines in search of tidbits to include and expand upon. The first print run was limited to 175 copies, and there are a small number of copies still available for purchase. If you are interested, please contact Karen Lawrence at catfanrep@gmail.com.


‘A Persian Rhapsody in Blue’ – Volume 1, provides a rare look into the pre-history and establishment of the Blue Persian Cat, from the first recorded importations direct from the Khorasan province, into Europe in the 1620’s; to a detailed development in 19th and 20th century Britain. Includes many new images of Blue Persian cats, not published in well over 100 years. In depth coverage, of Foundation bloodlines and famous strains. In A4 format, Pre-index, this book comprises of 546 pages of detailed information and rare images of key progenitors of the Persian cat, and their breeders.

Preview of the introductory pages is found at – http://bit.ly/3gOMM8b Contact John (nutrenz57@yahoo.com.au) for pre-order booking form.

A word from the Author… What a long and amazing journey it has been, to collate, collect, curate and document the amazingly complex journey of the Blue Persian cat, from its genetic ancestral home in the mountainous regions of Khorasan province, to its establishment in Western Europe, and in particular, its strong foothold in the British Isles – a journey that took the best part of 260 years before it was finally recognised by a dedicated handful of English and Scottish breeders, as unique and full of beauty. From relative obscurity in the mid 1880’s a small but growing band of faithful adherents to its cause, did the faithful groundwork behind this colour variety, which would see it rise to prominence in the world of cats, the formation of the largest specialty club in the world for a time, and an absolutely phenomenal period of expansion of its influence that mirrored the expansion of influence of the then British Empire. The Blue Persian became the recognised ‘Prince’ of the Persian breed, the pinnacle of what could be achieved by any colour, if the same level of love and dedication was poured into new programs as the founders of the colour-bred Blue had poured into what had become, the cornerstone colour of the modern breed. This writing of this first volume of the history of the Blue Persian has likewise allowed me to develop those necessary skills to tackle similar feline histories with a dedication that is all pervading. It is a privilege and a joy to embrace the detective work and pedigree research involved. I recognise the unique opportunity it has afforded me to meet and work with some amazingly talented and special like-minded individuals around the world, who share a similar or same passion. For that I am especially grateful.

HARRISON WILLIAM WEIR (1824-1906) – FATHER OF THE CAT FANCY Photo: Elliott & Fry. © From an original Carte de Viste portrait in The Harrison Weir Collection. Backgrounds © www.gographic.com

THE YEAR OF THE CAT An historical journey into the birth of the Cat Fancy



Adapted from excerpts by the author, from ‘The Fancy Cat’

INTRODUCTION Harrison Weir’s main claim to fame in the world of cats’ is as the “Father of the Cat Fancy”, in that he is credited for the idea of establishing a formatted and organised Show of cat livestock. But very few cat fanciers know of his enormous contribution to the education of the general public as a nineteenth century illustrator, nor of his reputation as a leading advocate of animal rights through his art and his fine reputation as a knowledgeable naturalist. Nor do they know that he was an expert ornithologist, famous for his specialist knowledge of cagebirds and pigeons, both their breeding and varieties; a knowledge, which ultimately brought Dr. Charles Darwin to his doorstep! Nor do they know that he had a long and fruitful association with the Crystal Palace Company, or that books he had illustrated were on sale at the Great Exhibition at the Hyde Park Crystal Palace of 1851, or that he assisted the newly formed Crystal Palace Company in the laying out of the grounds at the site of the new Sydenham Crystal Palace in 1854 – which would ultimately become the venue for the historic first organised cat show, and horticulture and as a contributor on these subjects to periodicals. Nor do they know that his extensive knowledge and observation of

Palace in 1854 – the same venue that would in 1871 ultimately be the host site for the world’s first organised Cat Show. Not only did he conceive and plan for the possibility of a Cat Show, he also made us aware that cats, like dogs and horses and cattle and birds, could be measured against a standard, and selectively bred to enhance and perfect, their most desirable features. He was most enamoured with the cat of the hearth, the family cat, the English Tabby. In promoting its’ importance and worth as a fine specimen of feline grace, well worthy of recognition and favour, his opinion never once waivered. Many of you will already be well aware that the first Crystal Palace cat show took place in 1871, to be precise, it opened to the public on Thursday 13th July 1871, but, the exhibits were in fact received and benched in preparation the day before on Wednesday 12th. But what is not generally known, is that this was not the ONLY cat show at the Crystal Palace that year, as its reception by the public was so great, that another show, nearly three times the size was held in December of the same year.

The Year is 1870, one year before the first Crystal Palace Cat Show. The above illustration is by Gordon Thomson, and appeared in the April 23rd edition of The Graphic. It shows members of the London public, enjoying a Saturday afternoon viewing exhibitions at the Crystal Palace, on a busy day inside, near the central court fountain.








July 12th & 13th

The National Cat Show (Mr H.Weir)

The Crystal Palace, Sydenham, London

Mr F Wilson


August 2nd & 3rd

The Woolwich Gardens Show

North Woolwich Gardens, London

Mr Holland


August 29th & 30th

Grand Cosmopolitan Prize Cat Show

Bedford High St, Camden-Town, London

Mr Albert Trotman


October 3rd & 4th

Glasgow Cat Show

Burbank Drill Hall, Glasgow



October 6th & 7th

Scottish Metropolitan Cat Show

The Royal Gymnasium, Edinburgh

Mr J M D Brown


Dec, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th

The 2nd National Cat Show

The Crystal Palace, Sydenham, London

Mr F Wilson


another National Cat Show, again sponsored by the Crystal Palace Company, attracting almost three times the number of entries was held in December of the same year. Furthermore, in the months between the two Crystal Palace shows, there were no fewer than four more Cat Shows, two in London, following the first show, and two more in Scotland. All were based upon a set of criteria of competitive classes, similar to, but not exactly the same as those suggested by Harrison Weir, and put into practise at the first Crystal Palace show. So the year 1871 saw not only the birth of the Cat Show, but with the a full six shows, it truly could be referred to as “the year of the cat!” and ostensibly the birth of the Cat Fancy as we now know it. We shall touch upon all six of these 1871 shows more fully in due course, but first, let’s examine the way that plans for the first cat show came about. In his preface to his 1889 work, “Our Cats and All About Them” Harrison explains his own feelings about the true value of the cat: “Among animals possibly the most perfect, and certainly the most domestic, is the Cat. I did not think so always, having a bias against it, and was some time coming to this belief; nevertheless, such is the fact. It

some time coming to this belief; nevertheless, such is the fact. It is a veritable part of our household, and is both useful, quiet, affectionate and ornamental... Were it not for our Cats, rats and mice would overrun our houses, buildings, cultivated and other lands. If there were not millions of Cats, there would be billions of vermin. “Long ages of neglect, ill-treatment, and absolute cruelty, with little or no gentleness, kindness, or training, have made the Cat selfreliant; and from this emanated the marvellous powers of observation, the concentration of which has produced a state analogous to reasoning, not unmixed with timidity, caution, wildness and a retaliative nature. “But if a new order of things arise, and it is nurtured, petted, cosseted, talked to, noticed, and trained, with mellowed firmness and tender gentleness, then in bit a few generations much evil that bygone cruelty has stamped into its often wretched existence will disappear, and it will be more than ever not only a useful serviceable helpmate, but an object of increasing interest, admiration, and cultured beauty, and, thus being of value, profitable.”

And so it was, that with his thoughts thus aligned, and with the sure knowledge that when considering the large number of cats in London alone, he conceived the idea of holding a “Cat Show” ....”so that the different breeds, colours, markings, etc., might be more carefully attended to, and the domestic cat, sitting in front of the fire, would then possess a beauty and an attractiveness to its owner unobserved and unknown because uncultivated heretofore.” Prepossessed with these thoughts clearly in his mind, and already considering such weighty ideas as the classification of breeds, and colours, and how the exhibits could be measured and judged and in what classes... he called on his friend Mr Wilkinson, who was at that time, the General Manager of the Crystal Palace Company. Harrison goes on to comment: - “With his usual businesslike clear-headedness, he saw that it was “a thing to be done”. I certainly believe that Harrison had somewhat modestly underestimated both his own ability and his reputation and standing with Mr. Wilkinson and other power brokers within the Crystal Palace Company network. They had every reason to trust his judgment, having long relied on his services in several differing capacities, and also having had direct experience of his keen mind and both his ability and his integrity. His prior involvement with dog shows, bird shows and other cultural activities at the Peoples Palace over the years, meant that he had earned the trust of the management and they in turn, obviously valued and respected his opinions and his ideas. Clearly Mr. Wilkinson also saw the commercial potential behind Harrisons suggested venture, and with his already well-honed business acumen, probably already suspected that with well-placed promotion, it could prove to be an excellent draw-card to bring more people through the gates of the Crystal Palace at the height of the summer season. He would also no

acumen, probably already suspected that with well placed promotion, it could prove to be an excellent draw-card to bring more people through the gates of the Crystal Palace at the height of the summer season. He would also no doubt have picked up on Harrison’s own passion and natural fervour for the subject and had faith in his ability to ‘draw-in’ valuable and highly connected socialites from among his own circle of friends, who would in turn help to promote the event and also contribute somewhat to its possible success. He duly sent Harrison off to come up with a plan, including a schedule of prizes, the price of entry, the number of classes, and the methodology and points by which the exhibits would be judged, the number of prizes in each class, their amount, and taking into consideration, the different varieties of colour, form, size and gender for which they were to be given. In only a matter of days, Harrison returned and presented Mr. Wilkinson with his suggested outcomes, even providing in advance, a drawing of a cat’s head, suitable for printing on a posting bill. With Mr. Wilkinson’s endorsement of the project, Mr. Fred Wilson, of the Company’s Natural History Department, was appointed as the Show Manager, immediately taking the matter in hand, working hard to organise promotions, and setting about to invite and encourage exhibits that would attract public attention. It was also obvious that the Crystal Palace Company would similarly to look to Harrison Weir and John Jenner Weir, both as committed and respected naturalists and as already proven judges with a strong track record at previous Crystal Palace Cage Bird, Pigeon and Poultry shows, to officiate in the same capacity for this new venture, especially so

Segment cropped from ‘THE CATS TEA PARTY’ a double page children’s book illustration by Harrison Weir, published in 1870, in varying formats in the year preceding the first Crystal Palace Cat Shows. Chromolithograph by Kronheim, for George Routledge & Sons, London.

Left: Etymologist, Ornithologist & Naturalist Mr. John Jenner Weir, (older sibling to Harrison Weir) and Right: St. Bernard dog breeder, and dog Judge, the Rev. J. Cumming Macdona. Judges at the First Crystal Palace Cat Show in July 1871, alongside Harrison William Weir. Photos: The Linnaean Society and The Harrison Weir Collection.

record at previous Crystal Palace Cage Bird, Pigeon and Poultry shows, to officiate in the same capacity for this new venture; especially so, given that the idea for the Show and work done on setting the classes and criteria for judging had come from Harrison directly. For a third judge, the likely choice would have been one of the respected dog breeders and judges who also frequented the Crystal Palace and it is indeed highly probable that of the names suggested, that Harrison himself would have happily recommended the popular Rev. J. Cumming MacDona. Thus the stage was set, and the wheels of commerce were now in motion. There is little doubt in my mind, that while Mr. Wilkinson and Mr. Wilson were looking at the venture from a commercial and management perspective, which Harrison would have been quick to acknowledge, that Harrison’s motives were far removed from theirs.

which Harrison would have been quick to acknowledge, but that Harrison’s motives were far removed from theirs! Being the animal lover that he was, and of a naturally generous disposition, his intentions would have caused him to hope beyond hope, that with a successful first show, he may well be afforded a golden opportunity to take the venture further and succeed in two things. One, to create a new sport out of the showing and breeding cats for pleasure and profit; and two, more importantly, to raise the public profile and awareness of the plight of the domestic cat, both from the standpoint of recognition in the realm of natural history, but chiefly, ever hopeful to improve the lot of the domestic cat in every strata of English society and beyond.

Construction of the Second Crystal Palace at Sydenham in 1854. Note the workmen employed in the laying out of the grounds, which according to commentators of the period, was supervised by Harrison Weir. This great building would be the venue of many natural history exhibitions, including the first cat show in 1871. Cropped Image: from ‘The Illustrated London News’ courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection.

He was a champion of Animal Rights, and his simple philosophy was to make the world a better place for his “Animal Friends”. This did in fact, become his over-riding life’s mission. He deliberately chose not to excite rancour, or engage in heated debate about cruelty to animals, but instead, committed his considerable talent as an artist to get his message across. This is most apparent in the drawings he did in particular, for the many Children’s books which he was called upon to illustrate during his lifetime. He used his drawings, as a gentle form of persuasion, in the hope that the inbuilt prejudices of previous generations could be subdued by demonstrating through art, that animals had many human traits, were not only of benefit to humans, but could also lead us by example.

of previous generations could be subdued by demonstrating through art, that animals had many human traits, were not only of benefit to humans, but could also lead us by example. Given the quite tight time constraints in organising a show in such a short period, all these men would have known that the chance of attracting entries from the working class would be limited. This first show would have to rely on patronage from wellconnected individuals who were cat lovers and cat enthusiasts, but the hope would be, that some working-class cats would be exhibited and that members of the workingclass public would get an opportunity to visit the show and be inspired by it.

The newly appointed Aquariums, in the Natural History Department of the Crystal Palace 1871. Image: from the Illustrated London News, 1871, courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection.

exhibited and that members of the ‘working-class public’ would get an opportunity to both visit the show and be duly inspired by it. The first that the public were to hear of it was as part of a larger public announcement of upcoming events to be held at the Crystal Palace, which appeared in “The Era” in May 1871. As this was a lengthy announcement with multiple discourses, I shall quote only a few items which may be of interest, but which aid in keeping the announcement in context: “The additions to the permanent departments have been during the past year principally in regard to natural history. The science of marine zoology is to be exemplified, for which purpose the most complete aquarium that has ever been constructed on scientific principles is prepared, and will shortly be opened. There are sixty tanks in all, supplied constantly with fresh sea water, of which 700 tons (or 150,000 gallons) are used for the

the most complete aquarium that has ever been constructed on scientific principles is prepared, and will shortly be opened. There are sixty tanks in all, supplied constantly with fresh sea water, of which 700 tons (or 150,000 gallons) are used for the purpose...” At this point the writer must digress, as it is a poorly known fact that the gentleman aquarium specialist chiefly responsible for the setting up this exhibition was a Mr. Edward Lloyd, owner of a Black longhair born in France named ‘Mim’ or ‘Mimie,’ who was exhibited at the first Crystal Palace Show. But more on ‘Mim’ later! Other upcoming events announced in “The Era” included: -

A Grand Flower Show at the Crystal Palace, this image from that held in 1870. Image: Illustrated London News, 1870, courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection.

“The Grand Flower Show is to be on May 20th, and a Rose Show will be held on June 24th. A Show of Dogs is to open on 2nd June, and will last four days; while the 13th July has been appointed for a Cat Show, and it will be the first that has ever been held. There are, besides, to be Shows of Poultry, Singing and Cage Birds, and Pigeons. Of these last-named, there is to be an especially interesting exhibition. On the 26th June there will be a great Pigeon Concours, after the Continental fashion, when 1,000 pigeons, of the true homing varieties, will be liberated to race for prizes to various stations in Belgium.”

Just looking at this list of events and knowing of Harrison Weir’s particular interests and involvement in Cage Birds, Singing Birds, Poultry and Pigeons alone, one cannot but wonder whether he would be anywhere else but the Crystal Palace for most of the Season! Also given that he was now irrevocably committed to ensuring the success of the Cat Show in particular, and would be called upon by several of the daily and weekly newspapers to act as illustrator, for that and other events, one quickly realises that this man liked to be busy and appears undaunted by a heavy workload. By today’s standards and definitions, Harrison would have been categorised as a workaholic. In Edith Harrington’s “Our Animal Brothers” 1906, she quotes directly from Harrison on the subject of work:

By today’s standards and definitions, Harrison would have been categorised as a workaholic. In Edith Harrington’s “Our Animal Brothers” 1906, she quotes directly from Harrison on the subject of work: “I am a great believer in work. Work done well, with a heartiness and a will, is a grand thing for anyone, and is, a help to happiness and comfort, if not wealth. If his heart is in his work as it should be, all else will be forgotten. Anxiety, worry, trouble, irritation, and vexation, kill, but work is medicine for the suffering. I know it.” This philosophy extended further, to the equivalent of the modern axiom of ‘a change is as good as a rest’. He is quoted as having said: “Changing from one useful form of work to another; perhaps a little less so, is sweet and profitable rest”. Clearly, he was a man who enjoyed set goals and did his absolute best to achieve them, and when he needed a change while giving himself time to consider the next step on one project, he would instead work on something else, giving himself that ‘sweet and profitable rest’ until ready to return to the original project. In this way, he obtained much satisfaction from simultaneously chipping away at two goals rather than one. A lust for money never loomed large with him, as it did for others. On this subject he comments: -

the Naturalist Department had set about contacting as many well-connected individuals in the field of Natural History as he could, in order to obtain exhibits of great public interest for this first of cat shows. One of these connections was the Duke of Sutherland, who was known to have in captivity, a Scottish Wild Cat, (Felis Catus), which even in 1871 was a rare find, and already considered extinct in England and only known to exist in the remote corners of Scotland. Also known as the British Wild Cat, a live specimen would be considered as an excellent drawcard to whet the public appetite for the unusual or rare. The Duke was only too pleased to assent. A similar request was made of a second Naturalist, Mr F. Buckland, known to have an interest in the British Wild Cat, having owned some and who also possessed some Wild CatDomestic hybrids. On this occasion he could not provide a live specimen but was happy to oblige by sending down two stuffed specimens of the full-blood Wild Cat, for exhibition purposes. At a later show, he did exhibit a live Hybrid. Of the live specimen from Duke of Sutherland, Harrison provided the following drawing and anecdote in 1889: -

“The striving for wealth, the hankering for something we have not, simply because others have it, is wearing. Honest, true, good work, brings satisfaction and contentment, and with it a contentment beyond price.” PLANS PROCEED FOR THE CAT SHOW Mr F. Wilson, it would appear had a similar philosophy toward work. This like-minded head of the Naturalist Department had set about contacting as many well-connected individuals in the field of Natural History as he could, in order to obtain exhibits of great public interest for this first of cat shows.

“The drawing I give above was made from one sent to

Illustrations by Harrison Weir of Exhibits at Natural History Competitive Exhibitions at the Crystal Palace both before and after the first Crystal Palace Cat Show. Cage-Birds, Poultry & Pigeons, and below, Cats, including the Black Longhair ‘Mimie’ owned by Aquarium expert Mr. Lloyd, drawn in 1873. Images ‘The Illustrated London News’ and ‘The Animal World’ courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection.

The Pigeon Concours from the Crystal Palace on June 26th 1871. This illustration appeared in “The Graphic” July 8th 1871, just 5 days prior to the first Crystal Palace Cat Show.

sent to the first Crystal Palace Cat Show in 1871, by the Duke of Sutherland, from Sutherlandshire. It was caught in a trap by the foreleg, which was much injured, but not so as to prevent its moving with great alacrity, even with agility, endeavouring frequently to use the claws of both fore-feet with a desperate determination and amazing vigour. It was a very powerful animal, possessing great strength, taking size into consideration, and of extraordinary fierceness.” He further tells us of the trouble that Show Manager Mr F.Wilson had in removing the cat for benching in the lead up to the show. “Mr Wilson, the manager of the show, though an excellent naturalist, tried to get it out of the thickbarred, heavily made travelling box in which it arrived

excellent naturalist, tried to get it out of the thick-barred, heavily made travelling box in which it arrived, into one of the ordinary wire show-cages, thinking it would appear to better advantage; but in this endeavour he was unsuccessful, the animal resisting all attempts to expel it from the one into the other, making such frantic and determined opposition that the idea was abandoned. “This was most fortunate, for the wire cages then in use, were afterwards found unequal to confining even the ordinary domestic cat, which, in more than one instance, forced the bards apart sufficiently to allow of escape.

The above illustration is taken from ‘Every Saturday’, a United States publication, of Aug 10 th 1871, but was first published in the ‘The Graphic’ on July 22nd, 1871 alongside a show report on the first Crystal Palace Cat Show. The caption of this picture was “Can we part with puss?” alluding to the difficulty Mr Wilson experienced in persuading some lady owners to part with their pets for the first Crystal Palace exhibition.

“As it was, the wild cat maintained its position, sullenly retiring to one corner of the box, where it scowled, and fought in a most fearful and courageous manner during the time of the exhibition, never once relaxing its savage watchfulness or attempts to injure even those who fed it. I never saw anything more unremittingly ferocious, nor apparently more untameable.” Of the other arrangements Mr Wilson had made in seeking out cats of interest we learn from one of the first newspaper snippets announcing the forthcoming show. This one is from the Daily News, 10th July, 1871. (my bolds and italics):

‘CRYSTAL PALACE. – The Cat Show which is to take place on Thursday next – the first ever held – promises to be a great success. The entries closed on Saturday, and it is known that there will be nearly 150 cages, containing selected examples of fine and curious animals. There will be one live wild cat of Scotland (Felis Cattus) exhibited by the Duke of Sutherland, and two stuffed specimens of the same variety, sent by Mr F Buckland; the Hon. Mrs Grey contributes an imported Persian cat of rare pedigree, beside which there will be many Persian cats of several colours, Angora, Aleppo, and other foreign sorts, including one of great rarity from Siam.

SHILLING DAY at the Crystal Palace. Admission for the Palace and the Cat Show on 13th July 1871 was “One Shilling” or by Guinea Season Ticket.This form of marketing had taken place since the Great Exhibition of 1851, but continued on right through to the 1870’s. This illustration is actually from a “Shilling Day” crowd at the first Crystal Palace in Hyde Park before it was rebuilt at Sydenham and reopened in 1854. However, the 13th July 1871 attraction of the “Cat Show” was enormous, resulting in a capacity crowd of over 19,000 visitors in a single day.

‘Lady Lubbock sends a beautiful long-haired creature in this class. There will be several of the tailless Manx cats, and many displaying curiosities of natural development and colour, some of wondrous beauty, weighing as much as 18 and 20 lbs, and one Tortoiseshell Tom.’ The same news snippet also appears in the ‘Trewmans Exeter Flying Post’ and the ‘Belfast Newsletter’, two days later, on July 12th. On the same day, the Pall Mall Gazette ran the following small announcement: ‘CRYSTAL PALACE Cat Show - The First Show of Domestic and other cats will be opened in the Crystal Palace TO-MORROW at 10 o’clock.

It will consist of 25 classes, comprising near all the known species of Eastern and other Foreign Domestic Cats, as well as a remarkable collection of the British varieties, exhibited for their beauty of colour, form, weight, and condition. The Show will close at 7pm. Admission to the Palace and to the Show, One Shilling, or by Guinea Season Ticket’. The marketing of events at the Palace by advertising a “shilling day” was not uncommon. The practice had been used since the days of the Great Exhibition in 1851 and was still used to attract members of the general public who would not otherwise be in a financial position to afford a Season Ticket, to attend interesting events which were of short duration.

a financial position to afford a Season Ticket, to attend interesting events which were of short duration.

THE DAY FOR JUDGING Judging was done on the day before the Show was thrown open to public view, although I have no doubt that the judges would have also been in attendance on the Public Day to engage in banter with exhibitors and to extol the virtues of the prize-winners. In Harrison’s case, he would have wanted to be there to make sure that his darling “Old Lady” a stylish pencilled Blue Tabby, was safe and well. He had decided to exhibit her to promote the colour and pattern, but not to enter her into competition. As was always the case with Harrison, his priority was to show the Domestic Cat in its best light, and this is ably demonstrated by an event which took place immediately preceding his attendance at the show. His own account, forms a memoir of the day, and from his book in 1889, refers: “On the day for judging, at Ludgate Hill I took a ticket and the train for the Crystal Palace. Sitting alone in the comfortable cushioned compartment of a ‘first class,’ I confess I felt somewhat more than anxious as to the issue of the experiment. Yes, what would it be like? Would there be many cats? How many? How would the animals comport themselves in their cages? Would they sulk or cry for liberty, refuse all food? Or settle down and take the situation quietly and resignedly, or give away to terror? I could in no way picture to myself, the scene; it was all so new. Presently and while I was musing on the subject, the door was opened and a friend got in. ‘Ah!’ said he, ‘how are you?’ ‘Tolerably well,’ said I; ‘I am on my way to the Cat Show’. ‘What!’ said my friend, ‘that surpasses everything! A show of cats! Why, I hate the things; I drive them off my premises when I see them. You’ll have a fine bother with

‘Tolerably well,’ said I; ‘I am on my way to the Cat Show’. ‘What!’ said my friend, ‘that surpasses everything! A show of cats! Why, I hate the things; I drive them off my premises when I see them. You’ll have a fine bother with them in their cages! Or are they to be tied up? Anyhow, what a noise there will be, and how they will clutch at the bars and try and get out, or they will strangle themselves with their chains.’ ‘I am sorry, very sorry’ said I, ‘that you do not like cats. For my part, I think them extremely beautiful, also extremely graceful in all their actions, and they are quite as domestic in their habits as the dog, if not more so. They are very useful in catching rats and mice; they are not deficient in sense; they will jump up at doors to push up latches with their paws. I have known them knock at a door by the knocker when wanting admittance. They know Sunday from the week-day, and do not go out and wait for the meat barrow on that day; they.......’ ‘Stop,’ said my friend, I see you do like cats, and I do not, so let the matter drop.’ ‘No,’ said I, not so, That is why I instituted this Cat Show; I wish everyone to see how beautiful a well-cared-for cat is, and how docile, gentle, and - may I use the term? – cossetty. Why should not the cat that sits purring in front of us before the fire, be an object of interest, and be selected for its colour, markings and form? Now come with me, my dear old friend, and see the first Cat Show. “Inside the Crystal Palace stood my friend and I. Instead of the noise and struggles to escape, their lay the cats in their different pens, reclining on crimson cushions, making no sound save now and then a homely purring, as from time to time they lapped the nice new milk provided for them.

save now and then a homely purring, as from time to time they lapped the nice new milk provided for them. Yes, there they were, big cats, very big cats, middling sized cats, and small cats, cats of all colours and markings, and beautiful pure white Persian cats; and as we passed down the front of the cages I saw that my friend became interested; presently he said: ‘What a beauty this is! And here’s another!’ ‘And no doubt’ said I, ‘many of the cats you have seen before would be quite as beautiful if they were as well cared for, or at least cared for at all; generally they are driven about and ill-fed, and often ill-used, simply for the reason that they are cats, and for no other. Yet, I feel a great pleasure in telling you the show would have been much larger were it not for the difficulty of inducing the owners to send their pets from home, though you see the great care that is taken of them.’ ‘Well, I had no idea there was such a variety of form, size and colour’ said my friend, and departed. A few months after, I called on him; he was at luncheon, with two cats on a chair beside him – pets I should say, from their appearance.” The above anecdote is so very much proof of the true motivation behind all of Harrison’s actions with regard to cats. These were not the actions of a man who was glory-seeking, or putting effort into a cause for any self aggrandisement, but because he truly cared for and respected the rights of cats and wished everyone else to share his passion and the simple joy obtained when sharing a caring life with a cat as a pet and as a companion animal for the fancier. On speaking about the first show, he concludes: “Since then, throughout the length and breadth of the land, there have been Cat Shows, and much interest is taken in them by all classes of the community, so much so that large prices have been paid for handsome specimens.

much interest is taken in them by all classes of the community, so much so that large prices have been paid for handsome specimens. It is to be hoped that by these shows the too often despised cat will meet with the attention and kind treatment that every dumb animal should have and ought to receive at the hands of humanity. Even the few instances of shows generating a love for cats that have come before my own notice are a sufficient pleasure to me not to regret having thought out and planned the first Cat Show at the Crystal Palace.”

SHOW DAY – JULY 13, 1871 In hindsight of course, we now know that this hallmark event stands as the birth of the Cat Fancy as we know it. The Show itself was singularly significant on several levels. Although organised at relatively short notice, the Show Manager, Mr F Wilson of the Crystal Palace Natural History Department, managed to pull together a commendable list of approximately 170 exhibits, from a mix of upper middle class and aristocratic cat fanciers of the day. They included the first Siamese cats ever recorded at a Show, and Manx, African, French, and Persian (Angora) Longhaired cats, English Shorthair cats, and even the Scottish Wild Cat, owned by the Duke of Sutherland. No-one however predicted the enormity of the public response to the forthcoming show. And although many newspaper articles alluded to the large numbers, the writer wanted to find some independent corroboration of the public response. A rather unique one was finally found in a children’s book entitled ‘Only A Cat’ or ‘Autobiography of Tom Blackman,’ by Mrs. H.B. Paull, first published in 1872.

This illustration provided by Percy Macquoid for The Graphic and subsequently also for Every Saturday, is of six of the most popular attractions at the Cat Show of July 13th, 1871. Clockwise they are: The Manx or Tailless cat, The Persian Cat, Siamese Cats, the French-African Cat, the English Cat which was the biggest and heaviest cat in the Show, and last but not least, the British Wild Cat.

As can be the case, towards the end of this book, one of the adult characters (a cat lover), visits the children of the family after having visited the Crystal Palace Cat Show on the first day and the children of the family engage with her on her experience of going to the Crystal Palace Cat Show. The conversation in its entirety is too long to repeat here, but some clips from it are both historically revealing as well as entertaining! (and abridged!!) “Yes, I am rather tired Lucy; I;ve just left the Crystal Palace.” “Then aunty, you’ve been to the Cat Show. Oh! do tell us

tell us about it. Were there many cats, and how did they behave?” “Well, were the visitors at the Palace very numerous to-day Mary?” asked Frank. “Only about twenty thousand people,’ she replied quietly. “Twenty thousand! What, to look at cats?” “Others have been taken by surprise at the numbers as well as yourself, Frank,” said Mrs Merton, laughing. “It was a wonder I reached the Crystal Palace at all.” ‘How was that? Were you alone?”

“Yes, in the train. But you know Charles had business in Kent with his father to-day, so I waited for him, and we did not arrive at Ludgate Hill till Past twelve o’clock. He remained to see me off, and told me to be sure to remember to change for the Crystal Palace High Level train at Brixton.” “But, Mary,” said Frank, “you were surely not going to inspect these cats alone, in a place like the Palace.”

a lady stepping into a carriage, as I thought, at the rear of the train. I followed them quickly, and presently found myself in the guard’s van, occupied by brake handles, and other, to me, unaccountable elevations on the floor. It was too late to get out; others were pressing in when the guard appeared, shouting out the words, ‘Stand back!’ and sounding his whistle; the next moment he swung himself in and closed the door while the train moved,”

“Of course not,” she replied; “yet I wished more than once, while at the Brixton Station, that I had arranged to do so, for the fact that I had promised to meet Lady Brooks and her sister near the great organ, at twelve o’clock, increased my anxiety.”

“And whatever did he say to you all, aunt?”

“What made you anxious, Mary?” asked Mrs Frank Merton.

“Were any people left behind?”

“Why, the appearance of the platform. When I reached Brixton and crossed the bridge to the other side, there were nearly three hundred people waiting. In ten minuted a train came up, not only full, but with scarcely a carriage that had not more than its proper number of travellers. I drew back, for crowds of people were pressing eagerly to find seats, - all to no purpose, however. Only a few obtaining standing room in some carriages, the rest being told to ‘stand back’ by the officials. A second train arrived and started with almost the same result, and on every side arose complaints of bad management from those who declared they had been waiting more than an hour.” “And how did you manage at last, aunty?” “Well, I rode from Brixton to the Crystal Palace Station in the guard’s van. Another train drew near, when I caught sight of two gentlemen and

“Well, he couldn’t turn us out, and we all looked very much like naughty children, and besides we were in very uncomfortable positions, seven of us, for three pressed in after me, and the van was innocent of seats.” “Yes, three of four hundred; we saw them looking so disconsolate as the train passed the platform that I quite pitied them.” “And what was the meaning of all this confusion?” “I asked the guard the same question, and what do you think was his reply?” “You see, ma’am, the company didn’t order no extra trains, and there’s more people than we expected.” “And how about those you’ve left behind?” “Oh, there’s special trains been telegraphed for; they’ll come on all right.” “And why were not extra trains put on earlier this morning?” I asked, guessing well what his answer would be. “Well, ma’am’, and again the grin spread over his face, ‘we none of us thought there ‘d be such a crowd o’ people to look at cats; but I suppose

THE SPECTATORS AT THE FIRST CRYSTAL PALACE CAT SHOW OF JULY 1871 Cropped from: ‘The Penny Illustrated Paper’ July 22nd, 1871. Image © The Harrison Weir Collection

suppose the ladies and gentlemen as have got up this ‘ere Cat Show knowed better.” “And you saw the cats aunty, - were they good?” “Yes; they surprised me by their quietness, and some of them were as large and tame as our poor old Blackie.” “I should have expected no end of mewing and squalling, and spitting,” said George. ‘Then you would have been disappointed, for they were far more quiet and patient in their cages than dogs are. I’ve heard people who live near

near the Crystal Palace say, that when there’s a Dog Show, they can’t sleep for the howling they make.” The above review from an alternative source gives us a more fulsome perspective of the event. Some of the more interesting references to specific exhibits include the following: On Persian-style and Longhaired cats: “In cage 50, was a Black Persian, a huge black animal, originally belonging to the late Lord Palmerston, and now shown by Mr Tanner of Hanwell, was an object of much remark.”

“In cage 63, was The Hon.Mrs Grey’s Persian of ancient pedigree. It was stated that it was brought to this country on the shoulders of an Arab.” “Mrs Louisa Macguire’s French-African specimen, aged 10 years and valued at 500 pounds! But most probably Mrs Macguire’s magnificent creature is never permitted to condescend to such ignoble pursuits as the destruction of vermin.” On the first Siamese to be shown: “Among the rarer specimens were two Siamese cats, which are said to be the first of the kind, ever brought to this country. The pair, shown by Mr Maxwell, are singular and elegant, in their smooth skins and ears tipped in ebony, and blue eyes with red pupils.” On the British Wild Cat: “Caught recently of the Duke of Sutherland’s estates, a savage varmint it is even still, and frets against its bars, or moves uneasily about like the lion Androcles physicked, holding up its wounded paw, a joint of which has been snapped off in the trap. On Harrison Weir’s Cat: “ ‘The Old Lady’ is a nice lovable blue tabby, of the advanced age of twelve years, sent in by Mr. Harrison Weir, and that the artist values her is proved by the fact that he does not condescend to subject her to competition. On other unusual exhibits: (Polydactyls): “Mr S Carleigh, well known in the Music Hall world, exhibited a cat with 26 claws, and this ‘lusus naturae’ excited not a little curiosity.” And in another report: “There was an extraordinary cat with seven claws, a strange monstrosity which has already attracted the attention of Mr. Darwin.” (Ed: Dr Charles Darwin no less). “- particularly when the fact must be recorded that the sevenclawed cat is the mother of seven-clawed kittens, and there is no knowing when the wealth of claws will ultimately end.”

Whatever the report, the success of the first Crystal Palace Cat Show was tangible. And work now began on planning for a second and even more spectacular event, for later in the same year. Such was alluded to in the reports, with this clipping from the Daily News: “It is hoped also, that with the assistance of the Ladies Committee of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, (of which the Baroness Burdett-Coutts is an active member), some means may be taken of promoting the exhibition of cats by the working classes.

PRIZE CATS Opposite, some readers will recognise this now famous illustration of some of the prize exhibits at the first Crystal Palace Cat Show, drawn of course, by Mr. Harrison Weir, for the Illustrated London News and published on July 22nd, 1871. It would have been the first time the term ‘prize cats’ would have been used publicly, and it helped to elevate the position of the domestic cat in the eyes of the general public, just as Harrison Weir had planned all along.

A SECOND LONDON CAT SHOW But as we have already indicated, this was only the first of six Cat Shows held in United Kingdom in 1871, and with the second show, an entrepreneurial exercise held in the North Woolwich Gardens, again in London, three weeks later, the work of an apparently aggrieved Mr. W. Holland. That show, was held on Wednesday August 2, and Thursday August 3. A short article which appeared in the Daily News on August 3rd, and which provides us with a good overview of its promotion and Mr. Holland’s claims.

CAT SHOW AT NORTH WOOLWICH – Those who were unable or neglected to see the cat show at the Crystal Palace a short time since may make up for that want of opportunity or neglect by visiting the cat show now on view at the North Woolwich gardens. Indeed, in the placards advertising the show, Mr. Holland, the proprietor of the North Woolwich gardens, claims priority for the conception of the idea and says that he had the bills of a cat show for last year printed, which suggested the notion to the managers of the Crystal Palace. Without going so far as to assert that there has been any felony of idea in the case, it was only quite natural that a feline propensity should be developed out of the subject – and exhibition of the animal felis. The entries are not numerous, but they include several fine specimens of the cat tribe, domestic and foreign. They are divided into eight classes, tortoiseshell, tabby, black, black and white, longhaired white, short-haired white, long-haired of any other colour, and any other variety not named above. There was besides, as distinct class for the largest cat of either sex, to be judged by weight. The prize in this special class was adjudged to be a fine English tabby, four years old, exhibited by Miss Amos, a lady of over 80 years of age, who brought it down herself for exhibition. This successful competitor, weighed 22 ½ pounds. There are specimens from Thibet, Angola, Dongolah, Persia etc., some are remarkable for their size, some for elegance of form, and some for richness and variety of colour. The prizes varied from £1.10s, to 10s. Needless to say, both this, and another article subsequently published in the ‘Standard’ with regard to Mr. Holland’s claims as to the idea of a cat show, and his assertions about the managers of

of the Crystal Palace Company were read by Harrison Weir and taken as a direct and open public challenge and affront to the integrity of himself and the Crystal Palace management.

MR. WEIR’S REBUTTAL Accordingly, Harrison Weir also responded publicly, making his views well-known and leaving it to the public to decide for themselves, as to who was being both factual and honest! The rebuttal was published in the form of a letter to the Editor of ‘The Standard’, and read as follows: TO THE EDITOR OF THE STANDARD Sir, - In the Standard of Wednesday, September 17th, there is an article entitled “Concerning Barmaids,” nearly at the end of which occur these words:- “It is not the first time Mr. Holland has laid society under a debt. History will record that he introduced baby shows and cat competitions to the British public.” Mr. Holland did neither. The first baby show was held at the Surrey Gardens, very many years ago, when, under the direction of Mr. Taylor, and Sullier was there and his great orchestra, by the side of the lake, the prizes were given away, and many shows at other places have been held subsequently. With regard to the cat show it is more than twelve months ago that, thinking the cat was a most useful, beautiful, though much neglected animal as to its rearing, tending, culture of its instincts, colour, markings, and form, I thought it would raise its status if I could induce some person or persons to hold a cat show, and many months ago the Crystal Palace Company kindly consented on my representations, to hold one in the Palace, at which my brother, Mr. John Jenner Weir, F.Z.S., the Rev. Cumming Macdonne (sic), and myself, acted as judges.

‘THE HARRISON WEIR TANKARD’ – aka ‘THE CRYSTAL PALACE TANKARD’ Presented to Harrison William Weir by The Crystal Palace Company to honour the success of the First Crystal Palace Cat Show, July 1871. Part of the Civic Insignia and Town Plate Collection of the Lewes Town Council. Photo by Tom Reeves. Image courtesy of The Lewes Town Council.

in the Palace, at which my brother, Mr. John Jenner Weir, F.Z.S., the Rev. Cumming Macdonne (sic), and myself, acted as judges. Upon the show becoming a fact and a great success, Mr. Holland put forth a statement that he has conceived the idea of having a cat show, and that the Crystal Palace Company had indirectly got his notion. I wrote and told Mr. Holland that this was not the case, and that it came entirely from me, and that I had neither directly nor indirectly heard of his having thought of such a thing, nor did I know him, nor do I even know where the North Woolwich Gardens are. Yet, I did think it strange, although the Crystal Palace Company had advertised theirs for months in their book, by circular, and also by bills at railway stations and other places, that not until it was a success did I or the company learn his intentions of holding one. The Crystal Palace was the first cat show, and it was my idea and that of no one else. Another curious thing (to me) was the remarkable likeness of Mr. Holland’s prize list to mine, which I drew up for the Crystal Palace Company – almost word for word, with the exception of leaving out two or three classes, even to the price of entry, 3s.6d for each cat, an odd sum, but I had my reasons for it. This and other matters that have been made known to me lead me to form an opinion of Mr. Holland in the matter which I shall keep to myself, but I leave others to draw their own conclusions. I apologise for troubling you, Sir, on so light a matter, and were it not for my friends I should not do so, though of course I know the unsoundness of Mr. Holland’s statement. And yet, after all I am indeed glad to hear there are other cat shows, and I shall be still more pleased to find them becoming general.

to find them becoming general. I am very fond of the cat, both myself and family. At this time I have ten cats of varied colours, and all to me are beautiful and although I keep many birds, pigeons, and poultry, the cats in no way inconvenience them. There are poultry shows now almost everywhere, and why not cat shows? Take, for instance, the quantity of cats kept in London alone. Cat shows will hold out inducements for their improvement in size, form, and colour, and the domestic cat will soon become a domestic pleasure. As I said before, I hope soon to hear of more, and trust they will prove as interesting as the first show held at the Crystal Palace. HARRISON WEIR, Weirleigh, Kent.

THE GRAND COSMOPOLITAN CAT SHOW A third London Show then took place at the end of August, this time located in the Bedford High Street, Camden Town, organised by another London entrepreneur, Mr. Alfred Trotman. On this occasion, no claims were made by Mr.Trotman as to ownership of the idea of a cat show, and other than stating that prize money amounting to over forty pounds was to be awarded to winning entries and that there would be on exhibition rare specimens of the feline tribe from all parts of the world; no other unusual claims seem to have been made, except that the cats would be comfortably housed and hospitably treated. The show itself took place Tuesday August 29th and Wednesday August 30th 1871.

THE SCOTTISH CAT SHOWS The next two shows (4th and 5th) were both hosted in Scotland, the first at Glasgow, and the seco

Another rare image of one of the first cat shows, this illustration, dating from either 1871 or 1872, was republished in ‘Our Cats’ magazine in 1901. Image © The Harrison Weir Collection

second in Edinburgh. The first was billed as the Glasgow Cat Show, and held at the Burbank Drill Hall in that city on October 3rd and 4th 1871. On this occasion, the judge trusted with officiating was the Rev. J. Cumming Macdona, who was one of the three original judges that presided at the first Crystal Palace Show in London. The venue was simultaneously host to a show of Parrots, Song-Birds and Pigeons! The Second Scottish show took place in Edinburgh only days later, on October 6th and 7th 1871, so there is every reason to believe that this too may have been adjudicated by the Rev. J. Cumming Macdona. This show was billed as the first Scottish Metropolitan Cat Show, and held

held in the Royal Gymnasium. This show was large, attracting 256 cats and kittens, making it the largest by number of entries, of all the cat shows to date. THE SECOND NATIONAL CAT SHOW THE CRYSTAL PALACE – LONDON The first notice about a forthcoming Second Crystal Palace Cat Show (the 6th show for 1871) began appearing in the columns of periodicals in late October, with the dates for public admission to the show set down for the 2nd and 4th December. The Crystal Palace Company had learned much from their experience of the first, so this time, extra trains were scheduled to be available to meet additional demand. Ldies

CATS AND CAT SHOWS Cover page illustration of the public admiring the cats in the December 1871 Show. ‘The Graphic’ – Saturday December 2nd, 1871

Due to allowances made to include entries from the “working class”, plans were made to accommodate a much larger entry and to ensure that adequate public transport was provided, along with better crowd control. With more time to prepare, Mr F Wilson, with the support of Harrison Weir was able to secure the services of a bevy of new and capable judges. These included Lady Cust, already well-known as an author of a book on cat health and remedies, Lady Mildred Beresford-Hope, Lady Dorothy Nevill, (one of the earliest importers of Siamese), the Hon. Mrs Henry Walpole, (a relative of Lady Dorothy), the Rev. J. Cumming Macdona and both of the Weir brothers, Harrison and John Jenner Weir. Not forgetting of course, Mr. Bates, a well known breeder and judge of short-horns! Acutely aware of the large entry in the “Scottish Cosmopolitan Cat Show” organisers were naturally delighted with an even larger entry for the Crystal Palace Show, and although reports vary from paper to paper, the entry was at least double that of the original Show, at a minimum of 349 and a reported maximum of 459. A discrepancy in the numbers may be accounted for by a separation of the classes between cats which were competing and those which were attending on an exhibition only basis. Many Special Awards and prizes were sponsored, including an array of prizes offered specifically for Working-men’s cats by the RSPCA. This is well documented in a report published in the Daily News, which states: “The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has enhanced the interest of the show by offering a series of prizes for cats the property of working-men, and these animals we find entered in the catalogue

in the catalogue under the remarkable – one had almost said astounding – heading, ‘Best He or She Working Men’s Cats’. Both the he and the she working men have sent very creditable representatives, and it is noticeable that in the classes to which they have contributed are specimens of the rarest and costliest breeds, upon not a few of which fancy prices, ranging up to £50, are put, while a considerable number are entered as not for sale at all. The society’s silver medal for workingmen’s cats is worthily taken by Mr. T. Weightman, with a fine longhaired cat.” (see our page 86!). And we quote from other references within the same article: “It is with indescribable emotion that we announce that Mr. W. Smith has sent to the Crystal Palace a snow white half-bred Persian cat (No.235B), which is not only not stone deaf, but has an exceptionally keen aural development; and this animal has the additional bewildering peculiarity of having eyes of as bright a blue as any unadulterated Anglo Saxon of the genus homo. “ “In class 17, ‘shorthaired black she-cats’ Mr. Chantrell’s ‘Theodora’ fails to take a prize, not withstanding her 14 years, and her accomplishment in ‘taking milk from a jug with her foot’ and feeding herself.” “Cats as a rule contrive to feed themselves especially when the housewife’s back is turned, and we have known a cat, which nobody thought of sending to a show, taking milk from a jug with her tail, - sticking that member daringly into the lacteal fluid, and then sucking it as if it had been a stick of rock.”

during all of the late siege, (Ed: 1870), sitting at the window watching the barricades,’ and yet escaped the clutches of those French cooks whose sauces would make even one’s grandmother eatable. There is the cat too, with ‘seven claws on front paws and only five behind;’ and there is the cat Light Zeyla, which was taken in Abyssinia by an English officer during the late Expedition (Ed. circa 1868), and which ‘will drink from a tumbler or cup with its left paw.” (see this cat opposite at bottom right, under a green blanket). Whatever we may individually deduce from these historic records, it is clear beyond doubt, that with the opening of the first Crystal Palace Show to the public on July 13, 1871 – the stage was firmly set for the ‘domestic cat’ to be pulled out from under its disrespected past, and for its huge variety in form, coat, pattern and colour to be celebrated and viewed with the respect it truly deserved. Crystal Palace Refreshment Shop cat – a Prize winner, weighing in at 19 pounds. Photo: H. Albert ©The Harrison Weir Collection

And from the ‘Pall Mall Gazette’: “Among the special curiosities to be noticed are, first of all, five cats called respectively Bang, Sago, Amontillado, Mangle and Butcher, and belonging respectively, to the beer-cellar, the storehouse, the wine-cellar, the laundry, and the larder, which form different portions of the Crystal Palace’s own refreshment department.” “There is next, a Siamese cat, which is so marked as to remind one partly of an opossum and partly of a pug-dog, and which is really worth seeing.” “There is also Miss Pyle’s cat, which ‘was in Paris

That these were the earnest desires of Harrison Weir intent is also patently obvious, and now it is up to each of us, in turn, to decide for ourselves, whether his aspirations were largely achieved. One thing is for sure. In the 150 years since that fateful day, the role of the cat and her place in society has grown immensely. Her descendants garner awe and appreciation around the entire globe, and the extent of her reach into the human heart is and continues to be immense. Let us now celebrate the success of this 150 year journey in every corner of the world, and continue to raise the profile of the ‘harmless necessary cat’ and appreciation of its beauty of form and nature to even greater glories.

Hand-coloured print published in ‘The Graphic’ December 1871 and ‘Harpers Weekly’ January 1872, featuring cats exhibited at the December 1871 Crystal Palace 2nd National Cat Show. Drawn by Percy Macquiod. Image ©The Harrison Weir Collection

The Harrison Weir Collection’s Original Crystal Palace Cat Show Medals Finding and acquiring ANY antiquarian cat show medals is always rewarding, especially when you are motivated to preserve them for posterity. That applies to whether they are 19th or 20th century medals, or medals awarded at County or District shows, or at the major events, such as those won at either the Crystal Palace in London, the Brighton Aquarium or at other high profile regional clubs shows, such as the Westminster Show, the Scottish Cat Club Show. Medals in the Harrison Weir Collection date generally from the late 1870’s through to the early 1920’s, the most prized being those won by recognised named cats, that are found on the pedigrees of stock to this day. Until recently that included one of two medals won by Mr. E. Hill, a Siamese breeder and exhibitor based in Ireland, who exhibited regularly at the Crystal Palace. The medal on the opposite page being one of the oldest issued by the Crystal Palace Company in the collection, dating from 1893. But a more recent find, and a much older medal also issued by the Crystal Palace Company is the sterling silver medal at left, won by Mr. T. Weightman at the 2nd National Cat Show at the Crystal Palace held on December 2nd and 4thecember 1871. It is especially significant, as it was awarded to one of his famous White Longhairs, and was presented by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, to promote the entry of Working Class cats into the shows. It is mentioned in published awards, is in superb condition and came in its original Crystal Palace embossed box shown above right.

recent finds… 1871 and 1893

CRYSTAL PALACE EMBOSSED MEDAL BOX Dating from the December 1871, Cat Show. From the Archives of The Harrison Weir Collection.

Medal won by Mr. E. Hill, (Ireland) for the BEST TWO KITTENS (Siamese) at the Crystal Palace Cat Show, October 17th & 18th, 1893. Images courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection


FACTFILE Pet name:




Persian (Male)

TICA 15th Best Longhair Cat of the Year, 2016


Chinchilla Silver

TICA Best Black Silver Chinchilla Persian, 2015, 2016

Date of Birth: Sire:

May 21, 2012

Ch. Missionhill Divine Heritage

TICA 3rd Best Persian of the Year, 2016 CFA NW Region Best Chinchilla Silv. Persian Sil. & Gol. 2015-2016

Dam: Missionhill Beloved Inshallah

CFA NW Region 2nd Best Persian, Silver & Golden 2015-2016

Breeders: Munira & Harold Murrey

TICA Supreme Grand Champion, CanAM Show, February 2017.

MAMMY’S STORY “Timeless Enchantment” - His name says it all! This is the name I chose for this beautiful kitten who was born on the morning of Monday, May 21, 2012. “Monday’s child is fair of face” to quote a poem I remember from my childhood - and as per the quote Timeless Enchantment turned out to be fair of face. His pedigree spans 37 years of my breeding programme, continuing to my present litters born in 2021. My heart missed a beat when he first opened his eyes and gazed at me with such a trusting expression. Some kittens struggle when you pick them up but he was different. His whole body would relax and he would go limp in my hands. He has never changed over all these years but he soon became too heavy for me to carry in the normal way, so I had to carry him upside down with his back resting on my forearms like a small baby, and his head cradled in the nook of my elbow as he stared trustingly into my eyes. I even had to carry him in this undignified fashion when taking him to place in the judging cages at cat shows. When my daughter, Nicola, saw him for the first time shuffling across the living room floor like a fluffy dust mop when he was just a few months old, she said he looked like a woolly mammoth. So, from then on, his pet name became “Mammy”, short for Mammoth.

Missionhill Timeless Enchantment as a kitten Above: At 3 weeks. Below: at 6 weeks. Photos: Munira Murrey

Kitten photos showing the development of Missionhill Timeless Enchantment, left to right, above and below: Aged 3 months, Aged 4 months, Aged 4 months, (weight 6 ¼ lbs), Aged 7 ¾ months. Photos courtesy of Munira Murrey.

Like weaving a silver thread through time I can trace his ancestors on both sides of his pedigree in an unbroken line directly back to my four foundation cats: CH QGC Razberrilane Magnificent Revue (Shaded Silver Persian male) - 1985 Razberrilane Clouseau Bumblekins (Shaded Silver Persian male) - 1984 CH Keeperkit Waltzin’ Matilda (Black Persian female) - 1989 GC Twinshire Gainsborough Masterpiece (Cream CPC Persian male) - 1990 Timeless Enchantment is the culmination of my entire breeding programme and is the epitome of everything I have always desired in a Silver Persian. He is the largest cat I have ever bred; he has heavy boning, a very long flowing silky coat, tremendous width to his head, small ears, a brick red rose, jet black nose liner, eye and lip liner and large soft emerald green eyes. He has very rounded, smooth doming and a deep break that is centred between his eyes - not above and not below. He has a flat

Above left: CFA Judge Brian Moser judging Timeless Enchantment at the Longview, Washington Show April 2016 Above right: TICA Judge Pamela Barrett awarding him Best Cat at the CanAM Show, February 2017. Photos courtesy of Munira Murrey.

doming and a deep break that is centred between his eyes - not above and not below. He has a flat profile with a good strong jaw and a perfect bite. He is an excellent example of a chinchilla silver with barely perceptible tipping to his clear, untarnished coat. All his wives love him, and he is a very kind and considerate breeder. After I neutered him, his favourite wife, Missionhill Gracious Spirit, refused to accept the attentions of any other male and he, being the gentleman he is, continued to breed her for two years even though he had been neutered. Only now, after my move to a new house, has she accepted the favours of another young male and produced a litter of golden kittens. Mammy has accepted the kittens as his own…

To the casual observer, when Timeless Enchantment was born, he appeared to be a rather ordinarylooking kitten. The only thing that set him apart from the one other kitten in his litter (a female) was his unusual size. When he was about four months old, a well-known breeder from California visited me to pick up a show quality kitten that she had purchased, who happened to be around the same age as Mammy but from different parents. I showed her Mammy and asked for her opinion. She hesitated at first and I could see that she didn’t know quite what to say that wouldn’t appear rude since he didn’t have the ultra-short nose that seems to be desirable nowadays. I asked her to pick him up to get a better feel for him, which she did. I drew attention to his very deep break and great doming and mentioned to her that, from my experience, this kitten would develop into an outstanding show cat. I don’t think she was totally convinced that there might be more to a show cat that went beyond the length of nose!

Both parents of RW SGC Missionhill Timeless Enchantment share a common ancestry, being descended from the memorable, GC RW, RW SGC Missionhill Fait Accompli shown above from left to right: At the CFA International Show in Atlanta in 1997, aged 7 months, Best Kitten in Silver/Golden Division. Then at the Okanagan Valley Cat Fanciers CFA Show, aged 1 year 4 months, Kelowna, BC, Canada, where he was Best of the Best Cat in Show. Lastly, ‘Missionhill Fait Accompli’ at 3 ½ years.

The parents of Missionhill Timeless Enchantment. Sire: Ch. Missionhill Divine Heritage, and Dam: Missionhill Beloved Inshallah. All photos this page courtesy of Munira Murrey.

When I planned the breeding of his parents I had hoped that they would produce at least one offspring that would combine the best qualities of each of them. They were both descended from my well known cat, GC RW, RW SGC Missionhill Fait Accompli (1997). Both were large, heavy boned cats with extremely sweet personalities which is one trait that I consider to be very important when breeding for show quality as well as pets. Mammy’s mother, Missionhill Beloved Inshallah, had a unique type of coat. It was exceptionally long and silky, reminiscent of one of my foundation shaded silver males, Razberrilane Clouseau Bumblekins, who was eight generations back in her predominantly Walnut Hill pedigree. She had very long toe tufts and ear furnishings and her brilliant green eyes were hidden by the length of fur over her head and face which covered her very rounded forehead. She also had a very gentle disposition. She had a deep break but not a really short nose.


Mammy’s father, CH Missionhill Divine Heritage, was a very handsome, extreme type shaded silver male with good green eyes, a perfectly placed break, smooth rounded forehead, small ears and a very short upturned nose with lovely black mascara, lip liner and nose liner. I felt these two cats should produce a very nice kitten. Missionhill Timeless Enchantment was born on May 21, 2012 and he didn’t disappoint me in any way. He started his show career in TICA as an adult and made countless Best Cats and Regional wins throughout his limited two-year show career, between 2015 and 2017. He retired from showing in 2017 as a Regional Winner and TICA Supreme Grand Champion. He obtained the following titles in TICA: 2017 Eighteenth Best Longhair Cat 2017 Best Black Silver Chinchilla Persian of the Year 2016 Third Best Persian of the Year 2016 Fifteenth Best Longhair Cat 2016 Best Black Silver Chinchilla Persian of the Year 2015 Best Black Silver Chinchilla Persian of the Year

Left: CFA GC, CCA GRC. Missionhill Celestial Revelation (chinchilla silver Persian), sired by ‘Mammy’ Right: Grandson, RW, QGC. Missionhill Key To Eternity (chinchilla silver Persian).

Left: Ch. Missionhill Celestial Awakening (a Shaded Silver grand-daughter). Right: QGC. Missionhill Misty Morning Tryst (a Shaded Silver son). All photos this page courtesy of Munira Murrey

He was shown only once in CFA to obtain his championship because of the difficulty travelling to shows across the border and the long distances travelling to the show locations. On the only occasion he was shown in CFA he did extremely well, making several Finals. I treasure the wonderful comments received from the CFA judges who judged and placed him in their Finals, two of whom were Brian Moser and Vicki Nye. The title he received in CFA was for his only CFA show in Longview, WA: 2016 -

CFA NW Region 2nd Best of Breed Silver/Golden Division

What more can I say about this beautiful, loving companion of mine? Not only does he embody all the cats that were responsible for my lines today, but he is also either the father, grandfather, or greatgrandfather of all my present breeding silver and golden Persians, including my shaded silver Exotic and those golden kittens who are still un-named and un-shown, some of whom are listed as follows:

Munira Murrey and TICA Judge Yvonne Patrick with GC Missionhill Key To Eternity and Ch. Missionhill Celestial Awakening

Sire of CFA GC, CCA GRC Missionhill Celestial Revelation (chinchilla silver Persian) Sire of Missionhill Mystical Arielle (chinchilla silver Persian) Grandsire of RW QGC Missionhill Key to Eternity (chinchilla silver Persian) Grand-sire of Kitten, Missionhill Knight in Shining Armour (shaded golden Persian) Grand-sire of Kitten, Missionhill Smoky Mountain Rain (shaded golden Persian) Great grand-sire of CH Missionhill Majestic Monarch (shaded silver Exotic) Great great grand-sire of Kitten, Missionhill Celestial Serenade (shaded silver Persian) Every night, after dinner, I try and make time to relax with my cats while we watch a bit of TV together. Their favourite channel is Nat Geo Wild - National Geographic Channel Canada. I head for my favourite chair and call out “TV Time!” In a few seconds the room is full of cats and the scratching posts and any available chair is occupied. I try to make my lap available in as fair a way as possible, but Mammy, being one of my politest cats, always waits for me to scoop him up and flip him upside down on my lap. This is how we end our day - most often with me and my precious lap cat, Mammy, dozing off with the TV on… Munira.







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