Felis Historica - Volume 2 Number 4 October 2021

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FEATURES: LONGHAIR – CH. BACKWELL JOGRAM (SMOKE PERSIAN)

SHORTHAIR – NILGIRIS BURU KAIHOU (SABLE BURMESE) PURRSONALITY – LADY DOROTHY NEVILL IDOLS OF THE CAT FANCY – JANE CATHCART ART – LILIAN CHEVIOT

and much more!

OCTOBER 2021 Volume 2 No.4

INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE FOR CAT LOVERS, LINECHASERS & FANCIERS OF FELINE HISTORY

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




The first Virtual Museum of the Cat! – online now at: www.cat-o-pedia.org


HARRISON WEIR COLLECTION © A-Cat-Emy Concepts

PUBLISHED BY A-CAT-EMY CONCEPTS for THE HARRISON WEIR COLLECTION EDITOR

John G. Smithson editor@felishistorica.com HISTORY PARTNERS The CFA Foundation COLUMNISTS/CONTRIBUTORS

Karen Lawrence (St. Catharines, Canada)

Lorraine Shelton (California, USA)

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Dr. Leslie Lyons (Missouri, USA)

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Chloe Chung (Hong Kong)

Laura Vocelle (Muscat, Oman)

Florent Fissot (Monsegur, France)

Dr. Victor Zaalov (Acre, Israel)

Valerie Sheldrake Feline Historian (Suffolk, UK)

Jamie Christian (Ohio, USA)

PHOTOGRAPHY / GRAPHICS

Helmi & Ken Flick (Florida, USA)

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Jack Terry (Florida, USA)

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

OCTOBER 2021 VOLUME 2 NUMBER 4 EDITORIAL The Editor outlines the contents of Felis Historica – Volume 2 No.3!

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

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Contents

CHAMPION BACKWELL JOGRAM - by John Smithson The first Smoke Persian Champion…

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IDOLS OF THE CAT FANCY - by Karen Lawrence Jane Cathcart – and the Black Shorthaired Cattery

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EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GENETICS YOU CAN LEARN FROM YOUR CAT! - by Dr. Leslie Lyons Genetic Testing and the Distinction of Cat Breeds

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A CELEBRATION GALLERY OF EXOTIC SHORTHAIRS

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CHAMPION NILGIRIS BURU KAIHOU The first Sable Burmese Champion in New Zealand

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

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

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THE ANIMAL ART OF LILIAN CHEVIOT (c1876-1936) - by John Smithson. A peek at the life and little known art of Lilian Cheviot

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THE HARRISON WEIR COLLECTION - RECENT ADDITIONS The latest Cat Fancy history related acquisitions…

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CELEBRATING MODERN DAY LEADING CATS – Our Feature Cat: Brown Patched Tabby Exotic Shorthair CFA NW. CHUN LAP LITTLE BROWN JUG

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TEN CATS and related cartoon humour – by Graham Harrop

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LADY DOROTHY NEVILL’S CONNECTION TO CATS & CAT SHOWS 82

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FELIS HISTORICA


Editorial Editorial ’FELIS HISTORICA’ JOHN G. SMITHSON EDITOR with GC, Taniver Hows That at the NZCF NI National Show July 4, 2021. (See Gallery of Exotics)

OUR COVER PHOTO Blue Classic Tabby Exotic Shorthair male CHUN LAP BLESS MY SOUL Bred and photographed by Alex Luk Chun Lap (Hong Kong)

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

This month, our featured breed is the Exotic Shorthair, and this is reflected in our choice of a cover photo. It is a breed that was developed within my own living memory, from the days of initial outcrosses to shorthairs, and its rise from an experimental breeding program, to attaining Championship status, and then ultimately National Wins. Who could forget a cat like GC NW Jovan The Legend, a superb Brown Classic tabby male who became CFA’s Cat of the Year (1990-1991); or a kitten like NW. Becton’s Little Brown Jug, CFA’s Kitten of the Year (1997-1998). But much work went into creating what was fundamentally a Persian cat with a short coat, and unlike their parent breed the Persian, they could not hide any body type, boning or leg length deficiences under a wealth of coat! What you see as the saying goes, is what you get! These Teddy-Bears of the cat world won the hearts of many Persian breeders all over the globe, and this kick-started the long road of development. There were many famous catteries involved, and I can personally recall seeing the early cats coming out of the New Dawn cattery, and then later top lines from the Becton cattery, with their wonderful distinctve eye shape, and then a new array of colours from the Callyn and Jovan catteries and many more. Now the Exotic Shorthair is found in virtually every colour and pattern seen in its parent breed, the Persian. Readers will note that our Cover Cat is also an Exotic shorthair, in this case bred in Hong Kong by Alex Luk Chun Lap. Felis Historica takes this opportunity to thank the breeders we contacted to provide images of their Exotics to feature in the breed gallery. These include Alex Luk Chun Lap; Lynn Cooke, of ‘Callyn’; Munira Murrey, of ‘Missionhill’; Annamaria Martin of ‘Paddington’; Cheryle St.Clair-Newman of ‘Taniver’; Barbara Beatson of ‘Windeacres’ and Shirley Stephenson; and Jan Jewson of the ‘Willangi’ cattery.


IN CELEBRATION OF

OCTOBER 2021

EXOTIC SHORTHAIRS

‘Stephenson; and Jan Jewson of the ‘Willangi’ cattery. With these achievements in mind, our key article this month comes from the pen of Karen Lawrence, in a piece from her ‘Idols of the Cat Fancy’ series. This presents the phenomenal story of the pioneering Jane Cathcart of the Black Short Hair cattery; an American fancier who almost singlehandedly worked to ground the pedigreed Shorthair cat in the United States. From this amazing foundation, has sprung the heritage of the ‘American Shorthair’. Although her imports came from England and France and other sources, their descendants bred in America, were the forebears of this utterly modern Championship breed, now so popular world-wide. Dr. Lyons provides an insightful article on Genetic testing for specific breed health issues, outlining how important it is to test familially related new breeds and colours, selectively bred from both domestic and wild cat parent breed outcrosses. Ancient breeds such as the Persian, the Siamese, the Abyssinian, the Manx; and also other wild felids, such as the Asian Leopard Cat behind the Bengal, for example; means that it is imperative to test for negative impacts from forebears when selecting to retain breeding stock. What we have today for stock, is the sum of decisions made by breeders of the past, and likewise we today have a responsibility as breeders to ensure that the livestock heritage we leave for future generations of breeders has the best chance for a healthy, happy and long life. Of course, there is much more in this issue, but you will just have to read it to find out!

John EDITOR

Our Feature Cat: Brown Patched Tabby Exotic Shorthair CFA DW CHUN LAP LITTLE BROWN JUG (Photos: Alex Luk Chun Lap)


OUR TEAM OF COLUMNISTS & CONTRIBUTORS

KAREN LAWRENCE

LORRAINE SHELTON

LESLIE A. LYONS Ph. D

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

JAMIE CHRISTIAN

CHLOE CHUNG

LAURA A. VOCELLE

WRITER/COLUMNIST TICA INTERNATIONAL JUDGE OF THE YEAR 2016

COLUMNIST/PRESENTER CAT BEHAVIOURALIST/LECTURER CFA ALL BREEDS JUDGE Based in China & Hong Kong

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

DR. VICTOR ZAALOV

HELMI & KEN FLICK

JACK TERRY

CEO – WORLD GOLDEN CAT

HELMI FLICK CAT PHOTOGRAPHY www.helmiflick.com

‘THE RESTORIAN’ Photo & Graphics Specialist Photo Humourist

President of World Organisation of Cats


OUR TEAM OF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENTS

DARRELL NEWKIRK

PAM DELABAR

GAVIN CAO

(CFA, USA)

(CFA, EUROPE)

(CFA, CHINA)

NEVADA, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT CFA

TAMPERE, FINLAND

CFA DIRECTOR, REGION 9

CHENGDU, CHINA CFA CHINA BUSINESS ADVISOR

JOHN HANSSON

CHERYLE U’REN

ANNELIESE HACKMANN

(GCCF, UK)

(CCC of A, AUSTRALIA)

(WCF, EUROPE)

LONDON, ENGLAND PAST CHAIRMAN GCCF

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA PRESIDENT CCC of A VICE-PRESIDENT WCC

ESSEN, GERMANY PRESIDENT WCF

JOHAN LAMPRECHT

BOB GLEASON

JANE WEBSTER

(SOUTH AFRICA)

(CCA, CANADA)

(NZCF, NEW ZEALAND)

DURBANVILLE, SOUTH AFRICA PRESIDENT, C.A.S.A. (WCF)

LONDON, CANADA CHAIR - CANADIAN CAT ASSOC. LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE

PALMERSTON NORTH, NZ NZCF HISTORIAN


OUR TEAM OF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENTS

JUN KOHNO

RUSSELL LAW

CHATE RUENGRUGLIKIT

(CFA, JAPAN)

(CFA, HONG KONG)

(CFA, THAILAND)

TOKYO, JAPAN SEC: MICINA CAT FANCIERS

HONG KONG SEC: UNITED FELINE ODYSSEY

CHAYAPON PUCHAROENYOS

ROBBIE WALKER

BANGKOK, THAILAND SEC: SIAM BLE-EYED CAT FANCIERS

SANDRA ALSUMAIT

(WCF, ASIA)

(ACF, AUSTRALIA)

(CFA, KUWAIT)

BANGKOK, THAILAND CHAIR: WCF DISCIPLINARY COMMISSION

GOLD COAST, QLD, AUSTRALIA PRESIDENT, FCCQ. QLD

KUWAIT CITY, KUWAIT PRESIDENT, K-CATS CLUB

IZADDIN SYAH YUSOF

FARAH DIANA

BAMBI J. EDWARDS (ANCATS, AUSTRALIA)

(CFA, MALAYSIA)

(CFA, INDONESIA)

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA NAT.SEC: ANCATS AUSTRALIA

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA CFA INT.DIV. CLERK OF THE YEAR 2016

JAKARTA, INDONESIA RICIMACKA CATTERY


OUR TEAM OF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENTS

ELLEN CROCKETT

STEVEN MESERVE

LUIZ PAULO FACCIOLI

(TICA, UNITED STATES)

(TICA, EUROPE SOUTH)

(TICA, SOUTH AMERICA)

PORT TOWNSEND, WA, USA TICA DISTINGUISED JUDGE

VILA DE CUCUJAES, PORTUGAL TICA REGIONAL DIRECTOR

PORT ALEGRE, SOUTH BRAZIL TICA REGIONAL DIRECTOR

LIESBETH VAN MULLEM

EVA PORAT

DONATELLA MASTRANGELO

(TICA, EUROPE NORTH)

(FIFe, SWEDEN)

(FIFe, BELGIUM)

UTRECHT, THE NETHERLANDS TICA REGIONAL DIRECTOR

OREBRO, SWEDEN PRESIDENT SVERAK, (FIFe)

ROME, ITALY CHAIR: JUDGES & STANDARDS COMM.

STEVEN JONES

JINSON CHOI

LISBETH FALLING

(FIFe, NORWAY)

(CFA, SOUTH KOREA)

(NRR, NORWAY)

STAVANGER, NORWAY SEC: JUDGES & STANDARDS COMM

PAJU-SI, SOUTH KOREA PRES. CAT FANCIERS OF KOREA

OSLO, NORWAY PHOTOGRAPHER/EDITOR - ARISTOKATT


CHAMPION BACKWELL JOGRAM Mrs H. V. James’ Black Smoke Persian male, born April 2, 1897. Sire: BACKWELL JUBILEE. Dam: BACKWELL JILL Photo: ‘Our Cats: And All About Them’.(1902) by Frances Simpson. Backgrounds © www.gographic.com


AN HISTORICAL PORTRAIT OF

Black Smoke Persian male born 1897 BY

JOHN G. SMITHSON

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

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND It was not until 1893 that Smoke Persian cats, were finally considered sufficiently popular, to deserve a class to themselves at shows, having formerly been relegated to the ‘any other colour’ class; despite the fact, that an early Blue Smoke ‘Perso’ was the progenitor of both Silvers and solid Blues, which in a very short space of time would comprise two of the largest Longhaired Divisions at shows. In 1903, Frances Simpson describes the correct form of the ideal smoke as follows: “It is a shaded cat without markings, the fur being pure white underneath, and gradually assuming an almost black tone on the outer coat. The face, paws, and back, down to the tip of the tail, are the darkest parts, shading to a dark grey down the sides, and on the underpart of the tail. A very great beauty in smokes is the light frill and ear tufts, which lend an air of much distinction, to this breed. The great failings in many smokes, is the appearance of tabby markings; these especially mar the beauty of the head and face, and take away their value in the show pen. The tail should be quite free of any rims of light and dark, and should have the upper part and even dark colour, and underneath a cinder grey.

“It is most important that the coat of a smoke should be long and of the true Persian flakiness, otherwise the chief beauty of the contrast between the light undercoat and the dark outer-coat is not seen to full advantage. “It is curious that when the kittens are first born, they appear almost a dead black, with no trace of a white under-coat. This appears gradually as the kittens grow, and at three weeks old the lighter coat becomes visible. Their faces and paws should be intensely black when born, as the tendency in smokes is to get lighter and not darker. “As with black kittens, so with smokes; they are often very rusty in appearance, but this will disappear with their kitten coat. This also applies to tabby markings, though, of course, if there is any tabby blood in the strain, the markings may be retained. For this reason it is most undesirable to mate smokes with tabbies; neither is it advisable to select a blue as a cross. The blue tinge destroys the purity of the white undercoat, which is one of the glories of a perfect smoke. “Perhaps the most consistent and successful breeder of smokes now in the fancy is Mrs. H.V.James, who started in 1893, and has been faithful to this breed ever since. I have had the pleasure of visiting Mrs James’s


Mrs. H.V. James’s BACKWELL JOGRAM as a young adult. ‘Our Cats’ Magazine, March 15, 1900. Image ©The Harrison Weir Collection.

H.V. James, who started in 1893, and has been faithful to this breed ever since. I have had the pleasure of visiting Mrs. James’s smoke cattery, and I felt that the lovely old-fashioned garden surrounding the Grange at Backwell was truly an ideal place for successfully rearing live stock of any kind, and all the pussies were pictures of robust health.¹ PARENTAGE & OWNERSHIP “Jogram is owned and was bred by Mrs H.V. James, who is one of the most enthusiastic breeders of this handsome variety”.² ‘Backwell Jogram’ was born on 2nd April, 1897, sired by Mrs. James’ own ‘Backwell Jubilee’ (1893), himself bred by Mr. J. Trousdale, and out of ‘Backwell Jill’.(1894), who had been bred by Miss Bray. Mrs. James gives us an account of the acquisition of ‘Backwell Jill’, the eventual loss of ‘Backwell Jubilee’ and the birth and retention of ‘Jogram’:

“At the Palace in 1894, I bought a smoke female kitten from Miss Bray as a mate for ‘Jubilee’. This mating proved successful, and I had several grand litters of smokes, most of which, I am sorry to say, went to swell the ranks of neuter pets, being given as presents to my friends. In time I learnt wisdom, however, and kept my smokes myself. ‘Jubilee’s career as a show cat was unfortunately cut short after his Brighton win in 1894. He escaped one night, and in a fight with another cat had his ears so torn that I was unable to exhibit him again. “A year later, when I was away from home, he was let out one day, and never returned, having, I expect, been trapped in the woods. At that period my smokes nearly died out, as I had only one litter a few weeks old by ‘Jubilee’. “Of the two smokes, one was promised, and the other I kept, and he is still alive as ‘Champion Backwell Jogram’.”


NATIONAL CAT CLUB MEDAL won by BACKWELL JOGRAM at the BOTANIC GARDENS SHOW, 1898.

NATIONAL CAT CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP MEDAL won by BACKWELL JOGRAM at the BRIGHTON AQUARIUM SHOW, 1899. Both sets of photos courtesy of the Missi and Christopher Eimer Collection.

SIBLINGS & SHOWS As can be determined from the foregoing statement, earlier siblings were all desexed, and Jogram’s one litter mate, promised to another, so that Jogram was the sole surviving cat from the original combination of ‘Jubilee’ and ‘Jill’.

the original combination of ‘Jubilee’ and ‘Jill’. Frances Simpson further tells us: “Champion Backwell Jogram was the first Smoke champion and the winner of many 1st prizes, medals and specials”.²


Photo: ‘The Book of The Cat’ (1903) by Frances Simpson. Cassell & Co.

The prior claims and subsequent medal wins are evidenced by the images of Jogram’s medals in these pages, which are indeed most fortunate to have been preserved, in the collection of Cat Medals belonging to Missi and Christopher Eimer of London, who have generously photographed them, granting permission for us to feature them in this history of Jogram. The medals show that he was successfully exhibited at shows run by both the National Cat Club and its competing rival registry, The Cat Club, winning Best Longhaired Smoke in successive years, in 1898, 1899, and 1900.

winning Best Longhaired Smoke in successive years, in 1898, 1899, and 1900. It should be noted that medals won at shows run by The Cat Club are extremely rare to find in feline historical medal collections, so we lucky to see both of those shown here. In addition, Frances Simpson informs us: “At the Crystal Palace Show, 1901, this fine Persian cat won the special offered by the Duchess of Bedford for the best Smoke male in the show”.²


Above and right: The Cat Club medal won by ‘Backwell Jogram’ for Best Longhaired Male Stud Cat, January 9th & 10th, 1900 at St.Stephens Hall, Westminster. Below and right: The Cat Club medal for the Challenge Cup, (a three win cup) won by Mrs. H.V. James, 1st in 1899, 2nd win in 1900, and 3rd win in 1900 (for Smoke Male). Jogram went on to then win the Special offered by the Duchess of Bedford for the best Smoke male in show at the Crystal Palace Cat Show in October, 1901.

Both sets of photos courtesy of the Missi and Christopher Eimer Collection.


MRS. HAROLD V. JAMES’ ‘CHAMPION BACKWELL JOGRAM’ This photo was clearly the basis of the image published on the cover of ‘Our Cats’ magazine, (opposite) and for the Cowans Noted Cats Series produced in 1925.Photo: ‘Cats For Pleasure and Profit’ (1909) by Frances Simpson.

BREEDING & PROGENY Mrs. James then enlightens us about her aspirations for the progression of the bloodline: “I hope, however, that for some years, at least, Jubilee’s descendants will continue to flourish, as there are a number of Jogram’s kittens scattered over England, and several have left these shores for America.” Among his more notable progeny in England, the following females were retained for breeding by Mrs. James, these four all being from a pairing with his half-sister, ‘Backwell Judy’, a daughter of ‘Jubilee’.

Backwell Joyful , born May 13th, 1899 Backwell Jael, born May 13th, 1899 Backwell Julia, born March 24th, 1900 Backwell Joker, born July 10th, 1900 ‘Joyful’ was later bred to another well-known smoke cat ‘Teufel’ owned by Mrs. Sinkin, thereby combining the lines of both these famous smoke strains to produce ‘Queenie,’ who was the dam of ‘Teufel II’. A smoke male, ‘Bulger’ bred from ‘Jogram’ by Mrs. Harber, born 18th May 1900, appears in the studbook as the sire of a number of other smokes.


Image © The Harrison Weir Collection


WATERCOLOUR RENDITION OF CHAMPION BACKWELL JOGRAM BY ROSA BEBB. Image from ‘Rabbits, Cats & Cavies’ by Charles H. Lane (1903)ᶾ

Stud advertisement with misspelt name – ‘Our Cats’ magazine, (1903)


COWANS NOTED CATS SERIES CARD (1925) OF CHAMPION BACKWELL JOGRAM (with name misspelt) Images, above and below © The Harrison Weir Collection

The watercolour illustration on the opposite page was produced by the artist Rosa Bebb, who was commissioned to produce over 100 studies from life, for the new book, ‘Rabbits, Cats & Cavies’ written by Charles H. Lane, F.Z.S, and published in 1903 by J.M. Dent and Company, London. Charles Lane was a member of the National Cat Club from its foundation, a personal friend and admirer of Harrison Weir, an active dog and cat fancier, breeder, judge and author. This image comes from an original edition, formerly owned by the Earl of Belmore, courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection. As can be evidenced by both the stud advertisement, and the Cowans Noted Cat Series collector card featured here, it was not uncommon for Jogram’s cattery name to be misspelt. And his name was not the only one to suffer this fate. Even so, it did not dent his popularity. Miss Simpson states: “He has sired many noted winners, and is much in request as a stud cat.” ² 1. 2. 3.

The Book of The Cat,(1903) by Frances Simpson. Cats for Pleasure and Profit, (1909 edition) by Frances Simpson. Rabbits Cats & Cavies, (1903)by Charles H.Lane, F.Z.S.


CHAMPION KOMBO Blue-eyed White Shorthair owned by Miss Jane Cathcart Best Short-haired Cat in Show, Hartford, 1909. Background © www.gographic.com


JANE R. CATHCART AND THE BLACK SHORT HAIRED CATTERY BY

KAREN LAWRENCE

This article is a compilation of text and data taken from the research files of Valerie Edwards, Crown E American Shorthairs, with additional research and addition of photos by Karen Lawrence. The assistance of Carmen Marie Johnson-Lawrence with both ancestry.com and newspapers.com research is much appreciated. To simply call Miss Jane Cathcart an 'Icon of the Cat Fancy' is probably a gross understatement. This woman was responsible for the encouragement of the breeding of shorthairs in the early 1900s in North America, importing numerous cats from abroad, and basically giving shorthair breeds an extremely sound footing in America. According to Valerie Edwards' research: "Miss Cathcart's cattery was started in France in honor of her French Poodle, 'Black', who brought home a shorthair kitten, named Tiger, one day as his special friend. Later, Miss Cathcart secured pedigreed cats, moved to America, and named her cattery "Black's Shorthair Cattery", later known as "The Black Short Haired Cattery." This information is confirmed in a 1908 article in the Democrat and Chronicle, which reported on one of Miss Cathcart's visits to Mrs. Elizabeth Brace in Rochester, NY and included: "Miss Cathcart spends much of her time in France, where she has another home and cattery in the suburbs of Paris."


WINTER COTTAGE and covered run under construction, the Black Short Haired Cattery, Oradell, N.J. June 1904 edition of ‘The Cat Journal’ – Image: The CFA Foundation, Inc.

In a 1905 interview with Miss Cathcart published in The Washington Post, she explains about Black and his pet cat: "When, in spite of Black's tender care, Tiger longed for cat companions, Miss Cathcart bought one and then several shorthairs, and they all frolicked about under Black's delighted and careful eye." Although Miss Cathcart's obituary tells us that she made her primary home in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, the Black Short Haired Cattery she founded in April, 1905 was located on Oradell Stock Farm in Oradell, New Jersey, just 9 miles from her home. In the 1905 interview, she told the story of her cattery beginnings: "This is the first summer my cattery has been running. And it is the only one of its kind in the country." In the article, the cattery is described as: "sits on a little knoll and consists of a half a dozen small rustic buildings assembled about a long shed-like affair which opens on one side into a great turf-paved, wire woven cage. Cats are purring and frolicking in the fifty or more neat pens arranged in a single tier. These are six feet long by three wide. Clapboarding and wire netting separate them." Miss Cathcart specialized in what was then called the 'Shorthair' breed, importing many colors (top stock only). She carefully blended her imported Shorthairs with 'select' local farm bloodlines to firmly establish a bloodline that significantly contributed to what is now known as the American Shorthair breed. The 1905 interview again brings us Miss Cathcart's own words about her cats: -


THE BLACK SHORT HAIRED CATTERY From an undated booklet published by the Black Short Haired Cattery. Image: The CFA Foundation, Inc.

"All of my breeders are prized cats, some of them Champions. I imported them all from France and England in April. I go abroad this winter and will bring back several Manx and Abyssinians in the spring to complete the stud." In addition to her work with Shorthairs, Miss Cathcart was indeed the importer of the earliest Abyssinians in America … namely, ALUMINUM II, a male born September 3, 1907; his littermate BRUNETTE, a female; PEPPER, a male born October 23, 1907; and his littermate SALT, a female. These were all bred by Mrs. Carew-Cox in England, imported and registered with the American Cat Association (ACA) in the United States, and shown rarely. A newspaper show report exists for Aluminum II and Salt at the Madison Square Garden show in 1909. It is unknown if Miss Cathcart planned an Abyssinian breeding program, or not, but there are no recorded offspring from any of the imported Abyssinians. While there are numerous records of kittens coming from the Black Short Haired Cattery, notably English (British) Shorthair, Manx, Maltese (Russian Blue) and Siamese, it was in the breed commonly known at the time only as 'Shorthair' that she excelled. Advertisements from the era show that she specialized in Black Shorthairs. Not surprising, given her choice of cattery name.


CHAMPION SALT – Abyssinian female, as photographed by Mrs. H. V. Furness From ‘The Cat Review’ October 1911. The CFA Foundation, Inc.

Taking note that while the Black Short Haired Cattery was a successful boarding facility, not only of cats but for dogs and birds, they also took in a number of female cats for breeding to their numerous Shorthair studs, as well as to "other good studs, never exhibited" at a cheaper fee. As well, the cattery was a source for associated pet novelties such as collars, bells, leads and harnesses, leading us to believe that Miss Cathcart was very dedicated to all aspects of the operation of her business. The Cattery was indeed run like a well-oiled business, with numerous advertisements appearing in magazines of the day, several versions of a multi-page booklet titled ‘The Black Short Haired Cattery’ being published and distributed, plus Miss Cathcart advertised for “Agents wanted to sell on commission.” Her intention being to set up others


wanted to sell on commission." Her intention being to set up others whose sole goal would be to breed Shorthairs. She was an expert at publicity, noting that: "Another novelty of the Cattery is its illustrated price list. The lists are printed upon the best quality of highly glazed paper and are embellished with beautiful cats, any one of which would be suitable for framing. Frequent editions and revisions will be issued and cheerfully sent to you on request."

Miss Cathcart was named President and Mrs. Brace was named Secretary-Treasurer of the new Short-Haired Cat Society, formed in Rochester, N.Y. From the ‘Democratic and Chronicle,’ August 26, 1906.

The grounds surrounding the Cattery were considered "a garden spot" with a "beautiful setting" that was "rapidly becoming one of the 'sights' of New Jersey, drawing visitors from all parts of the country." It was published that the Cattery was most hospitable to visitors, even being "always prepared to serve Luncheon or Afternoon Tea at reasonable rates."

So busy was Miss Cathcart that she herself did not participate in the showing of her cats. She also was away from the cattery when she travelled to Europe each winter for several months, seeking additional quality cats to take back to America. Mrs. Elizabeth Brace of Rochester, New York, had the task of actually exhibiting the cats for Miss Cathcart. A report in the November 2, 1908 Democrat and Chronicle newspaper, reads: "For several years, Mrs. Elizabeth L. Brace, secretary of Lockehaven Cat Club, has had charge of the showing of Miss Jane R. Cathcart's cats …." In fact, Mrs. Brace operated the Rochester branch of the Black Short Haired Cattery. Mrs. Brace was, herself, heavily involved in other areas of the cat fancy, being the person who started The Cat Courier magazine which kept fanciers informed of the 'goings-on' in the fancy across the country. In 1906, Miss Cathcart was also the President of the newly formed national Short-haired Cat Society which, according to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, had the goal of "elevating the short-haired cat's standard and preventing the existence of strays." The new club was affiliated with both the American Cat Association and the Cat Fanciers' Association. During a July 25, 1907 visit to Rochester, NY Miss Cathcart addressed the meeting, giving a talk on "raising the standard of short-haired cats by care in their breeding."


One of the issues of the Black Short Haired Cattery Advertising booklets. Its 14 pages contain visitor information, boarding requirements re health, a price list and information on the breeding facilities, and numerous photos by H.V. Furness

A list of ‘VISITS’ to the studs at the Black Short Haired Cattery From ‘The Cat Review,’ September 1911


Summer cat houses, an extension to the boarding facilities

As time went on, the management of the Cattery itself became so involved that Miss Cathcart hired a secretary - the well-known photographer, artist and breeder of Persians, Mrs. Harriett V. Furness. The September, 1911 issue of The Cat Review noted: "Owing to the rapid growth of the Cattery with its increased work in all branches, the proprietress has found it necessary to secure the services of a secretary and Mrs. H.V. Furness has been selected to fit that post." Miss Cathcart's stated primary purpose in establishing the Cattery was two-fold: one was "to provide a Boarding Place for Pet Cats where they could have as far as possible the 'comforts of home', including spacious quarters and ample opportunity for exercise." The other was "the Breeding of High Class Short Haired Cats." The boarding section was a busy area of the Cattery, with reports in The Cat Review in 1911 revealing success in both cat and dog boarding plus the acceptance of cats for stud service. "The number of cats continues at the high water mark of 110 - the constant ebb and flow of boarders keeping to about stationary. "There has been a steady advance in the number of dog boarders, and the local trade is continually on the increase. "The lists of 'visits' at the Cattery has been unusually long."


While Miss Cathcart proclaimed a goal of "the elimination of the stray Tom" in her 1905 interview, it was in the booklets that she expounded on her goal of breeding purebred cats: "It is generally supposed that the common cat is treacherous, stupid, and attached to places rather than to people. In England, however, where the Short Haired branch of the Cat Fancy was first developed, it was quickly discovered that on the contrary this cat needed only the ordinary amount of care and kind treatment to become affectionate, intelligent and surpassingly beautiful. So we purchased our foundation stock there, including Champion Belle of Bradford (Orange Tabby Male), Champion Prissy, and Champion Lady Ann (Black Females), at the not inconsiderable sum of £16.16.0 each, with the result that our cats now compete favorably with the proudest Persians on the Bench." CHAMPION BELLE OF BRADFORD (Imp.UK) a red tabby owned by Miss Cathcart. From ‘The Cat Journal,’ October, 1905.

From pedigree research, it appears that Miss Cathcart used her best imports in her breeding program, although carefully blending them with selected local farm bloodlines.

THE EARLY REGISTERED SHORTHAIRS The first Shorthair registered in the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) was Ch. BELLE OF BRADFORD (IMP), CFA registration number 17 in Vol I, an orange (red) tabby male born June 1, 1900. Belle, named "Bell of Bradford" in the English studbook, was sired by Ch. Bradford Perfection out of Ballochmyle No Fool. He was bred by Mr. R.R. Kuhnel in England, imported and owned by Miss Jane Cathcart of New Jersey. Miss Cathcart described him as: "I suppose Belle of Bradford, who has never been beaten, is our finest animal. He is that red tabby over there with the beautifully striped markings. He was pronounced almost unbeatable in his class at the Toronto Exhibition a few weeks ago." During his nine-year show career in the United States, it appears that Belle was defeated only once by another orange tabby. This event was considered so momentous that a photograph of Mrs. J. C. Mitchelson's triumphant nine-month-old male, Connie, was placed in the April 1906 Cat Journal along with an article detailing his background and win. His owner, Mrs. Mitchelson, was heavily involved in the cat fancy in


CHAMPION BUZZING SILVER – owned by Mrs. J.C. Mitchelson. Photo: CFA Studbook, Volume 1, 1909.

The first Shorthair CFA Champion was also Ch. Belle of Bradford (IMP), despite later claims that Mrs. Mitchelson's silver tabby, CH. THE BUZZING SILVER, CFA #312 Vol-I, was first for the breed. Exhaustive research by Valerie Edwards verified Belle's FIRST CHAMPION status by comparing dates when Winners ribbons were earned for all Shorthairs on the "CFA List of Championships Awarded" for CFA's Studbook, Volume I. The Buzzing Silver was, however, the FIRST SILVER TABBY CHAMPION, beating out Jane Cathcart's CH. PRETTY CORRECT (IMP), CFA #18 Vol I. Irene Powell wrote about Miss Cathcart in her July 1911 article in The Cat Journal: "There were Shorthairs in those days but nearly all were, as they were termed 'native' Shorthairs, Miss J.R. Cathcart, called the Fairy Godmother of the Shorthairs, was the greatest promoter of this breed and had some great winners. Ch. Buster Brown, Smoke, and Ch. Imp. Bell of Bradford, Red Tabby, were two of the prominent ones. Miss Cathcart brought other shorthairs from Europe: Moumouette, a Blue Cream, and two Blue Russians from France. However, in 1904 Mrs. Champion wrote that the Blue Shorthair has caused a great deal of discussion in England where it was first exhibited under the title Blue Russian. It was eventually decided to classify all blues as Blue Shorthairs and discard the name Russian, as these latter became too scarce to have a class to themselves. The


these latter became too scarce to have a class to themselves. The two female 'Blue Russians' were sent to England to be bred to Peter the Great and Prince of Bath. Miss Cathcart later brought those two females to America where they became mates to Peterkin, a Blue Russian already abiding here and owned by Mrs. Sage." Mrs. Powell's article also refers to Abyssinian, Manx, Siamese and even Chocolates (Burmese) being imported and concludes: "Such was the extent of the recognized breeds of Shorthairs in the early part of the century. Fanciers have caused an evolution of the purebred cat that would cause the old time breeder to look on in amazement, and I am sure the end is not in sight yet." Miss Cathcart talked more about several of her cats in the 1905 interview: "Lady Ann, this roly-poly English black, is one of my best. She has taken many firsts in England, but I have never shown her here. “Prissy, this small English black, is one of my best cats and a great prize winner. She will soon have a litter of kitten by Belle of Bradford, and with such parents they should be very good, indeed." Above: ENG. CHAMPION LADY ANN, a black female imported by Miss Cathcart. Below: CHAMPION PRISSY, a black female imported by Miss Cathcart, and the FIRST BLACK SHORTHAIR CHAMPION in CFA Photos: ‘The Cat Courier,’ Dec. 13, 1913 – Jan. 3, 1914

Miss Cathcart's white male, CH. KOMBO, won Best Shorthair at the Hartford show in 1909. According to an advertisement in the February 1906 issue of The Cat Journal, Kombo's sire, Jumbo was undefeated in the blue color class during his two-year show career. The death of Kombo was noted in the September, 1911 issue of The Cat Review.

The ACA CH. SILVER STRIPES, one of Miss Cathcart's imported silver tabbies, won Best Shorthaired Male in London England in 1909, and was Best Male in Show and Best Shorthaired Cat at the Lockhaven Cat Club show in Rochester, NY in 1909. He also won Best Shorthaired cat several other times. The award of "Best Shorthair" was in essence "Best of Breed", while the award "Best Shorthaired Cat" was earned by defeating all of the Siamese, Manx, Australian, Abyssinian, and Russian Blue entries in addition to all the other Shorthairs.


Miss Cathcart's best-known queen, CH. DAME FORTUNE II, a silver tabby, was also an import, out of the well-known English male, James II. She won Best Shorthaired Cat in Pittsburgh in 1909, Best Shorthaired Cat in New York in 1909, Best Shorthaired Cat in Columbus in 1910, and Best Shorthaired Cat at the Beresford Cat Club show in Chicago in 1910. In addition to the above, Miss Cathcart imported the first blue cream Shorthair (of which there is any record), a beauty from France named Moumouette, whose dam was the French blue-cream, Bebe Bleu. Moumouette won prizes in many shows in the "Any Other Color" class, since bluecream Shorthairs were not accepted for championship competition.

Advertisement for the Black Short-Haired Cattery in the October 1911 issue of The Cat Review, showing the various shorthaired cats at stud.

Moumouette was sired by Eng. Ch. Ballochmyle Brother Bump. When bred to the imported Ch. Belle of Bradford, Moumouette produced CFA #19, a blue tortoiseshell (known now as blue cream), named Missy and CFA #23, a tortoiseshell, named Mixte. The English appreciated solid blue Shorthairs much more than Americans did, since "Maltese" hunting cats, the name assigned to blue Shorthairs by USA farmers, were much more common in America than in England.

Whether these "Maltese" actually originated in Malta, we do not know, but that name stuck until the fifties outside the cat fancy, where they were always simply called blue Shorthairs. Mrs. C. Carew-Cox's Mousmee was a daughter of Miss Jane R. Cathcart's Mouse, the first CFA champion solid blue Shorthair. The following is a list of the early Shorthairs bred/owned by Miss Cathcart as listed in the Cat Fanciers' Association Studbook & Register. # 17. Ch. BELLE OF BRADFORD (IMP), Orange Tabby male born June 1, 1900. Eng. Ch. Bradford Perfection X Eng. Ch. Ballochmyle No Fool. Bred by Mr. Kuhnel. Owned by Miss Jane R. Cathcart. # 18. Ch. PRETTY CORRECT (IMP), Silver Tabby male born Oct. 28,1908. Eng. Ch. James II X Bunnie. Bred by Mrs. Collingwood. Owned by Miss Jane R. Cathcart.


;

Advertisement for the Black Short-Haired Cattery in the October 1911 issue of The Cat Review,showing the various shorthaired cats at stud.

# 19.

MISSY, Blue Tortoiseshell female born April 19, 1906. (Kitten Register) Ch. Belle of Bradford (IMP) X Moumouette (IMP). Bred & Owned by Miss J. Cathcart.

# 20.

Ch. BUSTER BROWN, Smoke male born January 15, 1904. Owned by Miss Jane R. Cathcart.

# 21.

JUDY BEE, Smoke female. Ch. Buster Brown X Ch. Prissy II (IMP). Bred & Owned by Miss Jane Cathcart.

# 22.

Ch. LADY ANN (IMP), Black female born 1902. CH. Ballochmyle Black Bum X Eng. CH. Ebony of Wigan. Bred by Mr. Hamlyn. Owned by Miss Jane Cathcart .

# 23.

MIXTE, Tortoiseshell female born April 19, 1906. (Kitten Register) Ch. Belle of Bradford (IMP) X Moumouette (IMP). Bred and Owned by Jane Cathcart

# 39.

Ch. PRISSY II (IMP), Black female born March 25, 1904. Tommy II X Orange Eyed Prissy. Bred by Mr. M. H. Maxwell. Owned by Miss Jane Cathcart.

#197. Ch. KOMBO, Blue-eyed White male born April 1904. Jumbo X Pearl. Owned by Miss J. Cathcart. #313. Ch. DAME FORTUNE II (IMP), Silver Tabby female born April 19, 1905. Sweet William X Eng. Ch. Dame Fortune. Bred by Mrs. Mellor Bonny. Owned by Miss Jane Cathcart. #379. Ch. SIAM DE PARIS (IMP), Siamese male. Eyes blue. Date of birth and breeder not given. Owner & Importer, Miss. J. Cathcart. #585. Ch. GENESEE VALLEY JANE, Silver Tabby female born April 14,1908. ACA Ch. Silver Stripes (IMP) X Ch. Dame Fortune II (IMP). Bred by Miss Jane Cathcart. Owned by Mrs. E. L. Brace.

CHAMPION KOMBO (Blue-eyed White)

#960. Ch. TABRUM (IMP, Brown born April 1909. Golden Dawn X Tabby Queen. Owned by Jane Cathcart


CHAMPION GENESEE VALLEY JANE A silver tabby bred by Miss J. Cathcart and owned by Mrs. Elizabeth Brace of Genesee Valley Cattery. From The Western Cat Fancier Newsletter, September 1910.

CH Genesee Valley Jane, bred by Miss Cathcart and owned by Mrs. Elizabeth Brace of Rochester, NY, may have been the most recognizable of Miss Cathcart's cats. She left her mark on the history of this breed. Upon her death at the tender age of two years, the September 1910 issue of the Western Cat Fanciers newsletter reported: "Champion Genesee Valley Jane was one of the most remarkable cats ever on the show bench in England or America, having won in her short career of five months more prizes than any other cat can record. "Jane was first shown at Hartford, Conn., in 1908 at the age of five months. She started by winning first in her class and best kitten at the show. The entire record of wins is as follows: 12 first prizes, 143 specials, 42 medals, 8 challenge cups; an A.C.A. championship at nine months of age with nine points toward another.


The photo of Genesee Valley Jane graced the header of The Cat Courier , started by her owner, Mrs. Brace of Rochester, N.Y.

"The little lady was best S.H. kitten seven times, best kitten five times, best S.H. cat seven times and best cat in show twice. "Jane was bred by the Black Short-Haired Cattery. Her dam is 'Ch. Dame Fortune III' imported by Miss Cathcart. The sire is 'Ch. Silver Stripes,' bred by Mrs. Collingswood. Since Miss Cathcart purchased 'Stripes' Mrs. Collingwood has offered to buy him back, but Miss Cathcart refuses to allow him to leave America." For years, Genesee Valley Jane was in the public eye as one of the photos on the masthead of The Cat Courier magazine, established in 1912 by Mrs. Elizabeth L. Brace. Even after the publication was taken over by Gertrude Taylor, the masthead remained the same through the late 1930s. A consistent full-page advertiser in The Cat Review magazine, it should be noted that all advertisements for the Black Short Haired Cattery ceased sometime during 1912. At that time, all advertising was moved over to the Cat Courier, which had been started by her close friend, Mrs. Brace. By 1916, all advertisements for the Black Short Haired Cattery had ceased to exist - and newspaper reports indicated Miss Cathcart had moved on the horses on her home property in Hasbrouck Heights. A life-long lover of music, who studied in Paris and New York, Miss Cathcart's 1947 obituary headlined her as just that - "Widely Known Musician Gave Town Land". The obituary mentions her involvement in the Washington Heights Musical Club, and she must have moved on to horses as it is also noted that "handsome stables and fine horses" were reasons to visit her property. Surprisingly, and sadly, there is absolutely no mention in the obituary of her involvement in cats. But we know and fully appreciate the truth of her activities in the cat fancy. Miss Cathcart was an extremely busy and successful breeder of Shorthairs, which would later become known as Domestic Shorthairs before that name was changed to American Shorthair in CFA in 1966. Her legacy lives on in the beautiful American Shorthair breed that is so popular in North America today.


Above: CHAMPION SIAM DE PARIS – imported by Miss J. Cathcart from France. Below: A litter of brown tabby kittens from the Black Short Haired Cattery. Images: CFA Studbook, Vol.1 (1909) and The Cat Review, October 1911. A NOTE ABOUT DUTY ON CATS "Miss Cathcart was speaking yesterday of the fact that registration of cats in England is now recognized by the United States government to such an extent that a cat that has been registered according to the rules of the National Cat Club of England is not liable to duty when it arrives at the Custom House on this side. The time was not long ago, when an English pussy's grandparents had to be recorded back to the fifth generation before she could be passed by the officials without her owners paying duty. About a year ago a change in the registrations was made, so that when the proper papers are shown, registration there entitles the cats to be registered here. This is because Uncle Sam takes precautions that duty shall be levied on cats not calculated to improve the breeds in this country. " Democrat and Chronicle, July 25, 1907 July 25, 1907

NOTE: The information contained in this article will become part of a new, as yet unnamed, book being put together about the American Shorthair breed history. The overall basis for the book is multiple articles and a great deal of research, over decades, by Valerie Edwards. Her material is being edited, reviewed, and enhanced by Karen Lawrence who also has plans to add a multitude of early Shorthair photos to the finished book. Publication date is not yet known, but we will be pleased to start a listing of people interested in a copy when it is published.


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

DR. LESLIE LYONS

College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri

AND THE DISTINCTION OF CAT BREEDS

Most genetic mutations are identified in a specific cat breed. Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) was identified firstly in Persians1 and hypokalemia in the Burmese2. A specific blindness (progressive retinal atrophy, PRA) was identified in Bengals while other genetic mutations causing PRAs have been identified in Persians or Abyssinians3-6. The domestic cat research community and cat fancy enthusiasts are working together to develop standards for genetic testing to be used by geneticists and commercial laboratories. These standards include nomenclature standards that will hopefully be used by the different commercial entities providing genetic testing information and results to cat breeders and owners.

Backgrounds © www.gographic.com

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

Thus, veterinarians, breeders and owners should be able to interpret a genetic test report provided by any company from any region of the world. In addition, other standards would include which cat breeds should be tested for which traits and health concerns. Understanding the genetic relationship of cat breeds then becomes necessary to develop these recommendations. One of the first tasks for standardization efforts is to develop a simple, comprehensive list of cat breeds! Interestingly, over 130 different cat breeds can be enumerated, however, many are either still in development or were initiated as a breed, but never developed into a viable breeding population and are “extinct”. What cat breeders, owners, veterinarians and commercial testing companies need to realize is many breeds are genetically related due to cross-breeding or having the same populations of origin, and, some breeds may only differ from a related breed by a single genetic variant, such as a coloration, hair length, fur, ear or tail type.


GC CHUNLAP SWEETIE PIE bred & photographed by Alex Luk Cun Lap

College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri

The genetically related breeds can be considered part of a breed family or group and listed as genetic varieties. Some breeds have been developed by purposefully crossing two or more different breeds, such as the ocicat from Siamese and Abyssinian cross breeding, while others have allowable outcrosses to help modify conformation and to retain genetic diversity, such as Persians with a host of other breeds7. The genetic relationships of breed families and cross-breeds need to be recognized as the different genetic health conditions common in one breed, many also be relevant to the other breeds within the family or the newly developed cross-breed.


College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri

Hybrid breeds pose an interesting conundrum as the difference in the genetics of the parental felid types, due to evolutionary time, can cause problems with fertility along with the possible genetic conditions from the domestic or wild felid lineages. The earliest cat breeds included the Abyssinian, the British shorthair, the Persian (Angora), Russian Blue, and Siamese8. Maine Coon was an early addition from the USA. Except for the Siamese, these breeds have European random bred cat population origins, including the Maine Coon as these cats only got to the USA in the 1600’s or so. These six breeds are considered “Natural” breeds – they represented cats from the European or Southeast Asian general cat populations, but, were of different varieties. The Abyssinian’s uniqueness being the lack of pattern, the Persian’s longhair, and the British likely displayed different Tabby patterns. The Siamese would not only have different genetic origins from Southeast Asia, but was no doubt a curiosity due to its pointed coloration. The Manx was also an early breed because of population on the Isle of Mann had a natural variant in tail presentation, the tailless or shorttailed cat. Since the early cat shows of the late 1800’s, the cat fancy has steadily grown with new breeds and varieties constantly being developed. However, of over 130 cat breeds that can be listed, only perhaps 40 or less have distinct genetics, the rest sharing genetics with another breed (Table 1). Most breeds have either a long or short haired variety, which often is listed as a separate breed. Although any cat registry can define cat breeds as they prefer, from a purely genetic point a view, an Exotic is a shorthaired Persian and a Colorpoint is a Siamese that does not have solid coloration (i.e., Siamese must be a/a for Agouti while Colorpoints are A/a or A/A).

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

One DNA variant is not sufficient to create genetic distinction between any two cat groups. I highly recognize breeders and owners of one of these breeds may be offended by my oversimplification, but the point of my discussion is the genetic risks of each breed must be considered. I greatly appreciate the breeders’ efforts to maintain separate lineages between these types of cats and that they have worked hard to develop uniqueness and differ types and breed standards. Many breeds have developed from Southeast Asian cats including Korat and Birmans, which are have more than a single genetic variant causing their distinction. Indeed, some cat breeds have minimal genetic distinction from randomly bred cats (i.e., domestic shorthairs or longhairs) and purposely represent countries / regions of origin, such as the Thai, European shorthair, and Kurilian bobtails (Table 2).


.


College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri

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


GC DW CHUN LAP BUDDY GIRL, bred and photographed by Alex Luk Chun Lap.

These also “natural” breeds may, in fact, be of the most diverse, with the least inbreeding and perhaps the healthiest of breeds (if continued to be managed well and have large population sizes). The breeds in Table 1 in italicized font – also represent “Natural” populations that do not have any specific mutations distinguishing them from their population of origin, except for the type developed by selection by breeders of course. Breeds such as Norwegian Forest cats, Siberians and Manx are genetically very difficult to separate from the random bred populations of origin, meaning Scandinavian, Russian and European cats, respectively. College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri

However, the breed families / groups in Table 1 need to monitor the health problems and traits of interest found within any of the breeds within the family. For example, like Persians, the associated breeds in the family include - Himalayan, Chinchilla, Bohemian Rex, Exotic, Foldex, Selkirk rex, Scottish Fold, and British – that all need to be monitored for PKD with the same PKD genetic test.


College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri

Besides the many varieties listed with the cat breeds in Table 1, many breeds have developed from purposely crossing two different breeds (Table 2). A historical example is the Tonkinese, which is cs/cb at the Color locus (i.e., tyrosinase, TYR) and hence kind of part Siamese and part Burmese9. The Australian mist and the Burmilla have influences from Burmese cats and Ocicats have Siamese and Abyssinian genetic influences. The key point is – each cross-bred breed needs to be monitored for the same health problems or traits (desired or undesired) that are found in the breeds of origin / foundation. Of the 40 cats breeds in Table 1, 25 breeds, over 50%, have unique, single gene DNA variants (some still unknown) that define their breed. In the case of Long fur, the Persian was amongst the first be to be presented with this phenotype, however, the DNA variant was already prevalent in the random bred populations of the world and was easily inserted into other breeds. Ragdolls, Norwegian Forest cats and Maine Coons have different causal variants for Long fur in the same gene (fibroblast growth factor 5, FGF5), while also sharing the Persian DNA mutation, but overall, long fur is not necessarily a breed defining characteristic. For Siamese, the cs/cs genotype was originally specific to this breed, hence breed defining, but its popularity spread to many other breeds as time passed, as has the Ticked variants of the Abyssinian10. Finally, cat breeding has the added conundrum of breeds produced from crosses with wild felids, such as Bengals from domestics of various breeds (Egyptian Mau, Abyssinian) crossed with the leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) (Table 2).

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

Domestic crosses with servals (Leptailurus serval) producing Savannahs and Jungle cats (Felis chaus) producing the Chausie have also grown in popularity. Other spin-off breeds, such as Jungle Curl, Serengeti, Cheetoh, and Desert lynx, have wild felid genetic contributions. Because of the millions of years of evolution time between these felids, reproductive capabilities are often compromised and can unexpectedly reappear in future generations. All these breeds need to monitor the known health concerns and traits from the parental domestic breeds of origin, as well as anything discovered within the wild felid parents. Several studies have now shown the genetic relationships and distinctions of cat breeds and random bred populations11,12.


GC DW CHUN LAP DYNAMIC, bred & photographed by Alex Luk Chun Lap

These relationships are important to the breeder, owner and the veterinarian for the monitoring of health care and to help develop efficient breeding programs, producing cats of desired phenotypes and morphological types. Genetic testing can assist health, breed and population management, provided commercial genetic testing entities promote the right genetic tests for the right breeds. Standardization of recommendations is now proceeding by the cat genetics research community. References:

College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

Lyons et al., J Am Soc Nephrol. 2004 Oct;15(10):2548-55. Gandolfi et al., PLoS One. 2012;7(12): e53173. Lyons et al., BMC Genomics. 2016 Mar 31;17:265 Cogné et al., Am J Hum Genet. 2020 Jun 4;106(6):893-904. Menotti-Raymond et al., Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010 Jun;51(6):2852-9. Menotti-Raymond et al., J Hered. 2007 May-Jun;98(3):211-20. Cat Fanciers’ Association Complete Cat Book. 2004 Ed. Siegal, Collins Reference. Penny Illustrated, 1871 Lyons LA, et al., Anim Genet. 2005 Apr;36(2):119-26. Lyons et al., Anim Genet. 2021 Jun;52(3):321-332. Kurushima et al., Anim Genet. 2013 Jun;44(3):311-24. Lipinski et al., Genomics. 2008 Jan;91(1):12-21.


GALLERY OF EXOTIC SHORTHAIRS

CFA NW CHUN LAP LITTLE BROWN JUG Bred and photographed by Alex Luk Chun Lap


GALLERY OF EXOTIC SHORTHAIRS

CHUN LAP KENNY JOHN Bred and photographed by Alex Luk Chun Lap


GALLERY OF EXOTIC SHORTHAIRS

CHUN LAP LADY GALADRIEL Bred and photographed by Alex Luk Chun Lap


GALLERY OF EXOTIC SHORTHAIRS

CFA GC DW CHUN LAP DYNAMIC Bred and photographed by Alex Luk Chun Lap


GALLERY OF EXOTIC SHORTHAIRS

CFA GP CHUN LAP JAJAJAMBO Bred and photographed by Alex Luk Chun Lap


GALLERY OF EXOTIC SHORTHAIRS

CHUN LAP BLESS MY SOUL Bred and photographed by Alex Luk Chun Lap


GALLERY OF EXOTIC SHORTHAIRS

CFA GC DW CHUN LAP DYNAMIC. Below left, with owner, Gloria Leung, right with friend Morning Yeung. Bred and photographed by Alex Luk Chun Lap


GALLERY OF EXOTIC SHORTHAIRS

CFA GC CHUN LAP HOT SEASON Bred and photographed by Alex Luk Chun Lap


GALLERY OF EXOTIC SHORTHAIRS

CHUN LAP BONDING Bred and photographed by Alex Luk Chun Lap


GALLERY OF EXOTIC SHORTHAIRS

CH. MISSIONHILL CROWN JEWEL Bred and photographed by Munira Murrey


GALLERY OF EXOTIC SHORTHAIRS

CALLYN’S CANDY KISSES Bred and photographed by Lynn Cooke


GALLERY OF EXOTIC SHORTHAIRS

CFA CH. CALLYNS’ REDY WHEN U R Bred and photographed by Lynn Cooke


GALLERY OF EXOTIC SHORTHAIRS

CFA GC, RW CALLYNS’ SUPERSTICIOUS Bred and photographed by Lynn Cooke


GALLERY OF EXOTIC SHORTHAIRS

CFA GC, NW CALLYNS’ EYE CANDY as a KITTEN Bred and photographed by Lynn Cooke


GALLERY OF EXOTIC SHORTHAIRS

CH. PADDINGTON JOHNNY RINGO Bred and photographed by Annamaria Martin.


GALLERY OF EXOTIC SHORTHAIRS

PADDINGTON LOLLIPOP BLING Bred and photographed by Annamaria Martin.


GALLERY OF EXOTIC SHORTHAIRS

Above & left: GC, TANIVER HOWS THAT – AS A KITTEN. Right: as an adult. Bred by Cheryle St. Clair-Newman. Photos by Wendy Powell


GALLERY OF EXOTIC SHORTHAIRS

BR.DB.GC, WINDEACRES WALKING IN THE RAIN Bred by Barbara Beatson. Owned and Photos by Shirley Stephenson.


GALLERY OF EXOTIC SHORTHAIRS

Above: CH. WILLANGI GEORGIA GIRL - Below: Her daughter WILLANGI YOU ARE MY DREAM Bred and photographed by Jan Jewson


GALLERY OF EXOTIC SHORTHAIRS

Above: CFA GC. CHUN LAP SEAL THE DEAL as a KITTEN – Owned by Jiao Chen. Below: CHUN LAP ICING ON THE CAKE – Owned by Gloria Leung. Bred and photographed by Alex Luk Chun Lap.


NILGIRIS BURU KAIHAU (Imp.Eng.) Sable Burmese female, born April 21, 1956. Owned by Mrs. Beryl Sedcole & Mr. Hayden Pollock Photo: Mrs. B. Sedcole. The Harrison Weir Collection. Backgrounds © www.gographic.com


AN HISTORICAL PORTRAIT OF

‘Sable Burmese female imported by Mrs. Beryl Sedcole’ BY

JOHN G. SMITHSON

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

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND When Mrs Lilian France of Derby imported the first American-bred Burmese into her ‘Chinki’ cattery in the United Kingdom in 1949, she opened a veritable flood-gate; one that would largely influence the spread of the modern-day Burmese breed around the globe. Her first imports were two females and a male, respectively named ‘Chindwins Minou Twn’, ‘USA Ch. Laos Cheli Wat’ and ‘Casa Gatos Da Foong’.² In 1953, Mrs France, assisted by the late Lord Aberconway, imported another male, ‘Casa Gatos Darkee’.² It was from various combinations of the lines of these two ‘Casa Gatos’ males and their sons and daughters, that enough breeding stock was eventually established in the United Kingdom to allow Burmese kittens of sufficient quality to be available for export to breeders located elsewhere around the globe. When Mrs France made a decision to move the Channel Islands in early 1954, all her Burmese stock were taken over by Mr and Mrs V. Watson in March of that year.²

‘Nilgiris Buru Kaihou’, a sable female, was sired by the original American imported male ‘Casa Gatos Da Foong’. She was one of three sable Burmese imported into New Zealand in early 1957, by Mrs Beryl Sedcole and her son, Mr Hayden Pollock, of Auckland. The three were a male, ‘Merrick Apollo’, and two females, including ‘Nilgiris Buru Kaihau’ and the lovely little ‘Paquita’, who was a favourite with Mrs Sedcole. ¹ These three cats were later supplemented by the addition of another sable Burmese male, ‘Merrick Viking’, imported by Mrs Sedcole and Mr Pollock in 1958. ‘Viking’ brought with him, a much needed partial outcross, being sired by ‘Darshan Khudiram’, another American-bred sable Burmese, imported into the United Kingdom by Mrs Watson. From these four cats, the Burmese breed gained its initial foot-hold in New Zealand, with the ‘Ransein’ cattery actively promoting the breed and sharing the lines within New Zealand and with breeders across the Tasman, in Australia.¹


Dr. W. Groom, breeder of Nilgiris Buru Kaihau. Later Chairman of the G.C.C.F. Photo: Courtesy Molly Oliver-Sasson

PARENTAGE & OWNERSHIP ‘Buru Kaihau’ was born on 26th April 1956, sired by Mr and Mrs Watson’s ‘Casa Gatos Da Foong’ and out of Dr and Mrs Groom’s queen, ‘Lamont Oonagh’. Her dam, was sired by ‘Casa Gatos Darkee’ so in ‘Buru Kaihau’ the lines of both males were combined. ‘Buru Kaihau’ was in fact line-bred upon her sire ‘Da Foong’ as her maternal grand-dam ‘Trinity Tatiana’ was from a half-brother to half-sister mating, both parents being sired by ‘Da Foong’. This line-breed on ‘Da Foong’, then out to ‘Darkee’ (considered to be a reasonable outcross) and back to ‘Da Foong’ gave ‘Buru Kaihau’ a fixed genetic make-up that was predominated by her sire ‘Casa Gatos Da Foong’

‘Casa Gatos Da Foong’ Sire of Nilgiris Buru Kaihau Photo: Cats Magazine, The CFA Foundation, Inc.

genetic make-up that was predominated by her sire ‘Casa Gatos Da Foong.’ From her photograph, loaned to the author some 36 years ago, we see a sable Burmese of definitive style, with a firm muzzle and chin, as well as good eye shape and appearing to be stockier than we would expect. This makes sense when we read Grace Burgess’s description of ‘Da Foong’, when comparing him to Mrs. France’s imported female:“Ch. Laos Cheli Wat and Casa Gatos da Foong differed quote a lot in appearance –da Foong had shorter legs and both his head and body were broader. His eye colour was better than Cheli’s but her face was more oriental and her coat was closer-lying than Da Foong’s.” ²


decided he would like to breed them and subsequently worked to convince Mrs. Sedcole to support his proposal. Mrs Sedcole, being worldly-wise, and suspecting that most of the work in feeding and looking after the cats would fall on her shoulders, duly proposed that they go into a partnership - in order to breed Burmese. ¹ According to Grace Burgess: “They wanted a prefix indicative of the breed and so chose ‘Ransein’ – the ‘Ran’ for ‘Rangoon’ and the ‘sein’ from ‘Bashien’ – two large cities in Burma.”² The cats, she advises, were brought through an agent in England, who chose the cats and made all the arrangements surrounding travel and travelling boxes. ²

SIBLINGS & SHOWS ‘Ch. Casa Gatos Darkee’ Maternal Grandsire of Nilgiris Buru Kaihau Photo: Cats Magazine, The CFA Foundation, Inc.

‘Buru Kaihau’, along with ‘Paquita’ and ‘Merrick Viking’ were registered in the joint ownership of Sedcole and Pollock, on 1st May 1957.² Mrs. Sedcole was already a successful breeder of Persians under her own ‘Ellrose’ prefix, with an established reputation. She and her son Hayden met Miss Kathleen Yorke when the latter visited New Zealand to judge at Auckland Cat Club’s show in June 1956. Miss Yorke had been impressed with the standard of the cats she had handled and assessed and had apparently voiced her opinion that she would like to see the Burmese breed established in New Zealand. Her description of the Burmese breed impressed the young Mr Pollock, who apparently decided he would like to breed them and subsequently worked to convince Mrs Sedcole to support his proposal.

As a daughter of ‘Casa Gatos Da Foong’, ‘Buru Kaihau’ has a great many sire siblings. Most numerous among these are in the main, those bred by Mrs France under her ‘Chinki’ prefix ⁵, out of her two American imported queens ‘Laos Cheli Wat’ and ‘Chindwin’s Minou Twn’. There were equally numerous cats by ‘Da Foong’ also bred by his secondary owners, Mr and Mrs Watson, under their ‘Sealcoat’ prefix.⁶ But other well-known breeders who more than a handful of kittens from ‘Da Foong’ included the likes of Mrs M. Smith with her ‘Sablesilk’ cats⁵ and Dr and Mrs Groom with their ‘Nilgiris’ cats.⁵ There are in fact, at least five kittens recorded in the litter which included ‘Nilgiris Buru Kaihau’, born 26th April, 1956; three being the females and one male. Two of the other three females were ‘Nilgiris Buri Atakata’ and ‘Nilgiris Buro Raumahora’, who were both exported to France, which left one female ‘Nilgiris Buru Kinhau’ and the male ‘Nilgiris Bura Turea’. Records also indicate that a repeat breeding later produced another full sibling, namely the female ‘Nilgiris Bura Kilimanjaro’ born 15th June,


Mrs. Beryl Sedcole, with her three initial imports from the United Kingdom. Left to right: Females ‘Paquita’ and ‘Niligiris Buru Kaihau,’ both daughters of Casa Gatos Da Foong and the male ‘Merrick Apollo,’ a son of Ch. Casa Gatos Darkee. Photo: NZ Freelance, 1957.

which left one female ‘Nilgiris Buru Kaihau’ and the male ‘Nilgiris Bura Turea’. Records also indicate that a repeat breeding later produced another full sibling, namely the female ‘Nilgiris Bura Kilimanjaro’ born 15th June, 1956. ⁵

A full litter brother to ‘Paquita’, named ‘Tomahawk’, was originally retained by Miss Dunn, but later sold to a syndicate in Australia. Grace Burgess gives us further insight into this sire-sibling of ‘Buru Kaihau’: -

Another sire sibling of note in this case is ‘Paquita’, born, 11th June, 1956, bred by Miss S.M. Dunn, as it was she who was exported to New Zealand along with her half-sister ‘Buru Kaihau’ and the male ‘Merrick Apollo’ who was a son of ‘Casa Gatos Darkee’.

“Miss Dunn had already sent one of the first Burmese (Paquita) to New Zealand but had kept her litter-brother Tomahawk for the English show season. At this time it was not compulsory in the United Kingdom to use a prefix and I understand Miss Dunn preferred to keep the use of her prefix for the progeny of cats of her own breeding.


keep the use of her prefix for the progeny of cats of her own breeding. This season had proved very successful for Tomahawk as he was only one point behind the winner of a points cup awarded for the most successful Burmese kitten of the year.” ² Eventually however Miss Dunn let it be known to her contacts in Australia that ‘Tomahawk’ was available for purchase. A syndicate of four breeders was formed and in due course, ‘Tomahawk’ arrived in Sydney in August 1957, aged 14 months. ² NEW ZEALAND SHOWS: Not long after their arrival in New Zealand, ‘Apollo’, ‘Paquita’ and ‘Buru Kaihau’ were finally benched at a Show organised by the Auckland Cat Club and the Auckland branch of the Official Siamese Cat Club. This took place in the Concert Chamber of the Auckland Town Hall on 2nd March, 1957, with all three cats being placed on ‘Exhibition Only’.² Subsequent to this initial public exposure, ‘Nilgiris Buru Kaihou’ became the first Burmese cat to be shown competitively in New Zealand, successfully gaining her Championship title on 7th June, 1958 – a hallmark date for Burmese in New Zealand! ‘Merrick Apollo’ and ‘Paquita’ followed suit, gaining their respective Championships on the same day, 12th July, 1958.¹ At the Hamilton Cat Club show of 1957, Judge Mrs Bernice (Bunny) Downey, had placed ‘Buru Kaihau’ ahead of ‘Paquita’ in the class. This somewhat surprised Mrs Sedcole, who had been told by the English agent that she expected ‘Paquita’ to do better at shows and that ‘Buru Kaihau would be a useful brood queen.²

‘Gr.Ch. Tomahawk’, the first Burmese to be imported into Australia, being held by Mrs. G. Allen. Photo: Daily Telegraph. Burmese Cats, by Grace Burgess.

It therefore appears possible that the decision of Mrs Downey to award a first to ‘Buru Kaihau’ and a second to ‘Paquita’, may have played some part in the fact that it was ‘Buru Kaihau’ who first gained her Championship. BREEDING & PROGENY: Although ‘Buru Kaihau’ appears to have had a rocky early start to her breeding career, she eventually became an extremely reliable brood queen. Grace Burgess elaborates further: “Strangely enough, Paquita had seven kittens in her first litter and Nilgiris Buru Kaihau had only one kitten – born dead. However, both queens proved to be prolific breeders and Paquita had seven or eight litters of seven kittens each time, and normally her litters were of five or six kittens.


Litter of nine sable Burmese kittens by ‘Merrick Apollo’ and out of ‘Nilgiris Buru Kaihau’ Bred by Messrs Sedcole and Pollock. Photo: Mrs Beryl Sedcole and Mr Hayden Pollock ⁴

one kitten – born dead. However, both queens proved tobe prolific breeders and Paquita had seven or eight litters of seven kittens each time, and normally her litters were of five or six kittens. Nilgiris Buru Kaihau, in spite of her poor start, also proved an exceptional queen and often had litters of six or seven kittens and had one litter of nine kittens, all of which were reared.” ² “Mrs Sedcole said that with this litter, to rear it, once a day she hand-fed all the kittens and so took some of the burden off the little mother.” Confirming the progeny of ‘Nilgiris Buru Kaihau’ presented the writer with some difficulty, as Volume Three of the NZ Governing Council of the Cat Fancy’s Stud-book, appears not to have been published. This would have covered the period between the end of Volume 2, (31st December, 1954) and the start of Volume Four, in the late 1950s. Fortunately copies of the pedigrees of Mrs Sedcoles imports are preserved, and details of their New Zealand registration, can be found in Grace Burgess’s invaluable book, ‘Burmese Cats’ published in 1970.

Grace also provides a list of the names of ‘Ransein’ cats exhibited at major New Zealand shows between 1958 and 1963. But although we find the names of the cats in this publication, it does not identify the parentage of each exhibit. So this information has had to be gathered from a combining research of old pedigrees and examining the early Australian studbooks. Confirmed progeny of Ch. Nilgiris Buru Kaihau (Imp.UK), now includes: ‘Ransein Prince Imrahil’ (Sable Burmese), owned by Mr & Mrs N.C. Tasker, of Christchurch. Sons of ‘Ransein Prince Imrahil’ that made their way to Australia, included ‘Chindah Beyan’ and ‘Chindah Balek’, both bred by Mr & Mrs Rowlands.⁹ ‘Balek’ holds the distinction of having sired the first Champagne Burmese in Australia, ‘Ashlea Bindi’ born 1st October, 1968.² Both ‘Beyan’ and ‘Balek’ left a considerable number of progeny on Australian pedigrees. ‘Ransein La Rue’ (Imp.NZ) (Sable Burmese), owned by Mrs E. Henry, of Brisbane, Australia.² ‘Ransein Silmarein’ (Sable Burmese), owned by Miss E.F. Christie, New Zealand.²


‘Ransein Silmarein’ (Sable Burmese), owned by Miss E.F. Christie, New Zealand.² ‘Ch. Ransein Chindet’ (Imp.NZ) (Sable Burmese), appears in the pedigrees of many early Australian Burmese, and ‘Chindet’ holds the distinction of being the first Burmese ever to be Best Male Cat in the Sydney Royal Easter Show.² He was sired by ‘Ch.Merrick Apollo’, and out of ‘Nilgiris Buru Kaihau’.⁹ At the time of writing, the author is seeking to confirm the backgrounds of the following ‘Ransein’ cats from this period: ‘Ransein Hyraji’ (Imp.NZ) and ‘Ransein Fu-Yen’, (Imp.NZ) were two Sable Burmese bought by Mrs Harold Abbott, of Sydney; so it is extremely likely that at least one of these two females was out of ‘Buru Kaihau’. ‘Gr.Ch. Ransein Lucasta’ (Imp.NZ) is another female that is currently being traced. She was the dam of the Blue Burmese ‘Gr.Ch. Mimboo Lucifer’ bred in 1962, owned by Mrs J. Caird, and he was the first Blue Burmese in Australia to become a Champion, and then Grand Champion.² ‘Lucasta’ was out of ‘Ch.Ransein Polve Angel’. (another Sable Burmese). IN SUMMARY: ‘Nilgiris Buru Kaihau’ is a sable Burmese female with a string of ‘first’s’ to her credit. She was one of the three first Burmese cats to arrive in New Zealand. Similarly she was among those three when they became the first Burmese to be benched at a New Zealand Cat Show. She was then the first Burmese cat to become a New Zealand Champion. She was likely to have been the first Burmese female in New Zealand to produce and raise a litter of nine kittens. She was also the sire-sibling of ‘Paquita’, the dam of the sable Burmese female who produced not only the first Blue Burmese to be born in New Zealand, but the first all Blue litter out of Sable parents born in the southern hemisphere.

litter out of Sable parents born in the southern hemisphere. Her son ‘Chindet’ was the first Burmese cat to be Best Male Cat in Show at a Sydney Royal Easter Show; while her grandson, ‘Balek’ sired the first Champagne Burmese born in Australia. But more than this, the story of ‘Nilgiris Buru Kaihau’ is a poignant reminder that when people choose to work together, and to share their valuable bloodstock, they create amazing opportunities for their selected breed to expand and cross national boundaries. It should be remembered that ‘Niligiris Buru Kaihau’ and her travelling companions ‘Paquita’ and ‘Merrick Apollo’ were the direct progeny of American-born cats. The dream to recreate and define what was a true breeding Burmese cat, developed as a team effort in the United States, with so much care and attention to detail, was now being realised in the farthest corners of the known world. An original bloodline that started in California was now seeding itself on what was essentially a somewhat large island, at the bottom of the South Pacific; ‘Aotearoa’, in the ‘land of the long white cloud.’ References: 1.

‘Notes from an interview with Beryl Sedcole’ by John G. Smithson, for an article in the NZCF Yearbook’(1980) 2. ‘Burmese Cats’ (1970) by Grace Burgess. 3. ‘Photo of Dr W. Groom’ courtesy of Mrs Molly Sasson. 4. ‘Photos from Mrs Beryl Sedcole & Mr Hayden Pollock’ (Ransein) 5. ‘Kensington Kitten& Neuter Cat Club Show Catalogues’ (1952-1956) 6. ‘Fur and Feather’ August, 1954. 7. ‘NZ Freelance’ (1957) 8. ‘Cats Magazine’ (March/April, 1971), courtesy of The CFA Foundation. 9. ‘The Stud Guide to Australasian Registered Cats’ (All Breeds) 1969. 10. Photos and Quotations as per credits noted.


A-CAT-EMY CONCEPTS is proud to present A NEW PUBLICATION FROM ‘THE ALCHEMY OF CAT BREEDS’ SERIES

‘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-CAT-EMY CONCEPTS is proud to present A NEW PUBLICATION FROM ‘THE ALCHEMY OF CAT BREEDS’ SERIES

‘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.


Backgrounds © www.gographic.com


AN HISTORICAL REVIEW OF

BY

JOHN G. SMITHSON INTRODUCTION Many of the Victorian era animal artists known to us best, including Harrison Weir, Louis Wain, Richard Moore, Madame Henriette Ronner, William Luker Jnr, and others, were just as well known for illustrating dogs as they were cats, and in some cases moreso; and this was equally true of the English painter Lilian Cheviot. But unlike those aforementioned, we know very little about the woman artist Lilian Cheviot except for her best known paintings of Dogs, and Horses, Portraits and occasionally cats. In 1901, when Cassell & Co., asked the wellknown cat judge Miss Frances Simpson to write ‘The Book of the Cat’ and William Luker Jnr and Madame Ronner to provide illustrations for it, at the time it was because cats were the upcoming domestic species, for which they had not produced a major book. Its debut was in serial form in late 1902 and in book form in 1903. They had however, long since published the original ‘Book of The Dog’ back in 18XX, but by 1905 they were looking to publish a newer edition. We find therefore, numerous paintings of various dog breeds in the new 1907 edition

(c1876-1936) dog breeds in the 1907 edition of ‘The New Book of The Dog’, by Miss Lilian Cheviot; including the two chosen opposite, from book plates in The Harrison Weir Collection; namely the smoothcoated St. Bernard ‘Champion The Viking’ and the Collie, ‘Woodmansterne Derek’. Other breeds painted by Miss Cheviot, included in this book were the Bloodhound, the Greyhound Bitch, the English Setter, the Sussex Spaniels, the Cocker Spaniels, the Dachshund, the Welsh Terriers, and the Pekinese, (today Pekingese). But it is not uncommon to find book plate prints of her work featuring many versions of British Bulldogs, and /or British Bulldogs with both Border Terriers and Irish Terriers. In that we know that she also painted Blue Persians during a later period, and that Sam Woodiwiss was heavily into British Bulldogs, it seems highly probably the Miss Cheviot and Mr. Woodiwiss would have been acquainted.Even a cursory examination of early cat fanciers and judges shows an overwhelming influx of participants from the dog world, among them Sam Woodiwiss, Fred Gresham, Charles Lane, H.C. Brooke, Lady Gertrude Decies and many others.


The caption for this period newspiece reads: ‘Miss Lilian Cheviot , the well-known animal painter, finishing one of her exhibits for the Olympia Horse Show. Photographer, periodical and date unknown. Image courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection.

Even a cursory search of her life reveals little else about this rather remarkable artis, other than she lived from c.1876 to 1936, and was active as an artist between 1894 and 1930. Nothing can be found about her parentage, or where she was born, but from Wikipedia we learn that she lived in South Molesey in Surrey, and studied art at the Frank Calderon’s School of Animal Painting and

1854, and then followed by ‘The Adventures of a

and at Walter Donne’s Life School, where she practiced portraiture. No portraits of her are extant in the National Portrait Gallery, but we are fortunate to have the above image of her painting at the easel from an undated news clipping held in The Harrison Weir Collection. In many of her works, you will find more than one animal portrait, and it is relatively common to find images were embedded into his caricatures, led to him being engaged by numerous periodicals of his day.


This fine coloured image is entitled ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Painting by Lilian Cheviot. Undated book plate in The Harrison Weir Collection.

to find as in these pieces, a dog with a horse, or a cat with a dog, or two or three dogs together. She appears to have a special connection to dogs and horses and her feline images are much rarer. A glimpse into the sales archives of her originals shows that examples of her original paintings that still comes to the market from time to time today

today, can still garner quite significant prices, dependent on both the subject matter and on their condition. During her lifetime, she is known to have exhibited with the Royal Academy in London, in 1895 and 1899. One of her more celebrated works was a piece painting were embedded into his caricatures, led to him being engaged by numerous periodicals of his day.


Blue Persian queen with her litter of three kittens Painting by Lilian Cheviot. Undated book plate in The Harrison Weir Collection.

entitled ‘On the way to the Horse Fair’, which was published in the book ‘Women Painters of the World’ in 1905. Our first connection with Miss Lilian Cheviot was the discovery of the above book plate image of a Blue Persian queen with her litter of three kittens, which the writer was keen to purchase as an illustration for his history of the development of the Blue Persian cat in ‘A Persian Rhapsody In Blue’. Ironically, the caption reads ‘Silver Persians’, clearly labelled as such by a perso

someone with absolutely no knowledge of feline breeds or colours! Since then, we have found one or two other images of pedigreed cats among her works, but none of which we are in a position to include here. As is often the case, although wellknown to the British public during her lifetime, her work, and her life story has not been highly publicised since that time and it is mainly private collectors and investors in art, who have noticed the rare talent in her work.


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The Harrison Weir Collection’s Miniature by Ellen Sylvia Shaw of Blue Persian

Photos: John & Gillie Hamshere & The Harrison Weir Collection


recent finds… Champion Raleigh … As our readers will already know, it is exciting when we are able to match a cat from any Registry record to a photograph, but this is not always possible, particularly where the cats are from the 19th century or the early 20th century. In some of those cases we can possibly find sketches of line drawings of the cats in old newspapers articles, with illustrations of the prizewinners; but it is also especially sweet when we can locate an original piece of artwork, whether created from life, or from a photograph. Such was the case with the Champion blue Persian male, ‘Raleigh’ born August 7th, 1931. His breeder was a Mrs. Tulley, who had bred her blue queen ‘Elizabeth of Boreham’ - who was herself the product of a father/daughter breeding based on the famous ‘’,’ to Mrs. Gretta Yeates’ male, ‘Son O’ Flick’. ‘Son of Flick’ was by the popular ‘Flick-A-Maroo’ and a daughter of another popular male, ‘Champion Colneside Billy Bumpet’. This meant that ‘Raleigh’ had an enviable pedigree, of the best Blues extant during the 1920’s. He was first owned by Gretta Yeates, who may have taken him in lieu of a stud fee, but he was later transferred to Lady Eardley Wilmot, of the well-known ‘Henley’ cattery. She exhibited him successfully, and in the GCCF studbook Vol.6 we find his wins listed as: 2 nd Yorkshire, 1932; 1st and Ch. M.C.C.C., 1933; 3rd Blue Persian, 1933; 2nd Newbury, 1933; 1st and Ch. S.C.C.C., 1934; ex.3rd M.C.C.C., 1934; and 1st and Ch, S.W.C.C., 1934. He contributed significantly to the gene pool as a sire. Among his progeny we find several breeding cats bred by Mrs. Oglethorpe, among them ‘Ceres of the Court’,(1933) who was exported to Hong Kong. In a repeat breeding a male named ‘Endeavour’(1934) was owned by Mrs. Gretta Yeates. From a litter to Mrs. Oglethorpe’s ‘Ch. Pierette of the Court,’ came Mrs. Oglethorpe’s female ‘Fifinella of the Court’, and a male, ‘It of Henley’ who was retained by Lady Eardley Wilmot. The miniature painting of ‘Champion Raleigh’ opposite was created by miniature artist Ellen Sylvia Shaw, (1868-1947) and was painted on porcelain and framed in a hammered sterling silver frame. It is believed to have been an exhibition piece for this artist at the Royal Miniature Society in 1938. She is known to have exhibited between 1899 -1924, 9 paintings at the Royal Academy, 3 at the Walker in Liverpool, 1 at the Royal Society of British artists, 5 at the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours, 11 at the Oil Painters Institute, and 21 at the Society of Women Artists. She is best known for her paintings of dogs. This piece was probably based on the photograph bottom left opposite. It is distinctly possible it may have been owned by Lady Eardley Wilmot, but now a recent addition to The Harrison Weir Collection.


CFA DW CHUN LAP LITTLE BROWN JUG


FACTFILE Pet name: Breed:

EXOTIC SHORTHAIR

Colour:

Brown Classic Patched Tabby

Date of Birth: August 5, 2019 Sire:

GC Chun Lap Hot Season

Dam: Chun Lap Dare To Dream Breeder: Luk Chun Lap Ownes:

SHOWS AWARDS & TITLES

‘JUG’

Luk Chun Lap

2019 DECEMBER 8 – NEFA CAT CLUB , HONG KONG Top Ten Placings – 2nd, 2nd, 5th, 5th. 2020 JANUARY 11 /12 - DEAR MEOW CAT CLUB, HK. High Finals with 2 Best Kitten Awards Highest Scoring Kitten in Show 2020 FEBRUARY 1 – DEAR MEOW CAT CLUB, HK. High Finals with 2 Best Kitten Awards Highest Scoring Kitten in Show DW Title as a Kitten 2019-2020

JUG’S STORY The following is a precis of an interview with Jug’s owner and caretaker, (Alex) Luk Chun Lap: Editor:

So, when did your journey into cat breeding begin?

Alex Luk:

I have always admired Persian type cats, but my natural preference was for the Exotic Shorthair. I began to take a serious interest in breeding sometime around 1997-1998.

Editor:

What were your first breeding cats?

Alex Luk:

Persians, two males and two females sourced from local breeders.

Editor:

Were you involved in a CFA Club at that time?

Alex Luk:

Yes. I was on the founding committee of the Hong Kong Cat Lover’s Society.

Editor:

What inspired you to specialise in Exotics?

Alex Luk:

My interest in Exotics peaked in 1998. I was already a big fan of the ‘Becton’ Exotics bred by Becky Orlando, when I saw that she had produced the top winning Exotic in CFA. Like a great many other breeders at the time, I adored those Exotics with such large round expressive eyes. They were truly a trademark look, - the ‘Becton eyes’. It was easy to be attracted by them, especially as they were not only round, but the eye colour was also intense.

Above: GC CHUN LAP HOT SEASON Below: CHUN LAP DARE TO DREAM The parents of ‘Chun Lap Little Brown Jug’ Photos: Alex Luk Chun Lap


Above left: Alex winning his first BIS with a red tabby & white Exotic under Don Williams in 1999, Centre; Alex winning a BIS on the same day with his imported silver tabby Persian, under Leta Williams. Photos: courtesy of Alex Luk Chun Lap.

Editor:

So, did your opinion of the style of the Becton cats have an influence on your choice of name for ‘Jug’?

Alex Luk:

Editor:

Alex Luk:

(Cont.)

Yes. Absolutely! Over a few years, Becky and I had become very close friends, so I decided to celebrate that by naming my special kitten to honour her own National Winning ‘Kitten of the Year, GC, NW. Becton Little Brown Jug.

he was absolutely the right cat, at the right time. I have now bred 10 further generations down from his amazing lines, selectively crossed, of course, to the best Persian lines I could find.

Editor:

When did you begin establishing a successful breeding program for the Exotic Shorthair?

I imagine that you very must have really enjoyed exhibiting him, then successfully breeding kittens from him that equally proved worthy of their own show wins.

Alex Luk:

Yes, of course. He was a pleasure to present on the show bench. He also had a remarkable, easy going show temperament, which he also passed on to his progeny. You can see that personality trait clearly in the photos of him, taken while he was relaxed enjoying the comforts of his own room at home.

To a large degree when I imported a Red Classic Tabby Exotic Shorthair male called GC, DW. Zoticats Buddy Love of Chun Lap DM. I really love a Classic tabby pattern! His superior reddish mahogany colour and tone was what the standard called for. So


Above: GC, DW Zoticats Buddy Love of Chun Lap DM when he won Best of the Best in 2005. Below left and right: Buddy Love enjoying the comforts of his own room. Photos: Alex Luk Chun Lap


Left: and right: CFA DW Chun Lap Little Brown Jug at home, playing on the bed! Photos: Alex Luk Chun Lap

Editor:

Now is the time for you to tell us a little about Jug’s parents and lines.

breeders of solid Persians, - Linda Acomb of the Scrimshaw cattery.

Alex Luk:

Her dam, Chun Lap Dare to Dream is a Brown Spotted Tabby female, a daughter of Chun Lap Dynamic. (Editor: See Gallery of Exotics),- so she has several generations of my own breeding. Dynamic, who is my Blue Tortie Tabby, is a CFA Grand Champion, a Division winner, and is a very typey female, - so Dare to Dream, has very good sound lines behind her.

A famous older full sister of Danger is GC, NW Scrimshaw Turbulence DM and with yet another brother being the famous black Persian male, GC. Scrimshaw Ruckus of Kuorii DM. The fact that Chun Lap Hot Season is the only Exotic male sired by Danger, is significant for me, and I am hoping this will provide a special chemistry for my Exotic breeding program.

Jug’s sire, is our Red Classic Exotic male, GC Chun Lap Hot Season. He has amazingly rich, red mahogany colour, and is now one of my main stud cats. He also carries a terrific Persian pedigree, as his sire is the magnificent black, GC. Scrimshaw Danger of Boberan, bred by one of of the most successful and famous breeders famoousbreeders of Per,

Editor:

It would certainly appear that you have done your research, but with 10 generations of your own breeding already behind you, and looking at the results, you do seem to already have established a strong strain of your own and needed to only find the right Persian outcross. And that you have done. So now can you tell us about Jugs’s birth…


CFA DW Chun Lap Little Brown Jug enjoying some time out in the garden and the sun. Photo: Alex Luk Chun Lap

Alex Luk:

Chun Lap Dare to Dream, had her litter early morning on August 5th 2019. I recall having been up most of the night just observing her and allowing her to finish delivering all the kittens by herself. The last one born was the smallest one but she blew me away with her incredibly round head, and a distinctly clear tabby pattern considering she had only just been born. But of course experience has taught me that it’s foolish to hold on to expectations, as kittens will go through so many changes in the first three weeks. Despite knowing this, I took every opportunity I could to observe her development whenever I was able to do so. I prayed that she would continue to grow, I really wanted to know if this breeding would live up to my expectations. concern was

Editor:

And did it meet your expectations?

Alex Luk:

Oh yes! - What has been the most exciting about Jug, is that every day she seemed to be adding more than I could ask for. Her head is so round with teeny tiny ears set on the side of her head, and her look is just so beautiful that it just melts my heart every time that I look at her! She has an incredible profile, with wonderfully smooth high doming to her forehead.

Editor:

So, what is the aim of your breeding program currently?

Alex Luk:

To breed and maintain good boning in my Exotics, huge round eyes, and exceptionally clear and well defined classic tabby patterns – and to carry on the legacy of outcrossing to only the very best of consistently good quality Persian bloodlines.


CFA DW CHUN LAP LITTLE BROWN JUG AT HER FIRST SHOW AS A KITTEN

CFA DW CHUN LAP LITTLE BROWN AT HER Photos: AlexJUG Luk Chun LapFIRST SHOW AS A KITTEN Photo: Alex Luk Chun Lap

Editor: Alex Luk:

I understand that you did not show for some time?

Alex Luk:

No, I took some-much needed time off, as I was at a cross-roads with both my personal life, and with my breeding program. I was sure that I needed a break from shows, to be in a better head space to make the right decisions about my future.

(Cont.)

When Jug turned three months old just looking at her made me realise that the time to go to shows again had now finally come. Her beauty had awoken me from my personal reverie. Editor:

When was her first show?

Alex Luk:

I began to look for information on available shows. There was a show on the calendar for December 8th, 2019. And better still, it appeared to be only 15 minutes drive away!

So everything was set! But my only concern was over her size and her development, especially so, when I compared her to her litter brother. However, although she was smaller she was still nicely balanced, and in the normal range. I wanted to feel comfortable about presenting her at her best. But I decided to enter her in the show anyway and throw caution to the wind, and to just go with the flow. I did bathe her every week to ensure that she stayed in show condition and other than that I let her choose whatever food she wanted for herself, as I don’t feel it is my place to attempt to force any cat to eat, for the sake of fattening them up to exhibit at a show. The day of the show finally arrived and by then Jug had turned into a beautiful young kitten, and by now

was


CFA DW CHUN LAP LITTLE BROWN JUG AT HER SECOND SHOW AS A KITTEN Left and Centre with Alex Luk Chun Lap and Right, with Morning Yeung. Photos: Courtesy of Alex Luk Chun Lap.

(Cont.)

was the right size to present. I was looking forward to showing her to fellow breeders of Exotics and also of course being able to present her in the show ring, to the respective judges. It is always a joy to present the fruit of our labours in the show hall. Making a final or retrieving a title is always a plus. But enjoying friendship, fun and good laugh, and spending time with old and/or new friends, is always the best part of such an amazing sport. I felt incredibly lucky that she made several finals at her very first show, including a 2nd,2nd, 3rd and 5th Best Kitten in Show.

Centre left: To the Victor- the spoils! Show Ribbons bear witness to Jug’s successes! Above: CFA Judge Brian Moser’s, Best All Breed Kitten Photos: courtesy Alex Luk Chun Lap


Left: ‘Jug’ with CFAwith JudgeCFA DonJudge Williams Alex Luk Chun Lapwith with‘Chun ‘ChunLap Lap Be Be My My Muse’ Above left: ‘Jug’ Donand Williams and Alex Muse’ Centre: ‘Jug’ with Alex after her highest scoring kitten win at her third show. Centre: ‘Jug’ with Alex and her many finals awards. Right, ‘Jug’ winning Best Kitten, under CFA Judge Ayumi Ueda CFA Judge Ayumi Ueda holding ‘Jug’ up as her Best Kitten in Show. (Photos courtesy of Alex Luk Chun Lap)

Photos: courtesy of Alex Luk Chun Lap.

(Cont.)

Feeling lucky, I immediately entered the next show, which was set down for January 11th and 12th 2020. I was keen to see if it would be possible for her to gain enough points for a DW Kitten win.

Editor:

So how did she do?

Alex Luk:

I was excited about putting her into this second show and she certainly did not disappoint, making most of the finals, including a couple of BEST KITTEN IN SHOW awards, and was highest scoring kitten in show.

Editor:

You must have been thrilled!

Alex Luk:

I most certainly was! Her next show was on February 1st and 2nd, 2020. It was another Dear Meow Cat Club Show, and she did fabulously. Again she made most of the finals, again including a couple of BEST KITTEN IN SHOW awards and also again, was highest scoring kitten in show. Sadly it was after this that Covid-19 intervened, so that all the remaining shows were cancelled.

(Cont.)

Even though Jug was only able to be exhibited at these three big Hong Kong shows, she still managed to gain enough points to be that years DW Kitten in our ID division. I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all the judges and friends who showed their love and admiration for my baby JUG. She sure is a dream come true for my love of the breed, and a welcome gift from God, after 20 plus years of breeding. She has helped to reignite the passion I have for breeding.

(Ed: STOP PRESS: As of this month, shows have begun again in Hong Kong. This Cream Tabby Exotic male, shown within the last two weeks was highest scoring cat in show, going from Open to new GC Chun Lap Timothee.)


CFA DW CHUN LAP LITTLE BROWN JUG AT HER THIRD KITTEN SHOW Photo: Alex Luk Chun Lap



GC TANIVER HOWS THAT BEING JUDGED AS A KITTEN Bred by Cheryle St.Clair-Newman. Owned by Shirley Hammond. Photo by Wendy Powell


LADY DOROTHY NEVILL as she appeared in 1844. Painted by G. Watts, (R.A.) Book Plate image from The Harrison Weir Collection. Backgrounds © www.gographic.com


AN HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF

Socialite, Plant Breeder & Garden Designer, BY

JOHN G. SMITHSON

Cat Fancier, Importer, Patron & Early Judge

INTRODUCTION Harrison Wlliam Weir and Lady Dorothy Nevill, (nee Dorothy Walpole); were contemporaries who shared a common interest for things botanical, ornithological and feline. They probably met quite early on, when the newly married and compulsively articulate Lady Nevill attended some of the track meets frequented by her husband and cousin, Reginald Nevill (the heir of his uncle Edward Walpole); and Dorothy’s father, Horatio, (another Walpole), and the 3rd Earl of Orford. Dorothy was herself, not particularly a fan of racing, once describing it as ‘the treacherous quicksand which is euphemistically known under the name of ‘The Turf’.¹ The Earl, was in the habit of betting and losing large, but although Dorothy’s husband Reginald also owned racehorses and was for a time associated with the Earl ‘on the turf’, he did not share in the Earl’s fondness of betting, nor did he injure his fortune by it. Weir of course, attended specific events on the racing calendar as an artist/reporter, working on behalf of the Illustrated London News, accompanied no doubt by some of his own ‘inlaws’, being married as he was, to the eldest daughter of the famous painter of race horses, John Frederick Herring Senior.

behalf of the Illustrated London News, accompanied no doubt by some of his own ‘inlaws’, being married as he was, to the eldest daughter of the famous painter of race horses, John Frederick Herring Senior. Herring, was similarly regularly expected to record the likenesses of the winning horses for a variety of sporting publications; and was followed in this, by at least two of his sons, one as a painter and the other as an illustrator for periodicals. JOINT INTERESTS The Nevill’s lived for a time on a large estate called ‘Dangstein’ near Petersfield in Kent, where for over 25 years, Lady Dorothy established and cultivated an enormous garden comprised of many Exotic species of plants. Her very considerable efforts in this regard had garnered a reputation for ‘Dangstein’ that almost rivalled that of ‘Kew Gardens’ in London. Dorothy was in fact, a rare commodity in her day and age, being aristocrat by birth, but more importantly a woman active in a man’s world, interested in the endeavours of naturalists and in the sciences.


Left: An early Siamese drawn by Weir. Right: An example of a ‘Whistling Pigeon’ with attached Bamboo pipes, like those owned by Dorothy Nevill Images: ‘Our cats’ (1889) by H.Weir. Period book plate of Chinese Whistling Pigeon (c.1870)

She could count among her many friends the botanists, Sir William Hooker, and his son, Joseph Hooker, (later Sir Joseph) as well as the eminent naturalist Mr Charles Darwin. It had been at the suggestion of Sir William Hooker, she that she had happily assisted Darwin from time to time, by providing him with rare examples of orchids for his studies and observations in relation to his book on ‘The Fertilisation of Orchids’ (1862); which, ‘had provided him with one of the finest test cases for the theory of evolution’. ² Weir had a connection to Darwin as well, through the formers expertise with Pigeons, and had assisted both Lady Dorothy and Darwin by supplying them both with Pigeons on separate occasions; Lady Dorothy keeping her for her gardens and for social entertainment reasons and Dr Darwin, when seeking stock for his experiments in breeding them and studying factors related to inheritance. All three were destined to share another common interest when Lady Dorothy obtained her first Siamese cats through the efforts of Mr. .R. Herbert of the Colonial Office, interceding with the Palace at Bangkok

.

R. Herbert of the Colonial Office, interceding with the Palace at Bangkok. Weir had visited and see the cats, probably as early as the late 1860’s and when he later formulated his plans around the first Crystal Palace Cat Shows in 1871 and 1872, he actively involved Lady Dorothy; who, along with her relative the Hon, Mrs Henry Walpole, officiated as Judges at the Second Crystal Palace Cat Show of December 1871. Lady Dorothy also successfully exhibited one of her Siamese cats, a female named ‘Poodles’ at the May 1872 Crystal Palace Cat Show. In 1873, Darwin is listed as one of the Patrons at the Birmingham National Cat Show and in 1875, both Lady Dorothy and Darwin acted as Patrons to a Crystal Palace Cat Show, and Darwin showed considerable interest in the inheritance of ‘polydactyly’ in cats, which were known to have passed on this trait to their progeny. PIGEONS & CATS In her memoirs, published in “Reminiscences’ (1906), Dorothy relates a humorous anecdote with regard to Weir, and the pigeons she had obtained from him:-


LADY DOROTHY NEVILL as she looked when living at Dangstein, circa 1865. Image: From her memoir ‘Under Five Reigns’ (1910)


“Mr. Harrison Weir, besides being an excellent artist, possessed a very considerable knowledge of natural history. The keeping of pigeons was one of his special hobbies. He once gave me some, but carelessly enough, after confiding them to the charge of the head gardener, I paid little further attention to them. A week or so later Mr. Harrison Weir came to pay us a visit, and on his arrival inquired: ‘Well, how are the pigeons I sent you?’ ‘Quite well,’ said I, ‘as happy as the day is long.’ To which he rejoined, ‘I know they are, for three days ago they all came back to their old home in my garden, and have remained there ever since.’ “Mr. Weir made the most delightful sepia sketches, and amongst my treasures I especially value the portrait of a lovely Siamese cat he painted for me. He was also a proficient in the art of portraying wild Nature, whilst in sketching birds, his talent has never since been equalled.” Likewise, she mentioned his ability as a artist which she clearly admired, and an instance when he had drawn (or painted) her cats:“Mr. Weir made the most delightful sepia sketches, and amongst my treasures I especially value the portrait of a lovely Siamese cat which he painted for me. He was also a proficient in the art of portraying wild Nature, whilst in sketching birds his talent has never since been equalled.” A LETTER FROM HARRISON WEIR It is clear from the record of Weir’s correspondence held in The Harrison Weir Collection, that the two friends corresponded frequently. Both were avid letter-writers. . But this particular letter between Harrison Weir and Lady Dorothy is which is the subject of this article is especially notable,

Lady Dorothy is especially notable, as it records a small but special and extremely meaningful event in the life of Harrison Weir; so much so, that he felt compelled to immediately relate the specifics of it to Lady Dorothy. She, having kept the letter for at least 30 years, then included it in one of her many memoirs, in ‘Reminiscences of Lady Dorothy Nevill’ (1906) published not long after his death. The following is her introduction, and full transcript of that correspondence: “At Dangstein, I used to keep a good many pets, the memory of which is still preserved, owing to the genius of the late Mr. Harrison Weir, who used frequently to come down to us – never perhaps, was anyone so devoted to the animal creation as he. The pleasant little incident described below, occurred many years ago; even then it will be observed that the artist was in feeble health, though, contrary to his expectations, he lived for many years after the letter was written, dying, indeed, but quite recently: “MY DEAR LADY DOROTHY NEVILL, ‘Thank you for your letter. My daughter never looked in the pocket of my portmanteau; she has now, and all is right. I am so sorry to have troubled you. I am a little better, but still very unwell and weak. I hope that Mr. Nevill continues to improve in health, and that you are well. When I am well enough, I shall look in for a chat. ‘I must tell you of a little incident which occurred to me when returning to Kent from Dangstein. For years, as I told you, people had told me of the good my work had done and was doing, but I could never learn it in any other way, excepting by the publisher being well satisfied etc. But the other day, when travelling, two gentlemen were talking in the compartment where I was sitting; one had the Animal World.


Original Letter in the hand of Harrison Weir, to Lady Dorothy Nevill. c.1875 ⁴ © Now held in the Archives of The Harrison Weir Collection.

by the publisher being well satisfied etc. But the other day, when travelling, two gentlemen were talking in the compartment where I was sitting; one had the Animal World. Presently he said: “This is doing good, and more than the Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.” “Well,” said the other, “I think the love of, and kindness to, animals has much increased of late years, and I believe it is entirely due to one man, a man by the name of Harrison Weir, who has done it all by his pen and pencil.” “There I quite agree with you,” said the other. “It is wonderful the good this man has done,” etc.

‘You may guess how I felt as I sat in my corner. I never, never felt so proud, and never, never so happy before. Do you know I thought I should have cried I felt so full of joy, as it was such an un-called for confirmation of what I had worked for night and day for more than thirty years. But I am afraid that my work is nearly ended (I hope not); I have only been able to work two days since I left you, and this in much pain and suffering. ‘With sincere regards to yourself and Mr. Nevill, believe me, my dear Lady Dorothy Nevill. Yours very truly, ‘(Signed) HARRISON WEIR.’


As can be easily understood from reading the above, the affirmations overheard by Weir, were made freely and willingly by the gentlemen on the train, and were as Weir acknowledged, an unexpected confirmation of everything that he had set out to humbly achieve, ‘by the power of his pencil’. In truth, Weir’s bird and animal illustrations influenced at least three generations of Victorian children, all of whom had grown up with his visual anecdotes about the ethical treatment and sagacity of birds and animals. Even after his death in 1906, his drawings were still being regularly republished in journals and children’s books for another 6 to 8 years. Through his art and his writing; his contribution to the cause of animal welfare has been immeasurable, and notable in that he was a clear force for societal change, both during and beyond his own lifetime. Lady Dorothy Nevill’ and Weir remained lifetime friends, and as the evidence suggests, she continued to support cat shows well into the mid 1870’s, drawing in high society ladies and men such as Darwin into the mix. Her contribution to horticulture has been underestimated, as, long before she established her extensive Gardens at Dangstein in Sussex, she was an early champion of the herbaceous border. Her efforts to serve science, and in particular her timely assistance to Mr. Darwin, were rewarded with public approbation when Darwin acknowledged her personally in one of his treatises. She was indeed one of the earliest to import Siamese cats, as witnessed by her descendant’s commentaries in ‘Exotic Groves’ (1984), in which the story of her many imported rare plants and animals are recorded.

This portrait of Harrison Weir was taken near the end of his life and published with his obituary. Image: ‘The Gardener’s Chronicle’ (1906)

But her greatest legacy were her memoirs, which, due to her society connections with the likes of Disraeli, Joseph Chamberlain, Darwin, the Prince of Wales, the older and younger Dukes of Wellington, Lord Salisbury etc, meant that her works were literally plundered by the biographers of her many extraordinarily famous and/or talented contemporaries. At her London salon, she entertained artists, authors, actors, politicians, royalty, and men and women of science. In an age when women were not generally accepted into such fields, she forged an influence through her contacts that was second to none.


THE INCOMPARABLE LADY DOROTHY NEVILL in London in 1906. She died March 24, 1912. Photo: Willoughby. ‘The Weekly’ (1906)


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