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After a Cat Show at the Crystal Palace, I usually receive a number of
letters requesting information. One asks: "What is a true tortoiseshell
like?" Another: "What is a tabby?" and yet another: "What is a blue
tabby?" One writes of the "splendid disposition" of his cat, another
asks how to cure a cat scratching the furniture, and so on.

After much consideration, and also at the request of many, I have
thought it best to publish my notes on cats, their ways, habits,
instincts, peculiarities, usefulness, colours, markings, forms, and
other qualities that are required as fitting subjects to exhibit at what
is now one of the instituted exhibitions of "The land we live in," and
also the Folk and other lore, both ancient and modern, respecting them.

It is many years ago that, when thinking of the large number of cats
kept in London alone, I conceived the idea that it would be well to
hold "Cat Shows," so that the different breeds, colours, markings, etc.,
might be more carefully attended to, and the domestic cat, sitting in
front of the fire, would then possess a beauty and an attractiveness to
its owner unobserved and unknown because uncultivated heretofore.
Prepossessed with this view of the subject, I called on my friend Mr.
Wilkinson, the then manager of the Crystal Palace. With his usual
businesslike clear-headedness, he saw it was "a thing to be done." In a
few days I presented my scheme in full working order: the schedule of
prizes, the price of entry, the number of classes, and the points by
which they would be judged, the number of prizes in each class, their
amount, the different varieties of colour, form, size, and sex for which
they were to be given; I also made a drawing of the head of a cat to be
printed in black on yellow paper for a posting bill. Mr. F. Wilson, the
Company's naturalist and show manager, then took the matter in charge,
worked hard, got a goodly number of cats together, among which was my
blue tabby, "The Old Lady," then about fourteen years old, yet the best
in the show of its colour and never surpassed, though lately possibly
equalled. To my watch-chain I have attached the silver bell she wore at
her debut.

My brother, John Jenner Weir, the Rev. J. Macdona, and myself acted as
judges, and the result was a success far beyond our most sanguine
expectations--so much so that I having made it a labour of love of the
feline race, and acting "without fee, gratuity, or reward," the Crystal
Palace Company generously presented me with a large silver tankard in
token of their high approval of my exertions on behalf of "the Company,"
and--Cats. Now that a Cat Club is formed, shows are more numerous, and
the entries increasing, there is every reason to expect a permanent
benefit in every way to one of the most intelligent of (though often
much abused) animals.

Next: The First Cat Show

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