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Yet nature is made better by no mean,
But nature makes that mean: so, o'er that art,
Which, you say, adds to nature, is an art
That nature makes.

Coriolanus, Act II. Scene I.

This requires much and careful consideration, and in this, as well as in
many other things, experience and theory join hands, while the knowledge
of the naturalist and fancier is of great and superlative value; yet,
with all combined, anything like certainty can never be assured,
although the possession of pedigree is added, and the different
properties of food, health, quality, and breed understood and taken into
account. Still, much may be gained by continued observation and close
study of the peculiar properties of colour, besides that of form. If,
for instance, a really, absolutely blue cat, without a shade of any
other colour, were obtainable, and likewise a pure, clear, canary
yellow, there is little doubt that at a distant period, a green would be
the ultimate goal of success. But the yellow tabby is not a yellow, nor
the blue a blue. There being, then, only a certain variety of colours in
cats, the tints to be gained are limited entirely to a certain set of
such colours, and the numerous shades and half-shades of these mixed,
broken, or not, into tints, markings light or dark, as desired. To all
colour arrangements, if I may so call them, by the mind, intellect, or
hand of man, there is a limit, beyond which none can go. It is thus far
and no further.

There is the black cat, and the white; and between these are intervening
shades, from very light, or white-gray, to darker, blue, dark blue,
blackish blue, gray and black. If a blue-black is used, the lighter
colours are of one tint; if a brown-black, they are another.

Then in what are termed the sandies and browns, it commences with the
yellow-white tint scarcely visible apart from white to the uninitiated
eye; then darker and darker, until it culminates in deep brown, with the
intervening yellows, reds, chestnuts, mahoganys, and such colours, which
generally are striped with a darker colour of nearly their own shade,
until growing denser, it ends in brown-black.

The gray tabby has a ground colour of gray. In this there are the
various shades from little or no markings, leaving the colour a brown or
gray, or the gray gradually disappearing before the advance of the black
in broader and broader bands, until the first is excluded and black is
the result.

The tortoiseshell is a mixture of colours in patches, and is certainly
an exhibition of what may be done by careful selection, mating, and
crossing of an animal while under the control of man, in a state of
thorough domestication. What the almond tumbler is to the pigeon
fancier, so is the tortoiseshell cat to the cat fancier, or the bizarre
tulip to the florist. As regards colour, it is a triumph of art over
nature, by the means of skilful, careful mating, continued with
unwearying patience. We get the same combination of colour in the
guinea-pig, both male and female, and therefore this is in part a proof
that by proper mating, eventually a tortoiseshell male cat should soon
be by no means a rarity. There are rules, which, if strictly followed
under favourable conditions, ought to produce certain properties, such
properties that may be desired, either by foolish (which generally it
is) fashion, or the production of absolute beauty of form, markings in
colours, or other brilliant effects, and which the true fanciers
endeavour to obtain. It is to this latter I shall address my remarks,
rather than to the reproduction of the curious, the inelegant, or the
deformed, such as an undesirable number of toes, which are impediments
to utility.

In the first place, the fancier must thoroughly make up his mind as to
the variety of form, colour, association of colours or markings by
which he wishes to produce, if possible, perfection; and, having done
so, he must provide himself with such stock as, on being mated, are
likely to bring such progeny as will enable him in due time to attain
the end he has in view. This being gained, he must also prepare himself
for many disappointments, which are the more likely to accrue from the
reason that, in all probability, he starts without any knowledge of the
ancestry or pedigree of the animals with which he begins his operations.
Therefore, for this reason, he has to gain his knowledge of any aptitude
for divergence from the ordinary or the common they may exhibit, or
which his practical experience discovers, and thus, as it were, build up
a family with certain points and qualities before he can actually embark
in the real business of accurately matching and crossing so as to
produce the results which, by a will, undeviating perseverance, and
patience, he is hoping to gain eventually--the perfection he so long,
ardently, and anxiously seeks to acquire; but he must bear in mind that
that, on which he sets his mark, though high, must come within the
limits and compass of that which is attainable, for it is not the
slightest use to attempt that which is not within the charmed circle of

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