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Various Colours

Those who have had much to do with breeding, and crossing of animals,
birds, or plants, well know that with time, leisure, and patience, how
comparatively easy it is to improve, alter, enlarge, or diminish any of
these, or any part of them; and looking at the cat from this standpoint,
now that it is becoming "a fancy" animal, there is no prophesying what
forms, colours, markings, or other variations will be made by those who
understand what can be done by careful, well-considered matching, and
skilful selection. We have now cats with no tails, short tails, and some
of moderate length, long tails bushy and hairy; but should a very long
tail be in request, I have no doubt whatever but that in a few years it
would be produced; and now that there is a cat club constituted for the
welfare and improvement of the condition, as well as the careful
breeding of cats, curious and unforeseen results are most likely to be
attained; but whether any will ever excel the many beautiful varieties
we now have, is a problem that remains to be solved.

This concludes the numerous varieties of colours and the proper
markings of the domestic cat, as regards beauty and the points of
excellence to be observed for the purposes of exhibition. These are
distinct, and as such, nearly all have classes for each individual
colour and marking, and therefore it is imperative that the owner should
note carefully the different properties and beauties of his or her
particular specimen, and also as carefully read the schedule of prizes
with such attention as to be enabled to enter his or her pet in the
proper class; for, it is not only annoying to the exhibitor but to the
judge to find an animal sometimes of extraordinary merit placed in the
"wrong class" by sheer inattention to the printed rules and
instructions prepared by the committee or promoters of the show. It is
exceedingly distasteful, and I may say almost distressing, to a judge
to find a splendid animal wrongly entered, and so to feel himself
compelled to "pass it," and to affix the words fatal to all chance of
winning--"Wrong class." Again let me impress on exhibitors to be
careful--very careful--in this matter--this matter of entry--for I may
say it is one of the reasons which has led to my placing these notes on
paper, though I have done so with much pleasure, and with earnest hope
that they will be found of some value and service to the "uninitiated."

Of course there are, as there must be, a number of beautiful shades of
colour, tints, and markings that are difficult to define or describe;
colours and markings that are intermediate with those noticed; but
though in themselves they are extremely interesting, and even very
beautiful, they do not come within the range of the classes for certain
definite forms of lines, spots, or colourings, as I have endeavoured to
point out, and, indeed, it was almost impossible to make a sufficient
number of classes to comprehend the whole. Therefore it has been
considered wisest and even necessary as the most conducive to the best
interests of the exhibitor and also to simplify the difficulties of
judging, and for the maintenance of the various forms of beauty of the
cat, to have classes wherein they are shown under rules of colour,
points of beauty and excellence that are "hard and fast," and by this
means all may not only know how and in what class to exhibit, but also
what their chance is of "taking honours."

As I have just stated, there are intermediate colours, markings, and
forms, so extra classes have been provided for these, under the heading
of "any other variety of colour," and "any other variety not before
mentioned," and "any cats of peculiar structure." In this last case, the
cats that have abnormal formations, such as seven toes, or even nine on
their fore and hind legs, peculiar in other ways, such as three legs, or
only two legs, as I have seen, may be exhibited. I regard these,
however, as malformations, and not to be encouraged, being generally
devoid of beauty, and lacking interest for the ordinary observer, and
they also tend to create a morbid taste for the unnatural and ugly,
instead of the beautiful; the beautiful, be it what it may, is always
pleasant to behold; and there is but little, if any, doubt in my mind
but that the constant companionship of even a beautiful cat must have a
soothing effect. Therefore, not in cats only, but in all things have the
finest and best. Surround yourself with the elegant, the graceful, the
brilliant, the beautiful, the agile, and the gentle. Be it what it may,
animal, bird, or flower, be careful to have the best. A man, it is said,
is made more or less by his environments, and doubtless this is to a
great extent, if not entirely, a fact; that being so, the contemplation
of the beautiful must have its quieting, restful influences, and tend to
a brighter and happier state of existence. I am fully aware there are
many that may differ from me, though I feel sure I am not far wrong when
I aver there are few animals really more beautiful than a cat. If it is
a good, carefully selected specimen, well kept, well cared for, in high
condition, in its prime of life, well-trained, graceful in every line,
bright in colour, distinct in markings, supple and elegant in form,
agile and gentle in its ways, it is beautiful to look at and must
command admiration. Yes! the contemplation of the beautiful elevates the
mind, if only in a cat; beauty of any kind, is beauty, and has its
refining influences.

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