Introductory





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.





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