The First Cat Show





On the day for judging, at Ludgate Hill I took a ticket and the train

for the Crystal Palace. Sitting alone in the comfortable cushioned

compartment of a "first class," I confess I felt somewhat more than

anxious as to the issue of the experiment. Yes; what would it be like?

Would there be many cats? How many? How would the animals comport

themselves in their cages? Would they sulk or cry for liberty, refuse

all food? or settle down and take the situation quietly and resignedly,

or give way to terror? I could in no way picture to myself the scene; it

was all so new. Presently, and while I was musing on the subject, the

door was opened, and a friend got in. "Ah!" said he, "how are you?"

"Tolerably well," said I; "I am on my way to the Cat Show." "What!"

said my friend, "that surpasses everything! A show of cats! Why, I hate

the things; I drive them off my premises when I see them. You'll have a

fine bother with them in their cages! Or are they to be tied up? Anyhow,

what a noise there will be, and how they will clutch at the bars and try

and get out, or they will strangle themselves with their chains." "I am

sorry, very sorry," said I, "that you do not like cats. For my part, I

think them extremely beautiful, also very graceful in all their actions,

and they are quite as domestic in their habits as the dog, if not more

so. They are very useful in catching rats and mice; they are not

deficient in sense; they will jump up at doors to push up latches with

their paws. I have known them knock at a door by the knocker when

wanting admittance. They know Sunday from the week-day, and do not go

out to wait for the meat barrow on that day; they----" "Stop," said my

friend, "I see you do like cats, and I do not, so let the matter drop."

"No," said I, "not so. That is why I instituted this Cat Show; I wish

every one to see how beautiful a well-cared-for cat is, and how docile,

gentle, and--may I use the term?--cossetty. Why should not the cat that

sits purring in front of us before the fire be an object of interest,

and be selected for its colour, markings, and form? Now come with me, my

dear old friend, and see the first Cat Show."



Inside the Crystal Palace stood my friend and I. Instead of the noise

and struggles to escape, there lay the cats in their different pens,

reclining on crimson cushions, making no sound save now and then a

homely purring, as from time to time they lapped the nice new milk

provided for them. Yes, there they were, big cats, very big cats,

middling-sized cats, and small cats, cats of all colours and markings,

and beautiful pure white Persian cats; and as we passed down the front

of the cages I saw that my friend became interested; presently he said:

"What a beauty this is! and here's another!" "And no doubt," said I,

"many of the cats you have seen before would be quite as beautiful if

they were as well cared for, or at least cared for at all; generally

they are driven about and ill-fed, and often ill-used, simply for the

reason that they are cats, and for no other. Yet I feel a great pleasure

in telling you the show would have been much larger were it not for the

difficulty of inducing the owners to send their pets from home, though

you see the great care that is taken of them." "Well, I had no idea

there was such a variety of form, size, and colour," said my friend, and

departed. A few months after, I called on him; he was at luncheon, with

two cats on a chair beside him--pets I should say, from their

appearance.






This is not a solitary instance of the good of the first Cat Show in

leading up to the observation of, and kindly feeling for, the domestic

cat. Since then, throughout the length and breadth of the land there

have been Cat Shows, and much interest is taken in them by all classes

of the community, so much so that large prices have been paid for

handsome specimens. It is to be hoped that by these shows the too often

despised cat will meet with the attention and kind treatment that every

dumb animal should have and ought to receive at the hands of humanity.

Even the few instances of the shows generating a love for cats that have

come before my own notice are a sufficient pleasure to me not to regret

having thought out and planned the first Cat Show at the Crystal

Palace.





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