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Blue in cats is one of the most extraordinary colours of any, for the

reason that it is the mixture of black which is no colour, and white

which is no colour, and this is the more curious because black mated

with white generally produces either one colour or the other, or breaks

black and white, or white and black. The blue being, as it were, a

weakened black, or a withdrawal by white of some, if not all, of the

r red, varying in tint according to the colour of the black from

which it was bred, dark-gray, or from weakness in the stamina of the

litter. In the human species an alliance of the Negro, or African race,

and the European, produces the mulatto, and some other shades of

coloured skin, though the hair generally retains the black hue; but

seldom or ever are the colours broken up as in animal life, the only

instance that has come to my knowledge, and I believe on record, being

that of the spotted Negro boy, exhibited at fairs in England by

Richardson, the famous showman; but in this case both the parents were

black, and natives of South Africa. The boy arrived in England in

September, 1809, and died February, 1813. His skin and hair were

everywhere parti-coloured, transparent brown and white; on the crown of

his head several triangles, one within the other, were formed by

alternations of the colour of the hair.

In other domestic animals blue colour is not uncommon. Blue-tinted dogs,

rabbits, horses of a blue-gray, or spotted with blue on a pink flesh

colour, as in the naked horse shown at the Crystal Palace some years

ago, also pigs; and all these have likewise broken colours of blue, or

black, and white. I do not remember having seen any blue cattle, nor any

blue guinea-pigs, but no doubt these latter will soon exist. When once

the colour or break from the black is acquired, it is then easy to go on

multiplying the different shades and varieties of tint and tone, from

the dark blue-black to the very light, almost white-gray. In some places

in Russia, I am told, blue cats are exceedingly common; I have seen

several shown under the names of Archangel, and others as Chartreuse and

Maltese cats. Persians are imported sometimes of this colour, both dark

and light. Next kin to it is the very light-gray tabby, with almost the

same hue, if not quite so light-gray markings. Two such mated have been

known to produce very light self grays, and of a lovely hue, a sort of

"morning gray"; these matched with black should breed blues. Old male

black, and young female white cats, have been known to produce kittens

this colour. There is a colony of farm cats at Rodmell, Sussex, from

which very fine blues are bred. Light silver tabby males, and white

females, are also apt to have one or so in a litter of kittens; but

these generally are not such good blues, the colour being a gray-white,

or nearly so, should the hair or coat be parted or divided, the skin

being light. The very dark, if from brown-black, are not so blue, but

come under the denomination of "smokies," or blue "smokies," with

scarcely a tint of blue in them; some "smokies" are white, or nearly so,

with dark tips to the hair; these more often occur among Persian than

English cats, though I once had a smoky tabby bred from a black and a

silver tabby. Importations of some of the former are often extremely

light, scarcely showing any markings. These, and such as these, are very

valuable where a self blue is desired. If these light colours are

females, a smoke-coloured male is an excellent cross, as it already

shows a weakened colour. For a very light, tender, delicate, light-gray

long-haired self, I should try a white male, and either a rich blue, or

a soft gray, extremely lightly-marked tabby.

As a rule, all broken whites, such as black and white, should be

avoided; because, as I explained at the commencement of these notes on

blues, the blue is black and white amalgamated, or the brown withdrawn

from the colouring, or, if not, with the colours breaking, or becoming

black and white. If whole coloured blues are in request, then

parti-colours, such as white and black, or black and white, are best

excluded. Blue and white are easily attainable by mating a blue male

with a white and black female.

The best and deepest coloured of the blue short-haired cats are from

Archangel. Those I have seen were very fine in colour, the pelage being

the same colour to the skin, which was also dark and of a uniform

lilac-tinted blue. Some come by chance. I knew of a blue English cat,

winner of several prizes, whose parents were a black and white male

mated with a "light-gray tabby" and white; but this was an exception to

the rule, for strongly-marked tabbies are not a good cross.