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The Persian Cat

This differs somewhat from the Angora, the tail being generally longer,

more like a table brush in point of form, and is generally slightly

turned upwards, the hair being more full and coarser at the end, while

at the base it is somewhat longer. The head is rather larger, with less

pointed ears, although these should not be devoid of the tuft at the

apex, and also well furnished with long hair within, and of moderate

ze. The eyes should be large, full, and round, with a soft expression;

the hair on the forehead is generally rather short in comparison to the

other parts of the body, which ought to be clothed with long silky hair,

very long about the neck, giving the appearance of the mane of the lion.

The legs, feet, and toes should be well clothed with long hair and have

well-developed fringes on the toes, assuming the character of tufts

between them. It is larger in body, and generally broader in the loins,

and apparently stronger made, than the foregoing variety, though yet

slender and elegant, with small bone, and exceedingly graceful in all

its movements, there being a kind of languor observable in its walk,

until roused, when it immediately assumes the quick motion of the

ordinary short-haired cat, though not so alert. The colours vary very

much, and comprise almost every tint obtainable in cats, though the

tortoiseshell is not, nor is the dark marked tabby, in my opinion, a

Persian cat colour, but has been got by crossing with the short-haired

tortoiseshell, and also English tabby, and as generally shows pretty

clearly unmistakable signs of such being the case. For a long time, if

not now, the black was the most sought after and the most difficult to

obtain. A good rich, deep black, with orange-coloured eyes and long

flowing hair, grand in mane, large and with graceful carriage, with a

mild expression, is truly a very beautiful object, and one very rare.

The best I have hitherto seen was one that belonged to Mr. Edward Lloyd,

the great authority on all matters relating to aquariums. It was called

Mimie, and was a very fine specimen, usually carrying off the first

prize wherever shown. It generally wore a handsome collar, on which was

inscribed its name and victories. The collar, as Mr. Lloyd used jocosely

to observe, really belonged to it, as it was bought out of its winnings;

and, according to the accounts kept, was proved also to have paid for

its food for some considerable period. It was, as its owner laughingly

said, "his friend, and not his dependent," and generally used to sit on

the table by his side while he was writing either his letters, articles,

or planning those improvements regarding aquariums, for which he was so

justly celebrated.

Next in value is the light slate or blue colour. This beautiful tint is

very different in its shades. In some it verges towards a light purplish

or lilac hue, and is very lovely; in others it tends to a much bluer

tone, having a colder and harder appearance, still beautiful by way of

contrast; in all the colour should be pure, even, and bright, not in any

way mottled, which is a defect; and I may here remark that in these

colours the hair is generally of a softer texture, as far as I have

observed, than that of any other colour, not excepting the white, which

is also in much request. Then follow the various shades of light

tabbies, so light in the marking having scarcely a right to be called

tabbies; in fact, tabby is not a Persian colour, nor have I ever seen an

imported cat of that colour--I mean firmly, strongly marked with black

on a brown-blue or gray ground, until they culminate in those of intense

richness and density in the way of deep, harmonious browns and reds, yet

still preserving throughout an extreme delicacy of line and tracery,

never becoming harsh or hard in any of its arrangements or colour; not

as the ordinary short-haired tabby. The eyes should be orange-yellow in

the browns, reds, blues, grays, and blacks.

As far as my experience extends, and I have had numerous opportunities

of noticing, I find this variety less reliable as regards temper than

the short-haired cats, less also in the keen sense of observing, as in

the Angora, and also of turning such observations to account, either as

regards their comfort, their endeavour to help themselves, or in their

efforts to escape from confinement.

In some few cases I have found them to be of almost a savage

disposition, biting and snapping more like a dog than a cat, and using

their claws less for protective purposes. Nor have I found them so

"cossetty" in their ways as those of the "short-coats," though I have

known exceptions in both.

They are much given to roam, as indeed are the Russian and Angora,

especially in the country, going considerable distances either for their

own pleasure or in search of food, or when "on the hunt." After mature

consideration, I have come to the conclusion that this breed, and

slightly so the preceding, are decidedly different in their habits to

the short-haired English domestic cat, as it is now generally called.

It may be, however, only a very close observer would notice the several

peculiarities which I consider certainly exist. These cats attach

themselves to places more than persons, and are indifferent to those who

feed and have the care of them. They are beautiful and useful objects

about the house, and generally very pleasant companions, and when kept

with the short-haired varieties form an exceedingly pretty and

interesting contrast; but, as I have stated, they certainly require more

attention to their training, and more caution in their handling, than

the latter. I may here remark, that during the time I have acted as

judge at cat shows, which is now over eighteen years, it has been seldom

there has been any display of temper in the short-haired breeds in

comparison with the long; though some of the former, in some instances,

have not comported themselves with that sweetness and amiability of

disposition that is their usual characteristic. My attendant has been

frequently wounded in our endeavour to examine the fur, dentition, etc.,

of the Angora, Persian, or Russian; and once severely by a "short-hair."

Hitherto I have been so fortunate as to escape all injury, but this I

attribute to my close observation of the countenance and expression of

the cat about to be handled, so as to be perfectly on my guard, and to

the knowledge of how to put my hands out of harm's way. If a vicious cat

is to be taken from one pen to another, it must be carried by the loose

skin at the back of the neck and that of the back with both hands, and

held well away from the person who is carrying it.