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.
For the purpose of breeding rich brown black-striped tabbies, a male of a rich dark rufous or red tabby should be selected, the bands being regular and not too broad, the lighter or ground colour showing well between the lines; if the black lines are very broad, it is then a black, striped with brown, instead of a brown with black, which is wrong. With this match a female of a good brown ground colour, marked with dense, not broad, black bands, having clear, sharply defined edges. Note also that the centre line of the back is a distinct line, with the brown ground colour on which it is placed being in no way interspersed with black, and at least as broad as the black line; by this cross finely-marked kittens of a brilliant colour may be expected. But if the progeny are not so bright as required, and the ground colour not glowing enough, then, when the young arrive at maturity, mate with a dark-yellow red tabby either male or female.
Very beautiful brown tabbies are also to be found among the litters of the female tortoiseshell, allied with a dark-brown tabby with narrow black bars. It is a cross that may be tried with advantage for both variety and richness of colour, among which it will not be found difficult to find something worthy of notice.
Of English, or short-haired cats, the best white are those from a tortoiseshell mother, and as often some of the best blacks. These whites are generally of soft yellow, or sandy tint of white. Although they have pink noses, as also are the cushions of their feet, they are not Albinos, not having the peculiar pink or red eyes, nor are they deficient in sight. I have seen and examined with much care some hundreds of white cats, but have never yet seen one with pink eyes, though it has been asserted that such exist, and there is no reason why they should not. Still, I am inclined to think they do not, and the pale blue eyes, or the red tinted blue, like those of the Siamese, take the place of it in the feline race; neither have I ever seen a white horse with pink eyes, but I find it mentioned in one of the daily papers that among other presents to the Emperor of Russia, the Bokhara Embassy took with them ten thoroughbred saddle-horses of different breeds, one of them being a magnificent animal - a pure white stallion with blue eyes.
The cold gray-white is the opposite of the black, and this knowledge should not be lost sight of in mating. It generally has yellow or light orange eyes. This colour, in a male, may be crossed with the yellow-white with advantage, when more strength of constitution is required; but otherwise I deem the best matching is that of two yellow-white, both with blue eyes, for soft hair, elegance, and beauty; but even a black male and a white female produce whites, and sometimes blacks, but the former are generally of a coarse description, and harsh in coat by comparison. I think the blue-eyed white are a distinct breed from the common ordinary white cat, nor do I remember any such being bred from those with eyes of yellow colour.