Those who have had much to do with breeding, and crossing of animals, birds, or plants, well know that with time, leisure, and patience, how comparatively easy it is to improve, alter, enlarge, or diminish any of these, or any part of them; and looking at the cat from this standpoint, now that it is becoming "a fancy" animal, there is no prophesying what forms, colours, markings, or other variations will be made by those who understand what can be done by careful, well-considered matching, and skilful selection. We have now cats with no tails, short tails, and some of moderate length, long tails bushy and hairy; but should a very long tail be in request, I have no doubt whatever but that in a few years it would be produced; and now that there is a cat club constituted for the welfare and improvement of the condition, as well as the careful breeding of cats, curious and unforeseen results are most likely to be attained; but whether any will ever excel the many beautiful varieties we now have, is a problem that remains to be solved.
This concludes the numerous varieties of colours and the proper markings of the domestic cat, as regards beauty and the points of excellence to be observed for the purposes of exhibition. These are distinct, and as such, nearly all have classes for each individual colour and marking, and therefore it is imperative that the owner should note carefully the different properties and beauties of his or her particular specimen, and also as carefully read the schedule of prizes with such attention as to be enabled to enter his or her pet in the proper class; for, it is not only annoying to the exhibitor but to the judge to find an animal sometimes of extraordinary merit placed in the "wrong class" by sheer inattention to the. printed rules and instructions prepared by the committee or promoters of the show. It is exceedingly distasteful, and I may say almost distressing, to a judge to find a splendid animal wrongly entered, and so to feel himself compelled to "pass it," and to affix the words fatal to all chance of winning - "Wrong class." Again let me impress on exhibitors to be careful - very careful - in this matter - this matter of entry - for I may say it is one of the reasons which has led to my placing these notes on paper, though I have done so with much pleasure, and with earnest hope that they will be found of some value and service to the "uninitiated."
Of course there are, as there must be, a number of beautiful shades of colour, tints, and markings that are difficult to define or describe; colours and markings that are intermediate with those noticed; but though in themselves they are extremely interesting, and even very beautiful, they do not come within the range of the classes for certain definite forms of lines, spots, or colourings, as I have endeavoured to point out, and, indeed, it was almost impossible to make a sufficient number of classes to comprehend the whole. Therefore it has been considered wisest and even necessary as the most conducive to the best interests of the exhibitor and also to simplify the difficulties of judging, and for the maintenance of the various forms of beauty of the cat, to have classes wherein they are shown under rules of colour, points of beauty and excellence that are "hard and fast," and by this means all may not only know how and in what class to exhibit, but also what their chance is of "taking honours."
As I have just stated, there are intermediate colours, markings, and forms, so extra classes have been provided for these, under the heading of "any other variety of colour," and "any other variety not before mentioned," and "any cats of peculiar structure" In this last case, the cats that have abnormal formations, such as seven toes, or even nine on their fore and hind legs, peculiar in other ways, such as three legs, or only two legs, as I have seen, may be exhibited. I regard these, however, as malformations, and not to be encouraged, being generally devoid of beauty, and lacking interest for the ordinary observer, and they also tend to create a morbid taste for the unnatural and ugly, instead of the beautiful; the beautiful, be it what it may, is always pleasant to behold; and there is but little, if any, doubt in my mind but that the constant companionship of even a beautiful cat must have a soothing effect. Therefore, not in cats only, but in all things have the finest and best. Surround yourself with the elegant, the graceful, the brilliant, the beautiful, the agile, and the gentle. Be it what it may, animal, bird, or flower, be careful to have the best.
A man, it is said, is made more or less by his environments, and doubtless this is to a great extent, if not entirely, a fact; that being so, the contemplation of the beautiful must have its quieting, restful influences, and tend to a brighter and happier state of existence. I am fully aware there are many that may differ from me, though I feel sure I am not far wrong when I aver there are few animals really more beautiful than a cat. If it is a good, carefully selected specimen, well kept, well cared for, in high condition, in its prime of life, well-trained, graceful in every line, bright in colour, distinct in markings, supple and elegant in form, agile and gentle in its ways, it is beautiful to look at and must command admiration. Yes! the contemplation of the beautiful elevates the mind, if only in a cat; beauty of any kind, is beauty, and has its refining influences.