The one exhibited by Lady Dorothy Nevill (Mrs. Poodle) had three kittens by an English cat; but none showed any trace of the Siamese, being all tabby.
Although Mr. Herbert Young was informed by Mr. Brennand that there is another and a larger breed in Siam, it does not appear that any of these have been imported; nor have we any description of them, either as to colour, size, form, or quality of coat, or whether they resemble the lesser variety in this or any respect, yet it is to be hoped that, ere long, some specimens may be secured for this country.
Besides Mr. Herbert Young, I am also much indebted to the courtesy of Mrs. Vyvyan, of Dover, who is a lover of this beautiful breed, and who kindly sends the following information:
"The original pair were sent from Bangkok, and it is believed that they came from the King's Palace, where alone the breed are said to be kept pure. At any rate they were procured as a great favour, after much delay and great difficulty, and since that time no others have been attainable by the same person. We were in China when they reached us, and the following year, 1886, we brought the father, mother, and a pair of kittens to England.
"Their habits are in general the same as the common cat, though it has been observed by strangers, ' there is a pleasant wild animal odour, 'which is not apparent to us.
"Most of the kittens have a kink in the tail; it varies in position, sometimes in the middle, close to the body, or at the extreme end like a hook."
Mrs. Vyvyan further remarks:
"They are very affectionate and personally attached to their human friends, not liking to be left alone, and following us from room to room more after the manner of dogs than cats.
"They are devoted parents, the old father taking the greatest interest in the young ones.
"They are friendly with the dogs of the house, occupying the same baskets; but the males are very strong, and fight with great persistency with strange dogs, and conquer all other tom-cats in their neighbourhood. We lost one, however, a very fine cat, in China in this way, as he returned to the house almost torn to pieces and in a dying condition, from an encounter with some animal which we think was one of the wild cats of the hills.
"We feed them on fresh fish boiled with rice, until the two are nearly amalgamated; they also take bread and milk warm, the milk having been boiled, and this diet seems to suit them better than any other. They also like chicken and game. We have proved the fish diet is not essential, as two of our cats (in Cornwall) never get it.
"Rather a free life seems necessary to their perfect acclimatisation, where they can go out and provide themselves with raw animal food, 'feather and fur.'
"We find these cats require a great deal of care, unless they live in the country, and become hardy through being constantly out of doors. The kittens are difficult to rear unless they are born late in the spring, thus having the warm weather before them. Most deaths occur before they are six months old.
"We have lost several kittens from worms, which they endeavour to vomit; as relief we give them raw chicken heads, with the feathers on, with success. We also give cod-liver oil, if the appetite fails and weight diminishes.
"When first born the colour is nearly pure white, the only trace of 'points' being a fine line of dark gray at the edge of the ears; a gradual alteration takes place, the body becoming creamy, the ears, face, tail, and feet darkening, until, about a year old, they attain perfection, when the points should be the deepest brown, nearly black, and the body ash or fawn colour, eyes opal or blue, looking red in the dark. After maturity they are apt to darken considerably, though not in all specimens.
" They are most interesting and delightful pets. But owing to their delicacy and the great care they require, no one, unless a real cat lover, should attempt to keep them; they cannot with safety to their health be treated as common cats.
"During ' Susan's' (one of the cats) illness, the old he-cat came daily to condole with her, bringing delicate 'attentions' in the form of freshly-caught mice. ' Loquat' also provided this for a young family for whom she had no milk.
"Another, 'Saiwan,' is very clever at undoing the latch of the window in order to let himself out; tying it up with string is of no use, and he has even managed to untwist wire that has been used to prevent his going out in the snow. We have at present two males, four adult females, and five kittens." One of our kittens sent to Scotland last August, has done well.
Mrs. Lee, of Penshurst, also has some fine specimens of the breed, and of the same colours as described. I take it, therefore, that the true breed, by consensus of opinion, is that of the dun, fawn, or ash-coloured ground, with black points. Other colours should be shown in the variety classes.
The head should be long from the ears to the eyes, and not over broad, and then rather sharply taper off towards the muzzle, the forehead flat, and receding, the eyes somewhat aslant downwards towards the nose, and the eyes of a pearly, yet bright blue colour, the ears usual size and black, with little or no hair on the inside, with black muzzle, and round the eyes black. The form should be slight, graceful, and delicately made, body long, tail rather short and thin, and the legs somewhat short, slender, and the feet oval, not so round as the ordinary English cat. The body should be one bright, uniform, even colour, not clouded, either rich fawn, dun, or ash. The legs, feet, and tail black. The back slightly darker is allowable, if of a rich colour, and the colour softened, not clouded.
Properly Marked Siamese Cat