Definition of the Term - Why the Class is Discouraged at Large Shows - Some Curiously Marked Specimens - Neuter Cats, Their Claims to Favour - Some Well-known Owners
This term, to the novice, will appear rather strange, but it refers to a type of cats that cannot be entered in any of the classes which have been mentioned in the previous series of articles in Every Woman's Encyclopaedia.
In the early days of the cat fancy all sorts and conditions of cats were entered in the "Any Other Colour" class at shows, and consequently the class was very well filled. Nowadays, however, it frequently happens that, even if this class is not cancelled, there will only be one or two entries in it to be penned. This is as it should be with the march of the times, for why should a class be provided for bad specimens or mismarked cats of each colour? At one time blues and blacks with white spots used to find refuge in the "any other colour" class. Blue tabbies were frequently to be met with, and until separate classes for creams and tortoise-shells had been provided these cats, perforce, were entered in the "any other colour " class.
At our large shows this class does not exist, but it is still necessary at smaller fixtures to provide such a class where the executive for want of funds cannot "run" to a large number of separate classes for each variety.
From an artistic point of view, these broken-coloured cats and kittens are extremely attractive, and if we study pictures by that cleverest of cat painters, Madame Ronner, we shall see that almost all her lovely representations of Persian kittens are of mixed colours, such as black and white, tabby and white, orange and white.
No one will deny the dainty prettiness of the pair of kittens illustrated, and these are typical specimens of "any other colour" kittens. They were bred from a white mother and blue sire, the result being a
A short - haired English neuter cat, of unusual size
Photo, E. Yeoman black and white and a blue and white, both very correctly marked. When this is the case the effect is most pleasing, but unless the solid or self colour is evenly balanced, especially on the face, the result is sometimes both ugly and grotesque. Mr. Harrison Weir gives particulars in his cat book of some curiously marked cats: "One entirely white with black ears; another white with black tail only; and another with two front legs black, all else being white." American fanciers still show a partiality for broken-coloured cats, and special classes are given in the most recent schedules for orange and white cats.
A type of cat which is fast disappearing from our midst is the black and white, and some enterprising breeder might do worse than try to produce perfectly marked specimens of this really smart-looking variety; and by guaranteeing classes at our large shows, these cats would probably come into favour. It might be possible, also, to breed cats spotted like a Dalmatian hound, or a cat marked with zebra stripes could doubtless be produced by careful and judicious selection.
Of late years the demand for neuter cats, or, in other words, household pet pussies, has been greatly on the increase. Within the last twelve months Mrs. Mason, the wife of the popular cat judge, has started a neuter cat specialist society which already numbers forty members. Handsome prizes are now offered for this class of cat at our shows, and an extended classification is given for neuter cats of different breeds. Very many years ago a curious custom prevailed of weighing these gelded cats, and the awards were made according to their weights. In 1886, however, the classification for neuters at the Crystal Palace was given as follows: "Gelded cats, not judged by weight, but for beauty of form, markings, etc."
A pair of beautiful reuter Persian cats, owned by Miss Livingstone.
These cats are of exceptional beauty of coat
Photo, Charles Reid
There are, without doubt, a great number of people who like to keep a cat, especially a Persian, for a pet, pure and simple; and for a thoroughly comfortable domestic animal there is nothing like a neuter cat. They are very affectionate, most docile with children, and proverbially very clean in their habits. One great advantage that neuters have over the other long-haired breed is that they retain their lovely coats nearly all the year round. Certainly at shows no cats attract more attention from visitors than these big, burly cats who require a double pen to show off their size and beauty of coat.
Miss Livingstone has quite a colony of neuter cats, who have done much winning at Scotch shows. Some of these are marvels as regards size and enormous length of coat. Mrs. Corner has a superb orange Persian neuter which can boast of many prizes. There are quite a number of handsome blue Persian neuters, and a special class is always set apart at shows for these cats.
Short-haired English cats, too, are frequently gelded, and these make delightful home pets, and grow into massive animals.
In this connection it may be well to mention that the best age for cats to be rendered neuter is between six and eight months. It is a great mistake to have quite young kittens gelded, since they will never grow so fine as when attended to later in life.
It is generally supposed that neuter cats are not good mousers, but unless these pets are made lazy through too much feeding, they are just as ready to catch mice as are the ordinary cats. Neuter cats should not be given a great deal of meat.
Attention should be paid to their coats, for their very density involves the need of careful and regular grooming. If neglected, the fur will be matted, and it may even be necessary to clip away the tangled parts before anything can be done. With a careful mistress, however, this is a contingency that should not arise.