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THE BOOK OF THE CAT

Chinchilla and Shaded Silver Persian Cats and Kittens
Francis Simpson and Cambyses

THE BOOK OF THE CAT
By Francis Simpson

Originally published in 1903 by Cassell and Company, Limited
London, Paris, New York and Melbourne

CHAPTER XII
SILVER OR CHINCHILLA PERSIANS


Page Two

It was no wonder therefore that a reaction set in, and exhibitors and judges felt alike that something must be done, and that at any rate, for a time it would be better to have only the two classes for silvers and silver tabbies, and that specials might be given to encourage the lightest cats. The abolition of the threefold classification, was therefore taken into consideration, when the Silver Society was broken up by the departure of Mrs. Champion to America, and the Silver and Smoke Persian Cat Society came into existence, with Mr. H.V. James as Hon. Secretary.

The following are the objects of the Society The title of this Society which under the name of It was in March 1902 that voting papers The Silver Society was founded in July 1900 is THE SILVER AND SMOKE PERSIAN CAT SOCIETY. The objects of the Society are:

  • To improve the breeds of long haired silver or chinchilla shaded silver silver tabby and smoke coloured cats and kittens male female and neuter;
  • To guarantee extra classes for these breeds at shows supported by the Society when necessary;
  • To offer prizes for the said breeds at shows supported by the Society;
  • To hold shows independently or in conjunction with other Societies or Clubs when it shall be deemed expedient by the members;
  • To elect specialist judges to make the awards at shows supported by the Society;
  • To establish and maintain a standard of points for the above mentioned breeds.
Chinchilla and Shaded Silver Persian Cats and Kittens: Wyndcreste Silver Persians
TROUBADOR
Bred by Mrs. E.N. Barker

On this burning question were sent out to members of the new society, with the following result For the threefold classification: 20 against 32. Therefore by the wish of the majority, it was decided to give up the threefold classification for the present. The Silver and Smoke Persian Cat Society is now in a most nourishing condition with about 150 members. It is the fervent hope and earnest endeavour of each and all of the fanciers of silvers in the society to breed a perfectly unmarked specimen, and with perseverance, we may in time puzzle the judge to decide which cat in a large class of lightly to the perfect type tinted silvers, is the palest. We shall gradually, but surely breed out the tabby markings, if fanciers will so to speak nail the right colour to the mast and keep on striving to breed.

To quote Mr. C.A. House: "What is wanted is for breeders to work on standard lines and not push forward with such persistency their own pet particular whims. All that is required is for breeders to be determined to breed honestly and consistently for what the standard advocates, and leave severely alone all excesses and exaggerations. Let us have chinchillas free from markings, by all means, but let us keep our shadings our silver colour remembering that pure silver is of a bluish tinge and is not the vvhitey brown article, some would have tis accept as the ideal in chinchilla cats."

The same authority writing on the threefold classification says: "I have always maintained that the threefold classification in silvers was a mistake and the majority of breeders I am pleased to know, are coming round to that view. My opinion when first enunciated was not popular With some it is not today. But many who at one time could not see the force of my arguments, now do so, and there is a more general feeling that the craze for self silvers is not conducive to the welfare of the silvers, as a breed.

Chinchilla and Shaded Silver Persian Cats and Kittens
A PERFECT CHINCHILLA
Two Views
Photo by E. Lander, Ealing

Amongst the well known breeders fanciers and exhibitors of silvers in the present day I may mention Lady Marcus Beresford who owns some beautiful specimens of the celebrated Lord Southampton strain A handsomer type of silver female cannot be met with than Dimity bred by Miss Cochran and presented by her to Lady Marcus Beresford. Lady Decies is the proud possessor of the incomparable Zaida whose record of wins is a marvellous one. As all the cat world knows Zaida is accounted the lightest and most unmarked specimen in the fancy. Mrs. W.R. Hawkins has bred some wonderfully good silvers and was the owner of Sweet Lavender which has been acknowledged as one of the best of this breed that ever existed. The following are the principal silver breeders: The Hon. Mrs. McLaren Morrison, Mrs. G.H. Walker, Mrs. Neild, Mrs. Russell Biggs, Mrs. Wellbye, Mrs. Martin, Mrs. T. Drake, Mrs. Cubitt, Mrs. Marriott, Mrs. Balding, Mrs. Poole, Mrs. Ormerod, Mrs. Fawsett, Miss White Atkins, Miss Snell, Miss Horsman, Miss Dell, Miss Meeson, The Hon. Philip Wodehouse, [and] Miss Chamberlayne.

During the last few years a very large number of silver cats have been placed at stud but we may regard three cats as the founders of the breed or as the pillars of the silver strain namely Silver Lambkin, Lord Southampton, and Lord Argent. To these worthy ancestors a very large proportion of the silvers of to day can trace their lineage. But this noble trio is naturally being superseded by such stud cats as Silver Starlight, Tintagel, Cambyses, The Absent Minded Beggar, Pathan of Dingley, Jupiter Duvals, St Anthony, Rob Roy of Arrandale, The Silver Sultan, and many others. There is therefore now no excuse for in breeding which used to be carried on to a great extent when so limited a number of sires were forthcoming. To indiscriminate and injudicious in breeding may be largely attributed the great delicacy amongst silver cats. There is no doubt that the number of fatalities among silver kittens is far in excess of that of any other breed. Then again, the size of silver cats compares unfavourably with others and they are wanting in muscle and bone. We do not want huge coarse heavy silvers, but breeders and judges sometimes show an utter disregard for size and strength and the consequence is we see a number of ladylike looking studs that fail miserably in these very essential points.

Breeders should aim at the happy medium between the liliputian and the leviathan, but not be content unless their silver studs turn the scales at 10 lbs. As regards the mating of silvers, a broad line to lay down, is to avoid tabby markings It is for this reason that smokes have been wisely selected by most breeders as the best cross for a silver. It is more than probable that in many cases some nondescript sort of kittens will be the result. These sort of light smokes are exceedingly pretty cats and make fascinating pets, but they are useless for breeding purposes or exhibiting. I have known of some handsome specimens that have wandered from class to class, only to be disqualified in each and either and it was a case of When judges disagree who shall decide?

Chinchilla and Shaded Silver Persian Cats and Kittens MRS. BALDING's SILVER LAMBKIN
Photo by E. Lander, Ealing

Several experiments have been tried of crossing a white Persian with a silver in order to get pale coloured kittens but this appears seldom to succeed, unless the whites have silver blood in them. Some breeders have tried blues with silvers, but there is the danger of introducing the grey blue undercoat which gives such a smudgy appearance to a silver and is suggestive of a badly coloured smoke. It does not at all follow that the mating of two light silvers will produce light coloured and unmarked kittens, yet this cross and the smoke are the safest. It must be a work of time as we have before said to breed out the tabby markings of many generations.

The name of Mrs Balding is as well known to breeders of silvers of the past, as it is at the present day. In the past however, it was as Miss Dorothy Gresham, this enthusiastic fancier won her laurels, I well remember the sensation caused by the appearance in the show pen of the Silver Lambkin, at the Crystal Palace in 1888. To breeders exhibitors and cat fanciers generally the following account of chinchillas from the earliest days specially written for this book by Mrs Balding should be exceedingly interesting: "There is probably no variety of longhaired cat which has caused so much discussion, notwithstanding that with the exception of the light coloured reds, which have been designated 'creams,' the chinchilla is the cat which has most recently gained distinction as a separate variety. The notoriety which the chinchilla enjoys has been in great part brought about by the delicacy of its appearance and the difficulty that has been experienced in the production of a perfect specimen. Many cats are called chinchillas, and are exhibited as such, often winning prizes but very few indeed are of the pale silver tint, with bright emerald eyes, and with no bars or stripes on the legs or head."

"The chief subjects that have been under discussion in connection with the chinchilla cat have been the colour of eyes and the shade of the coat but with regard to the former I think it must be acknowledged that green is a more suitable accompaniment to silver than yellow or orange and as regards the latter that silver with dainty sheen evenly distributed is more to be desired than a patchy grey dull in hue and unattractive to the eye As a matter of fact these shaded grey specimens are in reality only ill marked silver Laling tabbies. They must, however, not be altogether despised, as they have been the stepping stones, which have led to the creation of the chinchilla."

"It is something like twenty years ago, that amongst the competitors in the classes for long haired tabbies, at the Crystal Palace, and other important shows, was occasionally to be seen an alien with the ground colour of the silver tabby, but with very few stripes on the body. These cats were evidently sports from the silver tabby, so much so, that the class for that section was the only one open to them and although they invariably showed great quality, breeders were loth to exhibit them in the medley of different coloured tabbies, where one of their chief beauties, the absence of stripes became a disadvantage. Their only chance of distinction lay in putting in an appearance at provincial shows, where the authorities were sometimes to be induced to attach two cat classes to the rabbit division, one for longhaired of any colour and the other for short haired. In this indiscriminate assemblage, no colour having been stated chinchillas, when present wrought great havoc, although it cannot be denied that the judges of the day gave precedence to a well marked silver tabby"

Amongst these outcasts was a cat of striking beauty whose like has not been seen again. This was Sylvie of unknown pedigree, owned by the late Mrs Christopher, at whose death, she became the property of the late Miss Saunders, of Peterborough. A beautiful portrait of this exquisite chinchilla is given in Mr Harrison Weir's book Our Cats. When judging at the Crystal Palace in 1886, this connoisseur and judge of worldwide repute awarded her first prize medal and special for the best long haired cat, getting over the difficulty of her silvery unmarked coat, by calling her a very light blue tabby, though the puzzle was to find the tabby. Another chinchilla of the early eighties was Miss Florence Moore's Queenie, who would had chinchilla classes been provided at that time have been loaded with championships and honours. In colour she was as light as any of our present day celebrities and might easily from her freedom from markings have earned the dubious compliment of the uninitiated, so highly prized by owners of chinchillas, of being mistaken for a grubby white. Miss Florence Moore who later on had one of the best and largest catteries in the country, bred Queenie from her Judy, winner of many first prizes, a heavily marked silver tabby of Mrs Brydges noted breed, and Fez a light silver cat with indefinite stripes.

Mrs Brydges can claim the distinction of having owned something like half a century ago, some of the first long haired cats ever imported into England. A coincidence worthy of note, is that though there is no record of her having bred or possessed a chinchilla, two never to be forgotten pairs of chinchilla kittens, Miss Florence Moore's Chloe and Dinah winners of first and medal on three successive occasions at the Crystal Palace Brighton and Bexley 1887 they being the only chinchillas at any of these shows and Miss Gresham's Silver Lambkins who swept the board in 1888 winning the specials at the Crystal Palace, from forty six pairs of other competitors of all colours, could in each case trace descent to the Cheltenham stock, Chloe and Dinah through the afore mentioned Judy and the Silver Lambkins, through their sire Rahman also bred by Mrs Brydges. Still more remarkable these two couples of youthful prodigies, were first cousins on the other side of their pedigrees, the noted Fluffy II, and Beauty being bred by Mrs Vallance.




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