Tuesday 22 April 2008

Cat History

Modern Siamese Cat
Cat History - Modern Siamese Cat - photo copyright ©Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton. The Siamese cat referred to in the text below of 1894 didn't look like this. She would have been a Traditional Siamese.

Reading about cat history tells us quite a lot about ourselves. A domestic cat's life is bound up with ours. The development of the domestic cat tell us about our own development. And in understanding our own development we understand ourselves better.

The cat fancy has only be around for about 140 years or so. It has changed out of all recognition. It started in England, UK. I have a page on the main website, which set out a "timeline of events from the beginning of cats to the present, charting the dates of origin or discovery of the domestic cat breeds we now have in the world. It is a page about cat history from a slightly different standpoint.

This short post though is part of a series of posts on newspaper articles from 1861 to about 1913 so it covers the period of the beginning of the cat fancy. They are a series of transcripts from The Penny Illustrated newspaper of the time or the Times archive. The Penny Illustrated newspaper was published between 1861 and 1913.

All the articles are about cats and cat history, what else!

10th March 1894

Crufts Great Dog Show

Mr.Charles Cruft, of 325, Holloway Road, delighted the dog-fancying world the other day with a magnificent Dog Show at the Agricultural Hall, characteristic heads of which were reproduced at the time in the P.I.P. by Mr. Louis Wain. The same Artist furnishes us with some amusing types of Mr. Cruft's leviathan Cat Show at the Westminster Aquarium on March 7 and 8.

Pussy had to vie at the Aquarium with the admirable new Fisheries Exhibition, and came triumphant out of the ordeal. The classification of the cats was absolutely bewildering to the uninitiated, as Mr. Cruft, in his liberty, provided no fewer than seventy-five classes, in which prizes from five pounds to thirty shillings were awarded, while the number of special or extra prizes reached the unprecedented total of about fifty. There were classes for long-haired cats and short-haired cats, old cats and young cats, tailless cats and cats with tails, for cats shown singly and cats shown in teams, for male cats, she cats, wild cats, and even for Siamese cats, the latter variety being the rarest variety of all; but Mr. Cruft somehow forgot to offer a prize for the familiar shrew-cat, the plague of many households......"

Cat History - Commentary:
  • One shilling in old money was worth one thwelth of a pound i.e. 12 shillings to the £
  • Crufts Dog show is the biggest in the world (I believe) but he only does dogs now!
  • The Siamese is no longer the rarest domestic cat. Read about the history of the Siamese cat in detail.

Cat History to Home page

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