Russian Blue (Your Cat Magazine Breed Profiles Book 23)

The Russian Blue

The Russian is longer in the body than its British counterpart and also stands higher on the leg. Whereas the British cat possesses a head which is round on top with considerable width between eyes and ears, the Russian is narrower in skull and face. Although most British cats have short coats, they do not possess the seal-like texture and sheen of the Russian. Type of coat is perhaps its most marked characteristic. British Blues have eyes which are orange or yellow. This is a very handsome cat, but few of you who read this book will have ever seen a Russian Blue.

It would be most satisfactory if a few of you were sufficiently interested to go to see one of these cats. You might then be so attracted that you would want to become one of its breeders in the future. The Siamese were found in seal, blue and chocolate. Chocolate was relatively recent, turning up as sports in Siamese breeding programs. Soderberg noted that he could not even hazard a guess as to what other colours would turn up! He noted that the Siamese found in the s cat fancy was very different from the cats originally seen in the at the Crystal Palace: This statement does not imply that all Siamese are hardy and produce and rear kittens without trouble.

Even until comparatively recently some breeders believed that artificial heat was essential during the winter, but the necessity of war years proved that theory to be entirely false. Faults this cat certainly has, for it is an arrant thief and unless well trained will pay too much claw attention to cherished furniture. As a matter of fact, of the other breeds apart from these two only the grey Chartreux and the white-gloved Burmese [now known as the Birman] were known, and just barely, at that time.

This was very inadequate. Moreover, there were too few examples of these known breeds to ensure enough participants in the subsequent shows. So the common cat was given his patent of nobility. As well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb: The second group, short-haired cats, comprises: Chartreux blue-grey , Russian blues, Abyssinians, Manx cats, Burmese, Siamese, and the ever-increasing range of Europeans which he described as common cats that had been raised up: Will breeds like the Kmer, bred from Siameses and Persians, revert to one or other original breed?

And will the pseudo-Burmese cat, which comes of a Siamese father and an unknown mother, succeed in establishing itself? Not that it is of much consequence. These two breeds are bound to have stirred up a number of controversies all the same, and the most important result - to arouse interest on behalf of all cats -will have been achieved. He also noted the near collapse of the Manx breed due to breeding rumpy-to-rumpy "The export demand for [Manx] cats having trebled and quadrupled before the war, the people of the Isle of Man were disturbed to realize one day that the breed was regressing.

The litters were becoming rarer; and in such or such a line the third generation of young would be rickety, and the fourth, 80 per cent of the time, born dead. A rival then came to the fore: The breeders got together, forming an association at once. This defence syndicate took up arms, and since then all the shows and national markets have displayed genuine, self-respecting Manxes - black, white, grey, striped, streaked or tabby, with the tail as it should be that is, completely non-existent.

Of hairless cats in addition to the lost Mexican hairless, these had occurred through mutation in France "It is true that completely naked cats also exist: Did the race of hairless cats actually exist in Mexico? Did it originate from the short-haired cats of Paraguay? Initially they have a covering of down, which falls out after the first week.

Afterwards there is another growth of down, which lasts for two months: In its turn, this thin coat falls out during the next few weeks. When the cats have attained the age of six months, they are then, but then only, hairless cats, perfectly smooth-skinned. That is a different matter. But should you be tempted to possess one, it would be useless to look for it on the market. There are no hairless cats professionally bred. They are simply a curiosity of creation. The Abyssinian Embassy is able to shed no light on the matter. There are no Abyssinian cats on the shores of the Negus. But this is of no consequence.

The breed so-called has so many qualities, so much beauty, such gentleness and charm, that it represents, in my humble opinion, the perfect cat […] a cat such as every household would want to own, if only the present-day breeders could succeed in producing them in large numbers, at reasonable prices. What if the Abyssinian did come to England straight from Africa in ? Or what if he is really the offspring of a female cat of Kaffraria and a common alley-tom? What if this fact was established by Mr. Whether this newcomer in the feline firmament is the result of chance or of exceptional selection is of little importance.

What is significant is that this cat revives forgotten characteristics, a combination of felicitous points that make of him, genuinely or accidentally, a kind of masterpiece. We do know that it is impossible to predict, without the definite approval of experts as sincere as they are knowledgeable, if a male and female apparently belonging to this breed will definitely produce Abyssinian offspring. If only the breeders can resist the desire to breed him carelessly, just to meet the immediate demand, and so injuring the breed in commercializing it at short notice.

Soderberg noted that the history of the British Shorthair could not be traced and that it was once believed to be the result of taming the once numerous indigenous wild cat [now called the Scottish Wildcat]. By it was generally accepted that the Romans had introduced the domestic cat and that it had interbred with the wild cat.

In the Middle Ages, the British domestic cat was comparatively rare and highly valued, while the wild cat was much more numerous at that time. The wildcats were killed off [Soderberg did not mention the mongrelization of wildcats with the introduced domestic cat] and domestic shorthairs became more common though an interest in pedigree cats did not appear until the beginning of cat shows in the 19th Century.

The British Shorthair was considered a good animal for exhibition as it was placid, rarely perturbed by being penned or handled by a strange and easier to groom and prepare for exhibition than were Longhairs. In spite of this, British Shorthairs were less popular than other breeds meaning showy Longhairs and exotic-looking Siamese and less valuable. Soderberg wrote that this was firstly because the British Shorthair was not being bred near to perfection, with breeders seeming content to go only so far to establish numerous different varieties, but not developing the varieties to an ideal form.

Secondly, many breeders were disinclined to keep studs and without a number of good quality studs in each breed, progress was difficult or impossible. In the s there was also the erroneous idea that there were no pedigree British cats and that there were so few British cats of good quality that there was no point in new breeders taking up the breeding of British Shorthairs. There are some which are literally only pedigree cats in the sense that they have been produced by parents different in breed, but each parent has a known ancestry.

They may have been crossed with long-hairs, or even foreign short-hairs, and while in such cases the pedigree is known and may be registered, it cannot be considered sound for the particular variety. The GCCF had a Supplementary Register for the registration of non-pedigree stock that could be used in such breeding programmes. A "reasonably good" queen should be mated to a stud of the same variety and which had been bred from sound stock.

The best offspring should then be bred to other good studs of the same variety. It stands to reason that if one breed is crossed with another, it is very likely that the resulting kittens may not be typical of either breed, and this fact is particularly apparent in the crossing of the short-haired and long-haired breeds. A short-hair cat should be a real short-hair and a long-hair cat a long-hair for both type and coat, and a combination of the two will not produce results which are satisfactory unless the fancier is prepared to undertake a great deal of experimental breeding over a period of years.

Furthermore, he will not know what progress has been made, and when such an animal is sold, the buyer may later be dissatisfied, which will do a disservice to the breed, for it may be handicapping another breeder who is trying to raise good stock. The crossing of two breeds in some cases may occasionally be justified, but when it does take place it must always be regarded as experimental breeding, and this type of breeding is always best left to the fancier of long experience.

Soderberg went on to describe the British Shorthair as neither long-bodied like Siamese nor cobby like Longhairs. One of the chief failings was a head and nose that was too long. Coat type was evidently another failing at that time. Compared to the detailed descriptions of Longhairs, the descriptions of British Shorthairs were terse. Kittens tended to be brownish, making it hard to assess their quality. Even when the correct coat colour was achieved, many blacks failed in eye colour, having green eyes rather than the mandated deep copper or orange. The short-hair White was comparatively rare in spite of being no harder to breed than the other colours.

The probable reasons for its comparative lack of popularity were deafness and the difficulty in keeping the coat clean. This British Short-hair Blue has also been crossed from time to time with the Siamese, which is another cat of foreign type, and here again the results have not been satisfactory. The Russian Blue has a wedge-shaped head and green eyes, while the Siamese, which also has the wedge, has blue eyes. On the other hand, some breeders have crossed the British Short-hair Blue with the Blue Long-hair; a cross which is not to the disadvantage of head shape or eye colour of the short-hair, but there is a very great disadvantage in that the progeny carry a coat which is far too long.

It is most important that the British Short-hair should have a coat which is, in fact, short. A medium blue, with no unevenness or signs of markings, was required since extremes of shade detracted from the general appearance. Why this should be seems beyond any simple explanation. Years ago there were a considerable number of Creams, but the time came when it was almost impossible to find a eat of this variety at all.

During recent years, however, a determined attempt has been made by a few breeders to produce this variety in greater numbers. The main risk of cream offspring from a tortoiseshell female was barring on the legs and a ringed tail, though Soderberg admitted that the risk was worth taking. The colour had to be a rich shade with no sign of redness, nor of white on any part of the coat.

The allowing of an alternative colour must be a relic of the latitude which was essential in the early days when it was very difficult to produce cats of this body colour at all. This was a comparatively rare variety, but especially useful as they produced Black, Red and Tortie offspring. It is obvious that there must be some lethal factor connected with this particular coat pattern, although at present there is no certainty as to what this factor really is. Black is, in fact, much more common than blue. From this it will follow that the resulting litter will probably contain kittens which are dissimilar in appearance with coats which may be broken for colour, or, on the other hand, they may be Selfs.

In many cases there will not be a single Tortoiseshell in the family at all, and a litter exhibited a few years ago consisted of two Creams, one Blue and one Black, just, as it were, to prove this point. Each patch must be distinct and of good size, and should contain no hairs of either of the other two colours, and certainly no white hairs.

Any brindling of the colours, which often does occur, is a definite fault. The eye colour could be either orange, copper or hazel. In this variety also the patches must be solid, and no tabby markings should ever be seen on any part of the body. Apart from mentioning the importance of the correct pattern on a uniform background colour of rich sable or brown and lamenting the problem of scattered white hairs, the main comment on this variety was "the eye colour can be orange, hazel, deep yellow or even green.

Were there more cats of this variety, it is likely that the Standard would demand one eye colour alone. The true Red Tabby is a variety in its own right, and for show purposes must display distinct markings as well as a definite background colour. The required definition is more often than not spoiled by a blending of the shades so that the breeder who can produce a Red Tabby of real quality will have done something which is a great achievement. Eye colour is hazel or orange. This variety was more popular than the brown tabby and easier to produce specimens with well-defined markings than in the red tabby.

The real trouble is that so few breeders have taken up the Silver Tabby and have then persisted with it. Considerable success has been achieved with the shade and evenness of the ground colour, but most specimens still fail in both the density of markings and their correct placing. Very frequently indeed it will be found that an otherwise good specimen fails because of ugly ringing on the tail. As with all British Short-hairs, the eyes should be round and bold, but the colour in this variety must be green. What is quite clear is that the first cats of this particular type which were definitely imported did, in fact, come from Russia.

There is, however, not the slightest proof that they were ever bred deliberately in that country, or that they were ever anything other than just a Blue Short-hair, the result of natural breeding among household pets. Whereas the Russian Blue had once been interbred with the British Blue for generic "Blue Shorthair" show classes to the detriment of both varieties, Soderberg noted that it was very different to the British shorthaired Blue. Undoubtedly very few cats of this particular type were ever imported, and those who were interested in them found it difficult to select suitable mates.

Even its distinctive conformation was in danger of being lost due to crossbreeding. However, the breed does exist, at least by name, in this country, although it may have lost some of its essential characteristics, and there are a number of breeders who are doing their utmost to restore the true Russian type which is set out in the Standard, and which was established many years ago when the breed was much more typical.

Many Russian Blues still showed evidence of mixed ancestry in their eye colour which was too often tinged with yellow when it should have been pure green. Breeders were still trying to re-establish the original purity of eye colour. Ever since these countries have been able to produce cats of better type than have been shown in Britain. There is here a solution for British breeders, although it would present considerable difficulties, largely due to the problem of quarantine. To import several of these typical Russians from the Continent would have the result of improving our own stock.

In fact the only point on which Russian Blue cats were satisfactory was in coat colour! In their attempts to improve the conformation, breeders were crossbreeding Russian blues to other cats with the desired type: For the present, therefore, breeders will have to concentrate on selective breeding from the best Russian Blues available in this country as well as using any useful progeny from these foreign crosses.

Anyone who really wishes to be successful would be most unwise to cross out again to the British Blue, as has been done so often in the past, for the result of this method of breeding would only be to make the task of improvement even more difficult. On the other hand, there is at least one characteristic, with another which is not so obvious, which together make this variety very different from the normal type of British Short-hair, so that it is difficult to know how it should really be classified. A Manx had a large, round head and, in comparison to the ordinary British Shorthair, the nose was longer and the cheeks more prominent, but the face should not tend to snipiness.

Compared with the normal British cat, the ears of the Manx are wider at the base, and then taper upwards towards a point, but they should definitely not be rounded. The outstanding feature of the Manx was its complete lack of tail and the hollow at the end of the spine where tail should have begun. Only the tailless cats were considered to be true Manx. If this practice is carried out generation after generation, the breeder will become convinced that this congenital lack of tail is also in some way allied to a lethal factor which causes many young kittens to die, some of them even before birth.

It has been noticed that this breed has never been prolific, but more intelligent methods of breeding in the future may produce results which are more satisfactory with regard to size of litters. Even when true Manx pairs are mated together, it is most unlikely that the resultant litter will contain all kittens without any vestige of a tail. Probably the best method to adopt in breeding Manx is to cross a true Manx with a Stumpy, for from this cross the litter is likely to be considerably larger as well as being more virile.

It is from a point just behind the nape of the neck that the back starts to rise, and the fact that this is the case means that the hind legs are longer than those in front. On a number of occasions it has been stated with apparent seriousness that this variety was, in fact, first produced by crossing a rabbit with a cat, but any such statements can be regarded as sheer nonsense.

This means that it has a very thick but soft undercoat, and another thick coat of longer hairs as well. Finally, gait, arising from the combination referred to in the opening sentence, is of primary importance. These days it would be penalised. The name originated undoubtedly from the fact that the first cat of this type was imported into England after the Abyssinian War, and actually from Abyssinia, by the wife of a serving officer.

The appearance of this cat was unusual, and attempts were made to create from it a breed which would show the essential characteristics of such a cat which was so obviously foreign. Many of the steps which were taken to achieve this object are now unknown, but it seems to be almost a certainty that the Abyssinian which we know to-day is the result of cross-breeding with the cats native to this country. Such a breeding policy obviously has its disadvantages, for it must have been perfectly clear to those who saw the first Abyssinian that it was entirely different in type from the English native cat.

One thing is certain, that the breed in its original form first came from the African continent, and one specimen at least from the Kingdom of Abyssinia. That is indeed very little information, but it will have to suffice. As there was no native breed in Abyssinia, this particular cat must have been one of the many varieties bound to occur among cats which breed indiscriminately among themselves, and when there is no attempt at scientific production of a particular shape or type.

It is also clear from illustrations in the British Museum and elsewhere that the type of the Abyssinian of to-day, or rather the type for which modern breeders strive, is very similar to that of cats which were known and used for various domestic purposes in Egypt as long ago as the Middle Kingdom, which runs back to some fifteen hundred years before.

Since its introduction into this country, and from the time that attempts were made to turn it into a distinct breed, the Abyssinian cat has had a somewhat chequered history, for the simple reason that there were cats in existence in Britain which had ticked coats.

There were also other British cats which possessed the red colour which is an essential characteristic of the Abyssinian. No doubt some of these ticked British cats, which were known as Ticks or Bunny cats, when crossed with the rufous-coloured Abyssinian, maintained these two qualities, but unfortunately introduced a different type of bone structure, and this meant that the Abyssinian type was lost.

As ticking and the red colour were unusual in combination, it followed that there were also added to the coat colours which were undesirable, and others removed which were required. Regardless of its origins, by the s, the Abyssinian should not to show any sign of crossbreeding with cats of British type i. Its ticked colour was, however, its most prominent characteristic.

Unfortunately, even to-day there are Abyssinians which show only single ticking, and when this is the case, it is almost certain that this type of hair is the result of a comparatively recent cross with some British cat in which there happened to be no ticking at all. The Abyssinian had plenty of interesting character traits as well. Its paws are expressive in that they are used in various ways to show its feelings. It will clasp the person who is holding it with its paws almost as if in an embrace.

It will feel objects first with the paws, whereas many another cat would investigate the object with its nose first. With its paws, too, it has a most amusing habit of picking up small objects from the floor and conveying them to its mouth or nose for further, and much closer, investigation. In spite of this it remained a minority breed. For a time all ticked cats which had even the smallest drop of so-called Abyssinian blood in them seem to have been regarded as being Abyssinian and were shown as such.

These must have been critical days, and it was only by the efforts of a few enthusiasts that eventually the Abyssinian stood on its own as a cat which combined particular type, colour and markings, all three of which were equally important. By , many Abyssinians fell far below the official Standard. The small number of studs available at any one time made it hard to improve the breed especially as most of the studs apparently showed the very faults that breeders wanted to eliminate.

This resulted in extensive inbreeding perhaps the cause of the small litter size , but still no great improvement. Despite this fact, great progress has been made in the New World with British stock, and were it not for the fact that the quarantine laws make it so difficult to import stock from foreign countries into Britain, it would be possible to improve our own breed by using American-bred cats. As it is, probably many of the best cats produced in this country are, in fact, exported, but there is little possibility of new blood coming in.

In the last two decades the countries of continental Europe have also become interested in the Abyssinian, and in several of them very creditable specimens have been shown from time to time. The Standard demanded no bars or other markings except for a dark spine line permissible on otherwise good specimens. Unfortunately, outcrossing had introduced distinct tabby markings on the legs and tail.

Breeders had done everything that they could think of to get rid of the dominant white chin and though they sometimes produced cats with colour chins, they had not managed ruddy brown chins. There was no excuse for the white necklace, a narrow band or several bands, across the chest. Unfortunately breeders have found that amongst the kittens born there is normally a preponderance of males, and this means that progress may not be as rapid as those fanciers who are attached to the breed would desire.

By there were three distinct recognised varieties of Siamese: Soderberg noted that the distinctive Siamese, for a long time known as the Royal Cat of Siam, was actually from Siam, but "One point, however, must be made clear. It is that even in Siam this particular type was not common, and certainly could not in any way be regarded as the breed native to the country.

To-day the position is just the same, and visitors to Siam who expect to see Siamese cats roaming the streets will be disappointed, for there are far fewer Siamese there than there are in many European countries. Nevertheless, from the evidence that is available at present, it is almost certain that this strange mutation did first occur in Siam, or somewhere very near by, and not in the eastern steppes of Russia, no matter how interesting such a theory might be. They were first shown at the Crystal Palace in and attracted enough attention that more were imported.

Soderberg noted that Blue-Pointed Siamese, first bred in England in , had appeared in Siam at a considerably earlier period, "although if reports which have been handed down [in England] can be believed, this colour was regarded as being not only unusual but also unworthy of being retained. However, there was really no adequate reason for this situation, as a Siamese called Prince of Siam was imported from Siam itself in , and it was undoubtedly this stud which had much to do with the appearance of the occasional Chocolate-Pointed variety in this country because he did, in fact, carry this colour modification.

The conformation had changed greatly from the s. The early cats which came direct from Siam were much more round in head, and were certainly darker in coat. As far as one can find out from the reports made at the time, all these early Siamese had kinked tails, and a few of them had tails which were not only kinked but were definitely deformed, and sometimes so short that the tail could be regarded as being almost a corkscrew or a mere stump. Any Siamese which showed the same quality of tail to-day would stand no chance of winning prizes at shows, for although a kink, provided that it is small and at the very tip of the tail, does not count as a disqualification, the tail must still be long and tapering.

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It was found that they were unable to stand up to the English climate with its characteristic cold and damp. Hindsight suggests that the real culprit was severe inbreeding from a small number of imports; this would account for delicacy, immune problems and small litters. As more were imported and perhaps through some early outcrosses to short-hairs the Siamese became much hardier so that Soderberg could write "The Siamese has become so thoroughly acclimatized that it has, in fact, almost become a British cat.

Fortunately the lady often loses her voice after several days of continuous vocal effort. On the negative side, Soderberg noted that the Siamese was a bad patient and apt to become overwhelmingly depressed when ill, though this should not lead anyone to believe that Siamese cats were essentially delicate.

Extra warmth was needed while rearing Siamese kittens and Soderberg warned that Siamese cats were liable to catch feline infectious enteritis. However, the assumption that Siamese cats could not get on well with other breeds was denied. The problem was that Siamese cats were much more likely to express their resentment of newcomers rather than sulk quietly!

Once they had taken a dislike to another animal, they were not likely to change that attitude, but careful introductions could prevent such problems arising. The Seal point Siamese had the best conformation though to some people "there seems to be a hint of quaintness". The head was to be wedge-shaped in profile and when viewed from the front, it should create an impression of a marten type of face.

This is a definite fault, and one which judges comment on frequently, so it is to be hoped that breeders will try to eradicate it. Coarseness and Siamese type should be almost a contradiction in terms. White toes were also a problem in the breed and would result in disqualification on the show-bench.

Another problem was a kinked tail or a tail that was too thick at the point where it joined the body. A kink is, in fact, characteristic of many cats which come from the Orient, and all the first importations of Siamese had tails which showed this skeletal deformity. To-day the majority of breeders prefer a tail which is straight to the very tip with not even the sllghtest hint of deformity.

The official Standard, however, allows a slight kink, but it stipulates that this should only be at the very tip of the tail. Perhaps the best way of denoting a kink which can be regarded as permissible is that it should be one that can be felt but cannot be seen, but many a breeder would disagree with this easy definition. Correct eye colour was another issue: Thus, it sometimes happens that cats with the most brilliant eye colour have dark coats and even pinched faces which spoil the general appearance.

It is unfortunate, but it must be accepted as a fact, that there is a definite connexion between eye colour, colour of points and body colour. Thus, brilliant eye colour is likely to accompany dense points, but there is also the possibility that the coat will be darker than is considered desirable. The loss of correct setting of the eye was a worry in the s: It was the conformation of the eye socket which produced the apparent slanting of the eye towards the nose.

This Oriental type of eye is to-day much less commonly seen than was the case some twenty or thirty years ago, and it is definitely one of the physical characteristics upon which breeders should concentrate, for the bold, round-eyed Siamese loses its essentially foreign quality. Although this is certainly not a disqualification, it is a blemish, and should be regarded as a fault. On a number of occasions it has decided between two cats which in other respects were equally good. The mask was first to develop, then the ears and tail became coloured. By eight weeks, all the points were coloured, but the colour was not the adult colour and the extent of colour was incomplete especially on the head.

The front legs were last to acquire full colour, resulting in show reports on young adult Siamese that the "stocking are still too pale". By , the coat quality was often too coarse in texture and lacked the required sheen; this was a problem when the cats developed their winter coat and a good reason for keeping them inside in the warmth so that they did not grow such a thick winter coat. They state that cats which are kept at the higher temperatures retain a lighter coat than those which are subjected to considerable cold. There may be some truth in this statement, but up to the present there seem to be no indisputable facts which could be regarded as real proof.

Naturally this darkness and lack of contrast spoils the general impression created by such cats, and it is difficult for them to achieve success on the show bench.

The explanation for this, if it could be found, would be extremely interesting for those breeders who are also keen exhibitors, but this seems to be an individual idiosyncrasy which follows no known rule. As a result, the two were bred together and though this improved the conformation of the Blue-Point, the required glacial white body gave way to a fawn body and "it is not unusual to find that the tail again shows clear indications of Seal-Pointed blood.

How these rings first appeared is difficult to ascertain, but there is a distinct possibility that at some time in the history of this breed the Blue-Pointed Siamese may have been bred to a short-haired Blue cat with some tabby ancestry. The ringed tail is characteristic of cats which fall into the class of tabbies.

The American Bobtail either a spontaneous mutation or the result of genes from imported Manxes re-emerging in the moggy population produces rumpies with Manx-type spinal problems , stumpies and longies, but it also produces cats with kinked tails. Years ago there were a considerable number of Creams, but the time came when it was almost impossible to find a eat of this variety at all. Undoubtedly as the years pass some breeders will try to introduce other types of body colour, and already Blue Burmese have been mentioned. The Abyssinian Embassy is able to shed no light on the matter. They may be of any colour as suitable to the ground colouration. Her information came from Mrs.

Whether this theory is correct or not probably no one will ever know, but up to the present no one has been able to explain satisfactorily the original source of this unusual marking. The newly recognised Chocolate-Pointed Siamese existed in small numbers due to earlier prejudices against them as being "bad Seal-Points". The point colour was being standardised at ivory with milk-chocolate points though there was a problem of the ears being too dark and the body being "old ivory" i.

Outcrossing to Seal-Points or Blue-Points was not recommended. Another new colour variety being developed at that time in America was the Red-Pointed Siamese, called Red Conchas by one breeder, although Soderberg wrote "it is almost certain that eventually the name Red-Pointed Siamese will be used for this variety". During the development of the Red-Point, the Tortoiseshell-Pointed Siamese was also produced, but very little work had been done with this colour, although some had been exhibited.

Quite recently one breeder at least in Great Britain has produced cats of Siamese pattern in which the points are said to be lilac. None of these new colours has so far received official recognition, and it is most important that any new colour should become firmly established, with a considerable number of specimens available, before official recognition is even sought. Most of the new colours have been produced by crossing Siamese with short-haired British cats, and as a consequence type has been lost and must be restored before any new variety can be seriously considered.

A true Siamese cat has not only particular markings but also very definitely a characteristic type for both head and body. The first Siamese Cat Club had been founded in and by was probably the largest specialist cat club in the world with a membership approaching Some years after the formation of the first club, the Siamese Cat Club of the British Empire was formed.

The 2 clubs worked harmoniously together. By , specialist clubs existed for the Blue Points and for the Chocolate Points. The Burmese, a comparatively new breed in , was another cat of foreign type which was the result of careful breeding though short-haired brown cats were known in Burma and also in the north of Siam, and Soderberg considered it more than probable that cats of that colour and type were used as part of the foundation stock.

The brown cats of Burma were not bred intentionally, but were the result of natural mating though they were apparently not very common in their own country and no one in that part of the world had considered it worthwhile to breed them selectively. Soderberg omitted to mention that "Brown Siamese" with golden eyes had been known since the end of the 19 th Century and had been documented by Frances Simpson in It was foreign in type and very reminiscent in contour of the Siamese which had been popular in that country for a good many years.

As, however, at the beginning there was only one of these brown Burmese cats available, it was decided that it should be crossed with a Siamese and then, by selective breeding, a strain should be produced which would conform to a definite Standard which, although similar in many respects to that of Siamese, was in others entirely different. The earliest specimens, imported from America, had to endure 6 months of quarantine, a strain which did not make the task of acclimatization any easier.

After a considerable amount of breeding in England, the Burmese bred true to type. Since those first importss from the USA, other Burmese had been imported, making it "a distinct prospect that the breed will be able to make further progress without too much in-breeding, a breeding method which in the case of cats has been found to be productive of unwelcome results, not the least of which is infertility.

Soderberg noted that English cat fanciers who had both Siamese and Burmese would notice distinct differences between them in temperament "a fact which must be due in no small measure to the original progenitor, which was a true Burmese cat, and did not possess the same highly-strung quality characteristic of so many Siamese. Some fanciers had commented on the essential gentleness of the Burmese and that Burmese females were exceptional mothers. A few years previously, there had been only one or two specimens in Britain, making it hard to generalize about their features, but by there well over a hundred Burmese in the British Isles and Soderberg felt able to comment on the breed characteristics, including its friendliness.

The Burmese cat, although it is essentially of foreign type, is not really a cat imported from a tropical country as were both the original Burmese and Siamese. Those Burmese cats which were developed in America naturally became accustomed to a comparatively warm climate, certainly warmer than our own, but they were not accustomed to temperatures which were high all the year round, for even California can have its periods of cold and snow. It was the fact that these cats, when they first came to England, had to spend so long in quarantine, and had no opportunity of living the natural lives which would be afforded to them in private catteries, which led to some losses.

This is a breed which is essentially healthy, and no more prone to disease than are cats which have been established in this country for many years. In this respect, of course, the colour contrast is similar, although very different from, that of the Siamese. The true history of the development of the Burmese cat as a distinct breed can be clearly seen in the coats of kittens, for when they are young, the overall coat colour is much paler, and it is then more easy to see the mask and the points which are so characteristic of Siamese. When the kitten grows older, the full depth of the colour of the coat develops, and the markings tend to disappear, although they never vanish completely.

On close inspection it is always possible to see that the mask is slightly darker than the rest of the coat, but it should be regarded as a fault if this distinction can be too clearly seen. The shape of the body and the frame generally should conform closely to that of Siamese type … As is so common with cats which came originally from the Orient, the kinked tail is found in the Burmese as it is in the Siamese. Over a period of years since Siamese were first introduced in , a very definite attempt has been made to breed out this kink, a policy which has not received universal approval, and it is probable that the kink which is now characteristic of the Burmese will tend to suffer the same fate in due course.

Some of the early Burmese which were exhibited were considered too blunt in head, and did not display the wedge which remains the desired type in Britain and Europe American Burmese have blunt domed heads, much to the detriment of the breed because it resulted in the lethal "Burmese Head Defect" which is not found in the European Burmese. The blunt heads were a fault, though the head was on the whole shorter than that of the modern Siamese and "ought to approach much more closely to the head type of Siamese which were known in this country at the beginning of the present century.

In this respect Burmese are far better than their cousins from Siam, for over the years the Oriental eye in Siamese has tended to disappear, and as a result one of the greatest charms of the breed has been lost. Soderberg summed up by saying "It is impossible to say now what the future of the Burmese will be in this country because it is a breed of such recent development, but if one can judge from the interest which these cats arouse at the shows, over a period of years there should be a rapidly growing band of fanciers who appreciate the qualities of this new breed.

Certainly it is most attractive to the eye with its close-lying, glossy coat and a colour which, when the cat is in good condition, is really beautiful. Undoubtedly as the years pass some breeders will try to introduce other types of body colour, and already Blue Burmese have been mentioned. Whether this is a good thing so early in the history of the breed is something which the club that looks after its interests will have to decide.

When the Governing Council first recognized Burmese as a distinct breed and accepted an official Standard for it, this recognition was only granted for a period of two years, but during that time Burmese proved by their true breeding quality that they were worthy of a separate classification, and they are now here to stay. It is to be hoped that the experimental fervour of a few breeders will not try to alter this cat too much from its original shape and colour.

Let it remain Burmese. It is recommended that only cats of true Burmese parentage be eligible for Championship status. Apart from colour, they would be judged against the existing Burmese standard of points. This raised a complication because blue-to-blue breeds true and champagne-to-champagne breeds true, but blue-to-champagne produces sable brown. That would mean sable brown "Caucasians" that were identical to sable brown Burmese and were judged to exactly the same standard of points.

Eventually common sense prevailed with the acceptance of the new colours as Burmese. No cat is better known than the British Short-hair. As with the Long-haired varieties, the most popular British Short-hair is the Blue. While breeders recommend the crossing of British Blues with Blacks, they are definitely opposed to mating them with Russian Blues or Blue Persians.

In the United States the British Blue is known as the Maltese cat, and recently has enjoyed much popularity there as a household pet. On the Continent, too, this cat is becoming increasingly popular, and there its name is the Chartreuse. With the exception of colour and eye-colour, the Cream Short-hair should conform to the type already described for the British Blue. This is a very attractive cat, but extremely difficult to breed, which probably accounts for its rarity.

Nowadays it is unusual to find any pedigree tabby in the show-pen other than the familiar Silver, Brown, or Red. Some fifty years ago, however, there were many other striped varieties. For example, there was the Black-banded Tabby and the Blue-banded Tabby. There was the Chestnut Tabby and the Chocolate Tabby, as well as the Mackerel Tabby, upon which numerous narrow stripes ran vertically from the spine.

But there were also Spotted Tabbies, or Leopard cats. The spotted tabby differed from the striped or banded tabby by having spots instead of pencilings, and the greater the number of spots the better the cat was considered to be. The best-known varieties probably were the Black-spotted Tabby and the Brown-spotted Tabby, but there were several other types, including the Yellow spotted Tabby, the Blue-spotted Tabby, the Red-spotted Tabby, and the Grey-spotted Tabby.

All these spotted varieties were distinguished by the ground coloration upon which the spots appeared. Black cats have always been popular, yet one sees very few really good specimens. In addition to the Black-and-White, or Magpie [ Although there were never any definite rulings drawn up for this rare breed, uniformity of markings was desirable. For example, a cat might be entirely white with black ears, another specimen might be all white with just a black tail, yet a third perhaps would have black feet - all would be regarded as possible prize-winners.

Probably the most attractive White-and-Black cat ever seen was a very rare specimen owned by a Mr. Lyon, of Crewe, and the late. Harrison Weir gave it the following description: The body is white, with a distinct black cross on the right side, or rather, more on the back than side. The cross resembles that known as Maltese in form, and is clearly defined. The tail is black, the legs and feet white. Both the Short-hair Tortoiseshell and the Tortoiseshell-and-White varieties are very handsome animals, and, like their Long-haired counterparts, most useful for breeding purposes.

Both types consist almost entirely of females. In fact, the largest number of males which have ever been seen together was probably in , when four were exhibited at the Crystal Palace Show. One of these was a Tortoiseshell, and the others were Tortoiseshell-and-White. Then, as now, however, most of the males were sterile. No cat is more fascinating than the tailless Manx, with its rabbit-like hoppity gait. During the nineteenth century this breed was immensely popular, and some very good specimens appeared at the Crystal Palace and other important shows.

Among them was a brindled tortoiseshell Manx of eight years old. A consistent prize-winner, it was exhibited on a collar and lead, after the manner of a dog. Fashions come and go, and in the years immediately following the Second World War there was a grave danger of the Manx cat dying out. Their cry is slightly more shrill than that of other cats. Early cat-books will tell you that the Manx cat should be tailless or nearly so. In point of fact, the true Manx is completely tailless, and there is a decided hollow at the end of the backbone, where, in an ordinary cat, the tail would begin.

Other essential features are a very short back, and raised and prominent hindquarters. In a really good specimen the. The hind legs are considerably longer than the front ones, thus giving the cat its peculiar hopping gait; incidentally, also the reason for the ridiculous theory held in some quarters that the Manx cat is the result of a cross-mating between a cat and a rabbit.

Because the Manx cat is a mutation and not a breed in the genetic sense [an interesting definition of breed and "genetic"! Unfortunately, it has been proved that successive matings of true rumpies produces weak litters, and, if persisted with, result in whole litters being born dead, or at least surviving only a few days. In days gone by, when the Manx cat was so very fashionable, certain unscrupulous people on the Isle of Man were in the habit of docking the tails of ordinary cats and selling these animals for genuine rumpies. Nowadays purchasers of Manx kittens from the Island can, for a small fee, through the Isle of Man Manx Cat Association, obtain a veterinary certificate guaranteeing that the cat was born without a tail and was not a victim of injury by accident or design.

Sladen, along with her friend, Miss Marjorie Bryce, successfully bred Manx cats for more than thirty years when they supplied advice in Therefore, this breed has been known in our district of South Oxfordsbire certainly for 70 years, probably much longer. We named our two ancestral cats, Daphne and Diana. The Man strain is so strong, that although this breed has been constantly mated with tailed cats throughout the years, the taillessness continues and also the characteristic high, round rump, rabbit gait, and so on Manx cats have the sporting characteristics of dogs, and like dogs they will follow.

So much so, that before going to Church or setting out on a walk to visit anyone whose dogs, and other livestock, we may not know, much time is lost in rounding up our cats, and literally dodging out while their attention is distracted. Many a time we have had to run in our efforts to hide the direction we have taken, and many a time, thinking we had escaped, we have tuned to see a little cavalcade of Man of all ages, leaping after us, with the air full of protesting adult wails, and thin, high cries of adolescent and small kittens.

The whole cavalcade has then to be shepherded back and another escape made! In , Tenent wrote that there could be few cat-lovers who did not know the Siamese cat, though fewer would be familiar with the Abyssinian, Russian Blue or the Burmese. Why the Abyssinian gets its name is something of a mystery, for certainly the breed was never prolific in that part of Africa.

In fact, there is every reason to believe that the original Abyssinian cat was one and the same as the Nubian cat, which was domesticated by the Ancient Egyptians. This cat, a small tawny-coloured creature with lighter flanks and white stomach, came from North Africa. It had black markings similar to those our present-day tabby, and its tail, which was long and tapering, carried three black rings.

How To Care For A Russian Blue Breed

The first Abyssinian cat to arrive in Britain, strangely enough, come from Abyssinia. It belonged to a Mrs. Barrett-Lennard and was called Zula. Gordon Staples described it thus: Cats, their Points, etc. She is now very fond of her mistress, but has a great many eccentricities which other cats have not, and is altogether a wonderful specimen of cat-kind.

It is a great retriever, and will bring back a ball of screwed-up paper to you time after time. Another appealing habit is the way it will sometimes convey food to its mouth from a paw, instead of putting its head down to the plate in true cat fashion. Tenent noted the confusion regarding the Abyssinian cat and the great variety of names it had been given since Zula arrived: Russian, Spanish, Abyssinian, Hare cat, and Rabbit cat.

There had been an Abyssinian Silver Grey cat, sometimes alluded to as the Chinchilla Abyssinian, with a silver ground colour instead of brown. In their very interesting notes on the Abyssinian cat entitled Child of the Gods , Helen and Sidney Denham compare the colouring to that of a Belgian hare. Tenent reported that the attractive Russian Blue was, apart from its colour, entirely different from the British Blue Short-hair.

As with the Abyssinian and Siamese, it was apparently a natural retriever and easily trained to walk on a lead. It had once known as the Archangel cat it was a very ancient breed which could, according to her, be traced back to the days of the Vikings.

In the years previous to the Revolution, the Russian Blue Cat was apparently worshipped by the Tsars and peasants alike, and a picture of one was to be seen adorning the walls of almost every Russian home. Even then , in parts of Russia, a Russian Blue would be put into the cradle of every new-born baby as superstition claimed it would drive away evil spirits. She gave a translation of an old Russian prayer which mentioned the Russian Blue cat:.

Hear our prayer, Lord, for all animals, May they be well-fed and well-treated and happy: Protect them from hunger and fear and suffering: And, we pray, protect specially, dear Lord, The little blue cat who is the companion of our home. Keep her safe as she goes abroad And bring her back to comfort us. Tenent noted that the Russian Blue cat first appeared in Britain during the nineteenth century, arriving on ships trading between the Baltic ports and England. One fine specimen was exchanged by a docker with a Russian sailor for a leg of mutton while another had been a gift from a Russian Emperor.

It is sometimes bred here in England from cats bearing no resemblance to the bluish-lilac colour, nor of foreign extraction or pedigree I feel bound to admit that those that come from Archangel were of a deeper, purer tint than the English cross-breeds; and on reference to my notes, I find that they had larger ears and eyes, and were larger and longer in the head. The Burmese cat was completely unknown in Britain before and Tenent confused it with the Birman on several occasions. It was highly valued, fiercely guarded and "in ancient times the Burmese cat was considered sacred, and each animal had a special servant to look after it.

If a cat was allowed to suffer in any way, the servant concerned was likely to be subject to torture, indeed was often put to death. Today the Burmese cat is the privileged pet of the Maharajahs, and the very wealthy.

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An animal is never sold, and the onIy way to get one is to have it given to you. Should you call to see a cat, it would be brought to you on silken cushions, and the story goes that when a young man seeks a bride he chooses a girl whose father owns a Burmese cat in preference to receiving a dowry [ In colouring, however, it differs from the Siamese, for the coat is a rich, sable brown which shades to a slightly lighter colour on the chest and stomach. The ears and mask are slightly darker than the coat colour; the eyes are yellow. The first specimens were brought back by Dr.

Joseph Thompson of San Francisco, from India, on his return from a visit there. Whether these cats were true Burmese, however, is very doubtful. Most probably they were hybrids, a long-haired variety with blue eyes and white toes [ note: This type of cat also appeared at some of the early continental shows [note: The first Burmese cats suitable for breeding were secured through the Harvard School of Genetics by the eminent American cat breeder, Mr. The standard drawn up by the Burmese Cat Society of America is a very stiff one, and has made it extremely difficult for a blue-eyed, light-coloured cat to be called a Burmese [ note: They often will sit for hours in a lap or bed and purr and sometimes raise up with a caress, then settle down again.

While they are very playful and have lots of energy, they are not as destructive as some cats and can easily be taught to use their scratching post. Tenent noted that in Mrs. Leslie Williams had written of the Siamese cat as follows: Tenent wrote "you never own a Siamese cat, so if you wish to live with one, prepare to be its slave" and commented on its tremendous conversational power, but considered them 'vocal' rather than 'noisy'.

Her description of the 'marten face' is quite different from the modern extreme wedges. For example, we hear of one unfortunate cat which was fed on little else but dry bread soaked in water. Another cat was confined to a room of 50 degrees temperature all the year round, while yet a third was given raw chicken heads with the feathers on as a possible cure for worms. Many of these same breeders have proven their dedication to quality by consistently producing top CFA winners, numerous grands, and Distinguished Merit cats.

Russian Blue (Your Cat Magazine Breed Profiles Book 23) - Kindle edition by Laura Hall. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or. Russian Blue (Your Cat Magazine Breed Profiles Book 23) eBook: Laura Hall: Kindle Store.

They also like to promote their breed to the public and with new breeders who are interested in showing and improving this breed. Although they can be fairly competitive, Russian Blue fanciers often put aside personal interests and work together to keep this breed healthy and vibrant. English breeders, such as Dunloe, Jennymay, Sylphides, and Windywhistle, and Swedish breeders, such as Molleby, Olsenburg, Finlandia, and Kabbarps, provided many of the foundation cats for American breeders.

During the s, American breeders were working primarily with either English or Swedish bloodlines. The English lines were noted for their pale, plush coats, silver tipping, and refined boning, while the Swedish bloodlines were noted for their beautiful head type, elegant bodies, and emerald green eyes.

Until breeders began combining these bloodlines, Russian Blues in the show ring varied greatly in style, with few cats displaying all the qualities of the perfect Russian Blue. In the s, breeders began combining the English and Swedish bloodlines to produce the cats that became the foundation for the modern Russian Blue. From only registered cats in to over registered by , the Russian Blues were enjoying a surge of popularity as they became more uniform in appearance and more competitive at shows.

These five breedings produced six Grand Champions, two Distinguished Merit females, and one national winner. Diana Doernberg of Velva Cattery is credited with the winning combinations that provided foundation cats for many Russian Blue catteries including Hy-line, Sereshka, Miribu, and Tsar Blu. As their popularity increased, Russian Blue classes of cats were common, but they were developing a reputation of being bad-tempered due to their shy nature.

Despite this, ten Russian Blues gained national Championship wins from to In addition, the point distribution was modified to put more emphasis on body and head type while retaining emphasis on the distinctive Russian Blue coat and color. By the early s, Russian Blues had declined in popularity, most likely due to the fact that they had established a reputation as being difficult to show.

Only a few Russian Blues could be found at any show. Fortunately several determined Russian Blue breeders continued their work and were joined by several new breeders charmed by the beauty and affectionate personality of this breed. Russian Blue breeders were producing beautiful examples of their breeds that were often hard to handle at shows while being sweet and affectionate companions at home. Judges began to ask why breeders were not doing something to improve the disposition of this elegant breed. As temperament became a bigger factor in show success, breeders began to focus attention on making the Russian Blue easier for judges to handle.

Environmental and genetic factors were evaluated. Most breeders focused on selective breeding and kitten training. Others played tapes of show noises, put crystals in cages, used herbal remedies, visualization, and relaxation techniques. No stone was left unturned. Some combination of these methods worked, and slowly Russian Blues began acting better in the judging ring. Although Russian Blue numbers at shows remained small, their popularity with judges and spectators increased as their attitude at shows improved. Russian Blues made six national wins from to He passed both his beauty and showmanship to 22 grand offspring, including several regional and national winners.

In the s, Russian Blue breeders continued to focus on show temperament and quality. Several new breeders were attracted to this beautiful breed including Winterfest, Moontan, Grisaille, Bleuchip, and Platina Luna. Russian Blues were becoming more competitive at shows. They no longer had to be brought to the show ring by themselves with cages separating every cat.

Their reputation was changing as they were being noted for exceptional show performance rather than bad attitudes. Russian Blues were purring in the ring. They were posing elegantly one minute and acting like clowns over a toy the next. Even though Russian Blue registration numbers are constant and show entries are still small, they are well represented in finals, regional awards, and national awards. From to , Russian Blues made 23 national awards and regional awards.

Champion classes of 10 to 15 are not uncommon. A recent show in Kyoto had over 20 Russian Blues entered. The Russian Blue Breed Council believes more in breeding to our standard than modifying the standard to match what we breed.

Russian Blue Magazine Breed Profiles

Despite its brevity, it provides a clear description of a very distinct cat. Russian Blue Type consists of head type, body, ears, and eye shape. The Russian Blue head, one of its most distinguishing features, is a smooth, medium wedge with a blunt muzzle blending into the wedge. The profile consists of two planes, with one angled from the tip of the nose to the brow and one, which is slightly longer, from the brow to the back of the head. The chin is perpendicular with the end of the nose.

The ears are very important to the overall balance of the head. They should be rather large and wide at the base and set far apart, as much on the side as on the top of the head. Front-on, the Russian Blue face is broad across the eyes due to wide eye-set and thick fur. Eye aperture is rounded in shape. The neck is long and slender, but appears short due to thick fur and high placement of shoulder blades.