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Our Cats and All About Them

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<h2>KITTENS.</h2> <p>Kittenhood, the baby time especially of country cats, is with most the brightest, sprightliest, and prettiest period of their existence, and perhaps the most happy. True, when first born and in the earliest era of their lives, they are blind, helpless little things, dull, weak, and staggering, scarcely able to stand, if at all, almost rolling over at every attempt, making querulous, fretful noises, if wakeful or cold, or for the time motherless. But 'tis not for long; awhile, and she, the fondest of mothers, is with them. They are nestled about her, or amid her soft, warm fluffy fur, cossetted with parental tenderness, caressed, nurtured, and, with low, sweet tones and fondlings, they are soothed again and again to sleep.&mdash;They sleep.&mdash;Noiseless, and with many a longing, lingering look, the careful, watchful, loving creature slowly and reluctantly steals away; soon to return,<span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_115" id="Page_115">[115]</SPAN></span> when she and her little ones are lost "in the land of dreams." And so from day to day, until bright, meek-eyed, innocent, inquiring little faces, with eager eyes, peep above the basket that is yet their home. One bolder than the others springs out, when, scared at its own audacity, as quickly, and oft clumsily, scrambles back, then out&mdash;in&mdash;and out, in happy, varied, wild, frolicsome, gambolsome play, they clutch, twist, turn, and wrestle in artless mimicry of desperate quarrelling;&mdash;the struggle over, in liveliest antics they chase and rechase in turn, or in fantastic mood play; 'tis but play, and such wondrous play&mdash;bright, joyous, and light; and so life glides on with them as kittens&mdash;frisky, skittish, playful kittens.</p> <p>A few more days, and their mother leads them forth, with many an anxious look and turn, softly calling in a subdued voice, they halting almost at every step; suddenly, oft at nothing, panic-stricken, quickly scamper back, not one yet daring to follow where all is so oddly strange and new, their natural shyness being stronger than the love of freedom. Again, with scared look and timid steps, they come, when again at nothing frightened, or with infantile pretence, they are off, "helter-skelter," without a pause or stay, one and all, they o'er and into their basket clamber, tumble in, turn about and stare with a more than half-bewildered, self-satisfied safety look about them. Gaining courage once more, they peer about, with dreamy, startled, anxious eyes, watching for dangers that never are, although expected. Noiseless comes their patient, loving mother; with what new delight they cling about her; how fondly and tenderly she tends them, lures, cossets, coaxes, and talks, as only a gentle mother-cat can&mdash;"There is no danger, no!&mdash;nothing to fear. Is she not with them; will she not guard, keep and defend them? There is a paradise out there; through this door; they must see it. Come, she will show them; come, have confidence! Now, then&mdash;come!" When followed by her three little ones, and they with much misgiving, she passes out&mdash;out into the garden, out among the lovely, blooming, fragrant roses, out among the<span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_116" id="Page_116">[116]</SPAN></span> sweet stocks and the damask-coloured gilly-flowers, the pink daisies, brown, red, and orange wallflowers, the spice-scented pinks, and other gay and modest floral beauties that make so sweet the soft and balmy breath of Spring. Out into the sunshine, almost dazed amid a flood of light, warmed by the glowing midday sun. Light above, light around and everywhere about; while the sweet-scented breezes come joy-laden with the happy wild birds' melodious songs; wearied with wonderment, under the flower-crowned lilacs they gather themselves to rest. How beautiful all is, how full of young delights; the odorous wind fans, soothes, and lulls them to rest, while rustling leaves softly whisper them to sleep&mdash;they and their loving mother slumber unconscious of all things, and with all things at peace. There, stretched in the warm sunshine asleep, possibly dreaming of their after-life when they are kittens no longer, they rest and&mdash;sleep.</p> <p>Their young, bright life has begun; how charming all is, how peaceful under the young, green leaves, bright as emeralds; about them flickering, chequering lights play with the never-wearying, restless shadows; they know of nothing but bliss, so happy, they enjoy all&mdash;sweet-faced, gentle-eyed and pretty. Happy, there is no other word. "Happy as a kitten." "Sprightly as a kitten." As they sleep they dream of delight, awake they more than realise their dreams.<br /><br /></p> <p><span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_117" id="Page_117">[117]</SPAN></span></p> <div class="figcenter" style="width: 468px;"> <ANTIMG src="images/z137.jpg" width="468" height="360" alt="" title="" /> <br /><br /></div> <h2>OF KITTENS IN GENERAL.</h2> <p>Kittens usually shed their first teeth from five to seven months old, and seldom possess even part of a set of the small, sharp dentition after that time. When shown as kittens under six months old, and they have changed the <i>whole</i> of their kittenhood teeth for those of the adult, it is generally considered a fairly <i>strong</i> proof that their life is in excess of that age, and the judge is therefore certainly justified in disqualifying such exhibit, though sometimes, as in other domestic animals, there occurs premature change, as well as inexplicable delay.</p> <p>Kittens are not so cleanly in their habits as cats of a mature growth; this is more generally the case when they have been <i>separated from the mother-cat</i>, or when removed to some place that is strange to them, or when sufficient care is not taken, by letting them out of the house occa<span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_118" id="Page_118">[118]</SPAN></span>sionally. When they cannot from various reasons be so turned out, a box should be provided, partly filled with dry earth, to which they may retire. This is always a requisite when cats or kittens are valuable, and therefore obliged to be kept within doors, especially in neighbourhoods where there is a chance of their being lost or stolen.</p> <p>It should also be borne in mind, that the present and future health of an animal, be it what it may, is subject to many incidences, and not the least of these is good and appropriate food, shelter, warmth, and cleanliness. It is best to feed at regular intervals. In confinement, Mr. Bartlett, the skilful and experienced manager of the Zoological Society's Gardens, at Regent's Park, finds that one meal a day is sufficient, and this is thought also to be the case with a full-grown cat, more especially when it has the opportunity of ranging and getting other food, such as mice, and "such small deer;" but with "young things" it is different, as it is deemed necessary to get as much strength and growth as possible. I therefore advocate several meals a day, at least three, with a variety of food, such as raw shin of beef, cut very small; bones to pick; fish of sorts, with all the bones taken out, or refuse parts; milk, with a little hot water; boiled rice or oatmeal, with milk or without it; and grass, if possible; if not, some boiled vegetables, stalks of asparagus, cabbage, or even carrots. Let the food be varied from time to time, but never omitting the finely-cut raw beef every day. I am not in favour of liver, or "lights," as it is called, either for cats or kittens. If horseflesh can be depended on, it is a very favourite and strengthening food, and may be given. The kitten should be kept warm and dry, and away from draughts.</p> <p>Also take especial care not in any way to frighten, tease, or worry a young animal, but do everything possible to give confidence and engender regard, fondness, or affection for its owner; always be gentle and yet firm in its training. Do not allow it to do one day uncorrected, that for which it is punished the next for the same kind of fault. If it is doing wrong remove it, speaking gently, <i>at the time</i>, and not <i>wait<span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_119" id="Page_119">[119]</SPAN></span> long after the fault is committed</i>, or they will not know what the punishment is for. Many animals' tempers are spoiled entirely by this mode of proceeding.</p> <p>Take care there is always a clean vessel, with pure clear water for them to drink when thirsty.<br /><br /></p> <div class="figcenter" style="width: 600px;"> <ANTIMG src="images/z139.jpg" width="600" height="643" alt="MISS MOORE&#39;S KITTEN, &quot;CHLOE.&quot;" title="" /> <span class="caption">MISS MOORE&#39;S KITTEN, &quot;CHLOE.&quot;</span> <br /><br /><br /><br /></div> <p><span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_120" id="Page_120">[120]</SPAN></span></p> <h2>MANAGEMENT OF KITTENS AND CATS.</h2> <p>These require quiet and kindly treatment. Do nothing quickly or suddenly, so as in any way to scare or frighten, but when speaking to them, let the voice be moderated, gentle, and soft in tone. Cats are not slow to understand kind treatment, and may often be seen to watch the countenance as though trying to fathom our thoughts. Some cats are of a very timorous nature, and are thus easily dismayed. Others again are more bold in their ways and habits, and are ever ready for cossetty attention; but treat both as you would be treated&mdash;kindly.</p> <p>As to food, as already noted, I have found raw beef the best, with milk mixed with a little hot water to drink&mdash;never boil it&mdash;and give plenty of grass, or some boiled vegetable, such as asparagus, sea-kale, or celery; they also are fond of certain weeds, such as cat-mint, and equisetum, or mares' or cats' tails, as it is sometimes called. If fish is given it is best mixed with either rice or oatmeal, and boiled, otherwise it is apt to produce diarrh&oelig;a.</p> <p>Horse-flesh may be given as a change, provided that it is not from a diseased animal; and should be boiled, and be fresh.</p> <p>Brown bread and milk is also good and healthy food; the bread should be cut in cubes of half an inch, and the warm milk and water poured on; only enough for one meal should be prepared at a time.</p> <p>Let the cat and kittens have as much fresh air as is possible; and if fed on some dainty last thing at night they<span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_121" id="Page_121">[121]</SPAN></span> will be sure to "come in," and thus preserved from doing and receiving injury.</p> <p>If cats are in any way soiled in their coat, especially the long-haired varieties, and cannot cleanse themselves, they may be washed in warm, soapy water; but this is not advisable in kittens, unless great care is used to prevent their taking cold.</p> <p>Some cats like being brushed, and it is often an improvement to the pelage or fur if carefully done; but in all cases the brush should have soft, close hair, which should be rather long than otherwise.</p> <p>Do not let your cats or kittens wear collars or ribbons always, especially if they are ramblers, for the reason that they are liable to get caught on spikes of railings or twigs of bushes, and so starved to death, or strangled, unless discovered.</p> <p>For sending cats to an exhibition, a close-made basket is best, which will allow for ventilation, as fresh air is most essential; and have it sufficiently large to allow of the cat standing and turning about, especially if a long journey is before them. I have <i>seen</i> cats sent to shows taken out of <i>small boxes</i>, <i>dead</i>, stifled to death&mdash;"poor things."</p> <p>Bear in mind that the higher and better condition your cat is in on its arrival at the show, the greater is the chance of winning.</p> <p>Do not put carpet or woollen fabrics in the basket, but plenty of good, sweet hay or oat-straw; this will answer all purposes, and does not get sodden.</p> <p>If you use a padlock for the fastening, <i>do not forget to send the key to the manager of the show</i>, as is sometimes the case.<span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_122" id="Page_122">[122]</SPAN></span></p> <div class="figcenter" style="width: 239px;"> <ANTIMG src="images/z142.jpg" width="239" height="600" alt="CAT CLUB CHALLENGE CUP." title="" /> <span class="caption">CAT CLUB CHALLENGE CUP.</span> <br /><br /></div> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <p><span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_123" id="Page_123">[123]</SPAN></span></p> <div class="figcenter" style="width: 600px;"> <ANTIMG src="images/z143.jpg" width="600" height="355" alt="" title="" /> <br /><br /></div> <h2>
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