The Way We Were:
Excerpts from the 1959 CFA Yearbook, Part 11

Ristokat Himalayans & Persians

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History of the Siamese, Part 3
by Carlon Boren

Miss Jane Cathcart, whom we have already mentioned, made her "hobby" a paying success. She had established a cattery for the domestic short-hair to begin with, but now she became interested in the foreign varieties. She went to Europe several times bringing back with her the best specimens of Siamese, Abyssinians, Australians and Russian Blues that she could find in England and on the Continent. She had a good head for business, and a flair for showmanship. She advertised in all the cat publications of her day as well as the New York newspapers and built up a tremendous trade in cats, which resulted in her establishing another branch office, in Rochester, N.Y., with Mrs. Elizabeth L. Brace in charge. Mrs. Brace was the founder of the chief cat publication between 1912 and 1940, The Cat Courier, and she later became a well known and sought for judge. Mrs. Cathcart knew just about all there was to know about raising, breeding and showing cats. She attended nearly every exhibition with her animals, and in this way she built up contacts for sales to every section of America. She operated the first cat Boarding House in America. Her cattery was named The Black Short Hair Cattery, Inc., because of her first love for the Shorthaired Domestic cat. Her Siamese, Ch. Siam de Paris, which she had brought back from Paris, on her first trip to Europe, was a popular exhibit at the shows, and was often used for publicity purposes. Finally, he was sold for $475, the purchaser requested to remain anonymous.

Another personality of the day, whose articles did much to establish the popularity of the Siamese breed was the previously mentioned Mrs. H. G. Dykhouse of Grand Rapids, Mich. Originally a breeder of Blue Eyed White Persians and Silvers, Mrs. Dykhouse became a powerful figure in the Cat Fancy throughout the country, and remained so up to the time of her death in the middle Thirties. She, too, combed the catteries of England and America determined to buy the finest, regardless of cost. She obtained excellent stock. Her first purchase was a Siamese female from Mrs. Chilcott of England, named Ananda. This cat was sired by Ch. Kew King of Siam, who was said to be the finest Siamese in England at the time. She then purchased a male, Romeo Siam, a first generation American bred Siamese, from Mrs. L. A. Swift of Lake Forest, Illinois. Mrs. Dykhouse added other well known stock, and so she began her breeding. At the shows that were held between 1895 and 1949, there were 15 Best Cat Awards given Siamese. Out of these awards Mrs. Dykhouse won two. Her first win was with her Romeo Blue Bell, in 1912, at the first show held by the Minneapolis Cat Club. Her second win was made with a female Siamese, Romeo Me Yome, and this win took place at the South Bend, Indiana, Cat Show. Many judges thought her male was the best in America, and Romeo Kee-Wan-Kee was given a write-up as such in the Cat Courier in a 1917 issue. Mrs. Dykhouse was President of the Siamese Cat Society in 1909. She continued to serve in that capacity until 1913.

Dr. G. D. Hindley of Carpenteria, California, was the greatest pioneer of Siamese in the far west. In the Golden Era between 1910 and 1916 Dr. Hindley became famous for his Siamese. For many years he studied the breed, and made his purchases, first in England, and then in the Orient. His finest purchase was Guyo, a male, who had won Best Cat at a show in Santa Barbara, Calif., in 1910. Guyo was owned by Mrs. C. C. Park of Los Angeles at the time of the exhibition, and it was from her he purchased the cat. The show was held under the rules of the Western Cat Association, a small organization limited for the most part to Southern California. Dr. Hindley owned a female named Marcova and, from this mating to his new male, Guyo, he obtained several fine litters, one kitten of this breeding was the famous Romeo Blue Bell, which was purchased by Mrs. Dykhouse. Romeo Blue Bell had a famous kitten, named Romeo Blitzen Bentz, whose sire was the English import, Romeo Kee-Wan-Kee. Romeo Blue Bell died shortly after the show in Minneapolis, which was a great loss to the Fancy, as she had been acclaimed the finest Female Siamese ever to appear in the American shows. But, Romeo Blue Bell had left the son to carry on, and he made a great name for himself in the shows throughout the Mid-West and Canada.

The East's outstanding personality, as far as the Siamese was concerned was Mrs. F. Y. Mathis of Greenwich, Conn., who originally, like Mrs. Dykhouse, had been interested in the Persian. She, too, availed herself of the finest stock, and met with wonderful success, both in the show ring, and in the sale of her stock. Mrs. Mathis won a Best Cat award for her Siamese in 1913 at the New York City cat show held by the Atlantic Cat Club, Mr. H. J. Vidal judging. Ch. Lady Sonia was competing against the cream of the Long-Haired cats in the East and Midwest at the time. Her second win came in 1915, at the Greenwich, Conn., show with Sonitska winning the Best Cat Award, Mrs. Elizabeth Brace judging. Mrs. Mathis herself later became a well known judge whose services were in constant demand.

The late Gertrude E. Taylor, Syracuse, New York, Secretary of the Siamese Cat Society, was another pioneer of the Siamese. She did much to promote interest in the breed by her many articles which appeared in The Cat Courier. She obtained some fine Siamese. Her most famous was, perhaps, Hjalmar of Sailina, a male, which was sold to Mrs. B. E. Watson, and which was Best Cat at the show staged at Aurora, Illinois, in 1915.

As we reach the mid-twenties and the early thirties we find the torch for the Siamese being carried by many other outstanding personalities and breeders. One outstanding personality who contributed to the propagation of the Siamese in this era was Mrs. H. E. Naatz of Cleveland, Ohio. Mrs. Naatz became very prominent in the Cat Fancy. She served as President of The Siamese Cat Society from 1929-1930. She is widely remembered for her importation of Siamese Star Adamina, which she imported from England in 1925, from Miss C. Fisher. Adamina was a Seal Point female who threw many Blue Points during her breeding career. Two months after Adamina arrived in this country, she was exhibited at the Michigan State Fair, in the All Breed Show, and won the Best Cat award. Mrs. Naatz possessed many other fine Siamese, some imported, and some of her own breeding. The Siamese Star Cattery became famous for one named Siamese Star Prince Favo. Also, Wang-Ho of Storisende and Adamina II of Storisende. The last two were owned by Mr. Burton Eddy of Little Silver, N.J. In 1931 Wang-Ho of Storisende won Best Cat in a Siamese Specialty Show at New York, competing against 49 other Siamese. Mrs. Naatz did not hesitate to sell even her finest specimens and this did much to build up America's stock and enable other breeders to obtain some of her fine bloodline. And, thus, with a possible few exceptions, the pioneers of the rip-roaring Twenties and Thirties, obtained at least part of their foundation stock from Mrs. Naatz and her famous Siamese Star Cattery.

In 1925 Mrs. Martin Metcalf established a cattery in Washington, D.C. She imported some outstanding Siamese from Manila, Siam, China and France. She also obtained some of Mrs. Naatz' Siamese Star stock, mostly Blue Points. Her Djer-Kits Cattery became famous. Among her best Siamese was one owned by Mrs. Virginia Cobb, Ch. Djer-Kits Chinkaling of Newton, Imp. She was also known as the owner of that famous Ch. Cordome's Djer-Kits' Po-Go of Paris and Silka, a daughter of Po-Go. Silka compiled an enviable record and became both an ACA and CFA champion. Mrs. Metcalf was a former Recorder of CFA.

In 1926, Mrs. Elizabeth Bearden of Aldan, Pa., established her Cattery, which featured Siamese exclusively. Her foundation stock was three female Siamese from the Siamese Star cattery of Mrs. Naatz and a male, Bonzo II. She called her cattery Ming Kwong. Mrs. Bearden was Vice President of the Siamese Cat Society in 1931, and later Honorary President.

Another well known Siamese breeder of this era was Mrs. Karl B. Norton of White Plains, N.Y. Mrs. Norton owned many outstanding Siamese, and she, too, had as her foundation stock, some of the fine Siamese Star cats. She served as Vice President of the Siamese Cat Society from 1936 to 1940. In 1948, she became Secretary of CFA. She also became a Siamese judge. In 1948 she also published a book, "Cats", which was very helpful to those desiring to organize a cat club.

Another outstanding personality at this time was Mr. Burton Eddy, who, in addition to becoming known for his Storisende Siamese cat, also was noted as the author of "The Panther of the Hearth". This article appeared in the National Geographic Magazine in November, 1938. The article has colored pictures of nearly every known breed of cat, along with some of their history. The pictures of the Siamese in color are very well done, as are the beautiful pictures of the Persians and a few Domestic Short-hairs. Mr. Eddy served as President of the Siamese Cat Society from 1931 to 1934. He was also the Publisher of The Cat Gazette.

At a show held in Madison Square Garden in New York City in 1928, Mrs. Martin Metcalf exhibited some fine Siamese cats. It was at this show that Mrs. Virginia Cobb of Newton, Mass., saw her first Siamese. She became so fascinated by them that she soon purchased a Seal Point Siamese female as a Christmas present for Mr. Cobb. This female Siamese became the well-known Ch. Djer-Kits Chinkaling of Newton Imp., who raised a family of 96 kittens, and lived to the ripe old age of 16 years. "Chunky" was truly a well known cat and much loved by all who knew her. When she died, a Siamese Specialty Show was held in her honor as a Memorial. This Show was financed by her many friends in the Fancy. Another famous cat of Newton, who also lived to a ripe old age, was the Siamese Seal Point male, Ch. Oriental Nancy Pooh of Newton, Imp., whose name appears in so many pedigrees. "Nikki" holds the record in America for the most offspring, sons and daughters, who have made their Championships. He lived to be 17 years old, and sired over 1300 kittens. What a record! A Memorial Show was held for him by the Short Hair Club of New England in 1955 in connection with the Golden Anniversary show of the Boston Cat Club. In the catalogue of that Show there is a list of many well known names of today's Siamese Breeders who owned "Nikki's" descendants. There have been many other famous cats Newton. Mrs. Cobb's Grand Champions included Grand Ch. Newton's Jay Tee, Grand Ch. Chindwin's Singumin of Newton, and Grand Ch. Newton's Desiree. Just like Mrs. Naatz, Mrs. Cobb sold some of her finest stock all over America, and thus she kept alive the interest in fine Siamese. Many were the prizes won by her Newton stock. Her Grand Ch. Newton's Jay Tee, Imp., was the first Seal Point to win a CFA Grand Championship. This Seal Point female finished her Grand Championship points at the age of 10, and won her first Grand Ch. Points at the age of eight. For a female to retain her beauty and youthful contours at eight or ten is indeed an accomplishment, and any Siamese Breeder could be proud of such an animal. Grand Ch. Newton's Desiree won two Best Cat Awards in All Breed Shows.

Mrs. Cobb became one of the most outstanding Siamese breeders and exhibitors in America and has carried on for thirty years. We cannot give her enough credit for her enthusiastic interest and her other accomplishments to establish the genetic background of the Siamese cat with especial relation to other breeds and colors of cats. Much of her work, as a joint undertaking with Dr. Clyde E. Keeler, Geneticist of Harvard University was recorded in the Journal of Heredity, Washington, D.C., in May, 1933. In addition to breeding and showing, she has been a regular and enthusiastic contributor to cat periodicals. She served as Secretary and Treasurer of The Siamese Cat Society from 1933 to 1940. She is best known in genetical circles for her research relative to the Long Hair Siamese experiments. These experiments were begun in 1930 and were published again in the final stage of the experiment in the Journal of Heredity in September of 1936.

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