The Way We Were:
Excerpts from the 1959 CFA Yearbook, Part 8

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Cats of Yesteryear: The Australian Cat


Australian Cats were recognized as a breed by CFA at its Annual Meeting in December 1910. They were very small cats with velvet-like fur, resembling moleskin. Their whiskers were extremely short and they had no ear tufts.

The first Australian Cat registered in the Stud Book was Champion Amee (CFA Studbook Number 1352), a tabby and white male with yellow eyes. Amee was registered in the Stud Book under Rule 8 – “When a cat shall have won a full championship under the Rules of this Association”. Prizes won: First, Empire 1911; First, Philadelphia 1911; First and Best SH male, Atlanta, 1911; First, Empire 1911. Amee was born August 1909 and was owned by Mrs. F.Y. Mathis of Greenwich, Connecticut.

Australian Cats were varied in color. Australie (CFA Reg 970), was a tortoiseshell and white female, belonging to Mrs. Mitchelson. Mrs. Mitchelson was also listed as owner of Kangaroo (tabby and white female), Opossum (tabby female), Orama (odd-eyed white female), Sealskin (seal brown female), and the first Australian Cat in the Register, Lady Grey (CFA Reg 967), a tabby and white female with yellow eyes. Miss J. McIntosh was another pioneer breeder of Australian Cats with Sidney (blue tabby male with green eyes) and Victoria I (blue female with orange eyes).

Australian Cats were sometimes called Kangaroo cats. Miss Richards’ article in the April 1910 issue of Cat Review says that this “evidently comes from the peculiarity of the tail, which was long and close-coated, and when the cat jumped or leaped, it curved in a peculiar way suggestive of a Kangaroo”.

Frances Simpson’s The Book of the Cat published in 1902, says in the chapter titled “Cats in America”, that the first authentic Australian Cats were believed to have made their appearance here about 1900 or 1901. “On one or two occasions we have had Australian Cats exhibited, and they were funny little beasts, sitting up like a squirrel, and with much the same shape of head”. No definite information is available regarding these early Australian Cats or the shows at which they were exhibited.

The first appearance of an Australian Cat at a show, other than the above, was at Boston, January 17-18-19, 1906, when Teddy Roosevelt, a male owned by James Anderson, was exhibited.

Miss A.K. Richards displayed her Australian Cats for many years, beginning in 1909. Her female, Budget, was a consistent winner.

By 1925 the breed was rapidly becoming extinct due to the lack of males.

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