RANDOM BRED CAT BREED
We don’t know exactly when cats first arrived in America, but we can take a pretty good guess. Cats appear in American paintings and needlework samplers of the 1600s and 1700s, indicating that cats may have arrived with the Pilgrims. Cats probably voyaged on the European fishing boats that worked the coastal waters of America and came to shore when the boats put in to dry their catches. It is thought that cats may have arrived even earlier; evidence suggests that cats may have sailed over with Columbus in 1492 bones of domesticated cats have been found at sites Columbus visited. Since these sites were abandoned before 1500 a.d, and since North America has no indigenous cat species from which the domestic could arise, likely these are remains of cats that came along for the ride. There’s even some discussion about cats arriving with the Vikings in 1001 a.d., but no direct evidence exists to support (or disprove) this.
In any event, the settlers needed cats. In 1749 the importation of cats into America from Europe was approved to help deal with rat populations threatening the crops. The early pioneer cats established themselves as mousers and ratters in the fields and barns of the early settlers. No rosettes were awarded to these working cats; Best of Breed did not go to the feline with the finest conformation, color, or coat texture. The prize “life itself” went to the cat with the keenest brain, quickest paw, and strongest jaws, the cat that could best shape itself to survive the challenges of the New World. Life was tough in those days for human and cat alike. Over time, America’s domestic cats multiplied and diversified with the expansion of the settlers, spread across the country.
Cats also established themselves in front of the hearths of the settlers, as paintings, samplers, and literary references of the times suggest. It’s apparent that cats, even in the early days, were seen as companions as well as mousers. Cats did not entirely escape the paranoia of the religious zealots, particularly during the time of the infamous Salem witch trials, but for the most part cats were looked upon as allies.
When the European cat fancy began in 1871, America was not far behind. In 1895 the first large cat show was held in New York’s Madison Square Garden, and the cat fancy was on its way into mainstream America. The American Cat Association, the first American registry, started in 1899 (see Chapter Five). From then on, cats gained popularity as companion animals rather than the perfect mouse traps.
By the late 1800s Americans discovered that cats have appeal in advertising and began using representations of cats to sell cigars, magazines, shoe polish, and other products. Black cats were often depicted because in early American folklore they were considered symbols of good luck. (Black cats as symbols of bad luck came from European folklore.) Today, the focus has changed. Rather than using cats to induce people to buy products for themselves, the advertising is aimed at cat owners. The cat product industry is a multimillion dollar business as ever more people come to appreciate cats for their clean and quiet ways.
(TICA’s Standard of Perfection for the Household Pet Cat)
The Household Pet should be alert, friendly, and easy to handle. Allowance may be made for some nervousness due to unfamiliarity with shows. If a cat that must be removed from the cage by its handler is then fully amenable to being handled by the judge, no penalty shall be attached.
- N/A Activity
- N/A Playfulness
- N/A Need for Attention
- N/A Affection
- N/A Need to Vocalize
- N/A Docility
- N/A Intelligence
- N/A Independence
- N/A Healthiness and Hardiness
- N/A Grooming needs
- N/A Good with children
- N/A Good with other pets
General: (TICA’s Standard of Perfection for the Household Pet Cat)
The Household Pet comes in all colors and combinations of colors imaginable. Coat lengths may be short and sleek, full and fluffy, any combination of those, or somewhere in between. Tails may be long, short, kinky, or nonexistent. Eye color may be coordinated with coat color in almost any fashion according to the whims of Mother Nature. All coat and eye colors and coat and tail lengths shall be acceptable.
The most important consideration for the Household Pet is its overall condition and well-being. The ideal Household Pet is scrupulously clean, well fed, and altered. It seems to smile with good health and contentment.
Coat: The coat must be absolutely clean and free of any trace of mats or parasites; the cat must be well groomed; the coat should have a pleasant appearance and feel.
Color: Recognized in all colors of the following Household Pet color divisions: solid, tabby, tortie, shaded, pointed, solid/white, tabby/white, tortie/white, shaded/white, pointed/white.
Beauty: These points shall be assigned according to the taste of the individual judge. Many judges notice pleasing markings, colors, and patterns. Overall grace and balance are often factors to be considered in the determination of beauty.
Eyes, ears, nose, mouth: Must be clean; eyes and nose must be free of any matter; claws must be clipped.
Balance and proportion: The cat should display overall proportion; thus, a small head on a large cat or vice versa would be somewhat disproportionate. The cat should also be of proper weight for its size; overweight and underweight shall both be considered undesirable; muscle tone should be sound. Some allowance may be made for older alters.
Sexual status: All adult Household Pets (eight months and over) must be altered; Household Pets may not be registered without proof of altering.
Definition longhair or shorthair: Where there is a question as to the proper class of any entry, the length of fur on the tail shall be the determining factor. Hair of 1 1/2 inches (3.8 cm) or more and fluffy shall be considered longhair (length may be slightly less in young kittens). If there is still some question, notice should be paid to such details as long ear and toe tufts.
Apparent purebred household pets: Household Pets of apparent purebred background shall be judged on exactly the same basis as all other Household Pets. They shall be neither penalized nor rewarded solely on the basis of their resemblance to one of the recognized breeds.
Consideration: Physical anomalies not allowed by most purebred standards shall be acceptable for the Household Pet; no penalties shall be attached for crossed eyes, kinked tails, extra toes, or the like. As many Household Pets are redeemed strays, there shall be no penalties attached to such physical damage as torn or missing ears unless it appears that the problem is an ongoing one indicating lack of care.
Kittens: Kittens shall be judged as a single group, without regard to color class: for example, longhair kittens judged as one group, shorthair kittens judged as one group. Kittens do not receive divisional awards.
Withhold all awards: No awards should be made to a cat that is obviously dirty or in poor condition.