It is always advisable when buying a kitten to make inquiries as to the way in which it has been fed, so as to continue the same régime for at least a few days. Any sudden change of diet for young kittens is to be avoided.
For delicate kittens raw meat should be passed through a mincing machine, or if the animal is really extremely weak and ill, then let it be rubbed through a sieve, so that the digestive organs will have little or no work.
Teach your kittens when young to lap water. It is a capital thing for all animals, especially with a small bit of sulphur in it.
There is a great knack in teaching young kittens to feed themselves. When they are about three weeks is the time to try and get them to take a little milk and warm water: say about twice a day. I find a shallow plate is better than a saucer, for when the mites dip their mouths into the milk they do not get out of the depth! It is curious how stupid some kittens are in making the start towards independence iu feeding, whilst others in the same litter quickly master the difficulty of lapping on the surface of the milk. Some are taught better if the milk is held to their mouths in a spoon. Add a pinch of sugar to the milk and warm water.
In bringing up young kittens by hand, the mistake is often made of giving too much food and over-loading the little creatures, who in consequence suffer from acute indigestion. A teaspoonful of milk or Mellin's food at a time is sufficient, and this may be given every two or three hours. It is best to try and not awaken kittens in order to feed.
Of course one is sometimes obliged to feed by force, but this should be resorted to only as a last extremity. I have often spent an hour or more in trying, by all sorts of persuasive means, to get a kit to feed of her own sweet will, and have felt a throb of pride when my efforts have been crowned with success.
Some kittens will begin to feed themselves at three weeks, and be quite able to leave their mothers when they are five or six weeks old. I do not think, however, that kittens should be sent adrift till they are at least two months old, by which time they will have some idea of the method by which their careful and attentive mother has kept them clean and tidy.
I do not approve of raw fish, especially for young kittens, it is not easily digested and often causes diarrhoea.
There is a knack about teaching young kittens to be clean. As soon as they are able to scramble out of their basket care should be taken not to allow them to run into corners. When this occurs pick them up and put them in the pan of earth or mould provided for them. With patience and perseverance you will find the little creatures will accommodate themselves to circumstances and the pan!
The weakest part in a young kitten is, undoubtedly, the eye, and I think breeders will bear me out in my statement that they have a great deal of trouble with bad eyes in kittens. Several lotions and ointments are supplied, but sometimes I have found these irritating. Use sweet oil to keep the lids from sticking together, give plenty of fresh air and sunshine when possible, and leave the rest to the mother.
Mrs. Pettit's White Persian "Piquante Pearl"
A good guide as to the health of kittens is their weight; and a kitten to be in really prime condition should weigh one pound to every month, say up to six months old. So if you find a three-months-old kit much below three pounds you should feed him up.
It is a capital plan to teach your young kittens to sometimes take their food from a teaspoon, so that when it is necessary to administer a dose of medicine it comes more natural to them.
I have often noticed that very long-coated kittens are the most delicate, their strength having gone into their fur. I recently came across a litter of Blues that at three weeks old were enormous to look at on account of their extraordinary coats. They were really tiny limbed creatures, and they dropped off one by one without any apparent cause. I do not know if there is anything in the notion that if the male cat is very strong and healthy the offsprings will consist of more males than females, but from experience I have found that an old queen will almost invariably breed females largely in excess of males.
I believe that all kittens are born healthy, and, therefore, supposing the mother is weak and delicate, it is best to have a foster ready, and take each kit away as it is born, not allowing it to suck from the mother at all. I have recently heard of great success following this course. The mother was consumptive, but the four kittens given at once to a healthy foster are splendidly strong.
Kittens generally shed their first teeth when between five and seven months old. This is often a very critical time, and I have known several cases of convulsions occurring. Owners of cats should frequently examine the mouths of their pets, if they suspect any teething trouble. It is sometimes necessary to draw some of the old teeth to make way for the new comers. I can tell of one poor cat who refused all solid food, and for no apparent reason. I opened his mouth, and discovered a double row of teeth, and at once extracted several loose ones, which must have been the cause of great pain and discomfort.
I object to sawdust for young kittens. I have just heard of a case in point, where some of the small particles got into the kitten's ear, and the little creature, in its endeavour to get rid of the tickling, caused a bad sore by scratching.
There is no doubt that as a pick-me-up for delicate kittens the sea air is much to be recommended. It is quite wonderful to see the transformation in these little mites after a few days of sunshine by the sea. Their eyes become clear and bright and their appetites require something more than air and light to satisfy them.
You may, perhaps, observe a sort of roughness under the fur of your kitten, and fancy it is some skin trouble, whereas in reality it is quantities of flea dirt. This is very injurious. Use a small tooth comb, and then part the fur, and brush with rather a hard brush.
When kittens reach the age of four weeks they should begin to learn to lap. A shallow plate filled with milk and warm water is better than a saucer. Begin by just dipping the kits' mouths into the milk. They will rather resent this treatment at first, and make a spluttering, but the cunning ones will grasp the situation and make another attempt on their own account. They will quickly learn not to dip their heads too deep, and their joy is great when they find they can lap up the milk without nearly choking themselves.
Mother and Young
The best months for our pussies to have their families are April and May, then the young kittens have the summer before them, when they can enjoy plenty of out-door air and exercise.
Perhaps you may have noticed a decided partiality for bottom drawers that your puss will display as the date of the expected arrival draws near. I think in this respect a mother cat shows her good sense, for certainly if a bottom drawer can be spared, it is a very safe and convenient home for a litter of kits. They are out of draughts and danger, and if the drawer is left an inch or two open, they can get plenty of air. Of course, whilst the mother is nursing them a larger opening is necessary, so that she may jump in and out.
Do not allow your cats to have their kittens in outside catteries during cold weather. The mother is not able to attend to them properly till all are born into the world, and, therefore, the neglected ones are sometimes perished to death before they can cuddle up to get the natural warmth they so much require.
When cats are in kitten great care should be taken in handling them, and if it is really necessary to lift your puss, do so with both hands, placing one under her hind quarters. It is very injurious to attempt to pick up a cat in this interesting condition under the front paws, thus leaving the heaviest part of the body suspended.
It is most important that all female cats should be freed from worms before being allowed to breed, or even to mate. So often young kittens fall victims to these pests, having sucked in the disease with their mother's milk. I highly recommend Ward's worm powders, but as all vermifuges are weakening, a specially nourishing diet should be given at the same time.
After our puss has given birth to two, three, or four kittens, we are often led by her size to suppose there are more to follow. Sometimes we may be right, but more probably it is only a temporary enlargement, and in a day or two we become, perhaps, concerned to find the mother's sides very visibly decrease. Give hot milk and farinaceous food to your puss just at first after the birth of kittens.
Some pussies greatly resent being looked at during the first days of their motherhood. They will show their displeasure by carrying off their kittens and hiding them. I have just heard of a case where the kits mysteriously disappeared from their basket, and after diligent search the litter of four was found carefully packed away in one of the boots belonging to the gentlemen of the house ! It is best to place the bed in some secluded and dark corner, and not to trouble the family with frequent visits.
It is a bad habit to feed your puss in her hamper when she is nursing her kittens. She may be averse to coming out and leaving the precious family, but it is best for her to stretch her legs, and cleaner and nicer in every way.
It is after the first week or ten days that a nursing mother begins to feel a large family trying. There is really no immediate necessity for a foster when the mites are only a day or two old.
Don't distress yourself if your mother pussy refuses her usual saucer of milk when she is nursing a family. The instinct in animals, even in mere cats, is wonderful, and if puss prefers water to milk, be sure she has her reasons, which are unknown to the human mind.
When a cat is nursing let her have plenty of hot milk. This will be a great assistance to her in providing sufficient nourishment for her family. Warm Bovril or Kreochyle is also very sustaining, to which I find cats are very partial.
Sleep is almost as essential as food to young kittens, so when you see them cuddled up comfortably, do not disturb them and always avoid handling them. Perhaps through some disaster or because your puss deserts her kits, she is left with a lot of milk, It is best to give her a dose of castor oil and rub her breasts gently and frequently with camphorated spirit or eau de Cologne, diluted with a little warm water. In about three or four days the milk will dry up. It is very seldom that cats suffer from milk fever.
Don't let your Persian queens bring up more than four kittens. Try and secure a foster to assist if the litter is a larger one. It is when kittens are about a week old that the mother begins to feel the strain upon her. A nursing mother should have four good meals a day.
Mrs. H.V. James' Smoke Champion "Backwell Jogram"
It is well to book a foster cat if our queens are not good mothers. The difficulty is generally to fix the date of the arrival of the foster mother's kittens. It is best to have the foster in the house a few days before the litter is expected. A cat should not be allowed to take a railway journey having just had a family, as the shaking is likely to upset the puss.
There is really no difficulty in transferring kittens to foster mothers, and it is well to keep common cats in view at about the period when our valuable queens are due to kitten. I have found the following plan answer splendidly. Take it for granted your Persian queen and the common or garden cat have litters about the same time. You proceed to painlessly destroy all but one of the foster's family. Then place two or three, or all of the valuable kittens in the nurse cat's bed, mixing them up with the one kitten, having in the meantime removed the mother. In this way the new kittens will become scented as it were with the surroundings, and on her return the mother will give a few sniffs, and probably cuddle down quite contentedly, with only a vague suspicion that something has happened.
Some cats will be excellent mothers to a large family, but if anything should happen to any of the litter and she is left with only one or two she will desert them. It is better to try and procure other kittens to put with her, and let her foster these with her own.
Kittens should not be taken from their mother before two months, and those that are left another month are generally the better for it. Not only is it well for the cat to suckle her young as long as possible, but the natural warmth is very essential for kittens of tender age. Avoid handling your cat when she is in kitten, and when the family arrives resist the temptation of picking up the tiny mites. Some mothers resent this, and will often hide away their offspring, and they have been known to eat them in consequence of undue interference.
I was once possessed of a lovely blue female, whose only fault was neglecting her offspring when about a fortnight old. I hit upon the plan of using the filler of a fountain pen. I charged this with warm milk and water, and placing the end in the kitten's mouth, I gently pressed the rubber. The kits sucked away with great glee. This is a much better mode of getting food down young kits' throats than by using a spoon. I believe Mr. Ward, of Manchester, has improved upon my patent, and a glorified fountain-pen filler is now provided by him. This has a piece of india-rubber fixed on the part of glass tube which is put in the kitten's mouth, and thus all risk of their biting the glass and breaking it is done away with. Let me recommend all breeders of kittens to have one of these useful articles amongst their catty requisites.
It is not very safe to put Keating's Powder on your baby kits, but, if troubled with fleas, sprinkle some amongst the hay at the bottom of their basket, under which place a newspaper. You will be astonished what a number of fleas, dead and dying, will be found on removing the basket. Change the hay frequently, and sprinkle fresh powder. In this way, both mother and kits will be kept free from these pests.
Don't have anything to do with red baize or flannel in making a bed for young kittens. If these materials get wet the dye comes out and stains the coats horribly. The other day I came across a little family of Blues with red tails!
In wintry weather it is risky sending our precious queens on long journeys. Make use of large sheets of brown paper as coverings to the hampers. This defies the wind much better than woollen wrappers or linings.
I am often asked how it is best to set about breeding Persian cats so as to make it pay, and I invariably answer by telling my inquirers to procure two thoroughly good, healthy pedigree queens. At the present time, I should suggest a Blue and a Silver. Send these to mate with well-known sires, and advertise the kittens just before they are ready to leave their mother, say at about eight weeks old.
Avoid the use of drugs of any kind for your cats when in kitten. Give extra food, and when the interesting event draws near, prepare a nice box or bed in a secluded corner. Some cats much prefer paper to hay or straw; others like a folded blanket.
Male and Stud Cats
I am sure it is a mistake if you have a stud cat to allow him his liberty one day and then shut him up again. He will pine and fret much more than if kept in continual confinement. It is important, however, that our male cats should have plenty of fresh air and a long enough run to take some exercise.
One of the advantages of cat shows is that we are enabled to take stock of the various males, as in some cases advertisements of stud cats are a little misleading. I attach great importance to size of head and form of body. Sufficient attention is not paid to mating cats when they are not showing any indication of moulting. Choose a stud cat in good coat if possible. The outward characteristics are in a great measure transmitted by the male, so look well to markings, colour, and shape of the stud cat selected.
The usual fee for the services of a good stud in the cat fancy is £1 1s., and the expense of carriage is defrayed by the sender of the queen. In the United States the charge is from five to ten dollars.
A word to novices. Beware of keeping your male cats together after they have passed ten months, as I have recently heard of a torn who attacked his brother very suddenly and nearly killed him.
It is a good plan to try and accustom your cats to be tethered up. My stud cat is quite happy on a long cord.
He gets to know about the distance he can walk round. In this way he has a fair amount of exercise and plenty of fresh air.
Catteries and Appliances
If you decide to keep your cats and pets in a cattery, bring them indoors now and again and thus accustom them to home life and human beings. It is much pleasanter to have a really domestic cat, rather than one that darts away when approached and is frightened at every sound.
All wooden catteries should be well raised from the ground. It is important to have good ventilation. It is a capital plan to have movable wooden shutters, so that in extra windy or damp weather these can be easily put up to form a shelter.
In constructing a cattery, be sure and have plenty of shelves fixed up. All cats have a weakness for sitting on a shelf, however hard or narrow.
During the winter we are sometimes wishful to heat our catteries, although I am not in favour of artificial heat. After a heavy rain or dense fog we have recourse to a little oil stove. Be careful to protect this in some way by wire netting or a fire guard. I have known a cat to waft its tail over the top of one of these stoves, and it was more than singed!
Cats are essentially and naturally clean animals, and it is often the fault of their mistresses and caretakers that they become dirty in their habits. Keep their earth tins clean and sweet, and you will seldom find that pussy offends. Cats so much prefer to have something to scratch in and scratch over.
Japanese mould is splendid for use in cats' tins. This can be purchased at Carter's well-known firm in High Holborn. It has the advantage of being a great absorbent, consequently no disagreeable odour is noticed, and the mould need not be changed so frequently as ordinary earth.
Mrs. Sinkin's Smoke "Teufel"
A house pet whose behaviour cannot be relied upon is not a desirable inmate. It is always best to have an arrangement of an earth tin in some quiet corner, and to accustom the cat to make use of this in an emergency.
I never advocate any artificial heat for cats or kittens, but if you have a delicate specimen, or one suffering from a cold, and the weather is severe, then I have found that a hot bottle at night is a great comfort. The india-rubber ones are the most handy, but failing these, a stone ginger-beer bottle filled with boiling water, and tightly corked, answers the purpose. Wrap it in flannel and place in the bed last thing at night.
It is a good plan during the winter months to keep a store of dry earth in some covered place, so that you can have a constant supply with which to replenish your tins. There is nothing a cat resents more than being asked to use a tin containing damp earth.
All sleeping boxes or hampers for cats should be raised, and, even for a cat sleeping in the house, a bed, on a chair or box, is much to be preferred to letting her lie on the ground where there is certain to be a draught.
Be sure and let your pussies have an abundance of hay in their beds during the winter months. Boxes are warmer than hampers, and the top should be covered over so that the cat may crawl in from the front over a ledge of a few inches of wood. Then when inside the bed she is protected from any ground draught.
The straw or hay provided for our cats should be changed at least once a week, and oftener in summer. A little Mothalene sprinkled at the bottom of the box or hamper keeps down troublesome insects.
During the summer do not put too much hay in your cats' beds; in fact, I prefer a sheet of newspaper laid at the bottom of the box or hamper. Hay is heating, and encourages fleas.
Some cats have a most troublesome and irritating habit of rubbing their heads against the walls or wire netting of their houses. A sheet of glass about the height of the animal will prevent the destruction of their coat and rufi from the continued friction.
If you use wire netting in your catteries be very careful that the ends are neatly finished off and that no sharp bit of wire is left sticking out. I have known cats receive severe injuries to their eyes from scratches, and often their coats suffer from being caught on the rough ends of the netting.
It is always best to keep separate and distinct saucers and plates for our pussies' use. I would recommend the blue and white enamelled ware, which is unbreakable. I find, also, that it is often very convenient to heat the milk in one of these plates instead of troubling to boil it in a pan. If a saucer of milk is placed on a closed stove for a few minutes it soon becomes hot, and no injury is done to this enamelled ware. The basins are also very handy, but for Long-haired cats the plates are better, as pussy's ruff is less likely to become soiled with the food.
I find that my cats prefer a circular basket as a bed to a square one; they seem able to curl round more comfortably. This is specially the case with a mother puss and her litter of kits.
Have you remarked how fond cats are of each having their own plates and saucers from which to feed ? I have lately invested in some nice deep white saucers. They were a "job line" at twopence-halfpenny the dozen!
If you are building cat-houses, remember that a concrete floor is much better than a wooden one. It may seem cold in winter, but a piece of movable linoleum or cork "lino" will add to the appearance and comfort of the cattery.
During very hot weather our stud cats who inhabit houses suffer a good deal when the sun strikes down upon them. I cover the front of my cattery with an old rug and then make free use of the garden hose, letting it play upon the top and saturating the thick cover. This has a wonderfully cooling effect, which lasts some time. During the process my cat retires into his sleeping apartment.
It is difficult to procure suitable earth tins for our cats. I tried several, but they were either too shallow or too deep, so decided on ordering some of the required size made in galvanised iron, at Whiteley's. Large earthenware flowerpot saucers, well glazed, are also very suitable.
Hints on Food
If you can persuade your pussies to eat Spratt's Cod Liver Oil Puppy Biscuits you do them a good turn and yourself also, for they are very nourishing and inexpensive. We all acknowledge that raw meat is an excellent diet, but if we are possessed of a number of queens, two or three stud cats, and several litters of growing kittens, then the butcher's bill becomes a serious consideration. The biscuits should be soaked for some hours till soft enough to be mashed through a fork; a tablespoonful of the red gravy from a roast joint added, diluted with a dash of hot water and a sprinkle of salt. The kits will not leave much beside the pattern on the plate.
A cat will often refuse her food simply because she cannot smell it. It is therefore important to clear the passage of the nose. Sometimes if you can put one piece of food into your pussy's mouth, she will then taste it, and continue to eat of her own accord.
A cat or kitten must be very far gone to refuse Brand's essence. So, if all food fails, try this. I find they generally prefer it in the jelly, and to lick it out of a spoon.
Oatmeal is such a splendid food for our pussies during winter, but I do not find they are very partial to it. I would suggest mixing the meal in water in which liver has been boiled, and adding a few bits of the meat with it to make the dish more tasty.
Another nice winter meal is Hovis bread (brown), with boiling milk poured over it. A change may be made by scalding the bread till soft, then pour off the water, and stir in a tablespoonful of condensed milk.
Not only do bones amuse a cat, but they benefit the teeth considerably,and help to strengthen the jaws. Large bones are preferable, with, of course, a little flesh on them. Avoid small ones, as they are apt to be swallowed and stick in the throat.
During the very hot weather butchers very wisely put their meat in ice, or in cold rooms, especially arranged for keeping it. It is not advisable to give raw meat in its frozen state to cats, and so I should recommend just scalding it, or pouring boiling water over it. Some people prefer to slightly cook the meat, leaving all the red juice in it.
Two meals a day are as a rule sufficient for healthy cats, but some who are "bad doers" require special treatment and should be offered food in small quantities three or even four times a day. If a large dish of food is placed before a cat who feeds badly, it is very apt to sicken her and make her refuse to eat at all.
I have found macaroni, well boiled and mixed with gravy, a capital food for cats and kittens. It makes a change, and is generally highly approved of.
We see a number of pictures in the daily papers of plump, pretty babies who have been brought up on Mellin's Food. Now, it stands to reason that what is nourishing for infants must also be good for young kittens. I know of several cat fanciers who swear by Mellin's Food.
I advocate a mixed diet for cats, and therefore recommend ringing the changes on raw meat, cooked meat, with vegetables and gravy; fish, mixed with rice and boiled milk. I consider two meals a day sufficient for cats, and three meals for kittens, under ordinary circumstances. Tom cats, when at stud, should have an extra meal given to them, and a nursing mother just as much as she will eat. I do not approve of tit-bits given between meals, which is harmful to the digestion.
Lady Decies' Silver Champion "Fulmer Zaida"
I have been told by an experienced fancier that tripe is an excellent food for cats, and that they are extremely fond of it. I intend to give it a trial, as one is always glad to know of something in the way of a change in pussy's menu.
An inexpensive meal for a cat is jelly made from bones, which can be procured from your butcher for a few pence.
I am sure that most cat fanciers on a large scale will bear me out in my statement that hardly two cats feed alike, therefore I consider that no strict bill of daily fare can be laid down. With some cats breakfast seems the all important meal, and others will rejoice when supper time arrives. Two good rules to follow are these: Food should never be left, and water must be continually supplied.
Sardines are rather an expensive luxury, but during cold weather I treat my cats to some twice or three times a week. I find that breadcrumbs mixed in the oil makes more of a meal and takes away from the richness of the fish.
A fowl's head, with the feathers on it, is said to be an excellent thing for cats. Sometimes when the appetite has quite failed, the sight of this delicacy will tempt pussy to start eating again. The same, if a sparrow can be trapped or shot, and given freshly killed.
I am not an advocate for bread and milk for kittens, yet I must confess I have seen some wonderfully healthy specimens brought up on this diet. I should anyhow advise brown bread, and the boiled milk should be poured over the pieces of about half an inch in size.
The last meal for cats should be the most substantial one, as it has to last until the morning. During cold weather a cat will sleep better and feel warmer if it has enjoyed a good supper.
Do not give liver frequently to your cats. This food is very laxative and will cause diarrhoea. If, however, you allow your pussies to have it now and then, be sure and boil the meat very slowly.
I consider that cats require more feeding in cold weather than in hot, and I generally treat my pussies to an extra meal in the middle of the day during the winter months.
Raw beef is generally considered the best meat for animals, and next to this mutton. Veal and pork should not be given.
I consider Freeman's Scientific Food capital for cats. I have used it for two years, and my pussies never tire of it. I mix it with fish or meat stock. I am sure that once tried it will be always used.
I do not think fanciers estimate at its proper value pure cold water as a drink for cats. No doubt good fresh country milk is nourishing, but at the same time it is rich for young kittens, and I have known a promising family land low with liver complaint simply by allowing the kits too lavish an allowance of milk. I recommended water instead, and I hear that they are on the frolic again.
Loss of appetite is often the result of a bad cold. Pussy loses the sense of smell, and refuses her food, even though the greatest delicacy is offered to her. Just pop a piece of the meat or fish into her mouth; she will then realise how good it is, and will turn to the plate and make quite a hearty meal.
Cat fanciers often fail to realise that their pets are thirsty in winter as well as summer. During cold frosty weather warm water should be added to pussy's drinking bowl.
Animals will appreciate this attention, for freezing water is not pleasant to the tongue.
Just as with human beings so with cats; in cases of continuous sickness soda and milk is sometimes the only food that can be kept down.
Do not let your pussies drink icy cold milk or water, it is most trying to their digestion and not comforting to their interiors. I find my cats like their milk in winter steaming hot and it is wonderful how hot they can lap it.
It is very important that cats should be given a good proportion of vegetable diet. This is more especially necessary if grass is not easily obtainable. Some fanciers are in favour of lentils, and no doubt they are very nourishing, but as a rule pussy does not take kindly to this food, and an early training is necessary. Lentils should soak for some hours and then be slowly boiled. They are best mixed with scraps of meat and gravy.
If your cats cannot have access to grass, then sow seeds in pots and leave in the cattery. Cats always prefer the coarser kind of grass.
I find that of all sorts of grass and green food, cats are fondest of ribbon grass. I have some specially sown in the garden, and every morning I twist it in and out of the wire of my cattery, and the pussies bite away at it with great delight.
Don't forget when you wish to administer any kind of oil to cats or kits to have the spoon quite hot. It is best to stand it in the boiling water, then pour in the oil, which you will find will slip down the cat's throat very easily, and not remain sticking to the spoon or the patient's mouth.
Some cats will thoroughly enjoy to nibble at a piece of bread and butter. One of my cats always makes her appearance at afternoon tea, and expects to be offered tea-cake, muffin, or whatever is going.
I came across some finely grown and very plump young cats the other day, and on inquiring about their diet I heard it consisted of raw meat and Neaves' food. The result was certainly very satisfactory.
It is not advisable to feed a cat just before she starts on a journey. Give a good meal three or four hours previous to packing her up. The receiver will be pretty sure to attend to her wants on her arrival. It is a mistake to put food into the hamper, and pussy generally shows her good sense by refusing to touch it.
Many fanciers are averse to giving horseflesh to their cats, and, no doubt, in hot weather it is not to be depended upon. If, however, really reliable cat's meat can be obtained during the winter months, I am sure it forms an excellent and nourishing food. As a rule, the pussies delight in it. I have known cats who become well acquainted with the days on which their butcher calls, and even if they are in a sound sleep they recognise the voice of the charmer, and will make a wild rush for the back door.
During hot weather it behoves all cat fanciers to pay extra attention to the condition of the meat, which should be carefully looked over to see if it has been tainted by flies. It is best to dip the meat in weak vinegar and water, but this might give it a taste if to be eaten raw, so use boiling water only and rub with a cloth. Flyblown meat is most injurious for cats.
Most cats are very fond of lights, and these make a nice change. I find it is best to half cook them, and cut up finely. I do not recommend lights to be given more than twice a week.
Have you ever tried boiling sheeps' heads till all the meat falls away from the bone, and then mixing it with some of its own gravy? It makes a delicious dish for pussy, and not an expensive one. It is surprising what a quantity of meat there is on a head, and I believe it is very nourishing. I use rabbits' heads in the same way, and add some Freeman's scientific food with the meat to make it go farther.
Mrs. Nield's Silver "The Absent-minded Beggar"
Eggs are very nourishing, we all know, but few fanciers ever think of giving them to their cats. It is true that London eggs cannot be depended upon, and the so-called "newly laid eggs" are expensive, but dwellers in the country would do well to try their pussies with a fresh egg iery lightly boiled or mixed with hot milk.
I have been told by an experienced cat fancier that bone meal is an excellent thing for cats, especially delicate animals needing stamina. This article can be procured from a corn merchant, and a little can be sprinkled amongst the cat's food.
I am not an advocate for tinned meat for man or beast, but I confess I have often been very glad to fall back on a tin of rabbit when my stock of food has run short. I find the cats delight in it. Care must be taken to clear out all the bones, and only the best brands of tinned meat should be given.
It is a curious fact that all cats adore asparagus. This is an expensive vegetable, but it is well to know of something with which to tempt our pussy should she have quite lost her appetite. Some cats will enjoy beetroot, and cheese is a delight to others.
It is a mistake to suppose that because a cat catches birds and mice she needs no other food. On the contrary, feed pussie well and she will do her duty better. A cat enfeebled by neglect or starvation is not in the best condition to successfully hunt and catch its prey.
A cheap fish for our cats is hake, and I find they are very fond of it. There is more meat and less bone than in haddock, which is a usual fish to select, as it is not so expensive as other kinds.
I was told a curious fact by a fancier the other day, namely, that frogs cause severe throat inflammation in cats, if chased and played with by them. I can only suppose that some poisonous exhalation comes from these reptiles. Moral: Don't let your cats go frog-hunting.
Care of Coats
When cats are shedding their coats, it is particularly important they should have a daily brush, so as to get away the loose fur as quickly as possible, and thus the new hair will have a better chance.
It is never an easy matter to wash a long-haired cat, and certainly in cold weather it is dangerous. If you want to clean your puss and prepare her for showing, then purchase a box of Pears' white precipitated Fuller's Earth. Rub this well into the fur, especially fingering the parts that are at all greasy. Then clear away the powder with a soft brush, and you will see a vast improvement in your pussie's appearance. Camphorated chalk can also be used, but it has a clogging effect on the coat, is more difficult to brush out, and is not good for the cat should she take to licking it.
Avoid washing your cats if possible, and specially be warned against putting any carbolic in the water, with a view to killing the fleas; you will probably kill your cat, and certainly change the colour of his coat, if he be a Cream or Orange.
When a cat's fur looks "spiky," that is, standing out in separate bits of hair instead of being fluffy, you may be pretty sure that puss is troubled with worms.
When our pussies are rapidly shedding their coats they need a little extra care and extra food. I feed oftener in the hot weather, giving less at a time. It is bad at any season to leave food standing about, but this is especially the case in hot weather.
Parasites, or to be more explicit, lice on cats and kittens, are very troublesome and destructive. They increase with great rapidity, and thrive better on an unhealthy specimen than a robust one. These horrid insects, as well as fleas, exist on the blood of their victims. It is, therefore, most important to check the evil at the commencement.
I don't like to see a cat for ever washing herself and leaving her coat in a drenching condition. I suspect some internal or external irritation, and the troubles may be caused by worms.
We all know what a splendid thing sulphur is for our pets. It is one of the best and safest blood purifiers. It is not always easy to get our dainty feeders to take their milk or water in which sulphur has been introduced. A good plan is to sprinkle the powder on their coats, say about once a week, and then, when the cat cleans itself, a certain quantity will be swallowed.
Don't let the traces of fleas remain in your pussies' coats. The accumulation of this dirt is bad for the skin and fur. It is best to use a small tooth comb. With a little care and attention you will soon make a clearance, and pussy would thank you if she could speak.
Many cats are very fidgety when they are being groomed. There is no remedy for this but patience, and after your puss once becomes accustomed to her morning's toilet she soon gets to like, and will even look forward to the luxury.
Many fanciers, especially novices, are alarmed when they find dry scaly and scurfy spots on their cats, and imagine they have eczema or mange. This roughness really only proceeds from an over-heated system, probably from overfeeding. Give plenty of grass or green food and apply equal parts of sulphur and vaseline for three days, and then comb with a small tooth comb.
How difficult it is to poultice a cat! Yet in cases of enteritis and pneumonia it is often the saving of poor puss. For enteritis or gastritis when the stomach becomes tender and distended, make a roller of flannel, wet with tepid water and bind tightly round the abdomen. Over this a piece of oil silk covering to exclude all the air, and over this a roll of dry flannel. This forms a continuous poultice. It must be renewed when it gets cold, and the kitten kept warm.
A fish bone in a cat's throat is a troublesome obstruction. If it can be pushed down with the finger all well and good, but if not the only thing is to wait and let it dissolve. This generally takes place after about five days. You may have to feed the cat in the meantime.
A simple means of lubricating a cat's throat, if it seems sore or swollen, is to butter her paws, she will then lick off the butter just as many times as you put it on. A spoonful of warm salad oil often clears the throat, and after this the cat may have a try to swallow the food from which she had previously turned away.
If in giving your puss oil, you grease her coat, apply a little violet powder with your fingers, rubbing it well into the fur. I have also found the papier poudré sold for the complexion an excellent means of removing greasy substances which are so disfiguring to a cat's coat.
Mrs. Nield's Silver "Lord Hampton"
After giving worm powders to your cats, I recommend a saucer of hot milk, about an hour afterwards, whether the dose has taken effect or not.
The eyes in cats vary very much according to their state of health. I have seen cats' eyes seem half their natural size when puss has been suffering from worms. Stud cats quickly lose the depth of colour and brilliancy of their eyes. But this in no way affects their progeny.
I came across a case the other day of a big strong neuter cat who was certainly a victim to a tape worm. We tried various vermifuges in fairly large quantities, but with no results, so I determined to experiment with some of Spratt's puppy worm powders, and the pests were speedily got rid of. These powders, however, are much too strong for kittens and must be used with caution even for cats.
It is very important to make sure that a dosing for worms has been effectual. For this purpose it is best to shut a cat up after medicine has been given and to place a thin layer of earth in the pan provided for her.
There is a knack in giving medicine to cats. It is always best to have an assistant if your cat is at all difficult to manage. Struggling with a sick animal often does more harm than the medicine to be given can do good.
In dosing cats it is essential to consider the age as well as weight, and a young cat and a very old one require smaller doses than middle-aged pussies.
Oil has a most deplorable way of imparting its taste and smell to everything it comes in contact with. Try and avoid using it outwardly or inwardly for your pussies. It takes a long time to get rid of a greasiness of coat and fur.
Before starting a cat on a course of tonics I should recommend a mild aperient, and one occasionally during the course is often advisable.
If you intend having a cat made neuter you should keep him on low plain diet for two or three days before the operation. Do not hand your pet over to an inexperienced person, but take it to a good veterinary and pay the extra fee for cocaine or chloroform to be used.
Opinions differ as to the most suitable age for a cat to be made neuter. I think that from five to eight months is the best time, as kittens gelded when very young do not attain the same fine proportions. After eight months there is more risk to the animal, and the operation ought not to be performed at all if the male has shown any desire to mate. At all times send your puss to a well-qualified veterinary.
I have been told on good authority that if a female cat is to be made neuter she ought to be allowed to have one litter before the operation is performed.
Do not let those little bits of dry brown accumulations remain at the corners of your cat's eyes, as in time they wear off the fur, and, when removed, bare places disfigure your pet's face.
Unless absolutely necessary do not send your puss away from home when ill, but nurse her in her own familiar surroundings, where she will far more likely recover than in a strange place, amongst strangers.
I know there is a superstition that it is unlucky ever to weigh your cat or kitten, but I think it is a very useful way of finding out whether your puss keeps in good health. If after taking the weight of my cat, I found him rapidly getting lighter, I should give a course of cod liver oil. This is a specially good thing during the winter months. I find that most cats will lick it up with a relish, but it is best to mix a teaspoonful with fish.
If you notice an offensive smell coming from your cat's mouth have a look at his teeth. It is sometimes necessary to have the teeth scaled. There may also be a decayed tooth that needs extraction.
If you have had any infectious complaints in your catteries, such as distemper or influenza, after removing your pussies fumigate your cat-house. Close it up as thoroughly as possible, place an old shovel in the centre on the floor containing sulphur. Put a live coal in the powder, and leave it a whole day or night. It is a good plan to afterwards syringe into all cracks and crevices with a strong solution of carbolic acid.
I have unlimited faith in Eucalyptus, and in the preparations of the Eucryl Company this is the chief ingredient. I would draw special attention to their Salubrene, which has most valuable antiseptic and deodorising properties. It is not of a corrosive or poisonous nature, and the slight aroma is a most agreeable one. For cleansing and disinfecting catteries it is splendid.