[Translated into English by Karin Sandbergen.]
Below you'll find the text of "Handleiding voor de behandeling van de Kat" by L.J. Quarles van Ufford, printed in 1934. The original language of this booklet is Dutch.
A slogan in a treatise about songbirds, caged birds and canary birds states: "One should empathise with their animals".
With cats this is most certainly the case. Cats may be pets, but her wild nature has remained with her. No pet is therefore as wilful as the cat. One wants to take her to sit on their lap, she'll then jump off on the left, just to jump on from the right.
To care well for an animal - a creature - one should learn about their physical well-being and especially their
No two cats have the same character. A cat detests water on its skin. Yet, I heard about a cat that repeatedly swam across a ditch. I also knew of a cat that would sit on the bank of a stream for hours on end, fishing by striking out with her paw in the water. Once, she lost her balance and fell into the water. But she clambered out of the water very quickly, just to resume fishing.
Enclosed photos show you our cat, taking a piece of liver, something she loves very much. Notice how she grabs the hand with her paws, but you can rest assured that she doesn't use her claws.
Whenever a cat strikes out with her claws, it's in self-defence, because she doesn't trust the situation.
Inspire trust in her and try to find out what she loves - for example in the area of her
I've read somewhere, that a cat demands a pillow to sleep on, to curl itself gloriously up on it. This is somewhat exaggerated. For example, a cat loves to lie on paper, thin or thick. Take note: whenever the newspaper is on the table, pussycat will lie on it.
After we'd moved house, she got another room, of course, which had a different, large basket lying on its side. And, lo and behold, wasn't that delightful! Just as in later days, the junk cupboard - she always used to climb in, whenever the door was ajar.
The morale of this all: try to find out which place the cat prefers most!
It's certain, that as a rule she prefers a very high sleeping-place. In the animal shelter in The Hague, in all the cages, there are little wooden boxes against the ceiling and they're favourite with all the cats. The animals can sit there peacefully. At the first renovation of the shelter, the department where the cats were kept was above that of the boarding dogs, under the roof. And it was already clear that the cats were always sitting on the beam, if it ran through their cage. That's why in every new cat accommodation, boxes were placed against the ceiling.
It's been a long time since in the old shelter an accommodation for cats was made. Information was acquired from England beforehand and the board of directors was informed of the fact that keeping a lot of cats together in one room was strongly frowned upon, as this was a cause of unhappiness in some animals, because of intimidation between cats. Also, contagious diseases and even deaths could be the consequence. This was the reason that in the The Hague animal shelter every cat had its own space. And with excellent result! One such space has a measure of one metre wide, 1½ metres deep and over 2 metres high. At 0.75 metre high there's a plank or table across the whole width, with a depth of about 80 centimetres. It has a sloping, ridged plank leaning against it, along which the animals can clamber up. The table has in one of its corners another, free-standing little table, under which a basket can be placed. During hot weather the cats got, instead of the basket, a sheet of paper, which they loved, but the shelter had to discontinue, because of scarcity of paper. On the ground stands the stone or enamelled box (cat's box), which is cleaned daily. Every day those boxes have to be cleaned, or else the cats become not house-trained. The box should contain dry (white) sand, sawdust or peat litter (not peat dust).
On the shelf one should place bowls with
Food and drink.
What should a cat eat? Anything that is on the menu. There are of course things they don't like, and what one cat loves, the other cat won't touch. That's how it works for us and that's how it also works for animals. But I'm willing to declare that all cats love oatmeal porridge. Our cat, for example, never likes to snack, but she can't resist porridge.
In an English book we read that one should give cats uncooked milk. It doesn't explain why. Isn't it possible that they, like many among us, don't appreciate the unnatural "cooking taste"? An expert, with whom we spoke about it, didn't want to assert that cats aren't susceptible to typhoid, foot-and-mouth disease or tuberculosis, which is why we cook the milk. But he declared that uncooked milk is more nutritious. In our opinion, one could give goat's milk, because of the special way we keep goats - contrary to other cattle - properly, without cooking it, and that therein lies the secret.
Bread, preferably stale, is also a main diet staple and is given soaked in milk. For cats that don't want to eat it, one mixes it with solid food.
In England exhibitions are the order of the day and they have so much success, that one keeps animals only for that purpose. Without wanting to come across as a champion of the exhibiting of animals, I cannot help but think that the English exhibitions have a wholesome effect on the care of the animals, because the condition the animals should be in at the show, are subject to criticism of a jury. People go as far as to feed their pets only animal food and, as variety in diet is advisable, give them meat one day and the other day, fish.
For cats that are "off their food" one recommends ox liver, cooked and then hard-fried and grated over the food. This will soon have them eating again. Now, there are small eaters under cats, that haven't therefore gone off their food, while one also mistakes greediness for hunger.
It's very curious how we're always looking for strengthening food and throw away the best of the food. Thus, we usually throw away the water the vegetables are cooked in, while it's rich in nutrients. We use it, instead of water, to moisten the food of dog and cat. So it seems that limewater is very beneficial, especially for young cats. It suffices us by giving a teaspoon full of phosphoric acid (bone meal) that in small quantities is so advantageous for the bones. Bigger quantities give cause for constipation.
English breeders allege that no nutrient has so much healing power as grass. They go as far as to sow grass in pots and subsequently place them in reach of their cats, whenever there isn't a lawn in the vicinity to let their cats loose on.
It can also be a need to bite into something, to use the teeth, as well as a need for certain ingredients and stimulants (nutrients).
Illnesses, injuries, etc.
Next, from the nature of things we'll only mention so-called home remedies and it can therefore merely serve as first aid in case of accidents. Illnesses and injuries of a serious nature, should be treated by veterinarians.
Pills should be placed on the back of the tongue, as deeply as possible. Powders should, for all intents and purposes, be placed in the same place. Powders are given more easily, because the powder will soon adhere to the mucosa and nothing is lost, except that, which is coughed away. Powders can also be given in stiffly beaten egg whites.
Subsequently, we only want to discuss the cases that can easily be treated by laymen, for example:
Mild ear infection
One notices very swiftly whether a cat suffers from that, for example, because it scratches itself with its hind leg. It can be cause for injury, but the ailment itself is the result of inflammation of the skin of the auditory duct, which discharges a very unpleasantly smelling fluid and is the cause for contamination. One regards the poor animal. It lowers the diseased ear and it shakes its head continuously.
It isn't advisable to give purgatives. When it's a case of constipation, one does best to give some cooked vegetables or some salad oil. The oil from sardines is also very good and when one mixes it with some drops of castor oil, this will be lapped up eagerly.
Fits or seizures
It happens that a cat seems very healthy, then suddenly collapses and becomes convulsed, to slowly and dazedly regain consciousness after a few moments, while liquid and mucus come from the mouth. Such attacks can have many different causes. One shouldn't neglect to consult a veterinarian.
Earlier, we discussed greediness. This greediness can be caused by worms and in that case the animal can eat as much as it likes and still stay skinny. Does it therefore attract your attention that your animal displays an extraordinary appetite, convince yourself that there are fragments of worms in her box, smaller or bigger white sections, which point to her having worms. In that case a veterinarian should prescribe a remedy for your cat.
Tapeworms secrete elongated sections of 1 centimetre long and 3 millimetres wide.
A nice treat
It won't be necessary to mention that the flea too, is an unpleasant and awkward animal. Certainly for cats and not in the least for the long-haired ones, because her fur is very woolly and dense.
One combs the animals and washes them with the more harmless detergents that are available. One can get information about it from any veterinarian, pet clinic or animal shelter.
The basket and sleeping-place of the cat should also be cleaned thoroughly, because these can - and will - be contaminated by eggs and larvae.
The cat louse is a grey and yellow insect with an oval body, approximately the size of a pin-head. It can usually be found there, were the cat can't reach with their paws and on the bodies of unkempt and weakened animals. The parasite causes a sort of dandruff, by which it can be recognised, but first one discovers numerous nits or eggs, that are placed obliquely on the hairs.
To cure the cat of this, with good result, one should, at the same time when one is fighting the lice, let the cat recuperate. Since the skin of these cats is especially dry, one should give them as much fat as possible.
There are detergents available, which are not poisonous, but one should remember, that carbolic acid, lysol, creolin and other such remedies will be absorbed into their skin and can be lethal. The so-called cologne for the hair is also wrong.
Thriving and healthy, joining a bike ride
This is an illness of a much serious nature and also much harder to cure. The parasite that causes her, belongs to the mites (Acarids) and looks like the cheesemite. She's so very small, that she can't be seen with the bare eye. But, as small as she is, she's incredibly fertile. She digs herself into the skin and lays about 24 eggs there. These hatch within the space of a week and after a few weeks these young also lay eggs. And thus, reproduction goes so fast, that there are 1,000,000 offspring within 90 days!
During treatment of wounds great hygiene is a prerequisite and one should keep the wounds as clean as possible. However, many disinfectants are poisonous for cats, so that one should be very careful. A good remedy is potassium permanganate 1 : 300. Also, hydrogen superoxide H2O2 and 2% sodium carbonate solution. It's better to prevent than to cure. Of course, one can't prevent a cat getting bitten or cutting itself by falling through a window, for example. What one can prevent is that pussycat plays with the pins and needles on the pincushion. Cats seem to love those ladies' articles very much and they also seem to taste very well. Repeatedly, cats have to be treated because a needle or pin is lodged in their throat. I even know about a case, where a cat had swallowed a 17 centimetres long hatpin, with the head downwards.
Is always to be preferred, since the physician can then perform in a more peaceful way, therefore won't wound the animal unnecessarily and, which is of great importance, won't torture the animal by the enormous fear it would experience during the operation. The wound of an animal, that's operated on under anaesthetic, heals much better and more rapidly, because the animal, at least the first days, the days so much depend upon, won't be aware of what has happened. An animal, that's operated on while fully conscious, will quickly start trying to tear off its bandages.
These, one treats as quickly as possible with lots of boracic ointment or vaseline and even butter is excellent for the first treatment.
Sick cats, cats that are apathetic, that have no appetite, without us knowing what is wrong with them. In Japan one is in the habit of giving a raw egg and one claims that they've subsequently recovered.
Prior to ending this essay, we would like to warn against the results of the great curiosity of these animals.
After all is said and done, there's still this: To give a cat or dog, that's critically injured or incurably ill, a peaceful death, one does best to consult a veterinarian, who'll decide, in every separate case, which is the best way to release the animal out of its misery.