by Carlon Boren
From the 1960 CFA Yearbook, posted with permission from CFA
The history of the Siamese would not be complete without reference to the different Siamese cat societies which were founded for this popular breed. THE SIAMESE CAT CLUB of England was founded in 1901. The secretary was Miss Derby-Hyde, and the treasurer was Mrs. Backhouse. The first list of members was drawn up in 1902; the membership was then thirty-one, and included such names as Mr. Gambier Bolton, Lady Marcus Beresford, Miss Cochran, Mrs. Vyvyan and the Hon. Mrs. McLaren Morrison. In 1904, Mrs. Mary Robinson became secretary, which office she held until her death in 1923. The Club owes her a very real and deep debt of gratitude - for nineteen years she fought to keep going what was then a very little known variety of cat, and she carried on through the difficult years of the war. The first standard of points for the Royal Cat of Siam was drawn up by the Club in 1902.
In 1923, Major Woodiwiss was elected secretary, and in 1924 he inaugurated and carried out the first Siamese Cat Club Show. This show was the first championship show ever held by a specialist club in the cat fancy confined entirely to one breed, and was a great success. On April 30th, 1924, Major Woodiwiss published the first Siamese cat register, which was a list of all the registered Siamese cats in England, giving as far as was known their sires and dams, dates of birth, breeders and owners. In 1927 he published Volume II of the register. Succeeding volumes were published every three years. The Siamese Cat Club of England today is the largest specialist cat club in Europe, and probably in the world. It conducts its annual show in London.
In April, 1909, the SIAMESE CAT SOCIETY OF AMERICA was founded by Mrs. Gertrude E. Taylor of Syracuse, New York. Mrs. H. G. Dykhouse of Grand Rapids, Michigan was president and Mrs. Taylor was secretary-treasurer; Mrs. Clinton Locke of Chicago, honorary president. Both Mrs. Taylor and Mrs. Dykhouse had imported many cats from the Siamese breeders in England, and had corresponded a great deal with them. It was only natural, then, that they should pattern the Society here in America after the Siamese Cat Club of England. The Siamese Cat Society of America made very little progress and lay dormant as a cherished dream for several years. Eventually, in September 1913, a formal meeting at Syracuse, New York, was called by the president, Mrs. Dykhouse. The group voted to recruit new members and make an all-out effort to succeed. Unfortunately, little headway was made and Mrs. Dykhouse resigned as president.
In February, 1914, the second formal meeting was held at New York City, and Mrs. Clifford B. Hartman was elected to the presidency. It was at this meeting that the members voted to discard the English Siamese standard and adopted its own. Since 1914, the Siamese Cat Society of America, having rid itself of the doldrums, embarked on an active campaign which gradually and eventually earned for it the prominence it enjoys in the cat fancy to this date. In 1927, the Siamese Cat Society of America was formally accepted for membership by The Cat Fanciers Association, Incorporated. The Society submitted a schedule of points to apply to its first Specialty Show as follows: "If 5 of the breed present in the show, 1 point; if 8, 2 points; if 10, 3 points; if 15, 4 points; one extra point to be allowed for the Best of the breed, male and female, at all 3 point shows or better. This includes kittens and neuters." The first Siamese Specialty Show in America was held in Detroit, Michigan, on February 3-4, 1928, in conjunction with the Detroit Persian Society Show. Best Cat in the Siamese Specialty Show went to CH. (IMP.) Siamese Star Nee, owned and exhibited by a Mrs. Baldwin who obtained the cat from Mrs. Naatz.
In 1935, the Siamese Cat Society of America had grown to a membership of 60, with a good bank balance and a fine cup list. Fifty to sixty Siamese entries were not unusual in the Siamese specialty shows held in some parts of the country; particularly in the East. The Siamese Cat Society of America appointed a committee to write a new Siamese standard in 1944. The chairman of the committee was Mrs. Virginia Cobb; other members were Mrs. Virginia Gibson, Mrs. Helen Fairchild, Miss Elsa Wunderlich and the late Mr. Price Cross. After a great deal of correspondence, the new standard was completed and adopted by the committee. The Society, by a large majority vote of the membership, approved the new standard and then submitted it to The Cat Fanciers Association, Inc., for final adoption. The Board of Directors of CFA, seeking a standard with much less detail, altered the standard submitted by the Society. This failure to agree upon the wording of the revised Siamese standard resulted in a split in the membership, and, on February 7, 1945, the Siamese Society of America withdrew or was suspended from membership in the CFA. Thus, since 1945, the Siamese Cat Society of America, Inc., has operated independently and has sanctioned exhibitions in connection with shows sponsored by the CFA and the American Cat Association. The Society has a well-rounded cup list and any organization staging a show may request it by arrangement with the secretary of the Society.
In 1939, the SIAMESE CAT SOCIETY OF CALIFORNIA was organized and immediately applied for membership in the CFA. It was independent of the Siamese Cat Society of America and was devised as a means of building up interest among West Coast Siamese fanciers. The Siamese Cat Society of California withdrew from CFA affiliation in 1946 to become one of the foundation members of the United Cat Federation, Inc.
It was not until 1946 that the CFA, seeing the need for a national Siamese organization to stage specialty shows in connection with All-Breed events, organized the NATIONAL SIAMESE CAT CLUB. President was Miss Muriel Glenz; Mrs. Karl B. Norton, vice-president; Miss Lillian Goodwin, secretary. Honorary president was Mrs. Gertrude E. Taylor.
The earliest information on Siamese in Europe makes no reference to the Blue Pointed Siamese. While the first Siamese were imported into England as early as 1883, the first recorded showing of a Blue Point Siamese occurred at the Holland House show in London in 1896. Mr. Spearman, a young Englishman just home from Siam, exhibited a Blue Pointed cat. The judge said it was not a Siamese and refused to judge it as a Siamese! Mr. Spearman insisted that it was a Siamese and that there were others like it in Siam. At about this time, Miss Forestier Walker, one of the first breeders to introduce Siamese into England, wrote: "We have heard of 'any other color Siamese', but these cats of foreign breed, claiming to be Siamese are but the result of a cross. We have been told of black, blue and tabby Siamese, but the fanciers of Siamese look askance at these freaks and feel that it is worse than useless to attempt to produce any other variety than that which we have learned by custom to designate as the Royal Cat of Siam." In 1902, the Siamese Cat Club of England refused to recognize the Blue Pointed Siamese and it was omitted from their standard of points at that time.
The origin of the Blue Point Siamese is also shrouded in obscurity. That the Blue Point Siamese cat existed for some years at least, in Siam seems proven by such writers as these: Henry Milner Rideout, in 'The Siamese Cat', published in 1908, writes: "The King has officially declared that the Blue Cats are royal"; Huidekoper in 'The Cat', published still earlier in 1895, says: "The preferable colors are a dun or fawn color, although they are sometimes a silver gray". Since the Siamese people kept no records of their cats and usually allowed them to mate at random, mutation of black to blue within the stock seems much less likely than hybridization in Siam with the cats already possessing the maltese-blue gene. True it is that the Siamese cats imported into England in the early days rarely carried the blue gene or it would have cropped out more frequently and earlier in the history of the fancy in England and would have been well known to the early judges there.
In England, a few years before World War II, interest was beginning to be shown in Blue Pointed Siamese. These had caused some considerable controversy among breeders, many of whom were of the opinion that they were "sports" and therefore could not breed true, but a few whose convictions were based on research refuted these opinions and "The Blue Pointed Siamese Cat Club" was formed. Through the offices of this Club, which guaranteed classes and offered its cups and specials at all the shows, Blue Points became a separate breed listed on the Governing Council's list of breeds as 24a, and specimens were shown in their own classes, not, as had been the custom before the advent of the Club, mixed with the Seal Points in the ordinary classes. Mrs. W. Cox-Ife was noted for her wonderful Blue Pointed Siamese and was deeply interested in the new breed. She kept the Club in a flourishing position in her capacity as secretary, acting also as its delegate on the Gov. Council. Thus, we have seen, following the appearance of the Blue Pointed Siamese in Europe, a period of thirty years elapsed before it was accepted in England. Following recognition, more and more Blue Pointed specimens, every year, appeared on the show bench in England and many became full champions because they were in every way worthy of the honors they had won.
At about the time the Blue Pointed Siamese were accepted in England, we find recorded evidence of Blue Point kittens showing up in the Siamese litters in America. In the CFA Register, Volume XIII, two entries were listed: Lanfine Chik A Boo, Blue Point Siamese male, born August, 1927, and owned by Mrs. E. E. Stroud of Toronto, Canada; and Siamese Star Liao Wha, Blue Point Siamese female, born August, 1926, and owned by Mrs. E. E. Inslee of Detroit, Michigan. Both of these cats were sired by Ch. Siamese Star Prince Favo. Mrs. James S. Carpenter, CFA Recorder, wrote that: "…early entries of Siamese often described them as 'light' and it s possible there may have been Blue Point registration under such classification". Mrs. Cobb also wrote that "at the Boston show held in 1929, a Blue Point Siamese female, Djer-Kits' Siamese Star Chin Tan, owned by Mrs. M.K. Metcalf, was first in the open class, competing in the same class with Seal Points". It was not until a new standard was adopted by the Siamese Society of America, in 1934, that the Blue Point Siamese was given first recognition in America.
So much interest was shown by American fanciers in the background of the Blue Pointed Siamese cat, that a comprehensive study of the genetics involved was made by Dr. Clyde H. Keeler of Harvard Medical School, Virginia R. Cobb and Doris Bryant. The results of this scientific study were published in 'The Cat Gazette', November, 1934. Their investigations showed that the Blue Point Siamese possessed the maltese-blue gene, and might rightfully be called the Malto-Siamese, just as the Seal Point Siamese cat might be called the non-Tabby Siamese.
These investigators believed that the Blue Point Siamese cat was the result of a cross with a short-hair blue cat. The cats from which Dr. Keeler compiled his data were almost all taken from the registered Blue Pointed Siamese in this country and which had descended from cats imported from England by Mrs. H. E. Naatz (Siamese Star Cattery). In this study, there was an early English Seal Point Siamese, named Ch. Carlisle Lad, born 1910, which appeared in the pedigree of nearly all the Blue Pointed Siamese registered in America. The parents of Ch. Carlisle Lad were listed as "unknown and probably one or both were short-haired hybrids with yellow eyes, produced form a mating of some short-haired blue to a Siamese". Dr. Keeler also further stated: "In absence of information to the contrary, it would appear that Ch. Carlisle Lad may also have introduced the blue gene through an outcross to a short-hair blue. Russian Blues were popular in his day in England".
A pedigree chart showing the heredity of Bleu Point Siamese was compiled from registration records of the Siamese Cat Register of England, by Keeler, Cobb and Bryant, tracing the ancestry of the Blue Pointed Siamese cats in England and America. Some of the earliest registration of English Seal Pointed Siamese which were hybrid for the blue gene were as follows:
It is from the foregoing stock (Seal Points hybrid for blue gene) that the earliest known Blue Pointed Siamese cats were originated and registered in England. It is recorded, in 1924, by Major E. Sydney Woodiwiss (Woodroofe Cattery) that ten Blue Pointed Siamese were registered in Volume I, Siamese Cat Register, as follows:
Volume II of the Siamese Cat Register, 1927, lists only four additional Blue Point Siamese Cats which are:
There were four later additions to the foregoing list of early English Blue Points, by Keeler, Cobb and Bryant and included the following :
In conclusion, whether the Maltese gene was added in Siam alone, or whether in Europe as well, the Blue Pointed Siamese cat is here to stay. Admittedly, it will breed true when color bred specimens are mated. Blue Pointed Siamese will constantly crop out of untested Seal Pointed stock, just as Blue Persians crop out of Black Persians hybrid for the Blue gene. The early blood lines, here in America, which had either Blue Pointed Siamese or Seal Pointed Siamese hybrid for the blue gene, in their background, came from the following pioneer catteries: 'Siamese Star' (Mrs. H.E. Naatz); 'Siam' (Mrs. Karl B. Norton); 'Ming Kwong' (Mrs. E. Beardon), and, 'Purachatar' (Miss Louise Frith). It is a great tribute to the foresight of the early Siamese breeders that the Blue Point Siamese cat is today universally recognized, registered and perpetuated for its own beautiful qualities.
Although a relatively newcomer in America, the popularity of the Siamese cat grew so rapidly that an increasing number of catteries began to raise Siamese cats. In some cases the Siamese were bred exclusively and in others they took their place along with the Persians. We have already mentioned the invaluable contributions made by the Djer-Kits, Ming Kwong, Newton, Siam, Siamese Star and Storisend catteries. Other leading Siamese catteries of the mid-twenties and early thirties are worthy of note.
AZURE-YZE CATTERY (Miss Muriel M. Glenz, Freeport, L.I., N.Y.), founded in 1931, had numerous outstanding specimens of both Seal Point and Blue Point Siamese. Among the many winners at Azure-Yze, one of the most outstanding was Ch. Katchina of Newton. Her sire was Mrs. Cobb's Dbl. Ch. Sy Mingo ex Ch. Shela; others included Princess Evon and Imp. Rosedere Shan-Son. Miss Glenz was one of the most active promoters of the Siamese cat in America. She was elected president of the Siamese Cat Society of America in 1936.
COEUR-DE-LION CATTERY (Miss Jane Roberts, Hobart, Indiana) long known for its fine Persians, added Siamese in 1935, acquiring the outstanding cat, Newton's Yana-Yan, a fine daughter of Ch. Sy Mingo ex Ch. Ki-Kee-Ko.
EL-JAY-GEE CATTERY (Mrs. Laura J. Graham, Tarpon Springs, Florida), established in 1926 with smoke and black Persians, added Siamese in the spring of 1935. She obtained and showed Siamese cats from the Newton (Mrs. Cobb) blood lines. One of Mrs. Graham's most prominent sires was El-Jay-Gee's Kee-Kee-Sing from the Sarasota Siamese Cattery (Mrs. Lillian McWilliams).
HILLWOOD CATTERY (Mrs. Ellwood Wilson, Knowlton, Quebec, Canada) was founded for the purpose of introducing the Siamese cat into Canada where there were so few of this breed of cat. Outstanding at Hillwood was Ming King of Hillwood and Queen Poona Purachatar of the famous Bonzo II and Lanfine Mono-Lo strains.
KHYBER CATTERY (Miss Delle D. Smith, Bristol, Tenn.), established in 1929, was originally started with blue and black Persians. Siamese were added to the cattery and included many of the Newton blood lines. Among the best known at Khyber was Chiang Kai Chek, descendent of Ch. Bonzo I, of England, and Siam's T'Sing Loa of Khyber, a Blue Point stud. One of the best known queens at Khyber was Chowfa Maha. Miss Smith was a very active promoter of both the Seal Point and Blue Point Siamese and was so successful as a scientific breeder of high class stock that the Khyber cats received national as well as local recognition.
MAU TEIN CATTERY (Dr. Joseph C. Thompson, San Francisco, Calif.), was established about 1926. The parent stock for this cattery came from their native land and Dr. Thompson made every effort to keep the original characteristics of the native breed. Dr. Thompson's Siamese were very large in size, due in large part to an outdoor mode of life and a diet of lean meat, liver, fish and grass. The imported sire, Tia Mau, weighed seven and one-half pounds while his son, Pak Kwai Mau, tipped the scales at ten and one-half pounds. But the real "jumbo" Siamese of the cattery was Kwai Tse Mau, son of Pak Kwai Mau and Tai Noo Mau, which weighed 15 pounds. In addition to promoting the Siamese, Dr. Thompson was instrumental in creating much interest in the Burmese cat in America. He introduced the Burmese cat to the West by the importation of a female, Wong Mau, from Burma in 1930. Dr. Thompson's established place in the history of the fancy is attributed to his untiring efforts over the years to obtain recognition of the Burmese, with the result that the Burmese cat was accepted and permitted to compete in the championship classes. Dr. Thompson was a former director of the Siamese Cat Society of America.
MING SONG YEN CATTERY (Mrs. Sonia Fitz-Gerald, Miami, Florida), established in 1935, specialized in Seal Point Siamese exclusively. Mrs. Fitz-Gerald obtained first-class stock from the outstanding Seal Points in the country. Some of the cats at Ming Song Yen were Songareitta, Se-Yen, Ming-Chu-po, Patti Sing, Ch. King Sistowahr and Dbl. Ch. Loti Sito.
PURACHATAR CATTERY (Miss Louise Frith, Mt. Desert, Maine), established in 1934, contributed greatly to the promotion and establishment of the Blue Point Siamese in America. Miss Frith's first stud cat was a Seal Point, King Purachatar. The first queen was a Blue Point, Lanfine Wangsy, whose mother was also a famous Blue Point, Ch. Lanfine Mono Lo. We have made previous reference to the blue point genetics back of Lanfine Mono Lo. Miss Frith owned many famous cats at Purachatar. She purchased Queen Poona Purachatar from Mrs. Ellwood Wilson (Hillwood Cattery), also of the famous Bonzo II and Lanfine Mono Lo blood lines. Poona proved to be an outstanding Seal Point who threw Blue Point kittens. In 1936 Miss Frith purchased Dbl. Ch. Siam's Chief Noda of Purachatr (Mrs. Karl B. Norton), the first Blue Point Siamese to complete a championship in CFA and CFF. He was obtained from Mrs. J. Bock, of Newark, NJ, when she sold her Siamese and returned to Germany. In 1936 Miss Frith purchased Siam's Sancho from Mrs. Karl B. Norton. He was a Blue Point grandson of Dbl. Ch. Siam's Chief Noda of Purachatr.
On October 23, 1947, the entire Purachatr Cattery was wiped out by a forest fire at Bar Harbor, Maine. Miss Frith, who had been ill with a heart condition since early sp ring, was in a hospital at Mt. Desert Island. News of the progress of the fire was kept from her. On November 3rd Miss Frith died of her ailment upon learning of the catastrophe. According to a letter received by Cats Magazine after her death, Miss Frith wrote: "Among the cats destroyed were King Purachatr IV, a very fine Blue Point stud, slated to be sent to Mr. And Mrs. Charles A. Knight of Oswego, Oregon, and Song Kran of Purachatr. All were Blue Point Siamese." Other fine specimens who perished in the holocaust included: Songkla Purachatr of Mei Lei, Koen Yung of Purachatr, Kwon Ying Phan of Purachatr and Goforth's Princess Khiem Mei.
Fortunately, for those interested in the Purachatr blood lines, some cats and kittens had been sent to breeders in the early spring. Mrs. Blanche Warren, of Bellflower, California, had a Blue Point male; Mrs. R.C. O'Donovan, of South Miami, Florida, a very fine Blue Point female; Mrs. Stanley Gibson, of Chicago, a Blue Point female, Ch. Princess Purachatr; a pair of Blue Point kittens to Mrs. Gordon Palmer, of Chicago; and many others, including a lovely kitten received by the eminent English actor, Mr. James Mason.
ROSEBANK CATTERY (Mrs. Lucille Ashcraft Purnell, Salisbury, Md.), established in 1926, was one of the largest catteries in America at the time. Besides fine Siamese, Rosebank was outstanding for its solid color, silver and tortoiseshell Persians. One of the most prominent Siamese studs at Rosebank was Sayama of Valhalla, obtained from Mrs. C.C. Strange.
ROYAL CATTERY (Miss Leslie M. Volk, Honolulu, T.H.) established in 1935, was founded to promote the Siamese cat in Hawaii despite severe quarantine restrictions. Even today all cats imported to the "Islands" must go through four months quarantine at 50 cents per day. Even kittens must remain 120 days. Because of these precautions there has not been a single case of rabies in Hawaii for the past thirty years. Royal Cattery included Imp. Ch. Bernadett and Nan Ky Moon in its blood lines. The celebrities of Miss Volk's Royal family included Prince Prajadhipok, Princess Li Ta of Ching Ming Tai, and Princess Che La.
SAMITE SIAMESE KAT KENNEL (C. Evans Sawyer, Jr., South Portland, Maine), was established in 1933 with the objective of developing a strain of Siamese that combined the qualities of the several prominent blood lines. The blood lines represented included: Ch. Simple, Ch. Bonzo, Ch. Sing-Po of Ming Kwong, Ch. Djer-Kits' Chinkaling of Newton and Ch. Lanfine Isma. The two most outstanding Siamese at "Samite" were Wendi-Cha of Yates-de-Aairy and Goodrich's Sir Thomas.
SARASOTA SIAMESE CATTERY (Mrs. Lillian McWilliams, Sarasota, Florida), was established in 1933. Consistent top show winners for Sarasota included: Peti-Sing of Yates-de-Airy, Ch. Rama-Sing, El-Jay-Gee's Kee-Kee-Sing and Ch. Chief Chi-Chi.
VALHALLA CATTERY (Mrs. C.C. Strange, El Paso, Texas), was established in 1926, was one of the best known catteries devoted to Siamese. Mrs. Strange was one of the few breeders of that era to raise the Blue Point as well as the Seal Point Siamese. The most outstanding of the Valhalla cats was the famous undefeated Seal Point Ch. Mahatma M.K. Ghandi; there was also an outstanding Blue Point, Valhalla's Kwang-Tung, a son of famous Dbl. Ch. Siam's Chief Noda (Mrs. Karl B. Norton); the best known female was Ming-Po of Valhalla. Valhalla blood lines also included such famous winners as Tifils de Bonneville and Mlle. Lilli de Roscoff, both imported. Mrs. Strange was very active in promoting the Siamese cat in America and her stock was always in great demand.
WATERMEAD CATTERY (Mrs. George de Gersdorff, Bedford Hills, NY), was founded on blood lines of Siamese stock which were imported from Siam to America direct. One of these was the Seal Point male Prince Damras of Watermead. Another was Mrs. De Gersdorff's Seal Point queen Chez Minet Tika, who was a descendant of the pair taken from the Royal Temple by King Chulalong, many years previous, and presented to Madame Blanche Arrall, the opera singer, at the time she visited Siam and sang before royalty. These were two of the very few so-called "Temple Cats" to leave Siam and the only ones to come to America direct - Wicky Wicky I and Moumonte I.
WYANDOTTE CATTERY (Mrs. F. L. Mock, Columbus, Ohio), established in 1924, specialized in Siamese and red tabby Persians. The blood lines represented at Wyandotte included such prominent cats as Mrs. Bearden's Ch. Bonzo II, which was the sire of Dbl. Ch. Ming Kwong Chang of Wyandotte and his grandsire was none other than the Gr. Ch. Bonzo of England. Dbl. Ch. Ming Kwong Chang of Wyandotte won the CFA award for 1934-1935 for the cat taking best in the short hair division the greatest number of times in one season. One of the most outstanding Siamese queens at this cattery was Ch. Djer-Kits of Petling of Wyandotte (Mrs. Metcalf, breeder) and proved to be a most consistent winner in the shows for Wyandotte.