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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Monday, May 20, 2013

the icelandic cat: thoughts of 1905

I do not know whether Mr. Annandale's reflections on domestic Icelandic cats are borne out in fact, but one thing's for sure: it takes the police to break up their parties.

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Neither cat nor dog (that is to say, wolf) is indigenous to the island, but the true Icelandic cat is peculiar. It is of a dark blue-grey, in which certain lights enable darker markings to be detected. The fur is very short and thick; the size is small, and the form is slight. Good specimens of the breed are now becoming scarce, as a great deal of intermixture has taken place with ships' cats and others imported into the islands. There are few cat-fanciers in Iceland, and the Icelandic cat will probably soon be extinct. I believe that it has become fashionable in France as a rarity; but, curiously enough—possibly as an indirect result of in-breeding—it is extremely delicate and rarely survives removal from Iceland for long. A specimen formerly in my possession could hardly be induced to take milk or cream when brought to Edinburgh, but fed almost entirely on fish. It was stolen almost immediately; so evidently it must have been considered to be of some value by experts in Scotland. . .
The Icelanders attribute the peculiar colour of their native cats to the fact that they prefer to breed out among volcanic rocks of a similar colour to themselves rather than in the houses, and that the kittens born under such conditions . . .are affected by maternal impressions.
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From Nelson Annandale, The Faroes and Iceland: studies in island life (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1905), pp. 166-7

1 comment:

A few Good Cats said...

Sounds like one of those legendary house-trashing parties. Catnip-fueled, no doubt.