Chapter 1: Why another Cat Book?

Why another book on cats?

I asked that same question when people asked me to write a cat book. I was not keen, because I dreamed that once I retire, I want to write fiction. But they kept on begging: "You have so much experience and knowledge on the Chinchilla cats: we learn a lot from you. Please write it down. Please, please, please."

There are thousands of books written about cats.  Just for fun, I went to on 16 December 2013. To my amazement, there were 94,895 cat books on offer. Of course some books were fictional, but irrespective, cat books were:

  • Total: 94,895
  • Paperback: 50,338
  • Hard cover: 22,673
  • Kindle: 10,783
  • Audible audio: 408
  • Audio cassette: 674.
I repeated the search on 6 December 2014 and saw the following growth:
  • Total: 103,670
  • Paperback: 54,476
  • Hard cover: 22,580
  • Kindle: 15,395
  • Audible audio: 608
  • Audio CD: 1,170

Information overload

In the light of the above, the question "Why another book?" becomes even more pivotal.  What value can yet another book add to the information overload we are already facing? The answer lies in the well-known quote by E. O. Wilson. 

We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely. 
- E. O. Wilson [21]

The term "Original Longhair" as used in this book refers to what was known as "Persian" cats in the mid-1950's. Since then, the majority of Persian cat breeders devoted their breeding programs to the mission of chancing the Persian face to become brachycephalic (peek-faced). 

The impact of this was that the original Persians with the "old-style" face became less and less popular among Persian cat breeders word-wide. The breed standard for the Persian was also changed world-wide to align with the look of the modern Persian. This in turn resulted that the "old-style" Persians did not conform to show standards anymore and subsequently started to disappear from show benches. 

However, one of the colour groups in the Persians picked up problems with out-crossing, namely the Chinchilla Persians. Out-crossing to other colours resulted in loss of standard Chinchilla colour features like eye and lip liner. Once lost, it was difficult, if not impossible, to get back to the original Chinchilla colour standards. A small number of Chinchilla breeders then decided to stick to "colour breeding" by mating only Chinchilla to Chinchilla.

Colour breeding in the Chinchilla Persian lines resulted in:

  • narrowing the gene-pool available for breeding,
  • escaping the brachycephalic mutation and
  • disappearing from the stow benches.

E. O. Wilson's quote explains why this book will not just be another book. This book aims to: 

  • record the effort of a group of “synthesizers” who put together
  • the right information 
  • at the right time 
  • to do the right thing: namely to bring back the Original Longhairs to cat show benches.
The time has come to think critically about the future of the Original Longhair and related breeds on a global scale. The time has come to make wise choices about the future of these breeds. The time has come for another book on cats. 

The internet has become the lay man's "university" and is a key reason for the information overload. Care needs to be taken to verify data and spelling. A quick Google search on the internet done on 22 July 2012 and 15 December 2014 respectively yielded the following hit results:

   22 July 2012  15 December 2013
Search string  Singular  Plural  Singular  Plural
Longhair cat(s) 93,600  31,800 37,100,000 22,600,000
Long hair cat(s) 142,000 58,300 11,000,000 68,000,000
Long-haired cat(s)  1,260,000  116,000 111,000,000  24,400,000
Long-hair cat(s) 142,000 58,300 96,800,000  68,200,000
Chinchilla cat(s) 54,100  83,700 3,370,000  2,150,000
Persian cat(s)  2,710,000 2,170,000  9,190,000 5,420,000
Doll face cat(s)  92,600 24,000  12,900,000 7,870,000
Doll-face cat(s)  12,200,000 31,800  13,300,000 6,560,000

The above not only shows large numbers of text covering topics, but also illustrates the complexity added by lexical features like spelling, plurals and synonyms.

Scope of Book

Topics in this book includes:

  • Explaining what makes one cat breed different from another
  • History of the Original Longhair cat
  • Genetics to understand about the Chinchilla coloring
  • Breed classification history
  • The breed standard for the Original Longhair and comparison to related breeds
  • Examples of pedigrees
  • More on related breeds
  • Globalization.

This book excludes:

  • In-depth genetics
  • In-depth veterinary aspects.

Which cat breeds?

The book set aims to provide data on the following cat breeds and the registration bodies that recognize them as breeds:

  • Original Longhair / Chinchilla Longhair / Sterling / Traditional Longhair
  • Modern Persian
  • Peke-faced Persian
  • Teacup Persian
  • Exotic
  • German Longhair
  • British Longhair
  • Turkish Angora
  • Tiffany (also referred to Burmilla Longhair) and 
  • Burmilla.

Target audience

From a historic perspective, the book aims to cover key role payers and organizations that were involved in the history of the breed. 

From a reader's perspective the target audience for this book is:

  • Breeders
  • Owners of longhair cats
  • Lovers of the original, "old-style" longhair cats
  • People interested in the related breeds
  • Cat judges not familiar with the breed
  • Groomers of longhair cats
  • Veterinary surgeons not familiar with the breed
  • Cat lovers in general.

Geographical span

The geographical span of this book is the global cat fancy. The first cat that exhibited the color-inhibitor gene (also known as the "Silver Chinchilla" gene) is traced back to a town called Wakefield  in the UK in 1882. There are currently many Silver Longhair cats all over the globe.  This book aims to provide historic information on how this global emigration happened. 

Time span

Europe did not originally have Longhair cats. This book aims to cover the complete history of how the Original Longhair cat landed up in Europe in the mid sixteenth century, and how it evolved towards the current scenario of related breeds. It will focus on the role that Chinnie's offspring played over a period of 130 years.


In summary; the rationale behind the book "Original Longhair Cats and Related Breeds" are the following:
  • To build on the foundation book "Persian Cats and Other Longhairs" [3] by the key custodian of the Original Longhairs covering the period since her passing away in the early 1980's till now. 
  • To provide "wisdom" by integrating recorded information about the Original Longhair cats and related breeds in such a way that the reader will not be drowned in a sea of loose bits and pieces of information (see the E. O. Wilson [21] quote above).
  • To answer frequently asked questions about the Original Longhair cats and related breeds. The author wants to share her experiences and accumulated knowledge with those who share her passion.