BONNIE BOY (1901)
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Miss Frances Simpson was very much the power-house behind the ongoing promotion and development of the Blue Persian variety in long-hairs. She was in fact, the owner of the first Blue Persian in the National Cat Club register, namely 'Bluette', born 18th September 1889. 'Bluette' is, registered under the number 1003, and was therefore only the third cat to be recorded by the then fledgling registry!
Miss Simpson was also jointly responsible for further promoting the breeding of 'blue to blue' to establish a 'pure blue' strain, consistent in coat colour and sound in eye colour. So it does seem a little incongruous that in this case, she chose to bring in a blue male, who was out of a black female. But 'Bonnie Boy' obviously brought perhaps both the two qualities most sought after in a blue, that light even colour and the deep orange eyes. Of the reasoning, we can only surmise, but we should not doubt her judgment when it came to a Blue Persian as this was her 'specialist' field of knowledge. Certainly from his kitten photo, the coat appears to be extremely pale and exceptionally even in colour.
By 1901, a number of specialist societies were being established, the first and foremost among them being the Blue Persian Cat Society, established on 24th April, 1901, making it the oldest Specialist Club still operating in the world today! Before the end of its second year, it could boast a membership of almost two hundred.
The incomparable Miss Simpson was its founding Honorary Secretary, a position she held for several years, during which time she made absolutely sure that Special Awards donated to shows in the name of the Society were offered in Classes at all major and some minor shows, further promoting competition and recognition for this burgeoning variety. She also campaigned for the larger shows to break down the Classes offered to male and female, in both the adult and kitten Classes, and then to break them down further , into age groups, as the number of entries continued to increase. As a self-appointed 'guardian' of the Blue Persian, she is unquestionably without parallel.
Our access to any definite information about the origins of 'Bonnie Boy' are limited and we can only speculate on what we have available to work with. His date of birth is not known, but from Miss Simpson's commentary as to his age when first shown successfully, we can surmise that his date of birth would have been in the vicinity of circa June/July 1901.
Although he does not appear in any register, we are told that his dam was a black Persian owned by Mrs. H. B. Thompson, (Islington cattery), which means he was very likely to have been bred by her. Mrs H. B. Thompson was a committed breeder of Blue Persians, and of Chinchillas and Silver Tabbies and a member of the Committee of The National Cat Club. She owned a good number of studs and had some excellent early lines to work with.
As to a sire, there are a raft of contenders, (most owned by Mrs. Thompson), including such cats as 'Lindfield Bootles',(once owned by Frances Simpson), 'Blue Boy the Great' as well as his sons, 'Twanky' and 'Blue Tom of Islington', but also 'Don Juan II', 'Cockey' and 'Sussex Boy'. Another contender is a male bred by Mrs Thompson but owned by Mrs Hunt, named 'Big Ben'. Of all these the range can be possibly narrowed by the additional information given, which was that he was also from "Miss Patterson's celebrated strain of Blue Persians".1 This would tend to indicate the presence of 'Patrick Blue' in his pedigree. Both 'Sussex Boy' and 'Cockey' carried the lines of 'Patrick Blue' , 'Sussex Boy' being bred and owned by Miss Patterson, and 'Cockey' who was bred by Miss Patterson from a daughter of 'Patrick Blue' called 'True Blue' and owned by Mrs. Thompson. This would suggest that 'Cockey' is perhaps the strongest contender to be the sire of 'Bonnie Boy'.1
As Miss Simpson claims ownership of 'Bonnie Boy' within the listings of well-known cats in her book and we have no method of verifying the same, we must take this as an established fact.
Unknown Unknown, Blue | Unknown Bonnie Boy, c Jun/Jul/1901, Blue, M | Unknown Unknown, Black Unknown
No information exists on siblings.
'Bonnie Boy' was exhibited by Frances Simpson at the Crystal Palace Show of 1901, when at the age of only four months, he took second prize in a class of 39 kittens, the age limit being eight months. At the same show he was also awarded a special prize for the best orange eyes in the kitten classes.1
No information is currently available which can establish whether or not he was ever used for breeding. We do however know that he was eventually neutered and retained as a much loved pet as the following anecdote from the hand of Miss Simpson about his abilities as a mouser, relates:
"My 'Bonnie Boy', who but recently joined the noble army of neuters, is as keen as a knife, and will sit for hours watching a likely hole, and never a mouse escapes his clever clutches. He kills them instantly, and then amuses himself for hours dancing about and throwing his dead prey with wild delight into the air. Then, again, he is, I am sorry to say, just as destructive with the poor London sparrows, and many a time I have had to chastise my pet for stalking the game in our little back garden." 2
Registers associated with this article include The Incorporated Cat Fanciers Association of Great Britain (TICFAGB), National Cat Club (NCC), The Cat Club (CCR), Beresford Cat Club (BCC), Feline Federation Francaise (FFF), Siamese Cat Registry (SCR), US Register & Studbook for Cats (USR)including Supplement(USRS), The Studbook of the American Cat Association (ACA), and the Studbook & Register of the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA).
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