For a long time -too long -the Colourpoint was the cat without a family. How should it be classified? Among the longhairs? Or was it not a Siamese which happened to have long hair? Or a Birman that lost its white gloves? It was called Colourpoint, Khmer and Himalayan, and since it was a cross breed, at the rare shows which allowed it in, it was hidden away in a comer.
But visitors remained such a long time in front of the cages of the forbidden cat, and the praises they sang of it became so difficult to ignore, that the Persian Colour point was finally admitted to the ranks of the great ones. The name, which became its official title, was certainly justified, since the cat has more of the Persian in it than the Siamese. From the latter it has kept only the Siamese markings and the colour of the eyes.
There is also some Birman in it, which shows in the temperament of the cat, which is very loving. The Colourpoint is not a recent breed. A Swedish breeder was crossing Persians and Siamese as far back as 1924, and it was a long job. In 1930 two Americans started a long selection programme which eventually resulted in a longhaired cat with Siamese markings.
It was christened Debutante -not without humour. With the Second World War, which meant minds were occupied worldwide with more worrying matters than breeding new cats, the project came to a temporary halt, and it was not until 1947 that breeding attempts were continued, this time by British breeders.
But the way was still not clear, and it took another eight years of work to improve the breed before the efforts of Mr Stirling Webb, in particular, were rewarded with recognition of the Persian Colourpoint by the all- powerful G.C.C.F (Governing Council of the Cat Fancy). Many variations on the Colourpoint have appeared since then. But certain rules are observed for all of them. Physically, the cat must resemble the Persian more than the Siamese. The round head, small ears, sturdy feet and short tail are required, and Siamese markings and blue eyes are essential.
Its many admirers claim that the Colourpoint combines the calm temperament of the Persian with the vivacity of the Siamese and the affectionate nature of the Birman. In a happy family atmosphere it often becomes an important member of the household. It loves to play with children but does need long periods of rest. Friendly to all, the Colourpoint adores its owner.
It will come to you with its irresistible blue gaze and gentle miaow asking to be petted; persevering gently but insistently until picked up or stroked! The Persian Colourpoint is a solid, healthy cat, rarely ill. But the magnificent coat needs constant care. It must be brushed daily and gently but firmly combed out.
Once a week it should be checked over. Its diet should consist of tinned and fresh food fed alternately. Once or twice a week it should be given fish instead of meat. Occasionally rice may replace the fresh vegetables which it also needs.