Cropped Photo: Western Cat Review, Sept., 19101 by Frances Simpson. Courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection


Like a 'shooting star', little 'Genesee Valley Jane', had a short but memorable show career. She was also from some the very best pedigreed shorthair cats available in the fancy at that time. Silver Classic Tabbies were rare enough, but to get a good one was extremely difficult and her heritage reads like a veritable 'who's-who' of the Silver Classic Tabby world!

In the short space of only five months, among other prizes, she gained 'Best Shorthair Kitten' seven times, 'Best Kitten' five times, 'Best Shorthair Cat' seven times, and 'Best Cat in Show, twice!!!


'Jane' was born on 14th April, 1908, bred by Miss Jane Cathcart, of the famous 'Black Shorthair Cattery', in Oradell, New Jersey, and owned by Mrs. Elizabeth L. Brace (Genesee) of Rochester, New York. In the register, her eye colour is listed as Greenish/Hazel and it is presumed that she was duly named 'Jane' after her renowned breeder.

Her sire was Miss Cathcart's imported Silver Tabby male, "Ch. Silver Stripes" (1905) bred by Mrs. Collingwood of England. Her dam was Miss Cathcart's imported female "Ch. Dame Fortune II". So this breeding combination represented a line-breed on the famous English male, "Ch. James II" (1894), owned by Mrs. Collingwood, as both the sire of 'Silver Stripes' and grandsire of 'Ch. Dame Fortune II'.

Little "Jane" therefore, had a most illustrious pedigree, going back in a direct line to 'James II'(1894), and to his sire 'Ch. Jimmy',(1890), (owned by Mrs. Louisa Herring/sister-in-law to Harrison Weir) and back another generation to "The King of the Fancy", owned by Mr. Young, but originally owned by Mrs. T. Sugden. (no date of birth is available for "King of the Fancy").

After Miss Cathcart had purchased 'Ch. Silver Stripes', Mrs. Collingwood offered to buy him back, but Miss Cathcart is recorded as refusing to allow him to leave America.

        CH James II
    CH Silver Stripes, Silver Tabby 
    |   Bunnie
Genesee Valley Jane, Apr-14-1902, Silver Tabby, F
    |   Sweet William
    CH Dame Fortune II
        Dame Fortune


Three siblings, one full, and two sire siblings are on record.

The first, is a sire sibling, named 'Ch. Alice Stripes' born 8th May, 1908, bred by Mrs. F.Y. Mathis, from Miss Cathcart's 'Ch. Silver Stripes' and out of 'Sweet Alice' (CFA:446). This sibling is found in the Stud Book and Register of the Cat Fanciers' Association, Vol.3, 1913.3

In 1910, a full younger sibling to 'Ch. Alice Stripes' named 'Ch. Romeo Silver Butterfly', was born on 20th April 1910. Only this time, the breeder/owner is the well-known Mrs. H.G. Dykehouse, so we may assume that the dam had passed from the ownership of Mrs. Mathis, to Mrs. Dykhouse. This sibling is found in the Stud Book & Register of the Cat Fanciers Association, Vol.5, 1917.5

One full younger sibling to 'Genesee Valley Jane' was born 2nd April, 1910. From this repeat of the breeding that produced 'Jane' came 'Silver King of Tariffville', bred by Jane Cathcart and owned by Mrs. J.C. Mitchelson, of Tariffville, Connecticut. The colour of his eyes is listed as 'Green' and his entry may be found in the Stud-Book of the American Cat Association, Vol.V, 1916.4

Of Show wins:

In a brief article about 'Jane' in the 'Western Cat Review' dated September 1910, the following is given as to her show career:
"'Champion Genesee Valley Jane' was one of the most remarkable cats ever on the show bench in England or America, having won in her short show career of five months more prizes than any other cat can record..."

"Jane was first shown at Hartford, Connecticut, in 1908 at the age of 5 months. She started by winning first in her class, and best kitten in the show. The entire record of wins is as follows:-..

"12 first prizes, 143 Specials, 42 medals, 8 Challenge cups outright and wins on 17 other challenge cups; an ACA Championship at nine months of age, with nine points towards another. She was best Shorthair Kitten seven times, Best Kitten five times, Best Shorthair Cat seven times and Best Cat in Show twice." 1

From the Stud-Book of the American Cat Association, we find her specific wins listed as follows:-
1st, Open Class, Chicago, Dec, 1908. 1st, Kitten Class, Chicago, Dec, 1908. 1st, Open Class, Grand Rapids, Jan, 1909. 1st, Open Class, Syracuse, Dec, 1908. 1st, Kitten Class, Syracuse, Dec, 1908. 1st, Open Class Boston, Jan, 1909. 1st, Kitten Class, Boston, Jan, 1909.2


No progeny are recorded, and as little 'Jane' is listed in the article, (dated 1910) as 'The Late Ch. Genesee Valley Jane' , it is presumed that she died before having the opportunity to leave any progeny.


'Ch. Genesee Valley Jane'
Photo: from the 'Western Cat Review', September, 1910 1
Image courtesy of The Harrison Weir Collection

In summary, as is so often the case with cats of such amazing quality, they are seldom both top flight show specimens as well reliable breeders. There are of course some exceptions. As can be seen in her photo, 'Jane' had exceptional head and body type, exceptional pattern, and a sweetness of expression enhanced by her lustrous eyes. When cats of the ilk and quality of 'Ch. Genesee Valley Jane' come along, they remind us that what we thought was only a possibility, was in fact, not only possible, but could indeed be achieved, both meeting and at times exceeding our expectations. And it is witnessing this, that usually sets us on a determined course, to deliver yet again on the dream.


None available at the time of writing.


  1. Western Cat Review, September 1910
  2. Stud-Book of the American Cat Association, Vol. III, 1909
  3. Stud-Book & Register of the Cat Fanciers Association, Vol.3, 1913
  4. Stud-Book of the American Cat Association, Vol. V, (916
  5. Stud-Book & Register of the Cat Fanciers Association, Vol.5, 1917
  6. Photos and Quotations as per credits noted.

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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