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Although registered as 'Tibbieboo', this bright eyed and bushy-tailed Blue Persian female is often referred to as 'Tibbeboo' in show and press reports.2
She first came to fame when she was entered into the Botanic Show of 1898, where she was one of over 170 cats exhibited in one large tent, during a two day show organised by The Ladies Kennel Association, held in Regents Park.
This show was attended by the Princess of Wales (later Queen Alexandra), who was a regular exhibitor of dogs, but who also took a keen interest in cats and honoured them with a personal inspection on this occasion.
In the press report published in The Sketch, the following was said about 'Tibbieboo":
"Tibbeboo is a lovely longhaired blue female cat, owned and bred by Mrs Clunes, from Champion Wooloomooloo and Tibby. She is a first-rate queen, and seems to have inherited the many perfections of both her distinguished parents. Her coat is very heavy and of a lovely shade. At the time of the show she was under a year old, her date of birth being July 31, 1897. Consequently, we may hope to see in her a coming champion and the mother of a long line of blue beauties who will hand her name and fame down to many future generations of cats."4
In a second report, published as part of an article on famous show cats in Windsor Magazine in 1899, we gain another interpretation of this event, along with a second photograph:
"A little sensation was caused at the summer show over another blue pet in the shape of Mrs. Clune's 'Tibbeboo', who, although but ten months old, captured the championship and specials awarded to its class by Mr Louis Wain. For short face and compactness of form as well as in colour, it quite fulfilled Mr. Wain's chief demands. And this beautiful cat easily secured the highest favour at the late show."5
This win was to be followed by a more significant success, which included a Championship and four Specials at the Crystal Palace show, late in 1898.2
'Tibbieboo' was born 31st July, 1897; bred and owned by Mrs. S. Clunes, of Palace Court in West London, from her female 'Tibby' and sired by 'Champion Wooloomooloo'. At the time, this blue Persian male was one of the most significant and sought after sires in England.
Frisk, Blue Ch Wooloomooloo, Blue | Fluff, Blue Tibbieboo, Jul-31-1897, Blue, F | Unknown Tibby, Blue Unknown
In Frances Simpson's chapter on Blue Persians in The Book of The Cat (1903), he is one of only two early Blue Persian stud males mentioned in the first two pages. She explains the rise in the popularity of the Blues and gives an example of the increase in entries in the competitive classes for this variety as follows:
"In 1891 blues came very much to the fore, and the entries at the Crystal Palace number 15 males and 17 females. At Cruft's Show in the year 1894, a grand blue, called 'Wooloomooloo,' was exhibited by Mrs. W.R.Hawkins, and this cat became one of the most famous of stud cats. Many of the finest blues of today are descended from this noted sire." ¹
That 'Ch.Wooloomooloo', was one of the outstanding sires of this period is fully supported by the number of his sons and daughters who were retained for breeding by a large number of serious devotees of the Blue Persian Cat and his appearance on so many pedigrees to this day.
To date, no full or 'dam' siblings of 'Tibbieboo' have yet been found.
However, as her sire can be numbered among the most successful and prolific of early Blue Persian stud males, she does have a significant number of 'sire' siblings or half-siblings, a good number of which are listed below, separated by gender.
In the males, the most significant half-brothers of note are 'Wooloomooloo II', 'Wooshoo' and 'Oliver Wooleepug'
In the females, the most notable are 'Cinderella', out of 'Hawthorne Bounce', and 'Ethel' as the dam of 'Fulmer Roy'.
Her show records as listed in the register of The National Cat Club include: 1st, Special, Botanic 1898; two firsts, Championship and four Specials, Crystal Palace 1898.
Sadly, the early hope that 'Tibbieboo' would become "the mother of a long line of blue beauties who will hand her name and fame down to many future generations of cats"- does not appear to have transpired, or, if it did, there is no record of it.
None currently available.
Although 'Tibbieboo' does not appear to have left any progeny, her sudden and meteoric rise to stardom did much to enhance breeders perceptions of the value of her illustrious sire, who truly did have a huge impact on the emerging Persian breed, most particularly in the 'Blues'.
Her photos also help to give us a visual record of 'type development' within the Blue Persian variety.
In these early days of the Fancy, and in this variety in particular, we see that the emphasis was on coat and colour first, and then eye colour, and then eye shape, shortness of head and set of ears. In time the emphasis would move to selectively enhancing the head type; but finding a balance between improved head type, while maintaining or improving evenness and lightness of coat colour, would remain a challenge for many generations to come.
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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