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Accompanying the photo of 'Moko' as it appears opposite page 76, in M.r C.A. House's book 'Cats: Show and Pet' published by Fur and Feather in 1903, is the caption: "Mrs. Singleton's Long-haired Blue, Moko". "One of the most sensational sires of the day."1 This is high praise indeed coming from a young but experienced judge and popular writer/editor for Fur and Feather, who was a colleague of Miss Frances Simpson, and who had in previous years had the benefit of experience working with both Mr. Fred Gresham and Harrison Weir on the staff of the 'Fanciers Gazette' when Weir produced his wonderfully famous book Our Cats in 1889.
But House was not particularly speaking about the phenotype of 'Moko', but more of his ability as a stud cat, and as a conduit to the production of excellent progeny when appropriately bred.
Moko, certainly did prove to be a splendid sire, as the registers corroborate, when judging by the number of breeders who took advantage of his services and the number of his progeny which were subsequently retained for breeding. Unlike his contemporary 'Ch.Wooloomooloo', Moko was not a high flying show cat himself, but was seen by many as the very able second tier son of a pillar of the Blue Persian variety, namely Miss Bray's 'Ch.Glaucus'(1890). Among others of this ilk, were Mr. A.A. Clarke's 'Turco', Miss Frances Simpson's 'Beauty Boy'(1889), Miss Carey-Elwes 'Ch.Bundle' (1891).
It is not unusual when checking old records to find discrepancies or conflicts of fact when drawing information from multiple sources. Historians must therefore keep an open mind. Sometimes the differences lie only in the context and timing of the information, while on some occasions they appear to be insurmountable. In the case of Moko, there appears to be a discrepancy between one source and another as to whom was his breeder. His sire was Miss Bray's highly favoured Blue Persian male, 'Ch. Glaucus' (1890), his dam, is recorded in the US Register and Stud Book as 'Phoebe', with Mrs Hunt as his breeder. And in fact Phoebe is corroborated as his dam, and Miss Hunt as his breeder, by the listing for Moko in The Cat Club Register. In neither case, is her colour mentioned, but in some databases she is listed as 'Blue" whereas in the National Cat Club register under the entry for 1403, Phoebe(1892) is listed as a 'White' longhair, owned by Miss Hunt.
Moreover, there is another matter of conflict, in that in a report given by the popular cattist writing under the pseudonym of 'Dick Whittington'.(a regularly contributor to both 'Our Cats' and 'The Ladies Field'). The writer, under the title 'Cat Gossip' appears to quote from what we can only surmise is either a letter from one of Moko's early owners, who had recently re-acquired the now famous cat from Mrs Singleton, or from a verbal conversation direct with Mr Witt. The article states:
"Mr Witt has repurchased from Mrs Singleton his old favourite, the blue Persian stud cat, Moko. Moko was bred by a non-exhibiting lady named Miss Simpson, who sold him to Lady Marcus Beresford, who in turn passed him on to Mrs Greenwood, but until he became the property of Mr Witt, but little was heard of him. He was first known to fame as the sire of Mabel of Lozells, who took the Gold Medal at Westminster, and whom Mr Witt bred by Sen Sen. Moko, Sen Sen and Mabel were not long after sold to Mrs Barnett, of Birmingham, at a very high figure, and when this lady gave up cats, she sold them to Mrs Singleton, of Yeovil, from whom Mr Witt has now purchased Moko and Mabel.
"Mr Witt tells me that Moko 'looks like a two year old instead of the ten or eleven years he must be, and that his eyes are now deep orange, and appear to have darkened with age instead of paling, as is usually the case."2
This report is clear in that it gives a full account of the many transfers of ownership of Moko, albeit if it adds confusion as to his breeder. The writer errs on the side of the registers however, although not disbelieving that Moko may indeed have been in the early stages, in the ownership of one Miss Simpson (probably not the famous Miss Frances Simpson) and if he is reported as once owned by Lady Marcus Beresford, this is very likely to have also been true. In The Cat Club Register he is certainly recorded as moving from the ownership of Mrs Greenwood to Mr Witt. And Miss Frances Simpson's short commentary on Moko corroborates his fame and includes the following:
"A little later, 'Moko' became famous as the sire of a sensational kitten exhibited by Mr C.W.Witt at the Westminster Show of 1900. 'Moko' was sold at a high figure to Mrs Barnett, and is now in the possession of Mrs Singleton of Yeovil."3
The only remaining matter to resolve then, is his age at the time that he returned to the care of Mr Witt. The article by 'Dick Whittington' appears in the January 1904 issue of 'The Ladies Field', which means that Moko (born in 1895), could not have been more than 9 years old, and probably just under that, and certainly not the ten or eleven years of age that Mr Witt recalled. Even so, to have such good eye colour and to have been in such great condition at the time of his subsequent return to Mr Witt, stands as a firm testament to the care he received at the hands of Mrs Singleton.
The Friar, NCC 1212, Blue ENG CH Glaucus, NCC 1063, Blue | Zeta, NCC 1211, Blue Smoke Moko, 1895, Blue M | Unknown, Black Phoebe, White Deborah, Blue SH
Although there are no full siblings of record, being son of one of the pillars of Blue Persians, notably 'Ch.Glaucus', Moko does have a number of famous half-siblings, who share the same sire. Glaucus was himself a grandson of both 'Turco' (Mr. A.A. Clarke's famous early Blue) and a foundation cat of Blue Persian breeding, and of 'Ch. Perso', the Blue Smoke foundation Persian male, famous as the sire of none other, than the incredible 'Silver Lambkin'.
Moko's famous half-brother by 'Ch.Glaucus' (1890)and out of the Blue queen, 'Hawthorne Bounce' (1891) was none other than 'Ch. Lord Beadle' NCC 1872, aka, 'Lockhaven The Beadle', owned by Mrs. Adele Locke,(Mrs. Clinton Locke) and bred by Mrs. Dean, of Hawthorndene, Slough. In her book Concerning Cats (1900), Helen Winslow writes of 'The Beadle':
"..a splendid blue male with amber eyes..The Beadle took first prize at the cat show held in Chicago in 1896. He also had honourable mention at two cat shows in England when a kitten, under the name of Bumble Bee.4"
Moko's half-sister, by 'Ch.Glaucus'(1890) and out of the Blue queen 'Nita', was 'Glaucus Nita', who when mated to the Blue male 'Beauty Pearl', produced 'Daisy Nita of Thorpe' in 1898. And this queen, when combined with Mrs Ransome's 'Darius', produced the famous 'Ch.Orange Blossom of Thorpe' in 1901.
There is no record of Moko ever being shown.
As we have already read, Moko's first claim to fame was as the sire of Mr Witt's 'Mabel of Lozells', born 30th April 1899, a Gold Medal winner at Westminster. Mabel, along with her sire and dam were subsequently sold to Mrs Barnett, 'for a high figure'. Mabel and Moko, were later returned to the care of Mr Witt, around 1904. But Moko has a lengthy list of progeny, being as he was, a popular and available son of Ch.Glaucus. It seems highly likely then, given the dates of birth of his many registered progeny, that the greatest proportion of these breedings, would have taken place under the management of Mrs Barnett.
Of the above listed progeny, Mabel of Lozells and Roger of Lozells are the most well-known, Mabel for her winning ways and Roger as a Blue Persian standing at stud.
It is however, to a male which we cannot locate in the register, named 'Pooh-Bah', that we look to see the influence of Moko in his progeny. This quality male was owned by Mrs J.H.Boulter, of Brockworth Lodge, Cheltenham. His sire is listed in advertising, as 'Moko' and his dam as 'Krishna'.
For this information and quotes from the press about his obvious qualities, we are fortunate to have both a postcard/cattery card with his photo and the quotations from the press of the day:
"One of the nicest we have seen for a long time was a superb blue male by Moko, he possesses glorious orange eyes, broad short head, even color, and massive limbs.
Quote from Stud advertisement: "Mr. C.W. Witt,the noted cat fancier writes, in trying to buy Pooh-Bah, that if he owned the cat, he would in two years make him the leading stud cat,as he could see such possibilities in him as a sire."6
It is important to keep 'Moko's' contribution to the developing Persian breed in context. When Mrs. Champion penned an article on Blue Persians for The Cat Review, she reminded us of the fact the the first blues did indeed come from other colours, often from Blacks and/or Whites; the following excerpt, in which she particularly mentions 'Moko' to explain her point:-
"Of course with blues as with other colours, it is often possible to obtain fine specimens without having both parents blue or even of blue pedigree. Perhaps the most remarkable case of this kind is the celebrated blue 'Moko', a cat of fine points and a good sire. This cat formerly belonged to Lady Marcus Beresford. He then became the property of Mr. W.C. Witt, of Birmingham. After showing several of his kittens and obtaining with them the highest honours at Westminster and other large shows, sold him for the highest price ever obtained for a blue ($300, we believe). This cat was bred from the old celebrity, 'Glaucus' (a blue) ex 'Phoebe', a white female with yellow eyes. Although bred from a white mother, who was in turn bred from a black and a white, we have never heard of 'Moko' siring a litter with any white on it. We should not like to recommend this method of breeding to those starting in the blue fancy, as it is most unusual to meet with such success as the above-mentioned. In the majority of cases the white strain crops out most disastrously, and amongst blue breeders in England now, even, a cat with a small white spot is generally discarded for breeding purposes and sold for a pet."8
Mrs. Champion's words, both wise and correct, clearly demonstrate to us the humble beginnings of the 'blue' as a variety; confirming that although 'Moko' himself could not be classed as having 'pure blue' breeding, he was nevertheless known in Britain as one of the most sensational sires of his day. He was, of course, bred over numerous females, leaving behind a significant legacy of more 'blues' in his wake. Once enough blues were produced to ensure the survival of the colour variety, other factors began to emerge requiring work, such as the evenness and clarity of coat, the hue of the coat colour, and the depth of the eye colour. Over time, the great work done with blues would form the firm foundation from which the Persian breed would be largely developed all around the globe.
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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