They might not have papers or long pedigrees, but so-called moggies are still the World’s favourite cats. And with good reason! They come in all colours, are generally quite healthy and have lots of purrrsonality.
Any non-pedigree or cross-bred cat, that is not part of a specific breed, is either a domestic longhair or domestic shorthair, depending on the length of her coat. In South Africa, the United Kingdom and Australia, they are called moggies, while in the USA they also go by the names of barn cat, alley cat, or stray. Moggy, a slang word, is not a corruption of ‘mongrel’, but is derived from ‘Maggie’, short for Margaret. In 18th century England, cows were commonly called Maggie and later, during Victorian times, domestic cats were often called by the same name. Back then, the streets of London were filled with scruffy street cats and these soon became known as moggies.
- Fred the Undercover Kitty (New York Police Department)
- Himmy, one of the World’s largest cats, who weighed in at 21.3 kg (lived in Australia)
- Hodge, Samuel Johnson’s famous cat
- Humphrey, 10 Downing Street’s mouser, under Margaret Thatcher and John Major
- Morris the Cat, mascot for 9Lives cat food and movie co-star of Burt Reynolds
- Orangey, famous feline movie star (Breakfast at Tiffany’s)
These cool cats come in every feline colour and coat pattern, including pointed colours and silver. The majority are variations of tabby, and ginger remains a favourite. Few things are as adorable as a nicely marked calico moggy kitten, or as striking as a tuxedo (black and white) mog. Eye colour also varies, as does the length and texture of the coat.
As a result of ‘hybrid vigour’ (out-crossing), moggies do not really suffer from hereditary diseases and are therefore quite healthy cats. A small minority of moggies from stray or feral colonies, who have not had much contact with cats from outside the colony, could be fairly inbred and therefore include some sickly individuals. There is also the chance of Feline Aids (FIV) in feral cats. Generally speaking, though, moggies usually grow to a ripe old age.
Yes, you can show your beautiful moggy and win, even at the most prestigious cat shows in South Africa! Cat shows make provision for ‘domestic’ or ‘pet’ classes for non-pedigree cats – and both the Cat Federation of Southern Africa (CFSA) and the Southern Africa Cat Council (SACC) have sections for ‘Pet of the Year’ as part of their Cat of the Year shows. For more information on cat shows in South Africa, visit: www.tsacc.org.za, www.cfsa.co.za and www.casawcf.co.za.
Taming a feral
Most stray or feral cats are moggies and it is possible to home these. Depending on the individual cat’s personality, one can tame a feral cat. It takes time and much patience, but in the end, a wild stray cat can become a friendly pet. Do it slowly and lure the cat closer with food. As soon as she is at ease, let her eat from your hand and then slowly start to touch her gently. She’ll soon start to associate your presence with food. Sit down with her and let her decide when it’s time to cuddle. You can encourage her a little by placing a treat on your leg and invite her to come closer. For more information on adopting and homing an adult rescue cat, turn to page 34.
Adopt a cat
There are countless numbers of abandoned or stray cats in South Africa in need of good homes. So, if you are ready to get a new cat, why not consider adopting a moggy. You can either opt for an adult or ask for a kitten.
They following shelters have cats available for adoption:
* SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) – www.nspca.co.za
* Animal Anti-Cruelty League – www.aacl.org.za
* CLAW (Community Led Animal Welfare) – www.claw-sa.org; 011 763 1638
* Friends of the Cat – www.friendsofthecat.za.net; 011 234 5789
* FORA (Friends of Rescued Animals) – www.fora.org.za; 082 892 4015
* Kitty Shelter – www.kittyshelter.co.za; 011 447 5275
* Kitty Haven – www.kittyhaven.co.za; 011 440 2404
* Wet Nose – www.wetnose.org.za; 013 932 3941
* DARG (Domestic Animal Rescue Group) – www.darg.org.za; 021 790 0383
* Adopt a Pet – www.adopt-a-pet.org.za; 021 465 4560
* TEARS (The Emma Animal Rescue Society) – www.tears.org.za; 021 785 4482
* KAPS (Karoo Animal Protection Society) – www.kaps.org.za; 028 572 1717
* Animal Welfare Stellenbosch – www.animalwelfare-stb.org.za; 021 886 4901
* Animal Welfare Port Elizabeth – www.animalwelfarepe.co.za; 041 366 1660
* Kitten Action – www.kittenaction.org.za; 031 465 1785
* HAWS Hartebeespoort Animal Welfare Society – www.hartebeespoortdam.co.za/haws; 076 455 0322