Cats in the 20th Century (Cats in Literature-Colette)

Cats in Literature The cat naturally came to the pages of 20th century literary works as the usual symbol of feminine sexuality, lust and desire.  However, writers loved cats not because they could use them in their literary works as symbol and metaphor, but because they, just as the independent thinkers of the 17th and […]

Myths and Superstitions: Halloween and Black Cats

The assimilation of Pagan and Christian rites would come in the form of Samhain, an ancient Celtic festival and precursor of today’s Halloween. Halloween and black cats have been bound together because of the cats’ pagan ties which originated in Ancient Egypt.    Samhain celebrated the end of summer harvest, marking the beginning of the […]

Cats in 20th Century History (Cats in Music)

As poetry moved to music, so did the cat. Early on, songwriters captured cats in music where they exerted their indomitable influence.  Songs such as the 1891 Johnny Doolan’s Cat sung by Burl Ives    ……and  The Cat Came Back (1893) by Harry S. Miller (lyrics on Youtube) recount how it is impossible to get […]

Cats in Film – Rhubarb (1951, American)

In the 1951 film Rhubarb starring Ray Milland and featuring a very young Leonard Nemoy a millionaire baseball team owner takes a liking to a dog chasing cat†who is named Rhubarb after the slang term for an on field fight or argument.  The eccentric owner then dies and leaves the team to the cat.  His daughter files […]

Cats in Film – Night of a 1,000 Cats (1972)

Not all films, of course, depicted the cat as a loyal companion. The 1972 low budget Mexican film, Night of a 1,000 Cats, also known as Blood Feast, features a serial killer Hugo Stiglitz who feeds the bodies of his victims to caged cats in some sort of demonic ritual.  The cats can be seen […]

Cats in Film — Cat Girl (1957, British-American)

In a somewhat similar vein to the 1942 film Cat People, the 1957 British-American film Cat Girl is based on the same premise of a woman being able to turn into a cat. The main character, Leonora, is unhappily married and suffers from the family curse, that of turning into a leopard. After taking revenge […]

Cats in Film — Cat People (1942, Simone Simon)

In the 1942 film Cat People, the duality of woman and cat plays a central role. Based on the 1930 short story,  The Bagheeta written by Val Lewton and starring Simone Simon, the film tells the story of Irena, a Serbian, who believes that she is the descendant of a line of people who can […]

Cats in Film–The Tomb of Ligeia (1965, Vincent Price)

Early films sometimes based on 19th century novels, featured vicious felines that were latent killers.  The 1965 film The Tomb of Ligeia, based on one of Poe’s short stories, revolves around the main character, Ligeia’s, desire to be immortal.  At the beginning of the film, a black cat jumps on Ligeia’s coffin and Ligeia opens […]

Cats in 20th Century History (Part 6 – Felix the Cat)

The cat we have all come to know as Felix first made his appearance as Master Tom in Feline Follies.  Released just after WWI in 1919, and directed by Otto Messmer, the @4 minute short features the original Felix the Cat, here called Master Tom.  Our hero cat is lured away from his duties of […]

Cats in 20th Century History (Part 1 Felines in Film)

From canvases, the first felines in film entered the new dynamic art form of silent movies to eventually share the screen with such stars as Greta Garbo, Charlie Chaplin, Clara Bow, and Mary Pickford.         A Maltese cat named Pepper became the first feline film star.  Born under a sound stage at […]