Cats in the 20th Century (Cats in Literature-Ernest Hemingway)

The masculine hunter, fisherman, bullfight enthusiast and 1954 Noble prize winner for literature, Ernest Hemingway, doted on his cats.  After being given “Snowball” a white 6 toed cat by a ship’s captain, Hemingway let nature take its course until he had 23 felines in 1945.  A whole tribe of polydactyl cats have inhabited his Key […]

Cats in the 20th Century (Cats in Literature-H.P. Lovecraft)

The American writer H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) used cats in many of his works, and they played an important part in his science fiction short stories and novels.  The Cats of Ulthar (1920) is a short story that focuses on the ill-fate of those who kill cats. A defenseless black kitten is stolen by a couple […]

Cats in the 20th Century (Cats in Literature-Rudyard Kipling)

Best known for authoring The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was the first English language writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.  In his children’s story The Cat that Walked by Himself, he describes a time when Man and Woman lived in caves and animals had not yet been tamed.  The superior, independent Cat […]

Cats in the 20th Century (Cats in Literature-T.S. Eliot’s Cats)

T.S. Eliot’s Cats T.S. Eliot (1888-1965), one of the 20th centuries greatest poets, found the cat an inspiration for The Naming of Cats, a lengthy poem about the importance of cats’ names, which was the basis for the long running Broadway hit Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber.  The Naming of Cats The Naming of Cats is […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

Cats in 20th Century History and Art (Part 4-Félix Vallotton)

Greatly influenced by Holbein, Durer and Ingres and later by Japanese print art, the Swiss painter Félix Vallotton (1865-1925) produced both woodcuts and paintings in which he sometimes included cats.  His woodcuts consist of a black background with only a few white lines to outline his images.  In a series of six woodcuts called Instruments […]

Cats in 20th Century History and Art (Part 3-Picasso)

When not participating in dangerous flights and setting new records, the cat, just as it had done in previous centuries, played an integral part in art and photography. Enduring as a cultural and social icon, the cat symbolized femininity, sensuality, domesticity, lust, and evil. An essential ingredient for cultural and social commentary, the cat was […]