"...we should pass over all biographies of 'the good and the great,' while we search carefully the slight records of wretches who died in prison, in Bedlam, or upon the gallows."
~Edgar Allan Poe

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Newspaper Clipping of the Day



This installment of the "Boston Post's" "Famous Cats of New England" profiles a feline with an appropriately fierce name:
Peter the Great is a fighting cat. He's for action every minute. Up Lowell way they all know Peter, who is the cat of Mrs. H.C. Forbes of 8 Quimby avenue. He has whipped every known cat within a mile, and the only reason that he hasn't extended his activities is that he's too attached to a good home to go abroad looking for new titles, and the other cats are too much in dread of him to come looking for him.

Grave Yard Tom, however, is a cat that Peter's mistress states Peter appears to want to fight. Tom's photograph, in a recent issue of the Post, when shown to Peter, brought a prolonged sputtering and a growl from the champion of Lowell. He up with a black mitt and he let G.Y. Tom have it forcibly right in his smirking, all-ready-for the picture-countenance. Then he tore the paper to bits and flew off in a rage.

Just relieved from being an all black cat by the merest dog of a white "jabot" under his chin, Peter has a real war like attitude every minute. Even when he sits down on a chair to be photographed there's that about Peter that suggests a fight in the offing. Yet his mistress says he is a loving cat to the folks at home.
~January 4, 1921
[Note:  "Graveyard Tom" was the great nemesis of our very first "Famous Cat," the "Post's" legendary Von Hindenburg.]



4 comments:

  1. I wonder if Peter and Tom could also have come to terms. I like to see cats snoozing together, rather than fighting.

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    1. It's a whole different world since you can get cats neutered. My guys are STILL pretty territorial, even without their nuts, but at least now they only growl and not tear each other's heads off. I like the old tomcats, but I've gotta say, I'm sick of paying the vet to stitch up wounded stray cats that have been fighting.

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    2. I think about that every time I read these old cat stories. Do you have any idea when spay/neuter became a regular practice? I've not seen any specific info on that, but I get the impression it's fairly recent. And, of course, too many people still neglect to have it done...

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    3. I wanted to say spay/neuter became a regular practice in the 1950s, but I wasn't sure of my dates. I (of course) Googled it, and came up with this article (http://messybeast.com/retro1940-neutering.htm). Apparently spay/neuter started earlier, but it was still experimental and controversial until about the 1950s. I remember growing up in the 1970s, you could certainly get a spay/neuter done on your cat, but it was expensive, and also (living in the country) it seemed very cruel to the cat. Now of course, with the urban overpopulation of cats, spay/neuter seems much less cruel than just killing all the unwanted kittens. One thing that still gets me is the SIZE of these old tomcats in the newspaper stories. 20 pounds did not seem unusual. I actually had one tomcat that I let grow up without neutering him, and even he was nowhere near 20 pounds. My biggest neutered male tops out around 14 pounds, and that's after he got fat; and he was also neutered as an adult because he was a stray. I'm actually wondering if there isn't some cat evolution going on here - the smaller ones are more likely to survive as strays in the city, because they need less to eat.

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