Poor Puss by Marilyn Crowther
At the turn of the 19th century, in support of the first animal welfare campaigners, cats told their own stories through a series of best-selling children’s books.
They moused in high places but pay was often poor, as revealed by Florence Nightingale in her memo complaining of the meagre rations for cats in the War Office. Many cats worked at home in London – where rats were a scourge – and enjoyed the luxury of a daily fast food service: a slice of horse flesh on a skewer delivered through the letterbox by the Cats-meat man. On the steam railway network, cats had power: the safety of the travelling public was largely dependent on the hunting skills of the signal box ratters.
Crowds flocked to the first cat show held at the Crystal Palace in 1871, when aristocrats and royalty obsessed over their competitive hobby of breeding longhairs.