Transcribed 2012


When I bought a copy of "Cats for Pleasure and Profit" (1909) by Frances Simpson, I found handwritten notes on the back of photographic plates - a book within a book. From the products and authors mentioned in the notes, they date from the early 1950s. Some are her own notes and she mentions a cat called Mokey. Some are attributed to the PDSA (presumably when she took her own cats for treatment). Others are notes based on MC Gay's "How to Live With a Cat" and James Mason's "The cats in Our Lives". Aspinall seemed especially interested in feeding regimes (on which Gay and Mason give contradictory advice).

Much of the handwriting is crabbed and awkward, suggesting she was getting on in years when she made them.



A cat must have meat, raw meat - a spoonful of green 3 or 4 times a week. String beans they like, a lettuce leaf, a sprig of parsley. One big meal a day is the best.

Liver they love, don't cook it as raw meat corrects constipation, but cooked meat is constipating. Kidney they love, beef, lamb, veal or pork kidneys. It is not a laxative. Heart is good. Lungs are more nourishing than they look. Beef without fat. Cats hate fat. Mutton should have the fat trimmed off it. Breast of lamb is good for them and the bones don't splinter. Moke won't eat it!

Don't give cats pork, it causes worms. Raw pork contains larvae that brings worms. This includes the innards of pork. Ham and bacon should never be given to a cat. No corned or salted meat should be given, nor smoked meat.

Eggs should be given occasionally, they improve the coat, given raw. Some cats won't eat raw eggs, don't give fried eggs Fish should be fresh and must be cooked. Never give a cat raw fish as it brings tapeworms. Also the fish must be boned. Fish bones are dangerous.

Give cats chicken gizzards and chicken heads. Cats adore chicken heads. Most butchers will give them to you, they don't splinter like the rest of the chicken. Rabbits should be cooked and boned. Rabbit bones are dangerously sharp.

Cats can't bite big bones. Bones from the breast and neck of lamb and mutton are quite safe for they don't splinter. But lamb chop bones do splinter. [Aspinall then crossed out these statements]

Don't give a cat starchy, greasy of highly seasoned food. A few cats like fruit, grapes, oranges and berries. All grown cats should have a clove of garlic mashed into its food once every two weeks as worm insurance. Cats must have clear fresh water as well as milk. Cats food should not be ice cold nor hot. About the room temp is right.

A cat needs a quarter of a pound of meat a day or 6 oz of boned fish or 6 oz of lungs or 2 eggs.

To repeat:

Cats must not have raw fish, raw pork, fish bones, ham, bacon, corned beef, sausages, bread, potatoes, cake, pie, spaghetti, macaroni, baked beans, turnip, cabbage, bananas, coffee, tea, cocoa, candy, nuts or cheese. No highly seasoned food.

Cats often like string beans, asparagus, onions, leeks, green peas and carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, lettuce, celery, parsley, endive, chives, spinach and mustard and cress.

[2012 note: raw tomatoes and raw or cooked onions or leeks are all poisonous to cats. Cooked potatoes, cooked pasta and small amounts of cheese are okay.]



Most catteries favour 2 meals a day but mason thinks 3 meals are better. A full grown cat needs at least a quarter of a pound of food a day. Experts think beef is the best food, raw or lightly cooked. The meat can be placed between 2 plates and steamed for a few minutes over a saucepan of boiling water.

Rabbit casseroled with bones carefully removed. Poultry also boned. Boiled fish, bones removed. Cats don't like fatty food. They like canned salmon, any lean meat. Egg yolks sometimes. An occasional tin of cat food some like.

All cats drink water and fresh water should be always available. Milk is laxative to cats. In the winter should have a few drops of Haliverol [halibut liver oil], it prevents colds. Liver and kidney, not pork innards.

Pablum for one meal a day gives good results, it's a cereal and therefore not a natural food for cats. Never give them bones.

Cats have tearing teeth but not chewing teeth, so pieces should be very small and not in chunks. Some cats like cakes with raisins and brown bread and potatoes, others like pears or bananas, but with bananas they must only have a tiny piece. Many cats like cheese which is good for them. Some cats like milk milk pudding.

[2012 note: "Pablum" was a processed cereal for infants; produced by Mead Johnson Co in Aspinall's time; it was rich in iron and several vitamins]


James Mason says for ear-mites clean out the ears with warmed medicinal paraffin on a little cotton wool. This must be done very gently and the treatment continued with. This is often taken for canker.

For constipation give a weekly dose of milk of magnesia one teaspoonful. Or medicinal paraffin in a saucer one tablespoonful if the will drink it. Many cats like it. 3 or 4 Meads yeast tablets a day also good.

For fleas, never use DDT near any animals. It often kills cats and dogs, rabbits and birds, but use Derris powder which is harmless. Sprinkling a little on the cat rubbing into the fur, brushing off the surplus as it often makes them sick.

Worms of all kinds are best cured by building up the cats resistance with bits of raw beef or slightly cooked, cream, cream cheese and a sprinkle of bacon [sic. should be baker's?] yeast once a day on something and once a week milk of magnesia or oil.

Eczema is red scaly patches is the result of not enough meat, or too much unsuitable food. Give yeast, meat and kidneys.

Never use strong antiseptics on cats. What you can use on a dog would be fatal to a cat.

Lost Cats

If a dog or cat is lost and disappears advertise. Also put a notice outside your gate or front door describing the animal. Then inform the local RSPCA giving them a description. Then the local police and other police stations as one does not inform other police stations. Then call on your neighbours. Tell the local schoolchildren, they notice animals. As the school mistress if she will allow a notice put on the door of the school. Call all nearby vets in case an accident has been brought in. Call the local animal hospitals and clinics asking if anyone has boarded an animal like yours. If a cat, look up the trees and into empty houses. Roofs, water butts and wells. Many people will help you. - James Mason.


James Mason says for newly born kittens, put them in a perforated cardboard box and then in the oven. Turn on the gas without lighting it. Or the vet and a chloroform box. For larger animals get the vet to use "Nembutal" first a small injection which sends the animal to sleep and then a larger injection for the fatal dose.


For Mokey's bare patches and sores on his back - 1 teaspoonful of salt to a breakfast-cup of water. Dabbed on well, soaking the place. [This has later been crossed out]

Gastritis - Madson's powders. What will lie on a sixpence given in a teaspoonful of milk 3 times a day - no solids just milk and plenty of water. - PDSA.

For summer losing fur due to overheated blood. Give cat powders and vegetables, milk of magnesia one teaspoonful a week.


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