San Francisco Chronicle, January 11, 1896

Oakland has two bachelor maids who run a cat ranch. They are Miss Grace B. Stacy and Miss Eveline Reynolds, and they reside on Fruitvale avenue in East Oakland, where they have set up housekeeping for themselves. Their chief work is fruit farming, but both are philanthropists, and their hearts go out to abused and homeless animals — mainly cats. But homeless curs will not be turned away, from their door if they come seeking shelter and a bone, and several dogs are numbered among the charges of the ladies. But cats are their chief care and they have on hand at present at least two score of the feline tribe, which have come into their hands in various ways. They have had many more of the animals on hand at times, but have found them good homes among friends.

Both ladies are young and both are handsome. Miss Stacy is the manager. She is a brunette with fine features. Miss Reynolds is a blonde young woman with a wealth of golden hair. Their cats are of all kinds, sizes and ages, and among them are Angoras and Maltese with pedigrees, but the larger number are just the common garden wall kind. Their cats come from everywhere. Friends and enemies alike remember them. Some are brought there in baskets, some are gathered up by the young ladies in their trips about the city and others are just simply found in the yard. It is supposed these are tossed over the fence by bad boys and people who are desirous of getting rid of them but are too humane to consign them to a watery grave sewed in a weighted sack. Every cat has a name.

They will give away their cats, but the conditions surrounding the gift are iron bound. People they know well who will take good care of the animals are favored occasionally. They must pledge themselves to take good care of puss and in case of a move by the new owner or a desire to get rid of the gift it is to go back to the cat home.

Both the ladies are accomplished farmers, and the place looks well kept. They say they are making a success of the farming venture. Miss Reynolds said she took up ranching for the good of her health and because she liked the work. The question of caring for cats was an after consideration. Both ladies say they love animals, and it soon became known in the neighborhood, and now a cat will never want for a home that comes under their roof tree.

(The Oakland tribune, January 20, 1896 noted: “Two young women of Oakland have started a cat ranch — but was there need of this? There should certainly be a young man for every young woman in Alameda county. Cat ranches (breeding catteries) are a recognized industry in the far East, where farms are abandoned and men come West and there is a demand for cats, but why start one out here? )

The Dog Does Not Seem to Have It, Cats and Rats May.
Buffalo Courier (reprinted in The New York Times, January 14, 1896)

In the course of a sermon the other day, one of our clergy very happily pointed his moral by contrasting the intelligence of the brute with that of man. "You can teach a dog almost anything," said he in substance, "but the dog cannot impart the knowledge he receives from his master to another of his kind." [...] It would be supposed that if any animal were capable of imparting as well as acquiring knowledge it would be the dog, yet it seems that that generally intractable, unteachable creature, the cat, actually has this faculty. One instance of this is authentic. A tabby, having the bad habit of leaping on the dining table after the family had risen from it, and of prowling over the fragments, was finally cured by being soundly cuffed on several occasions when she had been caught in the act. After a while she had a litter of kittens, and one day when they were half grown one of them jumped onto a chair, and so to the dining table. A member of the household busy int the next room saw the mother cat leap up beside her offspring and cuff it vigorously on the ears until it scrambled to the floor. [...] it is pretty certain that the imitative instinct was not at work in the cat when it cuffed its young one. The interesting question is whether the cat was intentionally punishing the kitten for climbing on the table or simply chanced to be in the humor for cuffing at that moment in that place without a thought of the impropriety of the behavior.

The North Adams Transcript, January 24, 1896

The selectman's annual report is not yet issued, though it is likely to be sometime. When it does at last make its appearance the report will undoubtedly contain an itemized account of the town’s receipts and expenditures for the past ten months. Among these items there will be mentioned, with no detail or elaboration, the funerals and attendant expenses of several deceased cats, also that of one dead dog at least, and one expired horse. How many more of these funeral ceremonies may be laconically recorded in the selectmen's forthcoming literary effort, we cannot say, for our eyes have rested on the proof sheets of but half a dozen of us pages. But of one or two burials and the expense to the town we are not now uncertain.

Just what should be the remuneration for burying a full-grown and fairly well-decayed house cat, we will not presume to judge. But the price set down in the forthcoming selectmen’s report seems to be $1.50, cash and no discount. Repeatedly there occurs these sad words ‘Mr. Jones, burying dead cat, $l.5O.’ There seems to have been a remarkable unanimity among the volunteer cat undertakers’ association of North Adams that $1.50 was about the right figure for the town to pay when some forlorn and outcast pussy fell dead by the wayside (or got intentionally put there) to be entombed at the town’s expense.

Now let us figure a little. The average cat after living nine lives, is generally pretty light-weight. He (for we will be fair and take the larger Thomas variety as the basis of our calculations) is naturally emaciated at the eleventh hour of his last life, especially if he has had to run about nights and earn his own living. Say he weighs in death, all laid out, five pounds. That’s liberal. Ample excavation of a grave for five pounds of dead cat could be made, unless it was in the dry season and the ground very bard (which condition the report doesn’t mention in any case) by about five applications of a good spade under a healthy cat sexton’s foot. Most of these burials, it may presumed, were with “no flowers” and "private.” So other funeral expenses, beside the excavation of the grave, must have been practically nil, and the time consumed, all told, some five minutes.

Is this one dollar and fifty cents worth? Not much. Let’s account for the rest of that expense if we can, and itemize it in a businesslike way. It must be something like this:

Escavating grave (5 minutes) $0.05
Injury to olfactories and violet water to remove all odious reminders from the hands $0.15
Hunting up the dead cat to throw in the street and time taken to get official consent to bury it. $0.90
Time in getting bill audited at town office, and consequent delay in hunting up or killing another cat to throw in the street $1.00
Total $1.50

There you’ve got it to a penny, honest and square.

But there’s one injustice, it seems to us, in the dog burial and horse burial, itemized in the town expense. The dog’s public funeral cost only $3, we believe. Think of it! Dead dogs are rare; they can’t be found every day, nor killed as promiscuously as cats; the dog-burying job is comparatively scarce, and yet only $3 for it! it’s no sort of business compared with the cat business. The selectmen ought to have voluntarily raised that price. But the horse burial price must be completely discouraging to the volunteer undertakers’ association. Only $4! Let’s figure again. Average horse’s weight 200 times that of the cat; scarcity of dead horses compared with that of dead cats 500 to 1; therefore if price of cat’s burial is $1.50, horse burial should be $1050, and no shaving the price either.

We know of one health officer in North Adams who once was of such a suspicious nature as to suspect, when the sixth dead dog was reported to him in one day for burial that someone was "working” him and he wickedly endangered the city’s health by refusing to order the sixth dog’s burial. But that man isn’t on the board any longer. No, we can’t complain of any such man being on the cat and dog burial force of any town department during the past ten months. No dead cat or dog has been refused honorable burial in his native soil and under the flag at $1.50 and $3 prices in the past ten months that we know of. Business has been good for the man who had an eagle eye for dead cats and could get them into the highway.

We suggest, before quitting the subject, that to have done the thing up brown, the final resting places of our public cats should have been fittingly marked after the elaborate $1.50 funerals with monuments bearing some such device as the following, not forgetting the dead cats’ warmest friends:

Here lies a poor North Adams cat,
A life-time fed on mouse and rat;
When age and want— oh, ill-match’d pair
Turned up her toes in public air
She then received selectmen's care —
God bless those noblemen! Me'ouw!

From The National Review.
(Reprinted in The New York Times, February 2, 1896)

It is contended that cats are just as fit to be taxed as dogs, and that a tax upon them is, in many ways, more necessary, because, owing to the small cost of harboring a cat, many people adopt one for a time, and then, when the poor beast has no longer the charm of novelty, turn it out of doors to be a nuisance to the rest of the world with its caterwaullngs, and so finally to starve. Whereas if owners of cats were liable to a State charge there would be an end to this capricious encouragement of the breed, and so the supply would be brought into relation with the genuine demand. Again, the melancholy wailing of cats naturally leads a dweller in the suburbs to the subject of the domestic piano. It is obvious _that a small impost on pianos would bring in a large return, and it is unlikely that such a tax would prove a hindrance to the cultivation of amateur music, since a piano is now so firmly established as a badge of respectability that it would hardly be sacrificed-for the sake of a few shillings per annum. The chief objection to this suggestion lies in the fact that its working would necessitate a system of inquisitorial house-to-house visitation, unless we could rely on neighbors to give the requisite information to the inland revenue officers. An infinite vista of possible taxation was also opened up recently by a man who was observed to alight from a railway carriage full of ladies, and to mutter as he shut the door, “ Those abominable shoulders that women wear ought to be taxed out of existence."

SUPERVISORS WERE EASILY DUPED; Paid a Bounty for Cats' Ears, Thinking They Were Opossums'.
The New York Times, February 13, 1896

PORT JEFFERSON, L.I., Feb 12 - The inability of certain officials in the town of Brookhaven to tell the difference between opossum skins and cat skins has cost the township considerable money. A bounty of $25 cents is paid for the ears of every opossum killed within the township. The imposition that was being practised on the town was discovered through the desire of one opossum hunter to profit too extensively at the wrong season of the year. In order to get the $25 bounty the ears must be those of a young animal. Oliver Rice of East Patchogue turned in an unusually large number during November and December, and recently when asked if he knew that there were no young opossums at that season he admitted that he did, but said the justices were not aware of it. Nothing was said to Rice until he sent a package of alleged opossum's ears to Supervisor Wilson Ritch of this village. He saw the deception that was being practiced and warned the Justices on the south side of the town to look out for Rice. Justice Price, of Bellport, who had accepted as genuine a goodly number of bogus ears, made a complaint against Rice, and he was arrested. he pleaded guilty, as was fined $10. It is impossible to ascertain just how much money the town has lost by the scheme.

The New York Times, February 14, 1896

PORT JEFFERSON, L.I., Feb 13 - Oliver Rice, who fooled the town officials by collecting a bounty by presenting to them pieces of catskin for opossum's ears, had a confederate who shared the plunder of the scheme. The confederate was Charles Bradshaw of Patchogue. He was arrested and fined $25. He says that Rice led him into the business, while Rice, who was fined $10, claims that it was Bradshaw who first tempted him to turn in a catskin for opossum ears. They both say that there were two others engaged in the same business, but that they have left Patchogue, and cannot be found. It is considered contempt of court to speak of opossum to a Brookhaven Town Justice just at present.

The Courier Journal, March 7, 1896

At the cat show in New York many blase society cats will doubtless be in attendance, but the really valuable cat — the business cat — has other matters to occupy his time. Candy manufac¬tories are very at¬tractive to rats and mice, not by reason of the taffy or the caramels, but be¬cause of the crude material. In Shryock's candy establishment on Mar¬ket street, the buckskin gloves in which the employees pull candy have to be weighted down at night under wire cages to keep the rats from carrying them off. Three large, handsome cats attend to business about the buildings, and one of them — Major adds the social graces of handshaking to his commercial importance. As it is exceedingly diffi¬cult to train cats to perform little tricks, Major's gift of shaking hands makes him a great favorite among his business acquaintances. No matter how sales are rushing he always has time to greet a customer with his extended, furry glove.

The (NY) Times, March 8, 1896

Shreveport. La.. March 2.
While sitting at my office window yesterday I witnessed a queer battle between a cat and a bird on the roof of the big brick building opposite. The cat was a pitifully lean and hungry-looking individual, and the bird was an English sparrow, of course. The battle was as spirited as the nature of the combatants would lead one to suppose it would be. The cat was after quarry, and did not mind playing for high stakes, while the sparrow was lively game. Whether the bird had a freehold right to the roof, having pre-empted building space somewhere among the chimney-tops, and was dead against the cat’s jumping the claim, I couldn't make out, but that the sparrow felt himself to be the cock of the walk was a sure thing. He flitted and flirted about the cat, nipping and snapping at judicious intervals, and made the fur fly more than once. But the cat was hungry. She did not try to work the hypnotism racket on the bird a little bit. Tom showed his hand right along and it was fair field and no favor. Once or twice I thought he was winning, too. He made such high leaps and flung his paw so frantically, but the sparrow bobbed up serenely every time. Finally the bird withdrew, perching himself on the edge of the highest chimney on the roof, peering from his coign of vantage inquiringly down on the cat below. I don't know whether the sparrow was doing this to get a short breathing spell or to work a bit of strategem on poor Tom. At all events the latter result followed the move, for the cat made a wild leap, going quite over the bird’s head, and disappeared down the depths of the chimney.

This ended the battle, of course, but, as events proved, it did not end the cat. I located the chimney as running up from the office of a physician whom I knew, so I went over to inquire, but the cat had not been heard from. The doctor had had his fireplace bricked up and uses a stove now, with the pipe entering the flue near the ceiling, so nothing could be learned of Tom from outside sources. I told the doctor of the battle of the roof, and he promised to report developments. This morning when he got down to his office things were lively. The cat had recovered from the fall and lifted up his voice in loud lamentations. The doctor telephoned me at once to come over, and I heard the cat's yells as he hung up the trumpet. They pervaded the whole building and by and by the doctor's office was full of visitors.

“Are you killing somebody in here, or do you keep a cat ranch?” one fellow asked. We explained the state of affairs and asked for advice.

“Tear down the chimney,” cried one man, putting his fingers in his ears.

“Bore a hole in the chimney and shoot into it," cried another.

“Try dynamite!’’ cried a third.

“Kill the cat!" yelled all.

By and by I went for Jim Daggs. Jim Daggs is a local celebrity, be it understood, a chimney sweep, whose clothes are always as black as his face, and whose unique costumes make him a conspicuous figure on our streets and the terror of all the children in town, despite his ebullient good nature. Nursemaids coax their charges from the streets and foolish mothers put their little ones to sleep at night by threats of jolly Jim Daggs.

I found Jim this morning equipped for work in his sooty suit, his coffee sack cowl over his wooly pate and his brushes and brooms in his hand.

“ 'Spects we’ll ha' ter fish fur dat cat, boss,' he said, when I told him my story, so he wound a long rope around his waist and brougnt along some bread and bones from his freshly finished breakfast.

Jim Daggs mounted to the roof and I went up to my office to see what would happen. Jim made two or three knots in one end of the rope, then tied a bit of bread and a bone about six inches above and dropped his bait down the chimney. He sounded about, here and there, and pretty soon I saw him drawing in.

“I’se got him, boss," Jim Daggs called over, and presently I saw the cat come up through the chimney’s mouth, clinging to the rope and gnawing the bone.

St. Louis Post Dispatch. March 1896

Derivation of the Name Applied to Spotted and Striped Cats. “Nice Tabby!” “Pretty Tabby!” “Poor little Tabby!” were phrases often heard at the cat show at Madison Square Garden. Very few of the thousands who went to the show probably knew the meaning of the word tabby. The misapprehension that it means a female cat just as tomcat means a male is common. Many people suppose that tabby is a name applied to cats in general. It really means cats whose fur is marked in a certain way, and so there are both male and female tabbies. The tabbies are divided into banded and spotted furred cats. The name is derived from Atab, a street in Bagdad celebrated for the manufacture of watered silks, which, when sold in England, were called atabi, or taffety, and from their resemblance to watered silk the banded and brindled eats were called tabbies. It is one of the commonest of colors or markings, rather, and is found in many breeds of cats, but a uniformly marked tabby is comparatively rare and valuable

Appearance of Pussy in Popular Tradition and Story.
The Topeka Daily Capital, March 20, 1896

The cat show at Madison Square Garden, may serve to call attention to the subject of cat lore. This lore is simply immense. Perhaps no animal is so much noticed by all classes of people, and around no other animal, not excepting the dog or horse, have so many curious facts and fancies centered. Historic records show that, contrary to the popular impression, the introduction of domesticated cats took place at a comparatively late period—long after the dog and the horse were admitted to the social circle. The ancient Hindus had no cats around the house, and the absence of any mention of the cat in the Bible seems to prove that the Hebrews of the Old Testament times lived and died ignorant of cats. They were troubled with mice, however, which are designated in the Bible as “unclean,” and not to be eaten. The Assyrians and Babylonians never knew what they lost in not having cats. The Greeks were equally ignorant of the animal that mews. Their cat was some species of a wild cat, and the Byzantine writers of later days are said to have been the first to give pussy its name in Greek. The Latins in the earlier days had no cats. Later they probably drew on Egypt for a supply, but there does not seem to have been an over-abundance.

There are representations of many kinds of animals on the oldest Egyptian monuments — but no real cats. The first appearance of pussy is curious. It is on the monuments of the middle Egyptian empire. Here she is shown in the character of a retriever seated in the boat of a hunter of wild fowl. The cat is a natural hunter, and in the days of the mummies she was easily “broken” for the field. The picture seems to indicate that the old Egyptian cat did not have that deep aversion to water which is generally exhibited by the modern animal. Next we find pussy raised to a position of great importance. From the humble character of a retriever and companion of the hunter, she leaps to a place among the Egyptian gods and goddesses. M. Lenormant believes that this took place at a comparatively late period of Egyptian civilization. She is now held sacred to Isis, or the moon, and the emblem of the goddess Pasht, the Egyptian Diana. As such, she was regarded with great reverence throughout old Egypt. Bubastis was the city of cats. Hither dead cats from remote parts of the country were carried to be embalmed and interred with appropriate ceremony. When a cat died in a house, the family were put into deep mourning; the members shaved their eyebrows, prayed, and fasted several days. Of course, it was a high crime and a sin to harm a cat in Egypt, and the historian Diodorus relates that a Roman soldier who had killed a cat barely escaped with his life from the hands of the infuriated people.

Curiously, in old Egypt the worship of cats and of rats was conducted side by side. The rats and field mice were sacred in some cities and towns, the rat being held sacred to Ra, the sun god. These local rites must have caused trouble; for suppose a cat killed a rat, which was sacred to the people of a certain town. The people of that town might retaliate by killing the cat sacred in a neighboring town, and then there would be a feud. But, as Mr. Lang shrewdly remarks, “in a country where cats were gods, the religion of the mouse must have been struggling and oppressed.” In a theological dispute with mice, the cat will get the best of the argument every time.

Turning now to the Indo-European peoples, the cat holds a prominent place in their mythologies, but not more so than many other animals or birds. The chariot of the goddess Freyja (whence our Friday) was drawn by a team of cats, and Holda was attended by several athletic maidens riding on cats. This old Aryan myth connecting the cat with Freyja, who ruled over storms and tempest, is at the bottom of a whole crowd of superstitions relating to the weather. In the mediaeval and modem folk-lore the cat has a great reputation for being weather-wise.

So long as the cat was associated with gods and goddesses she had a good name. The superstitious reverence for cats (and other arimals) was largely due to the belief that their bodies were tenanted by the souls of men, and even by the gods themselves. The latter, so it was held, did frequently assume their forms for some special or other purpose. Just when or how the cat became associated with evil spirits it is not easy to determine. According to Mr. Henderson, the connection between cats and witches dates back to the classic story of Galauthis being turned into a cat, and becoming, through the compassion of Hecate, her priestess. At any rate, this connection was still further strengthened by the early Christian doctrine evil spirits, of which the devil was the king and master. The witches were hi§ agents, and they could assume the form of any animal they pleased in order to work their wicked designs.

For one reason or another the cat was the constant companion of witches. No picture of a witch would be complete without her cat, usually a black one. Thus, according to the popular superstition, the form most commonly assumed by the familiar spirits of Gould in his ‘Book of Werewolves’ gathers a number of stories of the transformation of witches into wolves and cats. He cites the account of a great gathering of witches and warlocks under the shape of cats in Vernon about the year 1566. Four or five men were attacked in a lone place by a number of these cats. The men were brave, and succeeded in slaying one cat and wounding many others. “Next day,” so runs the account, “a number of wounded women were found in the, town, and they gave the judge an accurate account of all the circumstances connected with their wounding.” Mr. Lecky in his able summary of the witchcraft movement in Europe refers to the very curious and definite evidence on which witches were convicted. He says: “If the witch was wounded in the form of an animal, she retained that wound in her human form, and hundreds of cases were alleged before the tribunal.” In a number of these witch stories the man finds that by wounding the cat he has injured his own wife. In Sternberg’s ‘Folk-Lore of Northhamptonshire,’ we read that a woodman out working in the forest had his dinner stolen every day by a cat. Annoyed at the repeated thefts, he lies in wait for the cat, and succeeds in cutting off her paw, when lo! on his return home he finds his wife minus a hand.

It may not be generally known that witch stories of this kind survive in our own day and in our own country. Mr. J. Hampden Porter grot the following story at first hand and from people who believed in it, and we quote from his account In the Journal of American Folk-Lore:

Mr. H—- owned a mill among the Smoky mountains in Georgia. Three of his millers died successively of some obscure disease that puzzled the doctors. After while people felt afraid of going into the place, which became vacant; but one of the neighbors who lived down the stream volunteered to run the mill. The first evening, while kindling a fire on the hearth, a brindled cat stole out of the chimney and quietly took a place in a dark corner near the door. By and by the cat got up and wailed at the door, clawing to be let out. She rubbed against the man's legs and looked up at him. Then his worst fears were realized, and seizing an axe he struck at her, cutting one foot. With a wild, half human scream the creature darted up the chimney and disappeared, while he, thoroughly unnerved, hastened home and found his wife bleeding to death from a severed hand.

Scattered through the volumes of the Journal of American Folk Lore are numerous references to cats and witches, showing how deep seated and persistent the witchcraft superstition is in this country. Those mediaeval notions were brought here by the immigrants from Germany, Russia, Austria, England and Ireland, and by the Negroes from Africa. Every once in a while they crop out in various parts of the United States, especially in those places where the immigrants have remained by themselves, or secluded. “At the present day,” says the Rev. T. F. Dyer, “in Germany there is a deep-rooted belief that witches, when bent on doing mischief, take the form of a cat, and many stories are current of their frightening their victims by appearing as ‘the nightmare’; or, if dishonestly disposed, of their drinking their neighbors’ beer.” And what could be more outrageous in the German mind than drinking one’s neighbors’ beer!

Ever since her association with the witches, pussy has had a bad name. There has been a strange prejudice against her, and on this account, in days gone by, cats were often tormented or otherwise misused by the ignorant common people. Brand in his “Popular Antiquities” refers to the old English practice of hanging up cats in baskets and shooting at them with arrows. In some counties they were enclosed, with a quantity of soot, in wooden bottles suspended on a line, and he who could beat out the bottom of the bottle as he ran under it, and yet escape its contents, was regarded as quite a hero of the brutal sport. Evidently the practice was common in England, for Shakespeare alludes to it in ‘Much Ado About Nothing,’ where “Benedict” says: “Hang me in a bottle like a cat, and shoot at me.”

On the other hand, in some places the bad name and reputation of the cat have saved her from speedy death. The European peasant often regards the cat as an uncanny creature, and considers it bad luck to kill one. The Negroes of the south are afraid to kill a cat, although they will torment one to any extent.

The strangest prejudice against the cat is reflected in various ways in folkore. The popular notion of the cat is one of distrust; there is no confidence in her good qualities, or that she will not bring bad luck. And so we find more things said against her than in her favor. In Ireland people entering a house say. "God save all here except the cat.” However, the Germans think that it is a good thing to have cats around the house. “Who has a cat has a happy married life.” says a German proverb.

From early times, it has been a bad sign to have a cat cross your path. If this occurs when you first go out in the morning, turn back to the house. In the northeast of Scotland it is considered unlucky to meet a black cat at any time. If setting out on a Journey you meet a cat and should happen to look it squarely in the face, you should postpone your journey. The sneezing of a cat is considered an ill omen. In some parts of England it is a sign that the family will all have colds. In Sussex if a cat sneezes she must at once be put out of the house, for three such explosions would bring misfortune upon the family. It should be added here that it is now generally admitted that domestic animals transport the germs of disease.

The popular notion that the cat sucks the breath of children, and so causes their death, is world-wide. Even adults are sometimes afraid of having cats in their sleeping-rooms. Mr. Mooney, in his account of the folk-lore of the “poor whites" of the Carolina mountains, says that they hold it unlucky to take a cat from a house. Among these people “it bodes ill fortune to a child when the cat appears to be unusually attached to it.” — New Yolk Evening Post.

MISS ESSENBERG'S MANY CATS; Has Them Trained, and Defies the Health Board to Take Them.
The New York Times, April 4, 1896

HOBOKEN, N.J, April 3. -- Miss Jane Essenberg is a music teacher. She is well advanced in years. She established her home at 606 Bloomfleld Street a year ago. She then began to make a collection of cats. Complaint was at first made that Miss Essenberg enticed usually well-behaved cats from their homes by liberal gifts of catnip. Miss Essenberg denied the charge, and no one was able to prove it upon reliable evidence. Complaint was made recently that Miss Essenberg had so many cats about her home that they constituted a public nuisance. Health Inspector Samuel Stanton was sent to investigate the charge. He found about twenty cats in the old lady's room. She denied that her pets were a nuisance. As an evidence of how well-behaved the animals could be, Miss Essenberg Allowed Inspector Stanton to see them fed. She prepared their food and set it out for them, while the cats sat about the room. They eyed her wistfully, but none of them attempted to eat until called. When she did call them, however, they responded with a rush. While they were eating they were kept in order by a small terrier, which Miss Essenberg has trained for that purpose. Miss Essenberg said that if one cat attempted to steal another cat's food the terrier would prevent the larceny. Inspector Stanton had no opportunity of seeing this because the cats were apparently on their "company behavior," and the affair was as quiet as an old maids ' five o'clock tea. When the affair ended, Miss Essenberg told Inspector Stanton that she owned the cats, and neither the Health Board nor any other power could deprive her of their company. Inspector Stanton referred the matter to the board, but thus far he has received no instructions.

The Spectator. April 11, 1896

[To The Editor Of The ‘Spectator’]

The alternations of temper in household cats are often sudden and violent, their spit-fire ways being doubtless due to the imperfect character of their domestication, no other domestic animals being descended from a more ferocious ancestry. It is not strange that the normal characteristics, of their ancestors should break out. Not a few children have fits of fury like those of our savage forefathers, and not a few kittens have still more furious fits like those of the British wild-cat. But besides all this, domestic cats are subject to mental disorder which would tend to be combined) as they are- in man, with vile temper and outbursts of rage. The seven instances in the same family group that are about to be mentioned, concur in supporting the belief indicated by the title to these remarks, though some of them, especially the first, might be considered oases of the, so to speak, normal attacks of fury just described, if they were taken separately.

The founder of the mad family is (1) ‘ Phyllis ’ ; her offspring are (2), ‘ Tessie ‘ and (3) and (4) ; the offspring of ‘ Tessie ’ are (5), (6), and (7). ‘ Tessie’ is now destroyed ; ' Phyllis ‘ still lives and produces a litter quarterly. The male parents are of course unknown. As a rule, only one kitten of a litter has ever been kept. My information is through letters from five different persons. The evidence is either first-hand, or else the report of first-hand evidence collected for me. I have, also received verbal accounts.

(1), ‘Phyllis,’ belongs to Mrs. Butler, of Ewart Park, Northumberland, now residing at 8 North View, Wimbledon„ When ‘ Phyllis ’ was a kitten she had wild fits, tearing round and round the room, "swearing” horribly, and fighting with teeth and claws anyone who tried to pick her up. Her temper is now very unequal and often vile. Her offspring are (2), (3), and (4).

(2), ' Tessie,' daughter of ‘Phyllis’ was always ill-conditioned' and unfriendly; only one person, a servant, had any hold over her. She was pronounced “very nervous.” Her kittens went mad so often that her owner got a bad name among her friends as a cat-provider, so ‘ Jessie ’ was destroyed.

(3), son or daughter of ‘ Phyllis’ was given to a bachelor (an Admiralty official) as a pet. After a while the landlady of his lodgings declared it to be “ a horror.” It was so strange in its ways that she felt that "the devil was about” when the cat was near her ; it was not like other cats. It plunged its head in the milk, it broke every egg it could get at, and was very skilful in getting at them, all out of pure mischief, for it ate very little ; it destroyed all victuals such as chops, or else hid them. The servant described the climax of its career by saying that the cat at last took it into its head to walk side¬ways, with its hind feet on the ground and fore-feet up on the wall, in so uncanny a manner that the landlady, suddenly seeing its performance, dropped a saucepan she was holding and screamed aloud with fright. She afterwards contrived to get it killed.

(4), is now a kitten less than a month old, a lovely little thing, but it claws and spits like an old cat. Under this same head I will quote a generalised description of many of ‘Phyllis’s’ other kittens.- “ they all inherit their mother’s temper and are charming little faeries in their youth; they settle down afterwards, and are all good mousers,” I have heard of at least one that had fits of fury like her mother.

We now come to the offspring of ' Tessie ’ (2).

(5), was given to C. and his wife when about six months old. Two months later the family, being then abroad, received news from their servants of alarming strangeness in the ways of the cat. It had been left for a moment quietly sleeping in the kitchen when they heard a peculiar sound, and found the cat moaning and scratching along the basement passage; then it dashed up the stairs and, jumping up, struck its head against the wall at the head of the stairs ; it rebounded and rushed downstairs, foaming at the month, and disappeared. After long search they found it in the larder, hidden behind the bread-pan, crouched against the wall, and there it remained all day quite exhausted. The next attack took place a fortnight later, again without any warning. The cat began by moping about the kitchen, and eventually jumped up the wall, knocking its head with violence against a high shelf, foaming at the month, and it again hid itself, but this time in the scullery. The third attack was ten days later, and of a similar kind, with foaming at the mouth, and it was even wilder than before, Instructions were accordingly sent to destroy the cat.

(6), was given as a kitten of one month old to Mrs. M., a sempstress at Wimbledon. It behaved normally for three weeks. Then it was seized with a mad fit, and tore with “ lightning speed ” round and round the room, trying to run up the wall, and it knocked its head against the ceiling, uttering no cry nor sound. It did not rush at any one, but appeared to be trying to get away from everything. This went on for ten minutes, and then it became quiet and much exhausted. After three days another similar fit came on, and then a third and a fourth. A workman who was temporarily living in the house took a fancy to the kitten, and when Mrs. M. would keep it no longer, begged to have it in his room, where it seemed happy and at home. Next day it had a still wilder attack than over, and quite terrified its new owner, so it was killed.

(7), was given to Mrs. J., who was very fond of it. It was quiet and very meek, but began after a while to continually bend and press its head downwards against the ground, in such a position that it seemed about to take a somersault. Just before it died it ran round the room, bumping its bead against things as though it were blind. “We helped its death as it seemed so unhappy.” The current story among members of Mrs. J.’s family was peculiar, but not wholly incorrect, namely, “that the kitten was gentle and affectionate and stood on its head and purred till it died.”

-- Francis Galton.

Note, 2015: Some of these cats probably had epilepsy. All came from Northumberland and may have been sired by an indigenous wildcat as these were not confined to Scotland at that time.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 12, 1896

Girls who are interested in cats should get the April number of Our Animal Friends, published by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, for it contains some beautiful pictures of the animals who took the prizes at the recent cat show. There is also a picture of a coon cat and of a queer freak which is part kangaroo. The coon cat is not unfamiliar to some of you, for a very fine specimen was to be seen a short time ago on Patchen avenue. It died last summer. The writer has been told that they are quite common in Bangor, Me., and are highly prized for their ratting propensities. They do not differ much from the ordinary cat, although the head is not quite so round as Tabby’s, but the fur is very thick and coarse. The kangaroo cat has also gone where the good cats and kangaroos go, but the skin was presented to the Natural History museum in New York, so you can see him stuffed probably more than ever he was in life.

The World, 26th May, 1896

A lean and hungry gray cat entered Jefferson Market Police Court yesterday morning, and for some time occupied the undivided attention of the court officers. When first seen the cat sped across the court-room, inside the railing, and disappeared in the private examination room. Not until Clerks Dyer and Garigan went to the big safe to get some papers was the animal found, although diligent search was made. When the clerks tried to seize it the cat darted out of the safe and into the court room again.

Policemen Hunt, Moloney and Wooldridge organized a hunting party and chased the animal until It took refuge under Stenographer Ormsby’s desk. Everything was in confusion in the court-room by this time, and when the cat made a third rush through there was a general scattering, as everyone thought the animal was mad. It ran into the big safe again, and that was the last seen of it.

Some of the Animals Are Born Among the Rocks and Thickets and Grow Up Wild and Fierce, Some Are the Victims of Cruel Desertion, and Some Only Visit Central Park in Search of Fresh Air and Recreation.
The New York Times, June 8th, 1896

Central Park has characteristics not known to its general visitors. It is the hunting ground for all the cats with sporting tastes who live in the vicinity, and its most thickly wooded tracts form a retreat for cat brigands whose numbers are augmented at frequent intervals by the waifs deserted by cruel human acquaintance and left to the more tender mercies of their own kind. The reason why the cat habltués of the Park are not more generally known is because both the resident and visiting Tommies and Tabbies and their kittens keep very close during the daytime. The wholly irresponsible cats there seek the most secluded nooks and stay there. The cats who still cling more or less to conventional habits spend their days dozing on silken cushions in Fifth Avenue houses, and, after the fashion of their human companions, take their dissipation at night.

If a sleek, wild-eyed Tabby comes purring in to see her mistress in the morning, no one suspects that she has spent the wee small hours dancing in the moonlight at a Central Park lawn party with Sir Tom Bandit. No one suspects that her lack of appetite for her morning dish of cream is caused by her late meal of a little warm bird, perhaps moistened with a drink from a big cold fountain.

Only one cat did a reporter for THE NEW-YORK TIMES see the other day on an expedition made for the sole purpose of interviewing the feline denizens of New-York’s big playground. That was Tony’s cat N*gger, and N*gger is a Central Park regular who comes at call.

"Yes, cats are plenty up in my part of the Park," said an officer whose post is above seventy-second Street, Then he added: "There are young ladies who come every morning to feed them. Some of them take cats away for pets, and almost every day some woman takes a cat away to the pound. I suppose they are afraid they will suffer."

"The cats make a pretty good living here," said officer No. 2, who had been talking with Officer No. 3, "I suppose they get some of the birds. They can't do much with the squirrels. Squirrels are too quick for them.”

“You’d be surprised to see how the squirrels fight the cats,” said Officer No. 3. “ I wouldn’t have believed it myself if l hadn’t seen lt. Me and another man was leaning out of the window of one of the buildings once, when we see a cat after the squirrel over by the bridge. It was big, brownish cat, and it got pretty near up to the squirrel, when the little fellow turned around and showed fight. You should have seen that cat go, and the squirrel was after it for a little way.”

“They don’t get as wild as you’d think,” said Officer No. 4, up by the Mall. “They will always come when you want to feed them. There’s a big white cat and a big black one down by the Arsenal and you can pick up either one of them. There are two Maltese cats down there, too, and you can do the same with them. A cat up here came rubbing up against me only the other day. No, indeed; it wasn’t any one’s pet. The cat was as thin as I am, and that is saying a good deal.

“The cats seem to be around here all the the year through. I suppose they find some warm place to sleep in during the Winter. We begin to home them more in the Fall, when the leaves drop from the trees and shrubs; then the cats can’t stir without being seen. A few years ago we had a man whose only business was getting rid of the eats. He used to set traps for them. Now they run at large and do as they please."

There are three N*ggers In Central Park, all of whom have been adopted as pets, There was a fourth one who came to an untimely end, and for whom crépe might have been worn to this day but for the appearance of his successor, looking as near like him as a twin pea, so than the place in a heart which the first N*gger had occupied was filled immediately. That was Mrs. McLaughlin’s N*gger. Mrs. McLaughlin is a motherly soul who presides over a pretty little cottage in the Ramble, and who exists, many of the picnickers in the vicinity seem to believe, for the special benefit of borrowers.

“Cats?” said Mrs. McLaughlin. "why, you couldn’t live here but for the cats. The lady who was here just before I came said as many as seven rats would come up and sit on the floor of the cottage at one time. She would take a broom and try to drive them away, but they wouldn’t go. Now, if there is one thing that I can’t abide it is a rat. Well, I hadn’t been here very long when my N*gger came to me. I’ve been here eleven years. I came the day Gen. Grant died. That was a memorable day.

“ I was sitting outside just a little while after I came, knitting. Something ran past me, and I thought it was a rat at first, but it was a little black kitten. The next morning I brought something to feed it with, and then the day after that the little thing came way up into the cottage. My! Wasn’t I proud! He grew to be a great big cat, and everybody knew him. I had a red ribbon round his neck so people could cell he belonged to somebody. He seemed no know the uniforms of the officers, and he would always run after them. One day the man who does the shooting there is to do in the park came up this way. ‘You tell Mrs McLaughlin you are coming up to shoot her N*gger,’ some of the officers said to him. Well, the officers had told me before he came, and I had N*ggger all shut up in my little room here. Wasn’t it a hot day! But I had everything shut up – only one window open, with the shutters closed, to give N*gger just a little air.

“When the man came along with his gun, I was standing out talking to him, N*gger was trying to get out, and he got one paw through the shutter. I was afraid the man would shoot that paw, but he didn’t, and he said he wasn’t going to shoot my cat. But one morning N*gger came in walking sideways. I was afraid of him at first. Then I saw that he was paralysed. I suppose some of the boys had hit him. They wanted me to throw him in the pond. I wouldn’t; anyway, I thought he would get better as he had before.

“Well, one morning Tony called to me; ‘Mrs McLaughlin, get your bonnet and prepare to go to a funeral.’ I couldn’t think what was dead, but I went over, and there was my N*gger in the water. I suppose, being paralyzed, he had fallen in while trying to drink. My, but I did feel dreadful! Kind of lonesomelike. Well, that very day, who should come around the corner, rubbing against me, but a black cat, looking so much like my N*gger that I was scared at first. I thought it was his ghost. I didn’t do anything that day but pet that cat and nurse him, and forgot all about my old N*gger. They have a N*gger up at the reservoir that is a great pet. They tell me he looks enough like my cat to be his twin brother. This cat is just like my other N*gger, only his head is a lttle smaller.

“I should say people did drop a great many cats in the Park! The other day, when one of the eagles escaped, the man came up this way to shoot him. I thought he was going to shoot cats, and I told a man so who asked what the other man was after. ‘They had better shoot them,’ he said. ‘Only the other day I saw a young girl come and drop four good-sized kittens over the wall into the Park.’ I suppose the kittens had grown so big the people didn’t want to keep them, and they got rid of them in that way. They think it is cruel to kill them, so they leave them to get along as best they can.

“A lady told me that she and a friend were walking in the Park the other day, and they came across the prettiest kitten, with a ribbon around its neck. The friend took it home, and the lady said she was quite jealous of her. But they were afraid they had stolen som one’s pet. ‘You needn’t be afraid of that,’ I said, ‘You can come back and get as many more as you like.’

I suppose the cats do get some of the birds, and they get a few fish, too. They say cats don’t like to wet their feet, but I find the head of a catfish outside the cottage sometimes of a morning. My cat has caught it. Cats won’t eat the head of a fish. Tony has five or six cats that he feeds. He will tell you about them.”

“Puss, puss, puss,” called ‘Tony,’ at his pretty little cottage, just across the bridge. A pretty little black cat came running out from the bushes to see a visitor. “Puss, puss, puss,” he called again, but there was no response. The black cat is one of Tony’s own particular pet, and one of the three N*ggers of the Park. “The other cats are sure to be around mornings to be fed,” said Tony, when questioned, “and they come when there is anything to eat at other times during the day. The cats born among the rocks of the Park are a little more wild than those that have had a taste of civilization. I think I shall keep them all in a box, and put up a sign, ‘Cats for Sale,’ “ said Tony.

“Put on, ‘A new Breed – Central Park Cats,’ “ said another Park man.

So if any one is looking for a nice at to take away to a summer cottage, a variety will be sure to be found by calling on ‘Tony’ at the Ramble.

CATS AND DOGS POISONED.; Great Excitement over Their Death in a New-Jersey Village.
The New York Times, June 13, 1896

BLAIRSTOWN, N.J., June 12 - The old Moravian village of Hope, Warren County, has always been noted for its multiplicity of dogs and cats, some of the first strains in the land being owned by the wealthy resident. Until recently these domestic animals dwelt in peace, and then came trouble and the dogs and cats began to drop off by the score. In one night twenty-five dogs bit the dust, and in nearly every back yard lay a dead pussy or two. The present week capped the climax, and now it is actually said that there is not a dog left in the village to tell the tale, and very few cats. A committee of the citizens is making strenuous efforts to unearth the villainous plot and bring the dastardly perpetrators of the crime to justice. They have evidence that shows a conspiracy to kill of the dogs especially. Just what for does not appear, but it is hinted that it was done through malice. Some of the dogs were valuable setters, and could not have been bought for $200. The committee will push the investigation, and woe to the perpetrators if they are found out. One old maid is nearly crazy over the death of her two poodles and seven cats, and will have memorial tablets erected over their bones. She offers a reward of $100 for the arrest and conviction of the poisoners.

Peter Devoured a Poisoned Rat and Was Sent to the Bergh Society -- Chops Was Crushed Under the Engine' Wheel -- The Details for His Burial Still a Subject of Discussion Among the Members of the Company.
The New York Times, August 26, 1896

July 22, 1896, 5 A. M.--Peter, cat, transferred to Bergh Society.
Aug. 25, 11:25 A. M.--While responding to an alarm for Statlon 343. Chops, cat, jumped from seat of tender at Broadway and Eighteenth Street, and was killed by being run over and having neck broken.

These records in the blotter of Engine Company No. 14, which is commanded by Foreman Charles H. Shay, son of ex-Chief Charles Oscar Shay, were entered in sorrow, as they chronicled the end of two favorite Grimalkins. Chops may be said to have died with its fireboots on. It was slumbering on the tender when the alarm was struck from Third Avenue and Fourteenth Street. The detail for the tender clambered upon the vehicle when the signal sounded, and the apparatus at once rolled out of its quarters in Eighteenth Street, east of Fifth Avenue. Speed had been gained when Broadway was reached. As Chops’s share of duly had always been watching quarters instead of going to fires, it is believed by the men of the company that the cat awoke lo discover that it had been caught napping, an offense which the Fire Commissioners punish severely. To6 make amends, the poor fellow decided on going to its post by the shortest cut, and jumped from the tender. The vehicle was going fast, and Chops was maladroit. He turned a somersault as he fell, rebounded as he struck the pavement, shot under the tender, and a wheel ended his life.

There was a sort of a wake over Chops at quarters last night, and a debate about the funeral. Arrangements were not perfected, but the cat will not be sent to the Potter's Field for its kind - Barren Island. Flreman “Joe” De Size and Engineer A. W. Melvln are to devise a; plan of last honors. Chatting about the cat, the members of the company told of his traits and life history. His mother was picked up in the streets the night of a huge Democratic parade in the Blaine-Cleveland campaign of 1884. Chops survived a litter of kittens, and, according to the unwritten law of the company, his tall was docked, so that he might look like a Manx cat.

“Tricks!" exclaimed n member of the company when asked about Chops’s accomplishments. "Not much. Eat? Oh, yes. He‘ll jump through your hands well enough, but that was all he ever learned. A great feeder was Chops, and he never wanted for anything. He was a Catholic cat and liked fish on Frldays. He got into trouble once about a custard pie. The pie belonged to Engineer Richard Gorman, and Chops found it and ate it. He and Peter were great chums.”

Then the talk ran, on about Peter and his friendship with Chops. Peter was jet black and Chops was white, with a few spots. Peter also had e stump tall. The two cats were chummy, and at night their favourite perch was on the blotter at the desk. Now and then they paid a visit to the horses, rubbing themselves against the larger animals’ legs, and purring contentedly, while the big brutes hardly ventured to move for fear of hurting them. Chops was a home cat, while Peter was an adventurous prowler. The black cat was a famous ratter. Its field of sport at night was in the vast store of the millinery firm of Aitken, Son & Co. The cat would wait until every one had left the establishment, and the watchmen was not in Eighteenth Street. Then it would cross the street, jump twelve feet to a window, enter the transom, and begin its hunt for rats. When it caught a rat it would take it to quarters, lay it on the floor and mew until some one appeared and expressed appreciation of its prowess by a caress. It was as quick as a terrier in catching rats from a trap.

Sometimes Peter examined ash barrels or explored the cellar of a near by hotel. In the hotel it came to grief, through the cruelty of a. cook who scalded it. Hardly had it recovered from this when it devoured a poisoned rat, and it was in death spasms when it was received at the office of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. As an acrobat Peter was expert. Thrown high in the air at the sliding pole by which the firemen descend from the second floor to the engine floor, Peter would-never miss the pole. After clutching the pole a few seconds, it would skin down it as well us any member of the company. The members of the company will be disconsolate until they get a new pet. A likely kitten straying in the neighbourhood of the quarters of Engine Company No. 14 will probably be snapped up. It will certainly find there all the comforts of a good home as long as it lives.

San Francisco Chronicle, September 20, 1896

ASHBURTON place, on the east side of Grant avenue, between Sutter and Post streets, is a no-thoroughfare. On one side is a dance hall, on the other the rear entrance to the elevator of the Bohemian Club. Yet all destitute, as this dull and unkempt alley is, to the casual observer of interest, it is a place with a history. Through a narrow passage to the left, one enters a square, the eastern boundary of which is a tumble-down building, a badly shattered and decaying frame cottage, which bore its part in the early history of California. It was a saloon, owned by George Brown, a pioneer of 1846, and many a big game of monte was played within its confines when the approach to it was through heaps of drifting sand. Now it forms a part of the square of George Eichner's cat ranch.

Mr. Eichner is an expert in cats. To him is intrusted the feeding of over 200 cats, whose habitat is the down-town stores. It would not be fair to have puss trust alone to the fortunes of the chase. There be times when rats grow extra cautious, and the most intelligent and most unceasing vigilance cannot waylay them. This fact the merchants freely recognise, and intrust the feeding of their cats to the sage of Ashburton place. Consequently every morning, rain or shine, Mr. Eichner makes his rounds and furnishes boiled meat and milk to those penned-up sentries of the stores. Well they know the rumble of his wagon. A wild “miaow” ascends from basement to attic when the provider arrives with the morning meal. The strongest feed first amid that stormy grace before meat, which even the most refined cat finds impossible to repress.

Then they doze or amuse themselves until that conscience, which all well-bred cats possess, urges them to earn their board in their legitimate business and camp outside some promising rat hole. Like me, cats are apt to take this occupation after luncheon. If no encouraging scratching is heard, overcome by the good fare, they will doze and doze, to the extent of giving any chivalrous rat which might undertake the task the honor of fastening a bell to the neck of the unworthy sentinel [a reference to “belling the cat”].

But the occupation of the cat's friend and protector does not end here. Mr. Eichner has a cats’ hospital where sick felines are treated with skill, boarded during their illness and restored to their owners when cured of the feline malady, whatever it may be.

Here and there one sees cats of various ages and in various stages of convalescence. There is a veteran she cat with forty-eight litters to her credit. There is also a kitten whose life is a struggle and who is the special care of Mr Eichner in his capacity of surgeon, and the fat pudgy cat given to fits, and an object of anxiety to his fond mistress. Safe from the assault of dog and the torments of the small boy, safe and as well-nourished as the God of the ancient Egyptians, are the cats which find lodgement in Ashburton place. - Dan O’Connell.

Westminster Budget, October 23, 1896

A momentous question has been decided by the Oldham County court Judge. He has decided that a cat is “a quasi-domestic animal” and that its owner is not responsible for its actions. A cooper who sued a signalman for damage sustained by the defendant’s cat having killed and eaten thirteen of the plaintiff’s chickens therefore lost his case. The Judge laid down the interesting proposition - that a “ cat’s intellect is not so extensive as to render it able to distinguish between chickens and small birds.”

The Washington Star (reprinted by The New York Times, November 7, 1896)

"Though I had often heard of it, I never was fully satisfied that all white cats are naturally deaf until recently," said a scientific gentleman, who devotes considerable of his time to experimenting with the lower order of animals. "I was aware that Prof. Bell in his original experiments in connection with the telephone, had ascertained and stated that his experience with white cats was that they were all either deaf or very deficient in hearing, and that other experimenters in the same direction had reached similar conclusions. To satisfy myself I recently secured in all twenty-three white cats, and experimented on them one at a time. In every case I found them stone deaf. In carrying the experiment further, I found that white dogs and white horses are deficient in hearing, and many of them are entirely deaf. So are white rats and white mice. I am confident I do not overstate it in regard to white cats, though I have only personally experimented with twenty-three, and, of course, can only speak positively in regard to them. I don't hazard much, however, when I make the bold statement that all white cats are deaf."

The New York Times, November 8, 1896

BOSTON, Mass., Nov. 7. - A Cambridge policeman found a four-year-old child wandering alone in the neighborhood of Mount Auburn Cemetery last evening, and took the little one to the police station, in Brattle Square. The child's name was mamie Taylor. She said that her parents likved in Waltham. She was provided with food, and it was then found that under her cloak she was carrying two pet kittens. These had been her companions during the day's wanderings, in which the child had walked a distance of about ten mile, with her pets in her arms, through the crowded streets of Cambridge.

South Wales Daily news, 24 November 1896.

At Leamington on Monday a lady named Caroline Roe was fined a guinea for starving four cats, which were kept in an outhouse for ten days without food whilst defendant was out of town. The cats, when found, were mere skeletons, and could scarcely crawl.



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