8 of the greatest "Crazy Cat Ladies" in history
Crazy cat lady should not be an insult, it should be a badge of honor.
Several of history’s most successful women were devoted to their furry friends. Here are eight of history’s greatest cat ladies.
1. VIVIEN LEIGH
"I've always been mad about cats."
Vivien Leigh, the famous English actress best known for starring in the 1939 adaptation of Gone with the Wind, owned multiple cats throughout her life.
She was especially fond of Siamese cats, and is quoted as saying, “Once you have kept a Siamese cat you would never have any other kind.” Leigh’s first Siamese, named New Boy, was a gift from her husband, actor Laurence Olivier. New Boy (named after London's New Theatre) wore a custom collar imported from Paris and appears in many photographs with Leigh.
Poo Jones, the seal point Siamese she adopted after New Boy's death, was Leigh's favorite. He traveled with her everywhere (with his own luggage) and napped in her dressing room whenever she was working onstage or in front of the camera.
2. CLARA BARTON
Clarissa "Clara" Harlowe Barton was a pioneering nurse who founded the American Red Cross. She was a hospital nurse in the American Civil War, a teacher, and patent clerk. She loved all animals, but was particuarly fond of cats.
During the Civil War, Barton earned the nickname “Angel of the Battlefield,” and in appreciation for her selfless work, U.S. Senator Schuyler Colfax sent Barton a kitten.
Barton’s most beloved cat was the black and white Tommy, who kept her company for 17 years. A portrait of Tommy painted by Barton’s friend and fellow nurse Antoinette Margot still hangs in the Barton house in Glen Echo, Maryland.
3., 4., AND 5. CHARLOTTE, EMILY, AND ANNE BRONTE
The Bronte sisters were a nineteenth-century literary family associated with the village of Haworth in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne were each accomplished poets and novelists.
Felines are featured in many of the sisters’ writings, including Agnes Grey and Wuthering Heights, as well as in the personal diaries of Anne and Charlotte. Emily Bronte even wrote a French essay entitled “Le Chat” (“The Cat”), in which she defends cats against those who argue that they are selfish and cruel, asserting that the disposition of cats is quite similar to that of humans, even arguing that the self-reliance of cats is better than the hypocrisy of humanity.
6. FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE
Florence Nightingale, OM, RRC was an English social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing.
A trailblazing figure in nursing who greatly affected 19th- and 20th-century policies around proper care, she was known for her night rounds to aid the wounded, establishing her image as the 'Lady with the Lamp', and also for her serious deep love for cats.
Nightingale once said that “cats possess more sympathy and feeling than human beings,” and throughout her lifetime she owned over 60 cats—perhaps as many as 17 at once.
Nightingale was a devoted caretaker for her feline friends, who ate specially prepared food off of china plates in her room. Evidence of Nightingale’s affection for her cats can still be seen today, as some of her kitties left ink paw prints on her letters.
7. LOUISA MAY ALCOTT
Louisa May Alcott was an American novelist and poet best known as the author of the novel Little Women and its sequels Little Men and Jo's Boys.
She once jokingly listed an “inordinate love of cats” among her vices, and her fondness of felines shone through her writing.
In Little Women, the March sisters have a pet cat, and at one point in the story Beth is seen playing with the cat and her kittens. The book even includes a poem called “A Lament (For S.B. Pat Paw)” eulogizing a beloved pet cat: “We mourn the loss of our little pet, / And sigh o’er her hapless fate, / For never more by the fire she’ll sit, / Nor play by the old green gate.”
8. HARRIET BEECHER STOWE
Harriet Elisabeth Beecher Stowe was an American abolitionist and author. She came from the Beecher family, a famous religious family, and is best known for her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. It depicts the harsh life for African Americans under slavery.
The famous author also owned an assertive Maltese cat named after her husband, Calvin.
According to Stowe’s friend and fellow writer, Charles Dudley Warner, Calvin “walked into her house one day out of the great unknown and became at once at home.” Stowe was immensely attached to Calvin the cat, and she even allowed him to perch on her shoulder while she wrote.
When Stowe and her husband had to move, unwilling to put Calvin in the stress of leaving home and heading into uncertainty, she gave Calvin to Warner who she trusted would give Calvin the proper care and home he needed. The cat went on to become the star of Warner’s essay, “Calvin (A Study in Character).”
See? Being a crazy cat lady isn't so bad ;)
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via Mental Floss
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