cat typing on typewriter

This Nineteenth Century Kitty Pamphlet Will Rock Your World

This might be hard to believe now, but back in the day—the nineteenth century—most people were NOT fans of the feline. Cats were by and large seen as furry little monsters, with Webster Dictionary defining them as “a deceitful animal” and “extremely spiteful” in an 1828 edition. One man, however, refused to drink the hateorade: Marvin R. Clark. Though we don’t know much about the Victorian gent, we can state without a hint a doubt that the man loved cats. Really, really, REALLY loved cats. And he wanted the world to share in that love with him.


pussy and her language title page

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In 1895, Clark self-published a pamphlet with the rather unfortunate title ‘Pussy and Her Language’. “One of a million dogs gets a bad name, while not one out of a million Cats gets a good one,” he griped in its pages. Desperate to make a compelling case, Clark straight-up invented some scientists and inventors, who no surprise, affirmed his pro-cat sentiments. Though such actions would probably raise some eyebrows in the modern journalistic establishment, at least this fake news brought about something good (cat memes) instead of something crummy (global instability).


Here are some of the highlights from Clark’s opus:


  1. “When a Cat washes herself in the ordinary manner, we may be sure of bright, sun-shiny weather, but when she licks herself against the grain of her fur or washes herself with her paw over her ear… there will be a storm.”


cat spinning over video of hurricane

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  1. “Shakespeare, Milton, Byron, Moore, Talleyrand, Edgar Allen Poe, Chateaubriand, Robert Southey, Dr. Johnson, Benjamin Franklin, Julius Caesar, Thomas Gray, Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Walter Raleigh, Cardinal Wolsey, Rousseau, Lord Chesterfield, Whittington, Lord Mayor of London, Plutarch, and thousands of others have expressed their admiration of my favorite.”


Colin Salmon mourns his cat, Shakespeare

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  1. “I am of the opinion that language is of Divine origin, and that it was put into the mouth of the Cat, the same as it was put into the mouth of Adam, by the Almighty. In this opinion I am encouraged by many of your most prominent writers.”


cat tells you to pray everyday

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  1. “Cases have been given of… cats and dogs living together, in the same kennel, of which there have been innumerable instances.”


bill murray ghostbuster cats and dogs living together

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  1. “The word ‘purrieu’… is a note of self-satisfaction and content… give attention to the number of vowels and the Frenchman’s roll of the liquid ‘r,’ so that it comes to the ear like ‘pur-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-rieu,’ with a gradually ascending inflection.”


french kitty

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  1. “I do not know of any sounds more soothing to the nerves of man as musical, or as musically correct in rhythm, intonation or melody, as the song of the Cat when at peace with all the world.”


rum tum tugger from the musical cats

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Featured image courtesy of Overland literary journal.