Wednesday, September 8, 2010

VTT - Concerning Cats

I don't know the story about the "Nicko" cat postcard. There is no message on the back. I am guessing that Nicko probably was a champion, and that Mrs. Annie M. Trapp of Topeka was a breeder of pedigreed Angora cats. The postcard has an undivided back. It probably was made just a few years after the Concerning Cats book by Helen M. Winslow was published in 1900.

I had never seen cats called "geldings" before, but geldings are mentioned in the book as well as on the postcard. It is interesting to read about cats and their owners from more than a hundred years ago. The book has a number illustrations of named cats, but the illustrations don't always seem to coordinate with the text.

In the first chapter, the author wrote about her cat named Pretty Lady. Pretty Lady had a total of 93 kittens, but was never allowed to keep more than one at a time. At the end of the book, in the Appendix, there is information about the "population control" practices of the time.

Young male cats, if desired as pets, should be castrated or gelded, an operation that may be performed by any veterinary, or a man who understands it.…

The process of spaying female cats should never be undertaken by any but an experienced veterinary surgeon, and even then there is much risk attending the operation, especially with Angoras and high-bred cats.

If people would not allow the mother cat to keep so many kittens, the problem of disposing of the extra cats afterward would be much less formidable.…It is perfectly easy to dispose of new-born kittens...I let the mother keep one, and select a male for that purpose. The others I immediately do up in a soft old rag, with a piece of brick or stone, and deposit them them in a pail of warm (not hot) water.…In this way the over-supply of cats can be kept down.…The Pretty Lady was always satisfied when, having her second batch of spring or summer kittens, we took them all away and substituted an older one, provided he had not outgrown the natural taste for lacteal food.

I haven't finished reading the book yet. Concerning Cats is in the public domain and is available on the internet both as an etext and an audio recording. The internet versions are missing the last several chapters and an Appendix that are in my book.

I'm participating in Vintage Thingie Thursday


  1. Very interesting. I love books about cats, but not particularly fond of cats. I love "The Naming of Cats." by T.S. Eliot which became the musical "Cats." Great post.

  2. I love this post because I adore kitties. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I have never been a "cat" person. Dogs, yes. I did enjoy this very interesting and informative feature you did on them today.

  4. a most interesting & informative post even though a little upsetting..i LOVE my cats!

  5. Wow...well, that was sad! :( But, I can see how it would be very interesting to read about practices of such an earlier time! I love the illustrations too...especially the cover.

    Have a wonderful ViNtAgE tHiNgIe ThUrSdAy!


  6. I just love cats and this book looks so fun. You're making me want to go cuddle with my Sammy Boy! (That would be my cat not my husband.) LOL

  7. I love the postcard and the jacket of the book. Reading about how to control the cat population, that I didn't enjoy at all. :(

    Happy VTT!

  8. Happy VTT!
    I'm a cat mom, so I find that book fascinating (if a little upsetting!)! What a neat find.

  9. Very interesting! But sad about how to drown kittens. I'm a cat lover, so I'm glad that these days people generally have their cats neutered and spayed to avoid cat overpopulation!


  10. Very interesting. Seems like a tragic way to dispose of the kittens, but this was the method at the time. Thank goodness we come a ways since then.

  11. wow...that's really upsetting. Different times, I guess! It's amazing how matter-of-fact it all is.
    thank you for visiting me,

  12. That is very interesting and the cover of the book is so beautiful. I hate to think of "any man who understands it" undertaking a neutering operation.


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