Category Archives: Cat History

Presidential Cats

President Lincoln first to bring cats to the White House

Presidential Cats at the White House

Even though President Clinton’s cat, Socks, is probably the most famous cat that lived in the White House, being nicknamed Chief Executive Cat. President Abraham Lincoln was the first President to bring cats to the White House, and was most likely the President that loved cats the most, even rescuing some feral cats from a Civil War battlefield. He had such a bond with felines that First Lady Mary Lincoln said her husband’s hobby was cats.

Rutherford Hayes’s connection with cats is relatively well-known, receiving the first Siamese cat in the U.S., named Siam. She was sent to Mrs. Hayes in 1878 as a gift from a U.S. diplomat, David Sickels, in Bangkok, Thailand.

Barrack Obama didn’t have cats (shame on him), but George W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy had felines at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Calvin Coolidge, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow also Wilson had cats.

On President’s Day, taking a look at Presidential Cats

With President’s Day around the Corner, we wanted to revisit these Presidential Cats, and take get a better feel for just who they are. Paws stumbled across the Presidential Pet Museum, which has a whole host of information about pets who’ve lived at the White House. We found a number of dogs, horses, cats and even snakes have resided at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. We even found President Dwight hated cats so much that he gave his staff orders to shoot any cats seen on the grounds of his home. Let’s not go there, and take a look at some Presidential Cats.

President Clinton’s Socks became Chief Executive Cat

Presidential Cats

Socks, Chief Executive Cat

Presidential cats

Socks with President Clinton

Socks, joined the Clinton family before they moved to the White House. This black and white tuxedo cat with white sock-like markings jumped into the arms of Chelsea Clinton as she was leaving her piano teacher’s home in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1991. He gained his notoriety while roaming freely around the grounds at the Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock. Photographers would stake out just like the Paparazzi to get a photo of this political cats.

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Remembering 9-11

Remembering 9-11. Paws’ did this painting after visiting New York City in the late 1970’s,

Remembering 9-11, a day that was marked the beginning of a recognition that the United States was not exempt from terrorist attacks. Most all Americans were in shock that day as we saw the commercial airplanes hijacked and deliberately crashed into the Twin Towers, a focal points of the New York City skyline.

Another plane deliberately crashed into the Pentagon. Still another, headed for the U.S. Capitol Building was courageously crashed by the passengers who took control of the plane to take it down.

This post is participating in the Sunday Selfie Blog Hop hosted by The Cat on My Head.

Sunday Selfie Blog Hop

This Sunday Selfies Blog Hop is being hosted by Cat on My Head

Do you remember what you were doing on 9-11? Did it have an impact on your life? Were you personally changed by it. Please weight in and share your thoughts and comments.

Remembering 9-11

I remember that day vividly. Working for a non-profit, there was a small TV in our office. It was hard to walk away from the television coverage and do work. Having been a journalists before starting work in public relations, the work of the day seemed very insignificant. We would see those images replayed day after day for well over a year. It changed our lives momentarily – maybe for a year. But 15 years later, things are pretty much the same, except we realize terrorism is a real threat in America.

My kitty Lenny is only 4-years-old. He wasn’t around that day. He wasn’t even a fleeting thought in his human’s mind. My Pink Collar, now 16, was just a kitten, and she had my beloved Smokey Blue, who has passed on, were there to watch the horror unfold in front of us. Mom’s cat, Clyde, not pictured here, was also there to comfort her.

Remembering 9-11, many like my kitty Lenny, too young to remember

While we recall this fateful day, we realize so many people under 21 or even 25 have no recollection or a very faint one of this day that ranks up there with the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy or for those that can remember the bombing of Pearl Harbor that sent America into World War II.

Remembering 9-11 through art

When I was in high school, I took oil painting lessons, and after visiting my brother who lived in New York City, I painted this scene of the Twin Towers. I had totally forgotten about this painting till a few years after 9-11. I was very pleased I hadn’t given it away or tossed it. Today, I share it on my blog, Paws for Reflection.

Remembering 9-11

Lenny checks out this oil painting of 9-11 as we recall that memorable day 15 years ago

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Category: Cat History, Cats

Do cats enjoy Saint Patrick’s Day and the history, legends, and folklore that go with it? Do they like the shamrocks, wearing of the green, dreaming of the leprechaun’s pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or indulging in a, oh so little, sip of green beer?

Cat Lenny checks out Saint Patrick's Day Shamrocks.

Cat Lenny checks out Saint Patrick’s Day Shamrocks.

Or would they rather get caught up in the more pious celebrations of driving out the snakes and finding peace and tranquility within? Do they gather in front of the TV or in your apartment window and watch the thousands celebrate this festive day.

Kitty Little Yellow basks in the glory of peace of the St. Patrick's Day Shamrocks.

Kitty Little Yellow basks in the glory of peace of the St. Patrick’s Day Shamrocks.

Do they gather round the table as their humans dig into that oh so yummy smelling corned beef and cabbage?

For Paws and our 5 felines, we did enjoy playing with the shamrocks. And the kitties are looking forward to some good ole human food, even if it’s just a taste. As for the green beer, they’ll take a whiff, and that’s probably enough for their feline taste buds.

They, and humans around the world, from Boston to New York City, Chicago, Japan, Singapore, Russia and Dublin are celebrating the day in a more elaborate style. In Chicago, there is the famous dyeing the river green. In New York and Boston, the parades celebrate  the cities’ long-standing Irish heritage.

Cat Lenny wants to play with St. Patrick's Day Shamrocks.

Cat Lenny wants to play with St. Patrick’s Day Shamrocks.

Siamese Cat Linus wonders if these St. Patrick's Day Shamrocks might be as good as corned beef and cabbage.

Siamese Cat Linus wonders if these St. Patrick’s Day Shamrocks might be as good as corned beef and cabbage.

Over 35 million celebrate in just the United States alone. Paws became curious, where did Saint Patrick’s Day, and all these traditions come from. It’s a day of contradictions – from the merriment to the religious. Perhaps the paradox in that we are commemorating Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, while also celebrating Irish heritage. of eating and drinking, while taking a break from Lent, and all the things that are given up during that pious time.

Paws was curious as to where it all came from. Here’s a little bit of what we found.

 

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Traditional Siamese Cat

Traditional Siamese Cat

The beloved Siamese with their ‘meezer’ meows, Velcro personality, steel-blue eyes, and points that come in various colors, remains a favorite both in and out of the Cat Fancy.

While the Siamese does resemble the Egyptian Cat Goddess, Bastet, it is believed the Siamese originated in Siam, now Thailand, not Egypt.

Egyptian Goddess Bastet

Egyptian Goddess Bastet

When Paws went searching for history about Siamese cats, we found the first cat with Siamese markings appeared on an old engraving discovered by a Mr. Pallas on his journey into Southern Russia between 1793 and 1794. Another Siamese is found in the ‘Cat-Book Poems’ where drawings of cats of various colors and patterns are found.

This should not be any surprise as the dynasty has ruled Thailand since the founding of the Ratthanakosin era and the city of Bangkok in 1782 following the end of King Taksin of Thonburi’s reign, when the capital of Siam moved to Bangkok. The Royal house was founded by King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke, an Ayutthayan military leader of Sino-Mon descent.

It is believed the Siamese cat were owned by the  Royal Family of Siam, and used to guard the ancient temples. Only royalty or noblemen were allowed to own them, and their cats served as spirit guardians. (more…)

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Category: Cat History, Cats

Maine Coon Cat

Mainers love their cats, so much so that it was named the best place to live for cat lovers.by the online real estate resource Estately.  Although Vermont, named the second-best cat state, ranked higher, the fact that Maine has an official state cat helped boost its rankings.

More than 46 percent of Maine households have cats, and cat owners outnumber dog owners by 11 percent.

The Maine Coon, one of the most popular cat by the Cat Fancier’s Association became Maine’s official cat in 1985. The Maine Coon is believed to be one of the oldest natural breeds in North America, and a native to the state of Maine.

In the early days of cat shows, the Maine Coon ranked on top of the Cat Fancier’s boards, But at the beginning of the 20th century, show fever expanded to the Midwest and the West, the Cat Fanciers’ Association was founded in 1908, favor shifted from the Maine Coon to long-haired pedigreed cats, including the Persian and Angora.

The Maine Coon Cat, a large, broad chested cat with a long rectangular body with long flowing fur, was historically known as a working class cat. It can take on many coloration patterns. The males average around 12 to 15 pounds, with some going 20 pounds or more. The females are smaller, averaging 9 to 12 pounds.

The Maine Coon would remain in the background with cat fanciers for the next four decades, so much so that in the 1950’s, the Maine Coon was declared extinct. That was far from being the case. Maine Coon aficionados went to bat to bring the cat back to its original glory. It was not a fight that was easily won, taking over 20 years, to have the cat back onto the official Cat Fancier’ registries.

Beautiful silver Maine Coon Cat

Beautiful silver Maine Coon Cat

The Maine Coon, America’s first indigenous show cat, was once again on top of its game.

What happened to make this cat, bigger than life, fall out of fancy with the Cat Fancier’s.

  • In January 1878, a dozen of these down-east, working class heroes were listed in the program of a show held in Boston, MA.
  •  In the 1870’s cat shows were held in all the populace eastern cities, even as far west as Chicago, although not on a yearly basis. according to the Cat Fancier’s Association, http://www.cfa.org/Breeds/BreedsKthruR/MaineCoon/MCArticle.aspx,
  • In May of 1985, The most famous and largest of the early shows was held at New York’s Madison Square Garden. A brown tabby female Maine Coon Cat named Cosey owned by Mrs. E. N. Barker, was the winner of the National Cat Show. How many Maine Coons that were entered in the show cannot easily be determined because they were classified with Persians and Angoras as “longhaired.” All cats were categorized first by hair length and then by sex.
  • In 1897, 1898 and 1899, one of Mrs. E.R. Pierce’s brown tabby Maine Coon Cats, King Max, dominated this classic for three years, until defeated by his son Donald in 1900.
  • In 1911, the Maine Coon had its last big recorded victory for over 40 years when a “long-haired blue Maine Cat” took first place in his class and best of show, out of an entry of 170 cats, at the Portland, Oregon show.

The road back to fancy.

  • In the early 1950s, Alta Smith and Ruby Dyer formed the Central Maine Cat Club (CMCC) to end the Maine Coon’s slide into a regional oddity and to give impetus toward record keeping and showcasing for the breed. For the next 11 years the CMCC sponsored a combined cat show and exhibition of the photographs of cats. The club provided a means to call attention to all cats and the Maine Coon Cat in particular, and in doing so kept the image of the Maine Coon alive.
  • By 1963, the CMCC shows outgrew the barn, the elementary school gym, the high school gym and every other workable large local meeting place. The organization became too large to continue its amateur status and the Central Maine Cat Club ceased to be.
  • In 1968, the idea to create a universal Maine Coon Cat club whose purpose was to preserve and protect the breed came from Nancy Silsbee. The will and guidance to see the project through was supplied by Dr. and Mrs. Rod Ljostad. These early “movers and shakers” were completely dedicated to the concept of the Maine Coon Cat.
  • During the first part of the 1970s the Maine Coon breeders requested and were denied provisional status.
  • In 1969-70 the first attempt was made to bring the Maine Coon to provisional status. At the March 3, 1970 meeting, the board felt that they would be acting prematurely to accept the Maine Coon for provisional status. They wanted to determine if there were sufficient numbers being registered. Only 20 Maine Coons were registered at that time.
  •  In February, 1971, the board again denied provisional status.
  •  In 1973, the Maine Coon Cat Club was formed in 1973
  •  At the Spring 1974 meeting, Jean Rose announced that CFA now had a Maine Coon Cat breed club. The members stated that they had now fulfilled all the requirements for recognition of the Maine Coon Cat as a provisional breed: they had a standard, a breed club and 133 cats registered. Unfortunately, the timing for acceptance was off as per the existing rules; in addition, some board members thought the breed standard still needed clarification.
  • As of May 1, 1975, the Maine Coon Cat was accepted for provisional status following a vote at the October 1974 board meeting.
  •  On May 1, 1976. America’s native American longhair was back on the show bench with championship status.
  •  In 1977, the Maine Coon proved they could compete, with Best of Breed going to CH Lybe Christa’s Katy, owned by Elizabeth H. Brouch.
  •  In 1977-78, GC Purebred’s Silent Stranger, a copper-eyed white male, owned by William and Ruth Patt, became CFA’s first Maine Coon grand champion and Best of Breed.
  •  1978-1981, saw a few more Maine Coons achieving their grand championship status. Three Tufpaws female grand champions were the national breed winners in 1978-79, 1979-80, and 1980-81. They were GC Tufpaws Reuelette, GC Tufpaws Schnitzel of Zookatz, and GC Tufpaws Rosana Dana of Zookatz.
  • The 1981-82 show season produced the first national winning Maine Coon, GC NW Tufpaws Rosette.

The Maine Coon has finally clawed its way back to the top.

Because the Maine Coon Cat has such an interesting history, Paws will be dedicating the next two posts to the Maine Coon, one about the folklore about where it came from, and the other talking about the Maine Coon Cat as Maine’s official state cat.

In March of 2016,  Reagan M shared 10 Fascinating Facts About Maine Coon Cat, and we decided to post in here. Keep in mind, Paws has not vetted all the info here, but we want to share.

10 Fascinating Facts About Maine Coon Cats

Why do you think the Maine Coon Cat fell onto the back burner when it comes to the Cat Fancier’s? Why do you think some die-heart Maine Coon supporters went to bat to bring the cat back to the stature it once had?

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Catpersonable BJ Bangs



At Paws for Reflection, we're serious about cats, writing about cat health, cat rescue and cat news. We delve into why cats are the absolute best soul mates. We spring in a little humor with lots of travel tips, photos and a few feline tales, making Paws for Reflection a must stop for cat information on the cat crazed Internet. BJ is an award-winning blogger/journalist, communications professional and photographer.


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