Famous Cat Lovers In History.

Posted by Theresa Blood on

Cats In The White House.

The First Dog has often been more famous, but there have been a number of cats resident in the White House. One of the first know White House cats was called Tabby and belonged to Abraham Lincoln. Theodore Roosevelt kept a menagerie at the White House, including bears, kangaroos, lizards and snakes. He also had a cat called Tom Quartz and one named Slippers that had six toes. John F. Kennedy had a wide range of pets as well, including Tom Kitten, despite the fact that the president was actually allergic to cats. Bill Clinton’s cat, Socks, became one of the best-known First Cats and was frequently photographed by the world’s press. Socks was often found in the Oval Office and liked to sit on the President’s shoulders. After leaving the White House, Socks enjoyed a long retirement and died in 2009 at the age of twenty. 

Ten Cat Lovers In History.
  • Cardinal Thomas Wolsey: Lord Chancellor under Henry VIII before eventually being accused of treason in 1529, Cardinal Wolsey was a cat lover at a time when it could be dangerous to be so. He was said to have had a cat near him most of the time, a fact reflected in a statue in his hometown of Ipswich, which features a cat.
  • Pope Leo XII: One of a number of popes known to have kept cats, Pope Leo had a cat called Micetto that used to sit in the folds of his robe when he gave audiences and was allowed to wander at will around church buildings in the Vatican. When the pope died in 1829, the cats was left to French writer and diplomat Vicomte de Chateaubriand.
  • Jeremy Bentham: The London-born philosopher, eccentric and founder of Utilitarianism is best known for developing the principle of “the greatest happiness of the greatest number of people’. He was very fond of cats and had a tomcat which he addressed as Reverend John Langbourne. Bentham’s preserved skeleton is still in a display case in University College, London, as per instructions written shortly before his death in 1832.
  • Queen Victoria: Queen Victoria was a great animal lover and kept a considerable number of pets throughout her long life. She was particularly fond of dogs, but also took a shine to Persian cats. She owned two, called Flypie and White Heather, which were adopted by her eldest son Edward and his wife Alexandra when the Queen died in 1901.
  • Florence Nightingale: The nursing Pioneer was devoted to cats and kept dozens of them over her lifetime (some of them named after leading politicians of the day, including Bismark, Disraeli and Gladstone). She is said to have valued their work as rodent catchers during her days nursing soldiers in the Crimea. Some of her cats live on in history, thanks to paw prints on her letters.
  • Winston Churchill: The wartime leader was drawn to cats and always had at least one at his official residence, as well as others at his private home, Chartwell, in Kent. When the house was given to the National Trust in 1966, his request that there should always be a marmalade tom called Jock living comfortably at the property was honored. The first Jock was given to Churchill on his 88th birthday. Jock VI took up residence in 2014.
  • Vladimir Lenin: VladimirIlich Ulyanov took the name Lenin in 1901 and went on to become a political theorist and leading figure in the Russian Revolution of 1917. Perhaps an unlikely pet lover, there are in fact quite a number of photographs and even some film footage of the Bolshevik leader petting a cat, apparently with a considerable degree of affection.
  • Edwin Hubble: The American astronomer was the first to observe that ht universe was expanding (as fact known as Hubble’s law) and has an enormous space telescope named after him. He was also a cat lover and had a cat called Nicolas Copernicus, who spent many hours sprawled out o Hubble’s desk or on his lap while he was working.
  • Nikola Tesla: The inventor and engineer worked with Thomas Edison and made a massive contribution to the alternating-current electrical system. His life’s work was inspired by a cat. While stroking his cat, Macak, as a very young child, Tesla became fascinated by what appeared to be sparks coming off the cat’s coat. Tesla later said that the experience had inspired a life-long interest in the nature of electricity.
  • Albert Einstein: The father of modern physics was a believer in kindness towards animals and urged ‘widening our circle of compassion’ to include all living creatures. He was often surrounded by cats while at work in his study and had one particular cat who apparently became depressed when it rained. “I know what’s wrong, dear fellow,” Einstein was heard to say to the cat, “but I don’t know how to turn it off.”

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