Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Hemingway and Cats
In this weekend's paper, there was an article by Steve Dale titled, "The Truth About Cats." It explored that there are 10 million more cats in American homes than dogs, (82 million to 72 million), but they're not taken care of nearly as well as dogs.
The article went on to say that "Just 2% to 5% of lost cats at shelters are ever reclaimed" by their owners. This is a very sad state of affairs. Certainly there are many Americans who adore their cats, but why do some folks have pets if they don't care if they're lost?
What happened to the good ole days of Ernest Hemingway and his six-toed feline friends? Hemingway (1899 - 1961), the famous American novelist, was given a six-toed cat by a ship's captain and some of the original cat's descendants survive to this day among the aproximately 60 cats protected at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West, Florida.
Searching for cats that were well-loved in historic Lake County, Illinois, I came across the attached photo of Bess Dunn (1877-1959), and her cat, taken circa 1900. Bess was a Waukegan resident and county historian, and the first woman in motion pictures. There are several photos in the Bess Dunn Collection in which this particular large gray cat is being cuddled.