We love all kinds of kitties — large kitties, tiny kitties, famous ones, shy ones, cuddly and not-so-cuddly ones, even the animated and sketched kitties of film and print! To honor our four-legged friends on this Caturday, we’ve gathered this collection of fun facts about famous felines throughout history. Enjoy!
Bastet – An ancient feline Egyptian goddess, Bastet was worshiped as early as 2890 BC as the defender of the pharaoh and/or the protector against contagious diseases and evil spirits. She was originally depicted as a warrior lioness, though she later was changed to a cat goddess resembling today’s domestic kitties.
Puss in Boots – The oldest written record of this cunning cat story dates back to the year 1550, when Italian author Giovanni Francesco Straparola included it in a published collection of fairy tales. The tale has been adapted and retold in various languages as a novel, a children’s opera, a screenplay, an animated series, a black and white silent film short, a comic book, and even as a video game!
Cheshire Cat – Although most of us recognize the Cheshire Cat as the fictional kitty from Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the phrase “grinning like a Cheshire cat” actually predates the book. In fact, its first known literary appearance was in a 1788 edition of A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue by English lexicographer Francis Grose.
Krazy Kat – Krazy Kat is the main character from George Herriman’s iconic comic strip of the same name. Sometimes referred to as “him” and sometimes as “her,” Krazy is a character with no set gender. In response to a question about Krazy’s gender fluidity, Herriman once said, “The Kat can’t be a he or a she. The Kat’s a spirit — a pixie — free to butt into anything.”
Hobbes – The feline half of Bill Watterson’s beloved Calvin & Hobbes duo is a tiger whose “realness” is a point of intrigue and dispute among fans of the strip. To grown-ups, Hobbes appears as a plush toy; to Calvin, he’s as alive as anyone else. Although he’s often viewed as Calvin’s imaginary friend, there are also instances in the strip of Hobbes’ actions having real, tangible effects on Calvin’s surroundings. To explain, Watterson once stated: “Hobbes is more about the subjective nature of reality than dolls coming to life.”
The Cat in the Hat – Theodor Geisel (known by his pen name Dr. Seuss) created The Cat in the Hat in 1957 after an education director at Houghton Mifflin asked him to write an engaging book that would help schoolchildren learn to read. Geisel reportedly modeled the title character (the cat) after an elevator operator who worked at the Houghton Mifflin offices in Boston.
Tigger – This lovable, bouncing feline friend of Winnie the Pooh was first introduced in A.A. Milne’s 1928 book The House at Pooh Corner. Like most characters in the series, Tigger was based off of a plush toy owned by Milne’s son (Christopher Robin Milne). Though Tigger is clearly modeled after a tiger, Milne never actually used the word “tiger” in his book. The character’s name is also, apparently, his species. And as Tigger himself states, “Bouncing is what Tiggers do best.”
Readers, do you have a favorite famous fictional feline not listed here? Tell us about it in the comments!
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