1890 Problems: The Homeless, Friendless Summer Cat

1890 Problems: The Homeless, Friendless Summer Cat

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Jennifer Hunter
Apr 10, 2015
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Being a pet lover is by no means a new idea, so I was fascinated to uncover this gem of a New York Times article bringing to light an important issue of the day: the indigent cat. You see, during the summer of 1890, formerly friendless felines got two strong-willed advocates, Mrs. G.G. Deridé and Mrs. M.E. Wilson. These two "generous-hearted ladies" had a solid plan to help homeless cats.

The problem, it seems, was this: every summer, New York City residents would leave town for vacation and leave their cats behind because, "a cat is not a thing which can be transported with any degree of comfort."

So these two ladies launched a scheme to establish a home for indigent, abandoned cats. They hoped to get some "little, cheap place — in Harlem, perhaps or in some secluded place where there are no immediate neighbors to be disturbed — and there to fit up an asylum in which stray cats or infirm felines...may be taken care of and made to believe that they have at least a few friends on earth."

(Image credit: The New York Times)


The article goes on to mention all the stylish cities — Paris, Florence, Dublin —where similar refuges have had success. All the ladies ask is a little money with which to begin this charitable endeavor. If necessary, they say, they will beg, door-to-door, with baskets to make their dream a reality. Sounds pretty purrfect.

Read the full article at the New York Times Archives.

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