Cats in Culture

The famous "Grumpy Cat" sitting on a pillow.

Cats on the Net

A 21st-century phenomenon is the proliferation of cat photos and videos on the internet. What began as a craze for posting clips of bizarre and amusing cats has, for a few, turned into big business, especially in the United States. Certain videos went viral, and cats with particularly striking features—as well as one with a …

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Black cat commercial logo.

Cat’s Selling Power

Advertising campaigns have been using cats for more than a century. As early as 1904, a black cat was adopted as the image for a brand of cigarette. Today, two enormous black cat sculptures sit at the entrance of the tobacco company’s former factory in London. Cats of all types label pet foods; and as …

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Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty ballet.

Cats in Ballet Roles

With their lithe bodies and graceful movements, it is perhaps surprising that cats have not been represented more often in either classical or contemporary ballet. Two of the few cats in the ballet repertoire appear in the final act of Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty (first performed in 1890) when, among other fairy-tale characters, Puss in …

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Actors from Cats musical.

Cats in Theater

Cats are as unlikely to be given leading roles on stage than they are in films. But the cats brought spectacularly to life by actors in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s award-winning musical Cats have enchanted theater goers since the show opened in London in 1981. Based on T. S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, …

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Edgar G. Ulmer's The Black Cat (1934) movie scene.

Cats in Entertainment

Charming though they are, cats have not achieved superstardom in the entertainment world in the same way as dogs, being far less cooperative than their canine counterparts. Nevertheless, their personalities and foibles have made cats a source of inspiration for cartoon caricatures, and their visual appeal has not been lost on the creators of marketing …

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Cat Devouring A Bird 1939 - Pablo Picasso painting.

Cats in Art

Cats have appeared intermittently in symbolic and sacred art since the time of the ancient Egyptians, but it was not until the 18th century that they were portrayed as domestic pets. For a long period, Western artists struggled, and largely failed, to capture the elusive nature of felines in drawings and paintings. It was Eastern …

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Painting of Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland.

Cats in Literature

For the most part, cats have been sidelined in adult literature, making appearances as major players largely in books for children. Some literary cats are more realistic than others, but even the most fantastic usually have qualities that are instantly recognizable as feline. Often, the creators of fictional cats have used their own pets as …

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