Today, 8 August, is International Cat Day. This yearly celebration was created in 2002 by the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
International Cat Day prints
A famous engraved cat is ths one by Wenceslaus Hollar:
The caption reads: Das ist eine gute Katze, die nicht nascht. (German) Dobra Koczka nera nemcla. (Polish) – (It is a good cat, who does not steal.) One of the famous and rare cat heads by Hollar.
Another one, new in our collection, is this Persian cat from 1813. This engraving is made by Thomas Landseer after the drawing by his brother Edwin.
Cute Cats in art
Cats always hold a special place in art. From ancient Egyptian tombs to Chinese paintings, cats occur often. Thus, International Cat Day is the perfect day to show you some varied examples. The internet places cats firmly in the ‘Cute’ category. However, in the past, our feline friends are mostly present to deal with mice. So, we get the gradual transition from hunter to cuddly friend. A good example is this print by Meta Plückebaum:
Or this sleepy kitty, by the artist who calls him/herself Kumi:
Hunting Cats in art
Nevertheless, historically, cats are mainly useful. Such as in this print from a book of emblems by Jacob Cats:
The caption tells us that ‘When you hunt with a cat, you will only catch rats’, and continues by saying that dogs are really the animal for hunting. Cats, after all, are domestic, useful around the house.
At some point, cats were even hunted, as seen in this print after Stradanus:
The men with pikes lead dogs in the hunt. The cats are climbing trees to get away from the dogs. This is where the pikes come in handy (see the left backgorund of the image).
Of course, I would not end this post with such cruelty. So, here’s a very cute kitten wearing a pink bow.
Any cats currently in our collection are filed under the Mammals section of our Natural History prints.