Vintage Photos That Prove Cats Have Always Ruled Over Humans May 16 2018, 2 Comments

Cats rule the Internet, and there is no denying it. But long before there was even the concept of an Internet over which to rule, cats happily took their position as our fluffy overlords. And this series of vintage cat photos, taken in 1938, proves that cats have not changed one bit.

Originally published in National Geographic magazine in 1938, the photos were taken by Willard Culver and accompanied an essay by Frederick Eddy, former president of the Siamese Cat Society of America and the Empire Cat Club of New York. The photos feature pampered cats in the sitting rooms of America’s cat-loving elite. They also feature apt captions that are hilariously relevant to the experiences of cat owners today. Cats truly never change! 

Photographer Willard Culver writes, “With a bit of salmon or catnip, sometimes liver, approximate friendship could be developed, though many times short-lived." Culver speaks to the fickle nature of felines. "A false move on my part would change the most polite and complacent pussycat instantly into a defiant and combative creature that revealed the savagery of the jungle."

“Then, on hands and knees, I could myself trying to coax a prize-winning Persian from her dark retreat with dulcet calls of ‘Kitty, kitty—nice kitty’—my only answer a hissing growl from back under the divan.”

The 1938 National Geographic article captioned this image, “Stately, kindly, lordly friend, condescend here to sit by me.”

PHOTOGRAPH BY WILLARD CULVER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

 

Midnight sits in front of the fireplace in Washington, D.C. Culver notes that the cat “had to be dragged, snarling, from under the sofa for a split-second pose.”

PHOTOGRAPH BY WILLARD CULVER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE 

A trio of Siamese kittens nap on the sofa. 

PHOTOGRAPH BY WILLARD CULVER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

A champion chinchilla Persian lounges “like a lordly little lion” in Bloomsberg, Pennsylvania.

PHOTOGRAPH BY WILLARD CULVER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

Elmer the Burmese poses at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. At the time, Elmer was one of the only Burmese cats in the eastern U.S.  

PHOTOGRAPH BY WILLARD CULVER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

 

Three tailless Manx cats play on furniture in Washington, D.C.

PHOTOGRAPH BY WILLARD CULVER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

“Only on humiliating hands and knees may fond humans visit this scornful kitty in her own domain,” the caption read.

This tortoiseshell queen full of tortitude was named Joseph for her “coat of many colors."

PHOTOGRAPH BY WILLARD CULVER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

A blue Persian watches some quality cat-tertainment in the form of a goldfish. 

PHOTOGRAPH BY WILLARD CULVER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

 

A vase of pussy willows captives a black Persian in Columbus, Ohio.

PHOTOGRAPH BY WILLARD CULVER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

The 1938 caption read, “You can throw me on the table, but just try to put me on the shelf!”

PHOTOGRAPH BY WILLARD CULVER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

 

A champion Siamese cat posing with a porcelain statuette in Newton, Massachusetts.

PHOTOGRAPH BY WILLARD CULVER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

 

A trio of Persian cats—which were described as “unusually affectionate”—recline on furniture in Silver Spring, Maryland.

PHOTOGRAPH BY WILLARD CULVER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

 

In the 1930s, blue Persians like those shown below, regularly won best-in-show at cat competitions. 

PHOTOGRAPH BY WILLARD CULVER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

 

What do you think of these vintage cat photos? Let us know in the comments! 

 

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