Here are 10 photographs of Mark Twain with his cats. You might have seen one or two photographs of the great man with a cat but more have come to light and they are of good quality. They are in black and white because throughout his life color photography was unavailable. They are published on the website: intag.es. They are in the public domain due to lapse of time in my view.
Note: I have written more about Mr Twain and his cats below the photos…
It is very well known that Mark Twain loved cats. Almost all the photographs that I have seen of him featured at least one cat either on his lap or at his feet. There are many Mark Twain quotes about cats. Perhaps the best-known is:
“If man could be crossed with the cat it will improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat”.
I have a feeling that he might have been a person who believed that cats were better than people. Today’s cat hating trolls would have detested him. He couldn’t fathom why some people did not like cats. He also was well known for giving exotic and interesting names to his cats such as: Apollinaris, Beelzebub, Blatherskite, Buffalo Bill and Zoroaster, Soapy Sal and Pestilence. One of his favorites was Sour Mash. He wrote about her in a manner which indicated that he related to her as if she were a human being. He said that she was noble and had engaging qualities but was not refined and “cared little or nothing for theology and the arts”.
We are told by the University Of California Press blog that he had 32 cats during his life. They also say that he rented cats for the summer months. He was proud of the idea that you could rent cats for the month for the summer and then return them to their good homes at the end of the rental period.
He says that he rented a kitten from a farmer’s wife in May and received a discount by taking three cats. He declared that they were good company for about five months. He also said that he is an expert in cats and was happy that the kittens retained their kittenhood character while he enjoyed their company.
I must say that a lot of the photographs show him with kittens so I wonder whether they were the ‘rented’ cats that he referred to. This information comes from The Autobiography of Mark Twain volume 2.
Mark Twain’s life was filled with cats. And his autobiography is full of stories about them. He admired them deeply and had great affection for them.