This affectionate feline biography tells the tale of the great cats, from the Egyptian Mau or the enchanted felines of old Irish legend to cats of magic and make-believe, such as Graymalkin, or the cat that voluntarily shared the Earl of Southampton’s captivity in the Tower of London. There are some cats that became a little too curious for their own good, such as the kitten in whose defence the poet John Keats had a fight with a butcher-boy of Hampstead; the delinquent cat who gnawed the strings of her master’s lute; and the two comforting cats that licked the tears from Florence Nightingale’s cheeks. We also meet cats of bravery and adventure, such as Oscar, a World War II seafaring cat, and Mourka, who risked life and paw to cross enemy lines at the Battle of Stalingrad to deliver important messages.
A Curious History of Cats remembers many of the most intriguing and eccentric cat-obsessed people of history, science, art and literature, including Dr Johnson and his beloved muse; Horace Walpole and his noble Maida; Sir Walter Scott, whose constant companion, Hinse of Hinsfield, would wait for a snap of his masters fingers, then rise and lay his head on his master’s knee; and Winston Churchill, whose Nelson performed a crucial fuel-saving wartime role as water bottle.
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