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Photos That Prove Cats Have Always Ruled Over Humans

Cats rule the internet but long before there was an internet to rule, cats ruled and continue to rule humans. Don’t believe us? We’ve got photos to prove it.

Originally published in National Geographic magazine in 1938, this series of vintage cat photos were taken by William Culver and were accompanied by an essay by Frederick Eddy, the former president of the Siamese Cat Society of America and the Empire Cat Club of New York. Elaborately staged and aptly captioned, the photos taken in the sitting rooms of America’s cat loving elite, strangely resonate with the experiences of cat owners even today. Our floofy rulers truly never change, long live the cat!


Photographer William Culver writes of getting finicky felines to co-operate, “With a bit of salmon or catnip, sometimes liver, approximate friendship could be developed, though many times short-lived."


“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

The 1938 article caption for this photo 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 black domestic shorthair named 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 a sofa.

PHOTOGRAPH BY WILLARD CULVER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

A champion Siamese cat poses next to his porcelain feline friend in Newton, Massachusetts.

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

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

PHOTOGRAPH BY WILLARD CULVER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

Elmer the Burmese poses 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

A blue Persian indulges in some quality goldfish cat-ertainment in Washington, D.C.

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


Of this gorgeous kitty, the National Geographic article noted, "Wary Princess Pat, with silvery frill and hypnotic stare, seems poised for flight."

PHOTOGRAPH BY WILLARD CULVER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE


This haughty tortie was named Joseph for her "coat of many colours." Her caption read:" “Only on humiliating hands and knees may fond humans visit this scornful kitty in her own domain."

PHOTOGRAPH BY WILLARD CULVER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE


At the time, in the 1930s, the blue Persian regularly won best-in-show cat competitions. And don’t they know it!

PHOTOGRAPH BY WILLARD CULVER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE


And this champion chinchilla Persian reposes "like a lordly little lion" in Bloomsberg, Pennsylvania.

PHOTOGRAPH BY WILLARD CULVER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

Check out our Sleep Collection and get your floof something of his very own to lounge in "like a lordly little lion"!


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