Edgar Allan Poe owned a pet cat named Catarina. She was the inspiration for his story The Black Cat from 1843.
“This latter was a remarkably large and beautiful animal, entirely black, and sagacious to an astonishing degree. In speaking of his intelligence, my wife, who at heart was not a little tinctured with superstition, made frequent allusion to the ancient popular notion, which regarded all black cats as witches in disguise.”
Mt. Washington Observatory, New Hampshire
Inga, Jasper, and Nin were members of the crew at Mt. Washington Observatory in New Hampshire.
For more than fourteen years, Jasper has survived inside the warm belly of the Mount Washington Observatory while sleet and hail battered the windowpanes and hurricane-force winds rattled the walls. Outside, sheets of ice rain have shattered on the rocks like glass, but snoozing Jasper has purred through it all. Like most cats, Jasper is a hunter. One night, he trotted off into the twilight and jogged back with a mouse tucked between his jaws. He deposited his prize in the doorway and ran back for more. By night’s end, a row of rodents lay scattered across the observation deck, sorted by size.
Jasper fulfilled a supporting role to Inga, the famous calico cat with frosty whiskers. Inga was always the teacher’s pet, the spoiled child. A darling of the media, she was “interviewed” by Cat Fancy magazine. A picture of an icy Inga is still printed on T-shirts, posters, postcards, and refrigerator magnets that are sold each summer in the Mount Washington Museum gift shop. When Inga passed away in 1993 at age nineteen, her estate generously donated all proceeds from her modeling career to the Observatory.
Even worse for Jasper, a new nemesis named Nin appeared on the scene in 1996, just when Jasper finally thought he had the summit to himself. Nin posed for the cameras and purred in the arms of visiting journalists. He also robbed Jasper’s food bowl when the older cat wasn’t looking. Nin moved in with two Mt. Washington State Park rangers down in Gorham, New Hampshire, much closer to the vet’s office. He passed away in 2009.
Lewis is a cat from Fairfield, Connecticut who garnered mass media attention for being placed under house arrest in March 2006. Several of Fairfield’s Sunset Circle residents, along with an Avon lady, accused the cat of attacking them. Animal Control placed a restraining order on Lewis. It was the first time such an action was taken against a cat in the United States. When Lewis escaped house arrest, Ruth Cisero, Lewis’s owner, was arrested and charged with failure to comply with a restraint order. Cisero could have agreed to probation on the condition that Lewis be euthanized. Cisero instead opted to go to trial to try to preserve Lewis’ life. Cisero appeared in court on May 23, 2006, on a second-degree reckless endangerment charge.
In July 2008, the judge dismissed the reckless endangerment charge against Cisero, concluding she had met terms of a special probation for first-time offenders. Lewis is now an indoor pet, allowed outside only in a cat carrier. G.V. Riccio, Cisero’s attorney, said Lewis enjoys life in southern New England and wants to stay. Supporters of Lewis created a website on MySpace. More than 500 T-shirts were sold to raise funds for a defense fund for Cisero.
Sockington (also known as “Sockamillion” or “Socks”) is a domestic cat that lives in Waltham, Massachusetts. He has gained large-scale fame via the social networking site Twitter. His owner, Jason Scott, a computer administrator and historian, has been regularly posting from Sockington’s Twitter account since late 2007. Sockington’s account has over 1.5 million followers, many of which are pet accounts themselves. Sockington has also appeared in People Magazine. His website: sockington.org, features blogs, merchandise, and spotlights local cat rescues.
Did you know that Calvin Coolidge was given a wild bobcat named Smokey, as a gift? It lived at the White House for a brief time, but eventually wound up at the Washington DC zoo.