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Cats of Longmeadow

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

perhaps Tommy Cordis (b.1884) Cordis Family Collection

Upon hearing that the Dogs of Longmeadow were highlighted in a recent History Note, the cats of Longmeadow took umbrage, as they are inclined to do. So in an effort to be fair and just, this week the Longmeadow Historical Society brings you… The Cats of Old Longmeadow. Unlike their canine counterparts, cats are notoriously more private, and thus there are far fewer images of them in our archives. After all, it seems one can never find a cat that does not wish to be found. Make no mistake, though. Cats have been welcome and helpful members of Longmeadow households for generations.

"Mr. Comstock and cat" December 1913 Emerson Collection/ Longmeadow Historical Society

The Longmeadow Historical Society also has several 19th century children’s books in our collection, and within their pages are charming stories and illustrations of children and their cats. Cats have always made wonderful subjects for children’s books. The word “C-A-T” is a friendly one to an early reader, and the antics they can get into often spell humorous “T-R-O-U-B-L-E.” One charming little book titled “Ann and Ellen and the Little Kitten” tells a tale of the woe that falls upon little Ann who doesn’t heed her mother’s instructions to admire, but not pick up, the kitten. Inevitably, the girl disobeys her mother’s command. The kitten scratches the young Ann's face, and when she cries to her mother she is reminded that had she obeyed her mother in the first place the injury never would have happened. Exactly the moral lesson these books were made to impart.

A popular moral: Obey your parents or pay the price. Longmeadow Historical Society Collection

Grandmamma's Book of Rhymes, 1848

Longmeadow Historical Society Collection

The Child's Guide, 1849 Longmeadow Historical Society Collection

No doubt, the many farms in Longmeadow would have had cats around to keep the mice at bay, rather than for the companionship they are so prized for today. The Storrs House Museum could certainly benefit from a good cat or two these days to handle the mice. Alas, that task has fallen to our board president, Al McKee, who comes to check the traps on a regular basis. A fine mouser indeed!

Booth Family Photo Album

Longmeadow Historical Society Collection

Booth Family Photo Album

Longmeadow Historical Society Collection

Contributed by Melissa M. Cybulski, Board member, Longmeadow Historical Society

Originally published February 11, 2021

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