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Catland: Louis Wain and the Great Cat Mania

How cat mania exploded in the early twentieth century, transforming cats from pests into beloved pets.

In 1900, Britain and America were in the grip of a cat craze. An animal that had for centuries been seen as a household servant or urban nuisance had now become an object of pride and deep affection. From presidential and royal families who imported exotic breeds to working-class men competing for cash prizes for the fattest tabby, people became enthralled to the once-humble cat. Multiple industries sprang up to feed this new obsession, selling everything from veterinary services to leather bootees via dedicated cat magazines. Cats themselves were now traded for increasingly large sums of money, bolstered by elaborate pedigrees that claimed noble ancestry and promised aesthetic distinction. Hardcover, 432 pages.

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