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"Seraphita remained for long hours immobile on a cushion, not sleeping, following with her eyes with an extreme intensity of attention, scenes invisible to simple mortals... Her elegance, her distinction, aroused the idea of aristocrasy; within her race, she was at least a duchess! She doted on perfumes; with little spasms of pleasure she bit handkerchieves impregnated with scent, she wandered among flasks on the dressing-table... and, is she had been allowed to, would willingly have worn powder!" - La Ménagerie Intime, Théophile Gautier - 1850


Cat Snips

Superstitious Cats: "Matagots" or "Magician Cats" were said to bring wealth to the home where they are well fed. According to French legend, a Matagot must be lured by a plump chicken, then carried home without the prospective owner once looking backwards. Then, at each meal, the Matagot must be given the first mouthful of food. In return, it will gives its owner a gold coin each morning. In England, Dick Whittington's cat was a Matagot who brought its owner good fortune and changed his luck from bad to good.

The artist and author of Nonsense Verse, Edward Lear (1812-1888), was devoted to Foss, his tabby cat. So much so that when he decided to move house to San Remo in Italy, he instructed the architect to design a replica of his old home - so that the routine of tabby cat Foss should not be disturbed and so be caused the minimum of distress at the move. Lear's drawings of striped tabby cat Foss are well-known, one instance being in these which accompany his rhyme "The Owl and the Pussy Cat."

Edgar Allen Poe (1809 - 1849) author of the macabre Tales of Mystery and Imagination, was devoted to his tortoiseshell cat Catarina. Poverty stricken and unable to afford sufficient heat for his wife who lay dying of consumption. Poe placed Catarina on the bed to keep his wife warm. The cat obligingly - or most probably mindful of its own comfort - stayed with the sick woman and, inspired by its loyalty, Poe was moved to write one of his best known tales, The Black Cat.

A black cat named Eponine was the pampered feline companion of author Théophile Gautier. Pretty Eponine dined at table with her master, partaking first of soup and then of fish, with all the delicacy of a well-mannered child.

Cardinal Richelieu (1585 -1642) was so fond of cats that he shared his home with fourteen of them - their names included Pyramé, Thisbe, Lucifer, and Perruque. Specially appointed attendants cared for the cats and on his death, the Cardinal left all his worldly wealth to his feline companions.

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