Science Reference Guides
Cats were social companions in some Eastern countries even in Ancient times. However in Europe and the United States, cats were only used as mousers or studied as biological specimens until the mid-19th century, when their position shifted to that of household companion animals. Along with this shift, the focus of scientific study of the cat moved away from simply serving as biological specimens to researching the ancient origins of domestic cats, origins of coat colors, and cat diseases in relation to humans.
The books in this reference guide span the years primarily 1858 to 1922, when this shift occurred in the role of cats. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, cats indeed transitioned from vagabond mousers, artistic muses, and biological specimens to beloved and intelligent household pets and pedigree display objects.
For more information about the history of cats during this time period, see the Inside Adams blog posts “Can Cats Speak to Us?” and “Birds & Cats: Friends or Foes?”. Also, see Everyday Mysteries “How Do Cats Communicate with Each Other?” and “How Did Cats Become Domesticated?”
Amato, Sarah. Beastly possessions: animals in Victorian consumer culture. Toronto, Buffalo: University of Toronto Press. 2015. 306 p.
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/2015452752
LC Call Number: HC79.C6A438 2015
LC Catalog Record Number: 2015452752
This book discusses the consumerism of animals and pet-keeping in the Victorian era. Amato discusses animals kept as pets, animals in zoos, and the role of animals after they die. Animals were enmeshed in all aspects of the social lives of Victorians, from debates about morality, gender dynamics, racism and the materiality of dead organisms.
DeMello, Margo. Animals and society: an introduction to human-animal studies. New York: Columbia University Press, 2012. 470 p.
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/2012013347
LC Call Number: QL85.D48 2012
LC Catalog Record Number: 2012013347
This text gives an introductory overview to the field of human-animal studies. It includes information about the history of animals in human society, current debates, and ideas for the future. It is broken into sections about animal categories, human-animal economies, attitudes about animals, animals as symbols, and animal behavior and ethics.
Grier, Katherine C. Pets in America: a history. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006. 377 p.
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/2005017575
LC Call Number: SF411.36.U6G75 2006
LC Catalog Record Number: 2005017575
In this book, Grier addresses pet ownership in the United States from a variety of perspectives, from the beginning of the nation to 2006. She shows how pets became fixtures in most American homes, and how what she terms “the domestic ethic of kindness to animals” helped to change the way that pets were viewed. There is also a chapter about the commercial nature of pet ownership throughout the history of the United States.
Ritvo, Harriet. The animal estate: The English and other creatures in the Victorian Age. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987. 347 p.
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/87011848
LC Call Number: SF53.R58 1987
LC Catalog Record Number: 87011848
This book highlights some of the animal-related discourses of the Victorian era. Ritvo addresses pet keeping and natural history, with such topics as stockbreeding, pedigreed exhibitions, animal fighting, zoological gardens, and various animal welfare organizations.
Original Publications Between 1858 and 1922
*These books from the Library of Congress collections have been digitized and are available at www.biodiversityheritagelibrary.org.
Champion, Dorothy Bevill. Everybody's cat book: containing chapters on "colour breeding", "showing", "conditioning", "judging", "diseases and their treatment", "how to raise and
treat the show and pet cat", and many valuable prescriptions.
New York: Lent & Graff Company, 1909. 119 p.
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/10002159
LC Call Number: SF447.C6
LC Catalog Record Number: 10002159
This book contains valuable information for cat fanciers, especially those who wish to breed and exhibit
pedigreed cats. Champion addresses topics such as:
how to breed cats in a cattery, how to properly care for them,
how to exhibit them at cat shows, and how to photograph them.
Clark, Marvin R. Pussy and her language. including a paper on the wonderful discovery of the cat language by Alphonse Leon Grimaldi. New York: 1895. 123 p.
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/04029271
LC Call Number: QL795.C2C7
LC Catalog Record Number: 04029271
This book uses a variety of anecdotes and research to argue that cats are intelligent, useful, and able to communicate with their own language. Included in this book is an essay called “The Cat” by a Professor Alphonse Leon Grimaldi of France. In that essay he outlines the specifics of the cat language, including a list of words translated from cat into human language.
Davison, Alvin. Mammalian anatomy, with special reference to the cat. Philadelphia: P. Blakiston’s Son & Co., 1903. 250 p.
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/03025258
LC Call Number: QL739.D26
LC Catalog Record Number: 03025258
This is an anatomy textbook meant to instruct students on how to dissect and study cat specimens. It makes no reference to cats as pets, instead focusing on the classification, preservation, and anatomy of the cat.
Forbush, Edward Howe. The domestic cat; bird killer, mouser and destroyer of wild life, means of utilizing and controlling it. Boston: Wright & Potter Printing Co., 1916. 112 p.
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/agr16000378
LC Call Number: SB994.C3F7
LC Catalog Record Number: agr16000378
This bulletin published by the Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture was meant to clarify the confusing and contentious relationship between cats and other animals, such as birds and rodents. Using scientific methods of data collection and analysis, Forbush laid out the extent of the damage caused by cats in Massachusetts. He then detailed some potentially solutions to those problems, including killing stray cats and superfluous kittens, limiting breeding, and keeping cats confined indoors, especially at night.
Hill, John Woodroffe. The diseases of the cat. New York: W.R. Jenkins, 1901. 123 p.
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/01027740
LC Call Number: SF985.H64
LC Catalog Record Number: 01027740
Written by and for a veterinarian, this book addresses the diseases of cats, which Hill believed were being ignored in the literature. He gives descriptions of many different types of diseases, outlining their symptoms and treatments.
Huidekoper. Rush Shippen. The cat, a guide to the classification and varieties of cats and a short treatise upon their care, diseases, and treatment. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1895. 148 p.
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/agr03000916
LC Call Number: SF447.H9
LC Catalog Record Number: agr03000916
This is a comprehensive guide to the cat, including its classification, anatomy, origin, breeds, care, diseases, etymology, and symbolism. It was written in response to the first cat show in the United States, held months earlier in New York City.
James, Robert Kent. The Angora cat: how to breed, train and keep it. Boston: James Brothers, 1898. 102 p.
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82032347
LC Call Number: SF449.J3
LC Catalog Record Number: unk82032347
This is a book meant to introduce amateurs to Angora cats, one of the most popular pedigree cat breeds in the United States at the time. It addresses their origin, training, care, breeding, exhibitions, and diseases. At the end there is also a portion called “Facts and Fancies of the Cat” that includes stories and facts about cats.
Mivart, St. George Jackson. The cat: an introduction to the study of backboned animals, especially mammals. New York: Scribner’s, 1881. 557 p.
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/42032399
LC Call Number: QL737.C2M8 1881a
LC Catalog Record Number: 42032399
This is a scientific text that addresses the anatomy, classification, and origin of the cat as a species. Mivart explains that cats are suitable biological specimens for study because they are mammals, and thus related to humans, but their size and availability makes it easy to study them. This text views cats as domesticated, but not necessarily as household pets.
*These books are about pets, including cats.
Biggle. Jacob. Biggle pet book: a collection of information for old and young whose natural instincts teach them to be kind to all living creatures. Philadelphia: W. Atkinson, 1900. 142 p.
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/01029010
LC Call Number: SF413.B59
LC Catalog Record Number: 01029010
Part of a series of Biggle books, this text advises readers about different types of pets, explaining their behaviors and how to
take care of them. The goal of the author is to provide humans with the knowledge to be good pet owners, for the sake of both the humans and the pets. The pets discussed are: dogs, cats, ponies, goats, sheep, rabbits, guinea pigs, squirrels, rodents, and birds.
Crandall, Lee S. (Lee Saunders). Pets and how to care for them. 2nd ed. New York: New York Zoological Park, 1921. 303 p.
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/21015192
LC Call Number: SF413.C75 1921
LC Catalog Record Number: 21015192
This is a practical guide that explains how to care for a variety of common household pets: dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, and fish. The author works with the New York Zoological Park. He believes that everyone is born loving animals, and that encouraging that love leads to the development of many positive qualities.
Davenport, E. (Eugene). Domesticated animals and plants; a brief treatise upon the origin and development of domesticated races, with special reference to the methods of improvement. Boston: Ginn and Company, 1910. 321 p.
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/10023650
LC Call Number: S494.D2
LC Catalog Record Number: 10023650
This book was written as a high school textbook to encourage students to become interested in agriculture. It takes a broad approach, giving the history of how all plants and animals became domesticated. Davenport incorporates theories of natural selection to explain breeding and heredity. In the second half of his text he describes certain organisms in particular, including dogs, horses, donkeys, oxen, sheep, goats, pigs, cats, birds, and a variety of plants.
Dixon, Royal. The human side of animals. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1918. 252 p.
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/18017426
LC Call Number: QL751.D5
LC Catalog Record Number: 18017426
This book is part of a series of similar titles by Dixon (others include the human side of plants, trees, and birds). This book in particular is meant to show readers the truth of how similar humans and animals are. Dixon believes that animals can feel and express many human emotions. He talks about a variety of animals, both wild and domestic.
Earl, Thomas M. Pets of the household: their care in health and disease. Columbus, OH: A.W. Livingston’s Sons, 1895. 158 p.
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/12021581
LC Call Number: SF413.E13
LC Catalog Record Number: 12021581
This book is a practical guide meant to inform pet owners about the best ways to care for their pets and keep them from getting ill. Eight chapters, a majority of the book, is dedicated to birds, while there is only one chapter about aquariums and one chapter about all “pet quadrupeds” – dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea-pigs, and squirrels.
Mayo, Nelson S. (Nelson Slater). The care of animals: a book of brief and popular advice on the diseases and ailments of farm animals. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1903. 459 p.
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/03032828
LC Call Number: SF747.M47
LC Catalog Record Number: 03032828
Written by a veterinarian, this book seeks to provide advice for people who take care of animals, but are not veterinarians themselves. The species Mayo addresses are: horses (and other animals in stables), dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and poultry. He talks about how to care for animals and how to identify and treat a variety of diseases.
Menault, Ernest. The intelligence of animals. New York: C. Scribner & Co., 1872. 368 p.
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/13017443
LC Call Number: QL785.M57 1872
LC Catalog Record Number: 13017443
This book investigates the intelligence of animals throughout the animal kingdom, from ants to chimpanzees. It brings together anecdotes and scientific observation to draw conclusions about the intelligence of many species of animals.
Miller. Olive Thorn. Funny friends; or, Queer pets at Marcy’s. New York: E.P. Dutton & Company, 1892. 363 p.
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/04029448
LC Call Number: QL49.M66
LC Catalog Record Number: 04029448
This book presents up-to-date (in 1892) natural history knowledge about animals in a story format geared towards young people. It addresses both pets and wild animals, with some unusual species such as lizards and aquatic animals.
Outdoor Enterprise Publishing Co. Outdoor opportunities; the raising and care of small animals, birds and plants: a practical treatise on the raising and care of small animals, birds and plants for profit and pleasure. Kansas City, MO: Outdoor Enterprise Publishing Co., 1922. 256 p.
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/23003604
LC Call Number: SF399.O8
LC Catalog Record Number: 23003604
This book consists of various essays about how to make money by cultivating plants and raising animals. It covers a wide variety of species, including dogs, cats, rabbits, goats, foxes, bees, frogs, mushrooms, and more.
Shaler, Nathaniel Southgate. Domesticated animals, their relation to man and his advancement in civilization. New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1895. 267 p.
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/04033742
LC Call Number: SF41.S52
LC Catalog Record Number: 04033742
Shaler approaches the topic of domesticated animals from the perspective of the history of human civilization as a whole. Animals are only important insofar as they are useful to humans. The species included in this text are dogs, horses, cats, birds, and insects. Shaler also discusses new concepts of morality regarding animals and how domestication signifies progress of civilization.
Voogt. Gos. de. Our domestic animals, their habits, intelligence and usefulness. Boston: Ginn & Co., 1907. 297 p.
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/07040011
LC Call Number: SF41.V94
LC Catalog Record Number: 07040011
Originally written in French, this book gives a comprehensive look into various types of domestic animals. The goal is to both increase awareness about the usefulness of domesticated animals for civilization of humanity, as well as increasing their popularity as pets through photography. The pets addressed in this volume are: dogs, cats, horses, donkeys/mules, sheep, goats, pigs, cattle, rabbits, and poultry/birds.
*These books were written for a young audience.
Acton, John Hayne. Uncle Jack’s discovery: sixty short, true, strange, interesting and instructive stories about animals, birds, fishes, reptiles and insects. Portland, OR: Metropolitan Press, 1915. 213 p.
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/16002200
LC Call Number: QL791.A3
LC Catalog Record Number: 16002200
In this text, Acton uses stories to illustrate that animals are not as unintelligent as people think. He believes that children should be taught that all life is sacred. Included are stories about a variety of animals, both domesticated and wild, from butterflies to elephants. After the stories, there is a short chapter called “Uncle Jack’s Letter to Young America” in which children are told that all animals share similarities and should not be mistreated. He also outlines a contest for readers to uncover the ‘secret’ message within his book.
Guernsey, Lucy Ellen. Meat-eaters: with some account of their haunts and habits. Philadelphia: American Sunday-School Union, 1858. 468 p.
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/04034022
LC Call Number: QL737.C2G9
LC Catalog Record Number: 04034022
This book uses a story format to teach children about the natural history of carnivores. In the story an aunt gives a series of lectures to children about the different species. There are chapters on both pets and wild animals, including cats, dogs, large wild cats, wolves, bears, and wild dogs.
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Courtesy of Madison Arnold-Scerbo
American journal of veterinary research
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/42050041
LC Call Number: SF601.A3
LC Catalog Record Number: 42050041
Historia medicinae veterinariae, World Association for the History of Veterinary Medicine
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/78646947
LC Call Number: SF615.H57
LC Catalog Record Number: 78646947
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/16022549
LC Call Number: SF601.A5
LC Catalog Record Number: 16022549
Journal of veterinary medicine
Journal of veterinary medicine and research
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/2015202460
LC Catalog Record Number: 2015202460
Society & animals
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/93643882
LC Call Number: QL85.S63
LC Catalog Record Number: 93643882
Veterinary heritage: bulletin of the American Veterinary History Society
LCCN Permalink: https://lccn.loc.gov/sv98001545
LC Call Number: Not in Library of Congress
LC Catalog Record Number: sv 98001545
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Alley Cat Allies
American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP)
American Cat Fancier Association (ACFA)
American Society of Animal Science
American Veterinary Medical Association
The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA)
International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM)
World Veterinary Association
Compiled by Madison Arnold-Scerbo & Tomoko Y. Steen, Ph.D., August 1, 2017