Regency Cats

I have been talking about getting a cat for a while now… Probably a little kitten, who will be a perfect angel and never miss the litter box, and who’ll do the dishes without being reminded and all that other perfect kitten stuff.

And after saying “we should really get a kitten soon” for quite a while, we finally have a date: next weekend.

As it has been several years now, we are surely over the death of our last perfect kitty. He, too, never missed the litter box, could play the complete works of Shakespeare on the piano, and would have done the dishes without a reminder had he only possessed thumbs and the ability to understand English.

(And just to prove how unbiased I am, I will now reveal the fact that one of my sainted cat’s previous housemates referred to him as S.O.S., short for “Spawn of Satan.” Just another example of how not everyone loves Shakespeare.)

With all this cat cogitation going on, I’ve been thinking about cats during the Regency.

Because they certainly had cats. They even had spoiled little pet cats, like my perfect kitten will be. (Though I suspect that Regency kittens played Mrs. Radcliffe on their pianofortes, and helped with painting fire screens.)

There have been plenty of kittens in Regencies — particularly Regency novellas, which (if you think about it) are already kitten-sized. But I’ve done little actual research into the lives of perfect Regency cats.

And I’ve always wondered what they did for litter-boxes. With no clumping litter, did they bother? Did they just make the cat go outside?

Does anyone know?

(By the way, I just thought I should mention that my sainted ex-kitty always refused to play that “thrice the brindled cat hath mewed” part on the piano. I think he didn’t understand that brindled merely meant tabby — which he was, complete with the “M” on his forehead which stood for Multitudes of Mischief — but instead thought that brindled was some sort of slur against cats, perhaps one meaning “refuses to do the dishes until he’s allowed to finish off all the ice cream.”)

Oh, and if you have any cat information, either Regency or nowadays, please share!

All comments welcome!

And be sure to stop by next Tuesday, when we will be discussing the movie Clueless!

Cara King, who can only play Cymbeline on the kazoo

About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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