Caturday circa 1912

Mrs. A.McAllister and "Smoke Persian" cat (LOC)

Browsing through the Library of Congress' photostream on Flickr, looking for something else, I came across this fascinating cat picture from 100 years ago. Mrs. A.McAllister poses with her beloved cat in a photograph by George Grantham Bain dated somewhere between 1910 and 1915. Alcyone is the name of the Smoke Persian cat in the picture. He was a prize show cat, but also the loyal companion to John McAllister as he was confined to his deathbed in 1912, according to a newspaper article saved in pdf form provided by commenter artolog.
Nestling upon the lap of his atrophied patient, amusing the ill man with his antics at play, or running to call the mistress of the household when her presence is needed, Alcyone, John. McAllister's pet, companion, friend and attendant, illustrates the fact that a cat is some good in the world in other ways than as a mouse catcher or a prize winner.

Alcyone is a beautiful smoke Persian, winner of two prizes in the recent cat show in Grand Central Palace and a highly intelligent animal, but he is more highly prized for his faithfulness and loyalty to his owner, condemned by slowly increasing paralysis to pass the greater part of his time for five years in bed.

If it were not for Alcyone, as well as for the devotion of Mrs. McAllister, Mr. McAllister might long ago have become desperate."

You can read the rest of the story by downloading the clipping from the Flickr comment. Link

(Image credit: Flickr user The Library of Congress)

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Prize Cat Acts as Nurse and Companion of Helpless Man

Alcyone, Beautiful Persian, Shows He Can Do More Than Win Blue Ribbons.

OWNER IS PARALYZED AND WAITING FOR DEATH

Finds Amusement, Relaxation and Comfort in Antics and Loyalty of Pet.

Nestling upon the lap of his atrophied patient, amusing the ill man with his antics at play, or running to call the mistress of the household when her presence is needed, Alcyone, John McAllister's pet, companion, friend and attendant, illustrates the fact that a cat is some good in the world in other ways than as a mouse catcher or a prize winner.

Alcyone is a beautiful smoke Persian, winner of two prizes in the recent cat show in Grand Central Palace and a highly intelligent animal, but he is more highly prized for his faithfulness and loyalty to his owner, condemned by slowly increasing paralysis to pass the greater part of his time for five years in bed.

If it were not for Alcyone, as well as for the devotion of Mrs. McAllister, Mr. McAllister might long ago have become desperate.

They - the McAllisters and Alcyone - live at No. 310 West 140th street, where Mrs. McAllister has a furnished room house. Mr. McAllister was a marble cutter untll five years ago, when the paralysis which so frequently results from that occupation developed. Since that time he has been unable to work. The use of his muscles, one after another, has been denied him untll to-day he can barely lift his hand or totter across the six feet of space between his bed and his reclining chair, a trip which he makes but once a day.

For John McAllister it is a long time from dawn to dusk. Through many of his dreary hours while Mrs. McAllister is busy elsewhere Alcyone is his only companion. At the command of his patient Alcyone will nestle and purr in his lap, will play excitedly with a ball which hangs from the table at the bedside or lle quietly upon the table apparently meditating upon the inequalities of life.

Should Mr. McAllister desire the presence of his wife, Alcyone dashes downstairs at his patient's command and with his "meows" attracts Mrs. McAllister's attention. But Alcyone always hurries back to his patient, to whom he is devoted.

As he waits for the end of his suffering, Mr. McAllister finds his chief relaxation in the distractions that the lively and entertaining Alcyone affords. The patient's mind is as alert and clear as ever, and so long as it remains so he avers that he would not hasten his death, but the end will be welcome even should it come within an hour.
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