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)