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8 of History's Greatest Cat Ladies

Not all cat ladies are hermits or animal hoarders, locked away with more cats than they can take care of. Many of us have other everyday activities, and some prominent cat lovers have even changed the world! When you look at notable women from history, quite a few of them loved their cats dearly, like nurse Clara Barton.

Clara Barton, the famous nurse and founder of the Red Cross, was an animal lover with a particular affinity for felines. During the Civil War, Barton earned the nickname “Angel of the Battlefield,” and in appreciation for her selfless work, U.S. Senator Schuyler Colfax sent Barton a kitten. Barton’s most beloved cat was the black and white Tommy, who kept her company for 17 years. A portrait of Tommy painted by Barton’s friend and fellow nurse Antoinette Margot still hangs in the Barton house in Glen Echo, Maryland.

Tommy’s portrait is shown here. Barton was far from the only woman who supplemented her busy life with feline companions. Read about seven others in a list at mental_floss.

(Image source: Clara Barton National Historic Site)

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