This post was written by Dianne Choie, Educational Programs Specialist at the Library of Congress.
Cats have been domesticated for thousands of years (read all about it in this Library resource!), but the reach of the internet has allowed for more people than ever to share their love of furry felines. I personally have an endless list of favorite cat memes, videos, and photos online; do you?
We here in the Library’s Informal Learning Office also find cats to be a fascinating topic to share about with kids and families, digging into their history as our pets, their communication, their purring, cat fun facts, and historical cat tales (or are they tails?).
You can also find a wealth of cat content in our online catalog, like this 19th century treatise on cats from Thailand:
This woodcut print of a cat dates back even earlier—it’s from the 16th century!
People have long been interested in kittens, too, as evidenced by this Japanese woodblock print from 1720.
There are also fanciful images of cats at play across the Library’s collections.
You can read the entirety of this somewhat-strange digitized children’s story about cats having a party (and getting into some trouble for it after):
The Library also has this 1940s film that shows the birth of five kittens and their learning to walk and play while being watched over by their cat parents (footage of the kittens’ birth begins at 3:16). Prepare for extreme cuteness!
I was inspired by all this cat content to try to recreate some of our collection images with my own cats, Reggie and Oliver. Let me know what you think of the results!
I have to admit, Reggie and Oliver were not always the most willing cat models! I actually used Photoshop to make it look like I was holding both of them at once in the photo above. I took one photo where I was holding Reggie and combined it with another photo where I was holding Oliver. It’s okay if you have to tinker with your image like I did.
Do you and your family have pets at home? You might want to try your hand at recreating images together, too! Don’t worry if your pets or other co-models need some help like Reggie and Oliver did. Changing your clothes, using props, and/or adding a background digitally can also help make your photo look like the one you’re imitating. Remember to pay attention to your body position and facial expression too! Hope you have fun looking through the Library of Congress’s collection of images and finding ones you can recreate yourself.
Not sure where to begin? These resources can help: