Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cats on Postcards...A Fascinating History!

Please note: I am in no way promoting or endorsing the dressing up of any animal. These photos have been presented simply as a curiosity only. I’ve selected them partially for their humor, and partially due to the fact that they are somewhat intriguing and wacky. Many of these postcards are over 80 years old, and fortunately with the advent of computer graphics and design, the act of physically dressing up cats seems to have subsided. Anyone who knows me would tell you that I am an avid animal lover, and would never support the mistreatment of an animal…

 Throughout my childhood, I always enjoyed collecting postcards of my favorite thing…cats! Whenever my family took a vacation or trip, I was always allowed to purchase one postcard for my collection.  Almost always a struggle, I would desperately look for any postcard that featured a cat. My first postcard was one by Sherry Barnett of a black and white cat dressed as a nun. Since I had a black and white cat, and went to Catholic school it seemed too purrfect! Needless to say, mom wasn't too thrilled by the image, especially because it had nothing to do with where we were vacationing! 

As you browse, you'll see I've included a brief history of the postcard. I’ve also compiled some of my favorite and funniest postcards that I could find which are mostly ridiculous and sometimes strange! I’m warning you in advance! Enjoy!

 Kittens in doesn't get any better then this!

In 1861, the first copyright for a postcard in the United States was issued and later in 1873 the US Government issued its first official postal card. Postcards did not become part of the main stream until the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, where full color postcards were sold as souvenirs.

 This postcard was hand tinted in color and then printed for purrchase. If my cat could read the paper, I'm sure she would look just like this!

This cat isn't just playing the banjo, he appears to also wear a top hat and gloves!

During the turn of the century, and until the beginning of WWI, most quality postcards were printed in Germany. This was because Germany possessed some of the finest lithography techniques in the world. 

What a dapper looking cat!
 Old married couple? These cats look thrilled to be dressed in their Sunday best!

During this time postcard sending became extremely popular, only to be slowed down by the outbreak of WWI, in which the supply of postcards from Germany was halted. Despite this, almost every household had a postcard album, and were collected by many.

 From 1930 to 1945 and later, printing of the postcard for advertising and documentation of the American roadside was standard. After WWII, when the United States economy experienced a boom in travel and mobility, the postcard was a perfect opportunity for the business owner, or traveler to showcase where they’ve been or what they’ve seen

 I'm not quiet sure what this cat has to do with the town of Folkestone...but it sure is cute!

Around 1940, the “Photocrome” or “Chrome” postcard took over the postcard industry. These high quality colored cards are generally what we find today. Besides snapshots of local attractions and historical landmarks, the postcard companies must’ve seen a market for cards featuring images that would appeal to the general public or collector. Before television, who wouldn’t enjoy flipping through a postcard album, gazing at adorable cats and kittens!

If you look closely, these cats appear to have their heads peeping through a hole in the backdrop! The legs and arms are obviously fake! So funny!

Animals seem to be a favorite subject for postcard companies, and I’m sure it’s because of the sweetness and calming affect animals have on us humans.  One must wonder why so many strange and goofy images make it to printing though!? 
Nothing says Easter glee like a cat in a flower pot and a scary stuffed rabbit!

I wish my cat knew how to iron my clothes! So sweet! Who am I kididng...if my cat wore clothes I'd probably iron for her!

Nothing says regal like a handsome cat dressed as a king!