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This New Book Tells The Incredible Feline Friendship Tales in Old New York

"The Cat Men of Gotham" is a pawsome new book written by Peggy Gavan and provides a historical glimpse into the lives of stray cats living in harsh New York City at the turn of the century. The nineteenth century was a rough time to be a stray cat in New York City. The city's human residents dealt with feline overpopulation by gassing unwanted cats or tossing them in rivers. But a few lucky strays were found by a group of cat men including firemen, cops, athletes, and politicians, who rescued them from the streets and welcomed them into their homes and hearts. 

The book is divided into nine sections: seafaring cats, police cats, fire cats, artist/editorial cats, hospitality cats, theatrical cats, civil servant cats, good-luck cats, and lucky cats. Each section provides a collection of short stories, each from different time periods. Gavan artistically balances both factual evidence and heart-warming details to create a book full of engrossing tales of feline-human relations.

Here are some of the heartwarming photos and stories from this new book. 

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    cat book - Poster - MER 90% 097 The CAT MEN of GOTHAM Tales of Feline Friendships in Old New York -PEGGY GAVAN
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    Two weeks before Christmas 1899, a large grey cat gave birth to kittens inside a large hole in the Dewey Arch sculpture on Fifth Avenue. Many men came to her rescue, providing food and bedding for the mama cat and her litter.

    cat book - Arch - DEWEY ACH, NEW YO ft RETROIT PHOTOSRRPHIG CO CE CT
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    Paris-London was the kitty co-pilot of pioneer aviator John Moissant. In 1910, the dynamic cat-man duo won a race flying around the Statue of Liberty.

    cat book - Cat - AARIS LONDON MOISSANT'S CAT PARIS-LONDON. MOISSANTS CAT
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    16 days after the great Equitable Life Building fire in 1912, a crew of workmen rescued Kaiser, the building’s chief mouser, who survived in the basement while the building burned.

    cat book - Canidae - KAISER.
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    Melvin Vaniman and his good-luck cat, Trent, about the steamship Trent in October 1910.

    cat book - Photograph - M. VANIMAN BAI N. VANI M A N
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    Crewmen of the USS Olympia on deck with their two ship cats in 1898. Note the one sailor playing with a cat using a mirror and sunlight.

    cat book - Photograph

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    Many photographers took photos of Olaf the Nordic cat upon his ship’s arrival in Brooklyn in 1929. Here he is with one of his rescuers, Fourth Mate Hjalmar Larson.

    cat book - Photograph - P4A
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    The Algonquin Hotel has had a cat in residence since 1921, starting with Billy and then Rusty.

    cat book - Room

    Hamlet, the newest cat (above), arrived at the hotel in 2017.


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    The French Renaissance firehouse at 87 Lafayette Street had many mascot cats in the late 1800’s, including Smoke, a cat who could catch balls and slide down the pole on demand.

    cat book - Building - CD
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