Vintage Snapshots

the wondrous world of vernacular photography

Category: Cats

A 1960s Christmas

quirky odd 1960s vintage Christmas family poses with toy dog and closed-eyes cat

Labeled “Xmas 1966” on the back (click to enlarge)

Better late than never. This is one of my all-time favorites–especially the closed-eyes cat–and another example of how there really is nothing quite like a snapshot.



Shadow Cat, circa The Jazz Age


Vintage snapshot negative of a cat leaping towards porch

c1950s negative

A Cat Named After V-J Day?

1950 snapshot of a cat and dog, with their name of the cat noted as "V-Jay," perhaps after V-J Day

V-Jay, at home, 1950 (click to enlarge)

The name of the cat in this 1950 snapshot makes me wonder if he was perhaps born on or around V-J Day. ‘Victory Over Japan Day’, which marked the end of WWII, is celebrated in the United States on September 2, after the day in 1945 the surrender document was signed by Japan (although it also applies to August 14 or 15 — depending on whether one takes into account the time zone — which was the day the surrender was announced). The cat looks to be about the right age to me. If he was indeed named after the end of WWII — wow, what a great way to choose a cat name, and in some small way, perhaps a marker of how happy/significant a day that must have been for so many who experienced it.

V-J Day, by the way (the Aug. 14 version), was also the day the famous Times Square kiss photo was taken. The Leica camera that Alfred Eisenstaedt used to take that iconic shot was auctioned earlier this year in Vienna for about $150,000. The camera used to snap “V-Jay” is of course probably long gone, although who knows — perhaps it is sitting in a closet or attic somewhere. And as a final thought, how nice that someone chose to note the subjects and date. Even the “At Home” has something nice about it.

Animal Menagerie

Eerie doll presides over animal menagerie pose

Doll + animal friends, circa 1920s

Just one of my favorite, oddball shots. Must have had to snap that one pretty quick, I’d guess.

The Cat on the Shoulder

Vintage photo of a cat latching on to a man's shoulder.

Cat latching on for dear life, likely 1920s

There must be literally millions of snapshots of people with their dogs, but you see far fewer of cats. Felines were still a popular subject, though, and for obvious reasons you see them being held in some fashion by their owners more often than with dogs. Here are a couple (the second being a detail of a larger photo — in the full shot the cat is a little too small to really see well). Personally my cat likes to sit on my shoulder (I have held – and carried – him that way since finding him abandoned in the street at about 3 weeks of age, so he is used to it), but not all take so kindly to such a perch.

Vintage snapshot of woman with a cat on her shoulder.

Woman holding young cat, likely 1920s

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