The Cat known as Cattarina

Cats have long been associated with artists, with most of the famous artists in the world having a thing for cats at one point in the span of their respective careers.

Edgar Allan Poe, the master of the short story and author of the first detective story, is known to have had one, one which is even attributed to inspire Poe in authoring a number of essays and stories of the horror vein.
The cat began living with Poe, his wife Virginia and her Maria Clemm sometime between 1839 and 1840. She sported different cute shortened nicknames, from Kate to Callers, but her name was Cattarina.

One would think that Poe could’ve come up with a more… crafty name, but the cat’s moniker isn’t what really made the cat in Poe’s life famous. It was how her being inspired Poe in churning out literary masterpieces which generations and generations would come to hold dear.

With Poe’s reputation for the macabre, the dark and all that is noir, one would wonder just what kind of cat Cattarina was. Poe’s story “The Black Cat” is said to have been incredibly inspired by Cattarina, and the story’s cat, Pluto, is an all-black cat.

Was Cattarina an all black cat?

No. She wasn’t. Cattarina, in fact, was a tortoiseshell, which is typified by a general mixture of orange, black and white fur patches, with some tortoiseshells sporting “tabby patterns” on their coats. Compared to all black cats, tortoiseshells are more “frivolous” and more fun in their appearance, a direct contradiction to Poe’s dark descriptions of scenes and panoramas in his yarns.

It kinda makes one wonder. If Tim Burton did have a cat, would it be all black or would it be a tortoiseshelll?



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