The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

December 7, 2011

December 7, 1847

Robert Liston, (October 28, 1794 to December 7, 1847) was a Scottish surgeon, famous for his medical research as well as his speed on the operating table. This was before anesthesia, and disease was poorly understood, but it was apparent that speedy surgery helped saved lives. And this gentleman and scholar also had a cat named Tom, who became famous for being "a unique specimen of the feline one would think, to see the passionate fondness which he manifests for it. This cat is always perched on Liston's shoulder, at breakfast, dinner, and tea, in his carriage, and out of his carriage. It is quite ludicrous to witness the devotion which the great operator exhibits towards his favourite." So spoke a contemporary of the doctor, one Forbes Winslow.

This information is gathered in a lovely book, a precursor to a type familiar today:
Heads and tales; or, Anecdotes and stories of quadrupeds and other beasts, (1870) written by
Adam White.

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