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 4, 2016

December 4, 1642

Cardinal Richelieu (September 9, 1585 to December 4, 1642), ) was an important statesman in France before being made a Cardinal in the church. This man whose family was described as minor nobility is remembered as the architect of modern France for the aggressive and effective manner in which he centralized royal authority in France and stabilized its borders.

It is often stated authoritatively that the Cardinal was fond of cats. There is no contemporary evidence for that. Some accounts state that Richelieu just liked kittens and had the felines disposed of when they grew up. Again, no reliable basis for these stories. Plenty of pictures were painted, later.

Cardinal Richelieu Playing with His Cats Giclee Print

Paradis de Moncrif (1687 - 1770) has been suggested as the origin of the stories. That may not be true.

What puzzles me most, and a fact I have not seen addressed in any history, is that there were other statesmen who were said to not just love cats, but be so fatuous about them as to allow the cats in meetings.

An Englishman, Cardinal Wolsey (1473 - 1530) is also reported to have been fond of cats. A fact which will not figure in the sources, directly, is the shifting boundary between indoors and outdoors in modern history. Without secure doors-- which you would leave open to maximize the breeze, it may be the cats just invited themselves in, and adopted the Cardinals.

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