100 years ago, a butcher sabotaged a rival with 25 very hungry cats

Library of Congress

It's National Cat Day, allegedly, so it's as good a time as any to shine a light on a cat-centric 101 year old local news story! Via Bowery Boys History, this historical cat tale ran in the January 24, 1914 edition of the long-defunct New York Sun. It is a story of mischief, a butcher shop full of meat, revenge, and a group of 25 very hungry cats.

The story gets off to an impossibly good start:


The article begins with a description of a police officer James Kenny "trudging along" what is now the Financial District in downtown Manhattan when he heard a terrible noise.

New York Sun/Library of Congress

Kenny, being a good police officer, one who knows the streets whose pavement he pounds every night walking the beat, remembered that the Brighton Beef Company at 72 James Street had been bombed six months prior. He blew his whistle to call for backup and was soon joined by several other patrolmen. That's when it gets weird, and very cat-focused.


Imagine the horror: you think you're about to put the beatdown on some anarchists but are in fact interrupting a group of very satiated cats. Frustrated, the policemen attempted to attack the cats.

The eight policemen pocketed their pistols but swung their clubs.  They also said ‘Scat!’ and the cats ran into the street and scurried through the East Side with great news for their tribe.  There were no arrests.


The police's official theory on the case? A rival butcher collected the cats, starved them, and then snuck them into the store after it shut down for the day. A devious plot, by a devious man, involving dozens of felines.

Happy National Cat Day! Remember to feed those kitties.

David Matthews operates the Wayback Machine on Fusion.net—hop on. Got a tip? Email him: david.matthews@fusion.net

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