Marie Antoinette holding turkish angora cat

The most famous cats in history

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Cats have always had a special place in our hearts and homes, and this is no less true for some of the most influential figures in history. From royal courts to the hallowed halls of government, these feline companions have left their mark, becoming famous in their own right. In this blog post, we’ll explore the fascinating stories of some of the most famous cats in history, revealing how they lived, who they loved, and the legacies they left behind.

Ta-Miu – companion of Egypt’s Prince Thutmose

Sarcophagus of Prince Thutmose's cat by Madam Rafaèle
Larazoni, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ta-Miu was the personal pet of Crown Prince Thutmose, the eldest son of Pharaoh Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye of the 18th dynasty of Egypt (1539 – 1292 BCE). After her death, Ta-Miu was mummified and buried in a decorated sarcophagus. In fact, her sarcophagus offers most of what the world knows about the short life of Crown Prince Thutmose. The care taken in her mummification and burial process underscores the significant role cats played in ancient Egyptian society. Indeed, cats were not just pets, but sacred animals deeply intertwined with their religious and cultural beliefs.

Larry – the UK’s most famous political cat at 10 Downing Street

Larry, the current Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office at 10 Downing Street, has been a beloved figure in British politics since 2011. Recruited from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home to tackle a rat problem, Larry quickly became a favorite.

Despite early controversies, Larry frequently lounges on the doorstep and patrols the grounds. Moreover, he has even managed to sneak into the Prime Minister’s car on occasion, a feat that has further boosted his widespread popularity.

Snow White – Hemingway’s famous polydactyl Maine Coon from Cuba

Old photo of Earnest Hemingway sitting at a bar with a tabby cat on his lap
Symbolic picture (photo montage)

Ernest Hemingway had many cats, but his favorite was a white polydactyl Maine Coon named Snow White. He loved the cat so much that he took her to the Finca Vigia with him, where he lived from the late 1940s until his passing in 1961.

She followed him around the property and sat on his lap while he wrote at a table in one of the outbuildings. When Hemingway went out to catch marlin, a sport he loved, Snow White sometimes went along for the ride. Snow White and other Hemingway cats have polydactyl descendants, who live in Cuba, Spain, and Key West today.

Mimi – a famous cat in the French court of Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette holding turkish angora cat
Symbolic picture (photo montage)

While Marie Antoinette kept pet dogs, she also spoiled six Turkish Angora cats during her time at Versailles. Among these 18th-century felines, Mimi stood out as the most famous. The queen loved Mimi so much that she let her sleep on her pillow every night and took her wherever she went. According to legend, when authorities imprisoned Marie Antoinette, someone saved her beloved Angora cats by sending them to America on a boat. These cats eventually became ancestors of the Maine Coon breed.

Félicette – the tragic life of France’s famous cat in space

An old photograph of Félicette, a tuxedo cat with a brain implant
Ron FrazierCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Félicette, a French cat, was unwillingly thrust into the space race in 1963. In the race for space supremacy, France selected Félicette for a mission, making her the first cat to survive spaceflight. However, this achievement came at a high cost. Félicette endured invasive procedures, including brain sensor insertion, and confinement in a tight capsule during her journey.

Tragically, her ordeal didn’t end upon her safe return to Earth. The scientists who sent her to space ended her life prematurely to study the effects of the journey on her brain. Félicette’s story is a stark reminder of the harsh realities of animal testing in the name of scientific advancement. Her life ended in 1967, and she was laid to rest at the French Space Agency headquarters. Her tombstone, reading “The first cat in Space,” serves as a testament to her involuntary sacrifice.

Tabby & Dixie – the famous feline residents of the White House

An old photo of Abraham Lincoln in a sitting pose with a fluffy tabby cat on his lap
Symbolic picture (photo montage)

Tabby and Dixie were cats famous for being among the first felines to grace the White House residence. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th U.S. president, reportedly fed his beloved cat Tabby with a gold fork at White House dinners. Apparently, he also declared that his other cat, Dixie, was smarter than his entire cabinet. First Lady Mary Todd reportedly said cats were her husband’s only hobby.


From Mimi’s luxurious life in the French court to Félicette’s tragic journey into space, these famous cats have each played a unique role in history. Their stories remind us of the deep bond between humans and cats, a connection that transcends time and place. Looking back, we see the joy and companionship cats have brought us, sometimes along with their sacrifices. Some were royal pets, others political mascots, and some were forced into scientific roles. Each has left a unique mark on history.

We trust you enjoyed this exploration of history’s most famous cats! If you found it interesting, feel free to share this article with your friends.

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