Marlon Brando at home in Los Angeles with his cat perched on his shoulders. Photo: Murray Garrett/Getty Images
French actress Brigitte Bardot coaxes a cat along a tightrope. Photo: John Sadovy/BIPs/Getty Images
Vivien Leigh at home in Chelsea with her Siamese cat, New. Photo: Keystone Features/Getty Images
British prime minister Winston Churchill (1874-1965) stops to pet a cat at Liverpool Street Station in May 1952. Photo: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Paul McCartney sitting on the doorstep of his St John's Wood home with two kittens and an old English sheepdog in June 1967. Photo: Leslie Lee/Express/Getty Images
Audrey Hepburn shares screen-time with a cat in the film Breakfast at Tiffany's. Photo: Getty Images
American actress Mia Farrow in 1964. Photo: Harry Benson/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
British-born actor Joan Collins relaxing on a boat with a little kitten for company. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
A 13-year-old Elizabeth Taylor holding Jill - one of her many pets. Photo: Peter Stackpole/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Writer Margaret Atwood holding her cat Fluffy at home. Photo: Evelyn Floret/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images
Former US President Bill Clinton walking on the White House grounds with pet cat Socks riding on his shoulder. Photo: Barbara Kinney/White House/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Author and Nobel Prize winner Ernest Hemingway, with his wife Mary, feeding tidbits to the cat during dinner. Photo: Popperfoto/Getty Images
Frank Zappa with his pet cat. Photo: GAB Archive/Redferns
Cat's Eye: Hollywood's obsession with felines in 13 rare pictures
Cats are a wonderful thing.
This isn't breaking news. You've probably read about ancient Egypt's fascination with them. They have festivals in honour of them, there were penalties for harming them, there were sculptures made of them, they worshipped feline gods and even pharaohs were buried with them.
That last one though, is complete hogwash. Anthropocentric propaganda. Cats, you see, were buried with their personal coterie of pharaohs, not the other way around.
Sadly, history is written by those with fingers.
As a result of this, the rich tapestry of history, made even richer by the constant shedding of these feline phenomenons, sings a different tune. Cats have been reduced to 'domestic pets', a phrasing which puts them on the same pedestal as dogs.
This, even when viewed in the kindest of lights, is a horrific affront to cats. They're not like dogs who perform tricks like common clowns for love and attention; dogs have owners. The term 'cat owner' is a misnomer, there is no such thing. As any cat lover knows, one may, at best, be in service of a cat.
Their takeover of the internet, one meme at a time, is further proof (not that it's needed) of their innate ability to evolve with the times. To remain at the cutting edge of civilisation. But with it has come a further loss of dignity. We're increasingly seeing fat cats, clumsy cats and silly cats. This is all just dog-sponsored propaganda. How an animal as daft as the dog can manage it, we'll never know. Maybe the rats are in on it too.
But, even in the face of this propaganda, cats have risen to great heights. Like Stubbs, who was mayor of an Alaskan town, or Tama, a stationmaster in Japan, who've proved that anything humans do, cats can do as well. Probably better. While still licking their nether regions.
In honour of their awesomeness, the world has instituted International Cat Day on the 8th of August. And, as a small tribute to our feline overlords, we've put together this photo gallery of felines that have allowed celebrities to share screen space with them.
Text by Ranjan Crasta