Looking back in history, the cat held Godlike status in ancient Egypt. Much later, when witch hunts were in vogue, cats were viewed as Satan’s minions. Even the tradition of bad luck associated with cats has changed over time.
Through the Victorian era into the early 1900s, black cats were thought to invoke good luck while white cats more often carried the stigma of bringing bad luck should they cross your path.
Many images of black cats can be found on objects dating to the late 1890s and early 1900s, and some like vintage postcards even impart good luck greetings, but white cats aren’t seen nearly as often.
The handsome creature we know as the domesticated cat seems to hover somewhere between mystery and admiration these days, and vintage images of these pets continue to delight collectors in myriad ways.
Which Cats are Collectible?
Maybe a better question would be: which cats aren't collectible? Most anything made depicting a cat cartoon character has become collectible over the years from Felix, to Mightly Mouse, and Sylvester who couldn't resist trying to capture Tweety.
Perhaps so many people enjoy collecting cat items because of a natural curiosity akin to their feline friends. After all, when it comes to cat collectibles you never know what you’ll turn up next. No matter where you're shopping, from thrift stores to high end antique shows, you'll always find feline collectibles to consider.
Starting in the 1970s, B. Kliban found great success with his black and white striped cats that were made into everything from cookie jars and collectible figurines to a bevy of varied ephemera. Among the many items commonly found featuring cats are folk art, toys such as Steiff examples, greeting cards featuring real photos of cats, and numerous holiday collectibles, especially those revolving around Halloween.
There are also really cute cat figurines to collect in a complete series like Kitty Cucumber dating to the 1980s and early '90s. Today, even Grumpy Cat has a number of reasonably priced collectibles on the market ranging from books to stuffed toys. There's literally some kind of cat for everyone when it comes to collecting.
These items range in price from a dollar or two for vintage postcards to thousands for fine art, so suiting every budget and taste isn’t a problem for cat-loving collectors either.
Cat Collectibles for Gift-Giving
People tend to be drawn to objects that take the form of things they adore both in terms of decorative accessories and collecting. Since so many people enjoy owning purring pets, the go-with items tend to accumulate effortlessly and suddenly a collection is born. It’s also nice that many older cat items perfect (or is that “purrfect?”) for gift-giving are still quite affordable.
A collection of miniature cat figurines from the early 1900s can warm up most any bare shelf or windowsill, while a framed birthday or Christmas postcard with a feline illustration can turn a fairly common item into an extraordinary keepsake. Jewelry lovers would likely enjoy a few vintage scatter pins to dress up a lapel.
And perhaps, best of all, these gift ideas are sure to please a cat lover without breaking the bank.
Of course, enough of a good thing can sometimes be too much. So if you know someone who has a huge collection of cat memorabilia already, it might be a good idea to ask before adding to their collection. Unless you've located something extra special of the antique variety, there's a good chance they will have it already, or at least something similar.
Learning More About Cat Collectibles
For more information on cat collectibles including lots of fun pictures, locate Collectible Cats (Books I & II) by Marbena Jean Fyke published by Collector Books (now out of print but available through used book resellers). For a historical overview and everything from feline fine art right down the line, look up Purrrfection: The Cat by J.L.
Lynnlee from Schiffer Publishing.