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In the Old Days, Cats Smoked Cigars While Roasting Chickens: 10 Weird Vintage Postcards

We interpret Alfred Mainzer's Dressed Cat postcards, where bipedal cats do "people things."

Angie Bailey  |  May 20th 2013

I’ve always loved imagining cats doing people things. In fact, it’s been an ongoing obsession in my family as far back as I can remember. When I was but a wee kitten, my mom and I used to make up stories about what the cats did when we weren’t home. They’d have friends over, cook food, and ride around on skateboards. Of course, right?

Imagine my delight when, years later, I discovered Alfred Mainzer’s Dressed Cats postcards. These silly kitties were doing WAY more than riding around on skateboards. They wore human clothing, sat in classrooms, shopped in butcher shops, and even drove carriages drawn by dogs. I was instantly smitten by these funny postcards.

Here are 10 of my favorite Mainzer cards, along with my interpretation of the shenanigans depicted.

1. Just a dash of Rosemary

Some of Mainzer’s postcards show cats wearing shoes and fancier clothing, but these kitties seem to be more common felines. A nurse is walking the twin Rosemary’s Baby-looking Siamese kittens, who probably belong to someone in a higher class, who can afford extravagances like nannies, double-wide strollers, and exorcisms.

2. Please stow all unruly children in the overhead bin

There’s usually some sort of chaos happening in these cards. These are fancier folk, which are typically seen as masters of dogs. And rightfully so. And why are those bratty kittens squeezing toothpaste (?) on people from the overhead bin? Somebody’s not gonna get to visit the cockpit.

3. No visit to Maury for a paternity test … this time

What a sweet scene. Friends and family are gathered ’round Mama Cat as she’s handed her newborn kit. Everyone looks relieved because the baby looks just like her papa. This is good because Misty is known to get around, if you know what I mean. I recommend a couple’s appointment at the local spay/neuter clinic on the way home.

4. Messy milkmaid

This card reminds me of a scene from The Help. Little miss snooty calico needs to watch it — she better be nice to the people who bring her food or else be ready to get served up a heaping helping of cat poop pie. If you didn’t read or watch The Help, you might not have gotten that one, but a good poop joke is always satisfying … to me, anyway.

5. “I’m gonna shave your face off!”

Again with the fancy people, subservient dogs, and misbehaving children squeezing things all over each other. And the adults are completely oblivious to the razor being wielded on the salon floor. The guy in the glasses is only interested in one thing, and she’s underneath the hair dryer.

6. Campy cats

Just another camping trip with the Whiskertons! More bratty kids, a cat in a babushka and glasses peeling potatoes, a cow infiltrating the car, and Dad looking cool as a cucumber in his chef’s hat, basting the bird. I have a feeling he’s smoking something that is not a cigar.

7. A meating with the law

This butcher shop is a hotbed for crime. Look at all the privileged little cats making off with the goods! No worries, the fuzz is onto them and they’ll spend the next year in cat juvie, alongside that little troublemaker with the electric razor.

8. A garden of vomit

“Look, Mommy! I picked a rose!” What they aren’t showing are the cats behind the greenhouse puking up all the flowers they’ve picked and eaten.

9. Spooning kitties

Another juvie-bound cat with anger management issues. “Call me ‘noodle brain’ one more time and I’ll pummel you with this spoon!” Spaghetti night at the McClaw house was never pretty. Even the mice are aghast.

10. A Hallmark moment

Terrible children, high-society pussycats with manicured poodles, and terrified mice: exactly what you’d expect to see in a card shop. Where’s the “Mommy Misses You Since You’ve Been Away at Juvenile Hall” section of cards? Because that’s where that lady needs to be looking.

What do you like about these vintage cards? Tell us about it in the comments!


About the Author: Angie Bailey is a weird girl with freckles and giant smile who wants everyone to be her friend. Loves pre-adolescent boy humor, puns, making up parody songs, and thinking about cats doing people things. Wrote a ridiculous humor book about cats wheeling and dealing online. Partner in a production company and writes and acts in comedy web series that may or may not offend people. Mother to two humans and three cats, all of which want her to make them food.

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