a kitten goes to work, 1827

courtesy vintgaeimages.org, public domain

(Note: Ad doesn't match story but it's too cute to leave out.)  Sometime in the early 19th century, a red (or orange) kitten was sent to a cloth business, no doubt to keep down the pinking shears of mice teeth.  The following poem, full of high historical musing and a pragmatic thought about the peril of dogs, seems to have accompanied its departure.  Kind of wacky.

O the red red kitten is sent away, 
No more on parlour hearth to play;
He must live in the draper's house.
And chase the rat, and catch the mouse,
And all day long in silence go
Through bales of cotton and calico.

After the king of England fam’d,
The red red kitten was Rufus nam'd.
And as king Rufus sported through
Thicket and brake of the Forest New,
The red red kitten Rufus so
Shall jump about the calico.

But as king Rufus chas'd the deer,
And hunted the forest far and near.
Until as he watch'd the jumpy squirrel.
He was shot by Walter Tyrrel;
So if Fate shall his death ordain.
Shall kitten Rufus by dogs be slain.
And end his thrice three lives of woe
Among the cotton and calico.

The table book: or, Daily recreation and information concerning remarkable men, manners, times, seasons, solemnities, merry-makings, antiquities and novelties, forming a complete history of the year, William Hone (W. Tegg, 1827), p. 13.