Charles Dickens Turned His Dead Cat's Paw Into a Letter Opener

Illustration for article titled Charles Dickens Turned His Dead Cats Paw Into a Letter Opener

When Charles Dickens' cat, Bob, died in 1862, the writer was devastated. So naturally, he stuffed one of Bob's paws and made it into a letter opener.


Apparently in the Victorian era, taxidermied dead pets were the new black. So at the time it wasn't at all weird. Chuck just opted to preserve the paw, which was used as the handle of an ivory blade engraved with "C.D. In Memory of Bob 1862." That represents a level of intimacy some people don't even have with another human. As disappointing as it is to find out that the writer of David Copperfield was a crazy cat person, it's still kind of sweet (and also weird) that he never wanted to lose the warmth of Bob's furry embrace. [NYPL via Slate]

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Platypus Man

My childhood cat was also named Bob. He died 5 years ago from cat AIDS and it was very sad. I only wish I had known of Dickens's letter opener then... I mean, I still probably wouldn't've done anything differently, but it would have been interesting to know.

Also, having and loving one cat doesn't make him a crazy cat person.