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Black cat named Oliver. The cat is preserved in a seated position, with a yellow ribbon around its neck and glass eyes. It is contained under a glass dome with an oval wooden base. Also in the dome is a small silver slipper and the remains of a floral bouquet, now badly decomposed. For much of the 19th century cats had been kept primarily to eradicate vermin. They were frequently ill-fed and mistreated, and there were many strays in London. Cats were also widely used for scientific experimentation until they became the subject of anti-vivisection campaigns at the end of the 19th century. Towards the end of the 19th century, cats began to be kept more widely as family pets and companions, particularly amongst the fashionable middle classes. Oliver is an example of this growing trend in pet-keeping.
© Museum of London