If you visit Detroit, it’s clear how much the neighbors love the alley cats. I was curious how deep the relationship between cats and humans goes.
It turns out there is a deep history to the connection between cats and the city and its people. Detroit cat culture goes back further than the auto industry! In January 1901 Henry Ford’s first company went bankrupt because he couldn’t convince people that a car could be cheaper than a horse. But there were enough cat fanciers in the city to form the Detroit Cat Club, which held its first cat show that month.
Fast forward to 1910, a time when electric cars were common and Henry Ford had recently begun production of the Model T. Detroit Cat Club is going strong and just opened their first cat shelter to the public. It’s on Howard street, a short walk from the heart of Downtown Detroit. The homes and townhouses here were unique and splendorous, giving Detroit its nickname Paris of the Midwest.
But today, this whole area looks completely different. It’s mostly parking lots and faceless buildings. The house that was the Detroit Cat Club Cat Shelter was demolished in 1957, along with most of the rest of the West Side.
So today we keep the memory of Detroit Cat Club and the 1st cat shelter in Detroit by continuing their efforts in the city of Detroit. Keep an eye out for our full-length episodes about the history of Cats in Detroit on our Patreon and Youtube, along with more present-day cats in Detroit as well!