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Patrick Roberts

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Fragments 9

including cats belonging to
Jimmy Doolittle
and Alexander Alekhine

Jimmy Doolittle

James H. ('Jimmy') Doolittle was one of America's most famous aviation pioneers, especially in the years between the two world wars, and one of the outstanding flyers of the twentieth century. He had a distinguished record during WW2 in the United States Army Air Force, reaching the rank of Lt-General.

This early photograph with his mother Rosa and the family cat was taken in Nome, Alaska, where the family lived for a time, and dates from around 1908. Doolittle died in 1993 aged 96. A good biography can be found at Wikipedia.

The photo is used by kind permission of the National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC, and may not be copied.

Jimmy Doolittle as a boy in Alaska with the family cat

Alexander Alekhine with his cat, Chess, as depicted on a stamp from Guiné-Bissau, 2006

Alekhine had a cat . . .

Alexander Alekhine (1892-1946) was a highly regarded chess grand master and also wrote widely about chess. Born in Moscow, he became a naturalised Frenchman in 1927, shortly before the world championships that year. He became the fourth world chess champion (more information about Alekhine at Wikipedia).

Alekhine had a cat which, of course, he named Chess. He used to get the cat to walk over the board before he played games. One of his opponents, subsequently defeated, was quoted as saying, 'When I saw that damn cat I knew I was in trouble!'

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Our featured feline at the head of the page, and your companion through Feline Fragments, is Maggie. She came as a kitten from Powys Cat Rescue. One of their volunteers had seen her wandering around, apparently uncared for, and thought her rather young to be just left to roam. The person 'responsible' for her said she 'didn't care', and so the youngster was taken in for rehoming. Only about 4 months old when I brought her home in 2003, she was a self-assured soul, probably because of her early experience, and was soon climbing all the available trees in the garden. She was a determined hunter in her earlier days, and was usually outside, but now prefers snoozing unless the weather is good. She has superb whiskers — and as the photo shows, loves getting into things! (see it here without the puzzle effect)

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Page created December 2006, with later additions and revisions