Darwin, unfortunately, was a dog person and seemed to dislike cats. I haven’t been able to find much information on Darwin and felids, and my inquiries to Janet Browne, the preeminent biographer of Darwin, have yielded bupkes.
But loyal reader SGM has sent a drawing of a cat that appeared in Darwin’s works (perhaps the only such feline illustration in CD’s oeuvre):
Figure 10 from Charles Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Caption reads “FIG. 10.—Cat in an affectionate frame of mind, by Mr. Wood.”
UPDATE: Greg Mayer, in the comments below, notes and links to two other drawings of cats in the same Darwin book. I’m adding them here:
And note, in the caption to this next picture, Darwin’s denigration of feline back-arching as “ridiculous”. How anthropomorphic of him!
Let us not forget, though, that today is also “Lincoln Day,” for Abraham Lincoln was fortuitously born on the exact same day as Darwin. And Lincoln was quite fond of cats. As the U. S. National Park Service recounts:
Abraham Lincoln, our sixteenth President, loved cats and could play with them for hours. When asked if her husband had a hobby, Mary Todd Lincoln replied, “cats.” President Lincoln visited General Grant at City Point, Virginia in March of 1865. The civil war was drawing to a close and the enormous task of reuniting the country lay ahead, yet the President made time to care for three orphaned kittens. Abraham Lincoln noticed three stray kittens in the telegraph hut. Picking them up and placing them in his lap, he asked about their mother. When the President learned that the kittens’ mother was dead, he made sure the kittens would be fed and a good home found for them.