People
Fact-checked

At PublicPeople, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

How Did Charles Dickens Memorialize His Beloved Cat?

Charles Dickens immortalized his cherished cat, Bob, by turning grief into artistry. Upon Bob's passing, Dickens crafted a unique tribute: he had the cat's paw preserved and mounted onto an ivory letter opener. This poignant keepsake served as a daily reminder of his feline friend's companionship. How might we find comfort in creating memorials for our own lost loved ones?

Charles Dickens once asked, rhetorically: "What greater gift than the love of a cat?" The answer might just be: A letter opener. At least it was for Dickens, in a way.

After the great British writer lost his beloved cat Bob in 1862, he had one of Bob's paws preserved via taxidermy and attached to his ivory-bladed letter opener, so that he might always have a visual reminder of his little feline companion. Dickens had the tool inscribed, "C.D. In Memory of Bob 1862."

Charles Dickens had the paw of his cat, Bob, preserved by taxidermy and made into a letter opener after its death.
Charles Dickens had the paw of his cat, Bob, preserved by taxidermy and made into a letter opener after its death.

It was said that Dickens, the author of some of literature's greatest works, including Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol, loved nothing more than being at home with his cats. And they returned the love, including – according to legend – one that would intentionally snuff out his candle so that it would get his attention instead. For any traveling cat lovers out there, the paw-adorned letter opener can be seen at the New York Public Library.

What the (Charles) Dickens:

  • Dickens is said to have saved several people after a train he was on derailed on a bridge and fell into a river.

  • Dickens died halfway through writing The Mystery of Edwin Drood, ironically leaving the identity of the murderer a mystery for the ages.

  • Dickens was 15 when he landed a clerk job at a law office and picked up shorthand, which prompted him into the writing life.

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Charles Dickens had the paw of his cat, Bob, preserved by taxidermy and made into a letter opener after its death.
      Charles Dickens had the paw of his cat, Bob, preserved by taxidermy and made into a letter opener after its death.