Sovereign Cats

Even in the palace there is always place for a cat

Cats live not only in the houses and apartments of ordinary people - they also lived in royal chambers. In the Russian history, there are many examples that confirm that cats are able to win the hearts of monarchs. In Russia, cats have always been loved: both for their ability to protect grain barns from rodents, and simply for the fact that they delight us with their grace and gentle purr. An amazing fact: in the old days, cats were even awarded for special merits, and they were also considered the only clean animals and therefore were allowed into churches. And to palaces as well.

Alexei Mikhailovich, the second sovereign from the Romanov dynasty, had a cat. History has not preserved his name, but it has preserved his appearance. And all thanks to the Czech artist Vaclav Hollar, who painted the portrait of His Majesty Cat. The picture, or rather the drawing, is called: "The original image of the cat of the Grand Duke of Muscovy."

There is a legend that the artist tried to convey the character of Alexei Mikhailovich himself in the guise of the tsar's favorite pet. It seems to us that there are some similarities in the images of the cat and the tsar, aren't there?

The great reformer of all Russia Peter I also had a cat. Again, according to legend, the cat moved to the imperial palace (you remember that everyone who ruled before was called simply tsars, and Peter I already bore the title of an emperor) from the house of a Dutch merchant. There is another version: the cat was brought to the capital from Voronezh. We do not know which version is more accurate, but we do know that the cat's name was Vasily and he was considered an honorary member of the sovereign's family - they say that absolutely everything was allowed to him. It is also known that it was Peter I who issued the first decree in the Russian history regarding cats: the emperor ruled "to have cats in the barns to guard them and to intimidate mice and rats."

Love for a cat is definitely inherited. Confirmation of this is the attention shown to cats by Peter's daughter, Empress Elizabeth. When the Winter Palace was being built in St. Petersburg, the Empress noticed that the royal chambers were teeming with mice and rats. It was she who issued the legendary Decree on expulsion of cats to the court dated 1745. “... Having found in Kazan thirty the best and largest cats of the local breeds, convenient for catching mice, send them to St. Petersburg to the court of her Imperial Majesty... And if anyone has such cats, should announce such to the provincial chancellery within three days from the publication hereof, otherwise a fine will be imposed on those who have such cats but have not announced them ... ". These were the ancestors of those very Hermitage cats known by the whole world.

But Catherine II disliked cats. But she valued them. And she also valued numerous paintings from the palace collection, which is why she commanded " divide cats into indoor and outdoor ones, and in order to know the number of the former and latter ones, to keep records". The most beautiful and best hunters were allowed to be indoor. Hunting cats were supposed to guard the royal paintings. However, they appeared in these very paintings even without any royal decrees, for example, in the famous painting by Pavel Fedotov "Matchmaking Major", where we see a cat calmly washing itself in a corner while a terrible bustle flares up around.

However, let us go back to the royal persons. In school textbooks of earlier times, they wrote that Emperor Nicholas I was a cruel man, they even invented a nickname for him - "Nikolas the Stick". Of course, this may be true, but this opinion casts doubt on a tiny fact: Nikolas had a cat. His name has been lost over the centuries, but it is known that the tsar called him "my dear cat" - as he wrote in his letters. However, there are no survived portraits of the tsar with the cat, only the with the dog. Injustice. Maybe the nickname if true, after all?

However ,there is a portrait of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II, even a photo. His Majesty is depicted there surrounded by the entire royal family and with a cat in his arms.

This was possibly Zubrovka, the cat who is called the last tsarist cat in Russia. Tsarevich Alexei was his man, but the whole family adored the pet. Alexei picked up this kitten - of sandy color with white spots - on the street and gave him such an unusual name. They say that the kitten was a real troublemaker: he rushed through the halls of the palace and smashed vases and statuettes. But everyone forgave him for his cute appearance and cheerful disposition.

And this is the Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna. And also with a cat.

So if we were asked what unites ordinary people and royal persons, we would confidently answer: love for cats! Do you agree?