The New York Times has written about a ton of cats over the past 140 years.
That finding is the subject of a new academic paper published in the journal Journalism that chronicles all the different ways cats have popped up in the newspaper: as "commodities, heroes, villains, victims, women's best friends and urban symbols."
The paper's author, University of Illinois journalism professor Matthew Ehrlich, pored through The Times' digital archive to find a wealth of 2,300 stories on cats, starting in the 1870s (the paper was founded in 1851). As tabloids began to compete with The Times in the 1920s, feline faces appeared more often in black and white. In the 1970s, stories began to focus more on animals rights issues, like declawing and spay and neuter programs. Some pieces started to shed light on cats victimized by abuse or experimentation.
Now, the paper has reached peak cat: it averages about one cat story per week. There's even a tag page filled with only cat stories (one headline reads: "Lessons From a Master Cat Photographer").