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British Pathe recently released its newsreel archive on YouTube, and it’s full of meowing fur balls

By Kelli Bender
Updated April 22, 2014 04:40 PM
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Feline fanaticism didn’t start with Grumpy Cat, Lil Bub or YouTube. Long before the viral video, kitties appeared on the silver screen.

Cat lovers of the 1900s got their meows from the newsreels screened before films. Now we can too. Newsreel producer British Pathé – formerly Pathé News – recently uploaded its 85,000-video-clip archive to YouTube for all to enjoy.

Spanning 1896 to 1976, this collection contains an impressive number of feline flicks. From unusual animal relationships to the classic battle of kitty vs. water, the themes in these clips should be familiar to any current-day cat video connoisseur.

Below, watch seven pre-Internet kitty vids, and see how much (or how little) has changed.

1. The Cat and Robin (1934)

Before the adventures of Batman and Robin, crowds delighted in the slightly less action-packed happenings of Pappy the Cat and his feathered friend.

2. Cat Adopts White Rat, Treats It Like Its Own Child (1934)

Felines quickly figured out that adorable, odd-couple relationships are an easy ticket to stardom.

3. Cat Beautician (1941)

Now, for a peek inside the glamorous, vintage lifestyles of the rich and the furry.

4. Cat and Bottle (1952)

Talk about bottle service! Here’s a tomcat – or “bundle of cuddles” – who mastered milking the camera and his owners far before the rise of the Web.

5. Cat Artist (1961)

Today, it takes more than a pencil and a paw to get noticed in the animal art world, but without tailed trailblazers like Topsy, who knows if we would have one at all?

6. Cat Village (1966)

Forget modern cat trees: The felines of the swinging ’60s were treated to private bungalows.

7. Olympia Cat Show (1969)

Did puss popularity peak in 1969? Sorry Pathé, it’s 2014 and feline fervor is just beginning.

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