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PostDid Hitler Hate Cats? Mussolini as Cat Lover (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 06/13/21 3:55 am)
Many thanks for your kind words to me. You are really kind and a good friend.
About the fact that Hitler did not like cats, there is really no proof. For certain he was a great animal lover, as well as a vegetarian, and he hated hunting. Eva Braun was a cat lover, preferring them to Hitler's dog Blondi. There is a photo of Hitler, published in 1934, while he is feeding two small fawns with the caption: "Der Führer als Tierfreund." If Mussolini's first laws were for social justice, the first laws of Hitler in 1933 were for the protection of animals.
The myth that Mussolini hated cats comes from John Gunter (1901-1970), who in Inside Europe wrote: "The things that Mussolini hates most are Hitler, the aristocrats, money, cats and old age." But Il Duce's son Romano, the fine jazz pianist and painter (1927-2006), relates in his book about his father that the family had a Persian cat loved by his father. Mussolini would sit somewhere else when the cat was occupying his favorite armchair. A photo also exists of Mussolini as PM petting his cat while working.
About Romano Mussolini, I had the good fortune to attend two of his concerts, even if I am not a great jazz fan. After the concerts, I had the chance to talk with him for quite a long time and he was extremely pleasant. Romano did not participate in politics but his daughter Alessandra has been a good politician in the Italian and European Parliaments. She has always forcefully defended her grandfather. Last year she decided to leave politics.
JE comments: I was tempted to bring up Mussolini in my cat comment yesterday, but Eugenio Battaglia beat me to it. The accepted narrative is that Il Duce was an ailurophobe (a fearer/hater of cats). I found this quip on the Reddit (admittedly, a questionable source): "Hitler detested cats with a passion, but not as much as Mussolini."
In the second photo below, Il Duce does appear a bit panicked. "Michi" is far more relaxed.
So, did Mussolini love or hate cats? Eugenio, do we have any refutation of the common wisdom other than son Romano's claim? I suspect that the Cat Litmus Test is applied both ways--it's not just that unsavory public figures happen to hate cats. Ailurophobia is a necessary trait of a depraved leader.
Two outliers: Lenin was a famous ailurophile (third photo), and Eisenhower, whom everyone liked, didn't apply this sentiment to felines. (In a bizarre coincidence, Mussolini's and Lenin's respective kitties bear a striking resemblance to each other.)
Eugenio, when time permits, tell us about Hitler's laws for protecting animals. What a contradiction, that Hitler.
Hitler's Laws Against Animal Cruelty
(Eugenio Battaglia, Italy
06/14/21 4:35 AM)
As a young PM, Mussolini had a cat named Tobia. The photo you posted of il Duce petting a cat while working at his desk most probably depicts Tobia. Il Duce had a painting made of the cat and placed it in the Sala del Mappamondo where he would receive foreign diplomats.
Plus, consider the cat mentioned by Romano Mussolini in his book about his father and family.
Therefore I strongly believe that Mussolini did not suffer from ailurophobia (fear or hatred of cats) but was strongly suffering from inimicus bellum psycologia (enemy warfare psychology) which is much more terrible and can be fatal as in his case.
Hitler became PM on 30 January 1933. On 21 April 1933 the Reichstag passed a law on the slaughter of animals for which food animals could be killed only without suffering. This law prohibited the prehistoric or medieval ritual slaughter of Kosher or Halal, by which the animals slowly die from bleeding out completely.
Of course, such a law has been accused of racism. In Italy to avoid such an accusation, ritual slaughter is (criminally?) permitted with the understanding, apparently, that some people believe that God enjoys the suffering of animals. What the hell kind of God is that?
On 24 November 1933, the Reichstag passed another law for the protection of animals that prohibited vivisection (Hurrah!) but it is said (how reliable?) that in a few cases special permission was granted to practice it. In 1934 the Reich hosted in Berlin an international conference for the protection of animals. It is believed that the Nazis were seeing the protection of the animals not through an anthropomorphic point of view but through a point of view in defense of animals per se.
On 18 March 1936 a law was enacted for the reforestation and the protection of wildlife, more or less copying the great work carried out by Fascism in Italy and in its colonies. About reforestation, Mussolini said (and it was written in many posters): "I love trees, defend them and I will help you to defend them."
Consider too the 27 March 1936 law on the slaughter of cold-blooded fish and animals, the 9 September 1937 law for the safe transportation of animals, and the 1938 introduction of the teaching of the protection of animals in the schools. The present laws about animals in Germany are almost the same, the only Nazi laws remaining.
Hitler already in 1933, just arrived in power said: "In the new Reich, there cannot be any more cruelty against animals."
By the way, the famous mappa mondi made around 1500 disappeared with the Resistance.
JE comments: I may have been callous yesterday when I called Hitler a "contradiction"--such an innocuous word for history's worst villain. How could his regime have been sensitive to animals and sadistic to the most vulnerable humans? Consider not only the horrific policy of "racial hygiene," but also the systematic killing of the physically and mentally challenged.
I just Googled the 1934 Berlin conference for the protection of animals, and found nothing beyond general references to it taking place. The source below claims that the conference dais was adorned with swastikas and the following slogan: "Entire epochs of love will be needed to repay animals for their value and service." That's one Nazi soundbite we can all get behind: