Rutgers University Press publishes "The Cat Men of Gotham" by local author Peggy Gavan

Rutgers University Press publishes "The Cat Men of Gotham" by local author Peggy Gavan

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  • The circa 1925 photo on the cover of The Cat Men of Gotham features a mother cat named Blackie and one of her kittens. The full story of Blackie and police officer James Cudmore is featured in the "Lucky Cats" chapter of the book.

  • To help with her research Peggy Gavan has a huge collection of New York City historical reference books as well as personal contacts at the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery, access to the Museum of the City of New York and other ways to turn up old newspaper articles and other records.

— It's unusual for a publisher to solicit material for a new book rather than deciding to publish a manuscript submitted by the author.

But that's what happened to Warwick resident, editor and author Peggy Gavan when she was contacted by Rutgers University Press.

Gavan writes a blog called "The Hatching Cat, True and Unusual Animal Tales of Old New York," which has been featured in Newsweek and other publications, including The New York Times.

In The Hatching Cat she employees unique stories about animals and their place in the history of New York City to introduce a detailed description along with historic photographs of the city during that period along with biographies of the important people in the story.

The blog takes its name from her first story about The French Hatching Cat, an Angora cat from Paris who enjoyed sitting on eggs and was brought to Palisades Amusement Park in New Jersey to demonstrate her hatching skills.

An article about one of Gavan's stories in The New York Times caught the eye of an executive at Rutgers University Press who contacted her and suggested she submit a compilation of cat stories for an upcoming book to be later titled, "The Cat Men of Gotham: Tales of Feline Friendships in Old New York."

'A diverse array' of cat loversIn a summery of the book, Gavan wrote: "The nineteenth century was a rough time to be a stray cat in New York City. The city's human residents dealt with feline overpopulation by gassing unwanted cats or tossing them in rivers.

"But a few lucky strays were found by a diverse array of men," Gavan added, "including firemen, cops, athletes and politicians who rescued them from the streets and welcomed them into their homes and hearts."

The book features 42 stories in nine cat-lives chapters.

In addition to some favorite stories from the Hatching Cat blog, there are 25 photographs and lots of new stories never before published on the site as well as numerous new historical facts.

Essentials• The book will also have a thorough list of all sources, so the reader can read the actual stories in all the old newspaper articles online that Gavan used for her blog at

• Although the book will not be officially released until May, it is the custom of the publisher to test the market by making "The Cat Men of Gotham: Tales of Feline Friendships in Old New York," available for pre-ordering at a 30 percent discount using the code: 02AAAA17.

• And there is no charge for shipping in the United States.

• For information on pre-ordering visit or call 1-800-621-2736.

Peggy Gavan is the daughter of Warwick Advertiser writer and photographer Roger Gavan.

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