Concern was expressed at the general ignorance of many people regarding the needs of the domestic cat, so much so that on 16 May 1927 a group of like-minded people gathered together at Caxton Hall in London to form the Cats Protection League, an educational society to raise the status of cats.
The charity’s founder was Miss Jessey Wade, a tireless campaigner for animal welfare and a founder or original member of other societies such as The Humanitarian League, The Pit Ponies’ Protection Society, The Performing and Captive Animals’ Defence League and The League for the Prohibition of Cruel Sports (now League Against Cruel Sports).
|Jessey Wade wrote artciles for The Animals' Friend journal supporting animal rights|
Jessey was personal secretary and friend to publisher Ernest Bell of George Bell & Sons, a London publishing firm who produced the magazines and journals of many animal charities. Ernest was the Editor of The Animals’ Friend and Jessey was editor of The Little Animals’ Friend, a sister journal for children.
Jessey was a prolific writer on animal rights. She wrote articles for The Animals’ Friend, pamphlets for the charities above and sent letters to numerous national and local papers speaking out against the ill treatment of animals. She wanted to see an end to them working in pits and mines, being exploited in circuses and shows and having their fur and feathers used in fashion.
|Tibby the cat and a woman who we think is Jessey Wade |
(From The Aniamls' Friend Cat Book - Credit G Bell & Sons SM)
It was this book that led to Jessey creating the Cats Protection League (CPL) in 1927. Her old friend and colleague Ernest Bell became Treasurer.
|A selection of covers of The Cats' Mews-sheet and The Cat edited by Jessey Wade|
Jessey was a formidable and determined woman, age certainly didn’t dim her energy. She was 67 when she founded Cats Protection, 75 when she stepped down as editor of The Cat magazine and 79 when she retired as Chairman due to ill health. She died at the age of 91 in 1952.
A tribute was written to her in The Cat magazine – “Jessey Wade was an outstanding example of the triumph of mind, or will power, over matter. Petite and of fragile appearance, her indomitable spirit carried her through mental and physical exertions that would have daunted even the most robust. We will never see her like again but her memory will inspire us to continue the task she set us.”
To find out more about Cats Protection’s history, visit www.cats.org.uk/what-we-do/about-us/our-history