To Animal Lovers, He's the Cat's Meow

Longtime fondness for felines embraced by fellow Catholic cat fanciers
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 21, 2008 9:54 AM CDT
Italian author Jeanne Perego presents a drawing of Chico the cat during an interview at her home near Landshut, southern Germany Friday, Oct. 5, 2007. Chico and Perego have written a book on the pope.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – One group of Catholics who weren't surprised to see Pope Benedict XVI's "softer side" on his visit to the US are devout cat lovers. Benedict harbors a legendary fondness for felines; his house in Germany was filled with them, and in his former Vatican post he looked after cats who visited his building, the New York Times reports. And the affection goes both ways: a German cat wrote a children’s biography of the former Cardinal Ratzinger, with help from a journalist.

The pope’s feline fancy “shows a sensitive side, and I believe it shows that God lives in a person,” said the head of a Catholic animal-advocacy group who was out distributing pamphlets at Yankee Stadium yesterday. “I think all leaders should have compassion for animals.”