The Library Of Congress Just Dropped A Ton Of Free-To-Use Cat Photos & They Are... A Journey

by Mia Mercado

You can never have too many cat photos, right? Well, the Library of Congress certainly thinks so. Behold: the Library of Congress shared royalty-free cat images in a conveniently curated collection. They are a treasure trove of meme-worthy feline photos from the annals of history. Internet, do your thing.

We must start by giving credit where credit is due: this collection of cat wonder was spotted and shared by Twitter user @tenzochris. Chris linked to the image collection which boasts photos of cats and illustrations of cats and cats in various precarious situations. After getting over 3,000 retweets, Chris wrote, “I don't have a SoundCloud or anything, but adopt shelter animals if you have the means to do so.”

If you’re seriously thinking about adopting a pet, you’ve got puppies and kittens a quick “local animal shelters” Google search away. In the meantime, you can peruse the Library of Congress’ wondrous collection of cat imagery. Use it as inspiration for a future feline photo shoot. Turn it into wallpaper for your phone or actual living space. Just stare at it until you feel okay enough to read the news and brave the world.

You can see the full gallery on the Library of Congress website. Now, let’s enjoy some cat pics together, shall we?

You’ve got this piece title “Felis domesticus” from 1872. It’s a standard cat-centric lithograph showing all the key parts of a cat. You’ve got your “eye in sunlight” call-out. You’ve got a close-up of a cat tongue. You’ve got a cat resting its paw on a pink ball of yarn in a way that is both playful and territorial. It’s peak Cat™.

You ever want to see twenty four consecutive photos of a cat running. I mean, you’re here, aren’t you?

“Animal locomotion” is a black and white print of a cat in motion. It’s science. It’s art. It’s culture and, for that, we must clap.

How about a chonky cat drinking milk beside a smol cat? Is that something you’d enjoy gazing upon?

The Library of Congress thinks so as they’ve included “Cat and kitten drinking milk” in the collection.

This is a piece titled “What George Asked The Cat.” It provides neither the question nor the answer, just this 1880s illustration of a young boy talking with a cat. Amazing.

There are pieces that are full and complete moods. There are pieces that are, one might call, #Goals. There are pieces that are just a cat in a Viking uniform because someone in 1936 was like, “The people of the future will love this.”

You ever see a picture of a cat taking a picture of another cat?

You have now.

You want to know what it would look like if a cat stumbled upon a swing music concert? Something like this.


Not into cats? 1) how dare you but 2) you’re in luck. If you’re wondering whether the Library of Congress has a collection of dog imagery as well, wonder no longer.

“This set features photos of Billie Holiday with her dog Mister and more pictures of canines and their humans,” a description for the collection states. The set is a visual feast of good, good dogs from the past.

All animal-ed out? Okay, fine. Why not peruse the Library of Congress’ free-to-use collection of bicycles or football or children’s books? It almost feels like you’re learning or doing research since you’re looking at a dot gov site. I mean, you’re not really, but it still feels like that.

At the very least, if you even need a break from mindlessly scrolling through Twitter or Instagram, perhaps the Library of Congress’ photo collection is the visual palate cleanser you seek. It can be your photo respite in this extremely big, sometimes bad internet world.