At the turn of the 20th century, George Cook had the title of Superintendent of Federal Cats at the postal service in New York City. It was his assistant, Gustave Fersenheim, who actually fed the many cats that the post office employed for rodent control. Fersenheim was a deaf postal clerk, but as he got older he was allowed to spend his time feeding and caring for the cats, and finding homes for their numerous kittens. Then one day, the post office gained a deaf cat named Tom.
Delighted to find that Tom was a kindred spirit, Gustave adopted Tom by bringing the cat to his desk and feeding him beef. Soon, Tom followed Gustave everywhere as if he were a pet dog.
Gustave began educating Tom by first teaching him to sit up on his hind legs. Then he taught the cat how to make signs for hunger, thirst, and thanks.
Under Gustave’s tutelage, Tom became “a most scholarly and learned cat.” Eventually, man and cat began having long conversations.
Read about Gustave Fersenheim, Tom, and the other trained pets that aided Fersenheim at The Hatching Cat. -via Strange Company