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Cats on the Wall

Object Name: Skill and action game
Date: 1885-1900
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Medium: Cardboard, paper, wood
Dimensions: Container (box): 1 5/8 × 23 1/4 × 13 1/4 in. (4.1 × 59.1 × 33.7 cm)
Place made: North America, United States, New York
Description: "Cats on the Wall" tabletop shooting gallery in a box with two wooden pistols and three wooden balls; cardboard wall with lithographed bricks and shrubs set into a wooden stand; five pins, printed with images of five different cats on the top half and wooden boards on the lower half, are attached to the wall with fabric at the centers; reverse of the pins printed with numbers in the center of a target; paper covered cardboard box top lithogrphed with five cats on the top of a wall and a personified half moon; box cover inscribed, "CATS ON THE WALL/ McLOUGHIN/ BRO'S/ NEW YORK"; instructions printed on the inside of the box top.
Credit Line: The Liman Collection
Object Number: 2000.455
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In turn-of-the-century cities, wild cats proliferated, feeding on the garbage and rats that the authorities consistently failed to remove. Since alley cats were considered pests, few blinked an eye at the way street kids used them for target practice.


Hofer, Margaret K. "The Games We Played: The Golden Age of Board & Table Games." New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2003.


"The Games We Played: Victorian Games from the Liman Collection," New-York Historical Society, December 4, 2001-March 24, 2002.

"Petropolis: A Social History of Urban People and their Animal Companions," New-York Historical Society, July 15-November 2, 2003.