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The Ithaca Kitty is a plush toy designed by two Ithaca women, Celia Mattison Smith and Charity Smith, in 1892. The Ithaca Kitty wasA picture of an Ithaca Kitty plush toy. modeled after Celia's pet cat Caesar Grimalkin. Celia designed the toy to be an easy sew your own project with only three panels, and Charity painted the original likeness. 

Celia and Charity sent their design to the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the "Tabby Cat" was officially patented on July 5th and October 4th 1892. Arnold Print Works in Massachusetts bought the pattern and sold the Tabby Cat print to toy shops and department stores across the United States, and even in Europe and South America.

The Tabby Cat was such popular toy it was displayed at the Worlds Fair in Chicago in 1893 along with four toy Tabby Kittens that Celia and Charity designed and patented in the fall of 1892. In addition to selling millions of copies worldwide, the Tabby Cat toy has inspired poems, songs, children's books, and films

The History Center began re-printing and selling the toy as a sew your own kit in the 1970s. In 2017 volunteers found a picture of Caesar that showed clearly showed his seven toed front paws, and the toy was re-designed so the bottom panel would have authentic polydactyl paws. The History Center sold these hand-sewn Ithaca Kitty toys from 2017-2022 thanks to a grant that printed 500 of the updated cloth panels. All Ithaca Kitties from this grant have been sold. There are no immediate plans by The History Center to sell Ithaca Kitty pillows.


The Gingham Dog & the Calico Cat - Film Screening & Musical Performance

Ithaca Drag Story Hour - Gingham Dog & Calico Cat

Physical Address

Located inside the Tompkins Center for History & Culture

110 North Tioga Street

(On the Ithaca Commons) 

Ithaca NY, 14850 USA

Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫˀ Territory


Exhibit Hall Wednesday-Saturday 10am-6pm - CLOSED Sun-Tues

Cornell Local History Research Library & Archives - By appointment only. Please contact


Email: Refer to Contact page for individual emails, General inquiries to

Phone: 607-273-8284


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