R.C. Lehmann (1856-1929) was a member of the House of Commons, a longtime contributor to the periodical Punch, and a founding editor of Granta. Why do I always seem to find these kinds of polymaths are British? In 1913 he wrote a tender, short book about animals he had known, in which he includes the following vignette from another writer's travels:
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. . . Evidently Sir Frederick (Pollock) is a "catanthropist"—the word was invented by Wilkie Collins, I find it used by him in a letter written to my mother in 1866:
"Oh, I wanted you so at Rome—in the Protestant Cemetery—don't start! No ghosts.—only a cat. I went to show my friend Pigott the grave of the illustrious Shelley. Approaching the resting-place of the divine poet in a bright sunlight, the finest black Tom you ever saw discovered at an incredible distance that a catanthropist had entered the cemetery—rushed up at a gallop with his tail at right-angles to his spine—turned over on his back with his four paws in the air, and said in the language of cats: 'Shelley be hanged! Come and tickle me!' I stooped and tickled him. We were both profoundly affected."
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Why would Wilkie Collins be writing his mother? No surprise there: his mother, Nina, and his father Augustus were part of a circle that included Dickens, Browning, and George Eliot.
-- Lehmann, R. C. 1856-1929. (1913). A spark divine: a book for animal-lovers. New York: E. P. Dutton & Company. 43-4.