Video file
Four kittens looking up out of a basket alongside an image of a dog being held by someone - it has its head tilted sideways with its tongue hanging out.

Dogs vs Cats

Vintage Dogs and Vintage Cats

Celebrating our Four-Legged Friends
 Mel Bondfield

Whether you're a dog person or a cat person (or maybe you love them both – like we do at the NFSA), we've got you covered. We are showcasing your favourite four-legged, furry friends in our 'Vintage' collections, and they are guaranteed to delight you.

Cool Cats

If it's cuddly cats and kittens you can't get enough of, our Vintage Cats collection highlights some fabulous felines dating back to 1905, plus a few more modern characters that have graced our television screens over the years.

We've included glass slides, television clips, photographs, advertisements and short films like this excerpt from Felix Turns The Tide (1922):

Excerpt from Felix Turns The Tide (1922). Please note: this clip is silent. NFSA Title No. 41374

Felix first appeared in 1919 and the early incarnations of the cartoon cat were very popular due to their simple animation style mixed with storylines that mirrored the social and political events of the period.

Read more about the wonderful, wonderful Felix the Catwidely considered the world’s first animated film star.

Dog Days

If pampered pooches are more your style, our Vintage Dogs collection, featuring some very cute and clever canines, will keep you entertained.

Our collection includes feature film and home movie footage dating back to the 1930s, as well as newsreels, dog shows, advertisements and more.

And if you needed any more convincing that, as the saying goes, dogs are a human's best friend, this 1938 Movietone Newsreel is all you need to see:

Dog as Cycle Passenger, Sydney. Courtesy Cinesound Movietone Productions. NFSA Title No: 129211

Whether you're fiercely taking sides in the dogs versus cats campaign or happily sitting on the fence, we hope you love viewing our Vintage Cats and Dogs collections.

The original version of this article was first published in 2019. The text was updated in 2023.


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