You Adore Your Pussy, Admit it!
You play with your pussy day and night.
You stroke your pussy whenever the mood strikes you.
You comb your pussy's hair and check for fleas once a month.
You talk to your pussy.
You buy things for your pussy at the drop of a hat.
You brag about your pussy to anyone and everyone.
You even show your pussy off to anyone and everyone as well.
You then smile with pride and contentment when folks compliment you on your pussy.
Some of you even have more than one pussy.
Well, your pussy accepts all this with a sometimes soft, sometimes loud, and very contented Purrr...
When it's not ignoring your attentions in the first place, that is!
What? YOUR pussy doesn't Purr?
Um, excuse me, Dearie, but just WHAT in the heck did you think I was talking about here? Huh? :-D
I love little pussy,
Her coat is so warm,
And if I don't hurt her,
She'll do me no harm.
So I'll not pull her tail,
Nor drive her away,
But pussy and I,
Very gently will play.
See, see! Even in 1830 you could find something about Pussy that was a little risque, if you are not paying attention.
This was an early 19th century nursery rhyme telling a child how to treat his/her pets gently. ;-D
The history of a word:
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, puss was used as a "call-name" for cats in both German and English, but pussy was used in English more as a synonym for "cat": compare "pussycat". In addition to cats, the word was also used for rabbits and hares as well as a humorous name for tigers. In the 19th century, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the meaning was extended "in childish speech, applied to anything soft and furry", as in pussy willow.
According to the Oxford Dictionary of Word Histories, which Daddy has on his bookshelf, the word, and its informal short version "Puss", goes back to the very early 16th century and before.
According to Wikipedia it wasn't until years later that the word began to be corrupted by the Vulgarians:
Philip Stubbs, an English pamphleteer, wrote in his 1583 book "The Anatomie of Abuses" that "the word pussie is now used of a woman".
In the Spring 2002 edition of VOICES, The Women's College Magazine of Santa Monica College, there is this from Aura Bogado:
How did the use of this word come about? Which came first, the vagina, the cat or the coward definition? And how are a vagina, a cat and a coward even related? How do we, as women, take the word back and redefine it to mean something strong?
I hardly hear people refer to cats as pussies anymore, but when I do, it makes me wonder, who associated a cat with a vagina or vice-versa? I know from a French friend of mine that "chat" means both cat and vagina in that language, as well. Can I assume, then, that it's a general Western trend to degrade women? Probably so.
Read the whole essay: Pussy This, Pussy That.
In 2003, in a wonderful essay in the Guardian of London, Justine Hankins writes:
There was a time when you could sing, "I love little pussy, her coat is so warm" without fear of innuendo. There was no pun intended when Edward Lear wrote, "O lovely Pussy, O Pussy, my love, what a beautiful Pussy you are." Puss or pussy has been the nursery term for a cat since the early 16th century. For almost as long, of course, it has also been used to denote sexual intercourse, a woman and female genitalia. (It is safe to assume, for example, that the toast, "Here's a health to thee, to Pusse and to good company", recorded in 1664, was not a tribute to Tibbles.) But not everyone was familiar with tavern slang, and pussy remained a term of endearment for women, as well as cats, well into the 19th century.
As she says, nowadays you can't stroke your Pussy without double entendre.
She wonders "why is it that so many animal names have double, often derogatory, meanings?"
Read the full essay: Don't be so Beastly!
In 1901, the NY Times wrote a wonderful review of what has to be one of the earliest books on the History of Cats, and you can read the PDF version for free!
Google Books allows you to read the section on the Domestic Cat from The Illustrated Natural History by John George Wood, from 1865, which uses the word several times on page 198! ;-D
Also on Google Books is a section of A History of Nursery Rhymes by Percy B. Green, from 1899, that uses the word several times in discussing Cat Poetry, on pages 112 -115! ;-D