In the middle of The Great Depression, inventor Earl Arnault decided that the country needed was a fun little pick-me-up. He had hoped his Kit-Cat Klock—a cat-shaped clock with moving eyes, a wagging tail, and a pleasant smile—could create some small moments of happiness during troubled times. Now, 86 years after the first Kit-Cat Klock was sold by the Allied Clock Company, the Art Deco-style timepieces are bringing joy to a new generation.
Aside from the bow tie and top paws (at the 10 and 2 markers) being added in the 1950s, Kit-Cat’s appearance hasn’t changed much over the years. She just gets a refreshed wardrobe every now and then. The California Clock Company (formerly Allied Clock) continues to dress Kit-Cat in new yet vintage-inspired patterns, and their latest Exotic Pet Collection includes tiger stripes, camouflage, leopard spots, a giraffe print, and other playful designs.
“Each clock is made in California and one-of-a-kind,” the company explains on its website. “To get their wild new look, the clocks are then dipped in premium hydrographic patterns in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, ensuring no two clocks will ever be the same.”
For each Exotic Pet Collection purchase, customers can go online and download a certificate to “adopt” their Kit-Cat Klock. They’ll receive a lifetime membership card (valued at $10) and they can also choose a charity to benefit from their purchase. The company donates at least $1 to organizations like Big Cat Rescue and The Humane Society with each clock sold.
Although it might seem as if the clocks are making somewhat of a comeback, the truth is that they never really went away. According to the company, someone buys a Kit-Cat Klock once every three minutes. The novelty wall decorations have appeared in several movies, television series, and music videos, including the beginning of Back to the Future and Taylor Swift’s music video for We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.