Porcelain cat figurine, 'Votes for Women'
Cats like this often featured in Suffragette imagery, sometimes even satirising the campaign. Many commercially produced items were not particularly sympathetic to the cause; Suffragettes were depicted as mewing kittens or vicious cats screeching for the vote. Later in the Suffrage campaign cat imagery showed the violent realities of women's struggles, particularly those associated with the 'Cat and Mouse Act'. This Act officially known as the 1913 Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill-Health) Act, was introduced by the government to deal with the problem of hunger striking suffragettes. It allowed for the early release of prisoners who were so weakened by hunger striking that they were at risk of death. They were then recalled to prison once their health was recovered, where the process would begin again.