It wasn't long after the development of the first permanent photography in the 1820s that cats started to show up in photos.
Cats have been a preferred subject of photographers for a very long time.
The oldest photograph with a cat as the subject is believed to be this daguerreotype from between 1840 and 1860 of a tabby with white mittens drinking from a dish.
This daguerreotype also dates from between 1840 and 1860 and shows an unidentified man sitting with a tabby cat in his lap.
To get a clear picture with daguerreotype photography, you needed to sit still for at least several seconds, which is why the cat's face is blurry while the rest of the picture is in focus.