Friday, November 3, 2017

From The Caturday Files

Why Medieval Cats Approved of the Plague
Toward the end of the 15th century Pope Innocent VIII issued a decree that put the Vatican’s official stamp, yet again, on cat hatred, declaring it to be an unholy creature. He demanded that, whenever a witch was burned, her pet cat (if she had one) was to be burned with her. Worse than that, some witch-finders insisted that anyone owning a cat must automatically be a witch. For even the most ardent cat-lover, this was too much. When asked whether the pleasures of owning a cat could outweigh the nightmare of being burned alive, there was only one answer. As a result, the population of household cats began to decline rapidly.

When cat populations were decimated in this way, rats and mice flourished, and when flea-infested rats brought widespread epidemics to Europe it was seen by some as a case of the cats getting their revenge for the horrors to which they had been subjected. As one writer put it, if the murdered cats had ghosts they would have enjoyed a vindictive satisfaction in watching the mass suffering of the human population.





1 comment:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Yeah, don't mess with cats. Their revenge is swift and terrible.