Pawprints 1: tracks of ancient cats

February 19, 2013 • 9:08 am

This week I’ve fortuitously come across three cases of domestic cats leaving their traces in ancient history. I’ll post one daily until Thursday.

Many of us have cats who walk across our computer keyboards and turn what we’re typing into gibberish. Well, nothing is new under the sun.

Here, originally from Eric Kwakkel’s Medieval Fragments website, is what happened to one cat-owning scribe in the fifteenth century (from Twitter, via Matthew Cobb):

Picture 1


11 thoughts on “Pawprints 1: tracks of ancient cats

    1. I had to look it up, but it’s a tegula (one of some tegulae – flat roof tiles).

      (I once worked in a city where the council was determined to have a cacti garden – but not, presumably a roses garden.)

      The word tegular – overlapping like roof tiles, or I guess fish scales – might come in handy. There used to be a gentlemen’s club here in Wellington with the walls tiled like that. I thought it was squamous. Little did I know it was tegular.

    1. A cat working for a living? What do you think they’ve got (human) staff for?

  1. So recreating what happened here, the cat knocked over the ink bottle, walked through the ink with with at least three feet (the paw prints on the blank page look like the same paw twice to me which would also explain the paler look of the second print) and then walked over the manuscript. Actually the prints on the second page are facing a slightly different direction, I think the scribe must have left the room briefly to give the cat the opportunity to put paw prints on the book at its leisure, and then returned to find the disaster. I hope for the cat’s sake it was somewhere else by then.

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