Cat (Animal)

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The cat is a quadraped mammal of the genus, Felis. They are effective hunters, being valued in period and since for their ability to reduce vermin. However domesticated cats were less common than dogs during the medieval period as cats were very often regarded with suspicion. Cats were sometimes contained in wicker effigies and burnt because they were perceived as manifestations of evil. They were also skinned on occasions for their fur, either for warmth or as decoration and fashion accessory and in times of famine they provided meat for the table (in a rather terminal way).

Exeter cathedral had an official cat.

Some individuals have an intense dislike of this animal, although most had some affection as the 15th century "The Book of Curtesy" reminds us not to pet the cat whilst at the table.

Cats are uncommon as a heraldic charge. When they are seen it is frequently in a dormant pose.

See Also