Sunday, 18 April 2010

History of Cats - The Black Death

Due to my love of all things feline, I decided to do a bit of research on the history of cats. I am no historian and rely on the internet for my facts - please forgive me if I've made any glaring mistakes :)

I hope you find the results interesting.

1. Cats and the Black Death



The Black Death or Bubonic Plague raged throughout Europe during the early 14th Century and hung around until the 19th Century. Around a third of the population of Europe died..

Before this time, cats had been associated with Satan and witches, many seeing their aloof nature and the fact that they were independent, not subservient, as proof that they were in league with the Devil. Pope Gregory the IX had stated that cats were "diabolical" in the early 13th Century and it became a very popular pastime for cats to be killed en masse. Their population levels dropped significantly.


When infected rats started to arrive in grain cargo from Asia, they flourished due to the lack of predators, infecting more rats and increasing in population. This is considered by some to be a large factor in the spread of the disease.
As the plague gained strength, the cat started to be associated with God’s wrath against sin, and even more were killed in the hope of appeasing God and stopping the plague. Dogs were not safe during this time either, and they also started to dwindle in number. Ironically, the very creatures that could have helped contain the disease were blamed and killed.


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