February 24, 2013
Cats: Destroying Stuff Since Forever
There are three stories in The Atlantic that demonstrate how cats have left their mark, literally, in work from distant times. The first documents cat paws in a brick from Roman times that ultimately wound up in construction at Washington State’s Fort Vancouver, probably from the early 1800’s. The second tells the tale of a book dating from March 11, 1445 with inky paw prints across the page. The book in question is described as a something akin to a 15th century Federal Register. The third is the story of another book, this one from 1420, where a cat marked it in another way. The scribe who created it lamented on the page in question that a cat urinated on the open book. He wound up drawing pictures of hands that marked the outer edges of the stain, along with a drawing of a cat. The moral? Don’t leave your books open at night when cats are around.
I have dealt with multiple situations where a cat has
changed my computer settings by pressing a combination of keys through walking
or laying on the keyboard. Once I found a computer
mouse dangling off the table by the merest shred of a cable. The cat may have been entertained by the
mouse, but I wasn’t. There was a time
where I built my own machines, and like most that do so, I kept the side of the
case open for easy access. I did, at
least, until I discovered my cat had decided the open case was a great substitute
for a litter box. Little was
salvageable. Not only do I keep the
cases closed now, I throw towels over them to keep them safe from curious paws.
It seems cat behavior hasn’t changed a
bit in 2,000 years, only the objects of that behavior.
Pictured: The cat who loves computers. [MG]