Tuesday, September 2, 2014

How to Play with a Cat, 1658

How to make dainty sport with a Cat.

Mildly Grumpy Cat
Edward Topsell, The History of Four-Footed
☞ "If you will have some sport with a Cat, then get a little Bel, such as the tame Hawkes have at their legs, and tye the Bell something hard at the end of the Cats tayle, and let her go, she feeling of her tayle smart, and hearing of the Bel gingle, she will run up and down as if she were mad, flying against the walls and windowes: then if she can, she will get into some hole to hide her selfe, but when she wags her tayle never so little, then out she comes, and is as mad as before, and never will rest quiet till it be taken off, or she can get it off her selfe."

☞ "Some have shod a Cat round, with putting melted Pitch into foure Walnut-shels, and placing her feet therein, and she will make pretty sport."

☞ "I was told of a merry Fellow that came into an Ale-house in cold weather, and finding but a reasonable Fire, said, Hee would make the Cat pisse it out, and watching his opportunity, he getteth his Hostesses Cat, putting her head betwixt his thighs, and holding her foure feet fast in one hand, and with the other hand held up her tayle neer the fire, and did pisse such abundance that she quite quenched the same."

John White, A Rich Cabinet with Variety of Inventions

Some dainty cat capers from the pre-YouTube era! I imagine the cat would respond by making dainty sport of removing your face from your head.


  1. Yeah, no, this is not quite "playing" with a cat. After this kind of treatment, I'm surprised cats have continued to stick with us.

  2. If anyone actually tried these, at least we know they would have had to deal with clawing and biting pre-antibiotics.

  3. Sounds more like cat-torture to me.

  4. If you've got a better way to put out a fire, I'd like to hear it

  5. These are utterly repellent, historical or no. Not clear what the purpose of resurrecting and broadcasting them is.

    1. Calm down. These posts are for people who wish to learn from the past, rather than just repeating it without knowing. For example, I now know that cats are not useless and in case of a fire the furry miscreant may save my life.

  6. Well, they're better than Cat In A Bottle, wherein you shut the cat up in a bag, hang up the bag and take turns whacking it with a stick. Last one to make the cat howl is the winner. Yeah, that was really a thing.

  7. Dainty indeed. The pre-antibiotics comment have me a giggle.

  8. I bet that ale-house smelled like cat pisse for quite a while after that.

  9. Considering how I felt about my ancestors after reading that I wonder what we will look like to readers a few centuries from now...

    As repellent as the cat stories were I do have to admit I laughed at the comment about the smell of the ale-house thereafter...

  10. A Dutch version:
    Put a cat in an old keg, suspend the keg from a rope so to have it hang a few feet above the ground, then throw sticks or rocks at it. The cat will panick and make the keg move. First to break the keg and let the cat loose wins. As a bonus, whack the cat as well.

  11. Sounds like the pleasure of a sadist


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