Medieval monk cursed cat who peed on his manuscript

By April 30, 2019 Culture, News

Cats have always been a loveable nuisance and felines of the 15th century were no different!

In medieval libraries, cats would stalk the bookshelves looking for rats and mice who would nibble on pages and destroy a lifetime’s work. One such cat in 1420 decided to leave the monks an extra special present while clearing the floors of vermin… It peed on the manuscript!

As any cat owner knows, cat urine is pungent and persistent, however the monk’s work was too precious to throw away just because of one foul smell. Instead, the monk noted the cat’s misdemeanour in the margin of the manuscript.

“Hic non defectus est, sed cattus minxit desuper nocte quadam. Confundatur pessimus cattus qui minxit super librum istum in nocte Daventrie, et consimiliter omnes alii propter illum. Et cavendum valde ne permittantur libri aperti per noctem ubi cattie venire possunt.”

 

Which translates as:

 

“Here is nothing missing, but a cat urinated on this during a certain night. Cursed be the pesty cat that urinated over this book during the night in Deventer and because of it many others [other cats] too. And beware well not to leave open books at night where cats can come.”

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