View Full Version : Never Again The Flying Times

June 28th, 2001, 03:28 PM
I am currently reading a book by David Quammen "The Boilerplate Rhino". It is a collection of his natural history essays and is excellent reading.I always enjoy his stuff and Stephen Jay Gould's.
Anyway, I just finished one of the essays "The Cats That Fly By Themselves".
It seems cats suffered through their own "burning times" during the inquisition era. This is from the book:

"Black cats in particular - but all cats, more generally - came to be seen as embodiments of evil. Febrile religious mythologizers, and the good gullible folk who followed their prompting, began to view cats as demonic...They consorted with witches.
...during this era, there arose the canard that a cat has nine lives.
..."On feast days all over Europe," according to a modern expert named James A. Serpell, "as a symbolic means of driving out the devil, they were captured and tortured, tossed into bonfires, set alight and chased through the streets, impaled on spits and roasted alive, burned at the stake, plunged into boiling water, whipped to death and hurled from the tops of tall buildings, all in an atmosphere of extreme festive merriment."...
More than a few cats were flung down from heights, and the practice seems to have continued for centuries...If a cat somehow survived being tossed from a belfry, its very survival would have reinforced the presumption that it had extraordinary, demonic powers."

He goes on to explain how scientists studying terminal velocity (the speed at which a body falling through air stops accelerating) and some vets working in NYNY (where cats fall from high rises) discovered cats can live through some hellacious falls. A few points:

"The number of injuries per cat actually decreased among cats that had fallen eight stories or more."

Those amazing cats. I'm glad they made through their "Flying Times".

June 29th, 2001, 08:56 PM
That's so cool, idusty!!! Thanks for sharing that! I'm glad the cats made it through as well!!!

Bast watches over us,

Rae )0(

June 30th, 2001, 05:49 AM
Oh my! Thanks for sharing.

July 12th, 2001, 02:01 PM
I read in a cat breeder's and show book, (can't remember the name) that black cats were especially hunted. That's why today, even on what seems to be a pure black cat, you will find a few white hairs. The "pure" blackness is no longer in the gene-pool. Never tested this out myself...
* goes outside to call neighbour's black cat *
I'm glad they made it too!

August 4th, 2001, 06:20 AM
That's awful! I'm glad people don't still hold those terrible beliefs. :(

August 4th, 2001, 06:33 AM

That is horrible. Poor things.... I am a major cat lover, I can't comprehend the terrible things that were done to humans during that time, let alone to poor defenseless meow-meows. :(:(

I am happy our feline friends survived too....
My home would just not be a home without them:)