This Week in Cats: November 27, 2016

"I and Pangur Ban my cat,
Tis a like task we are at:
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night."

Us twenty-first century folks love cats. But we're not the first humans to discover the beauty of tiny adorable carnivores. Ancient Egyptians loved cats. And medieval Europeans loved cats. And since the internet loves cats, the internet sometimes gives us listicles about medieval cats.

So, for the Thanksgiving/Let's Get Medieval edition of This Week In Cats, I give you a Buzzfeed link (It's a listicle--where else would I be sending you?) to twenty-three pictures of cats from medieval manuscripts, including the one up top, of a snail cat.

(Snail cats died out in the Renaissance; cue forlorn version of "Greensleeves.")

But medieval people didn't just love drawing cats, they also loved writing poems about them. "Pangur Ban" is a ninth-century Irish poem about a monk and his cat, quoted above and full text available here. And if that's not enough to sate you, you can always check out the longer--but more exciting!--medieval romance by Chretien de Troyes about Yvain, the Knight of the Lion. The lion is his sidekick, and it's absolutely as wonderful as it sounds.

Enjoy!

This Week in Cats is a weekly (more or less) post about all things cat-related. The nature of what “related” means in this context will be determined by Sam T. Cat and his plucky sidekick, Josie Kafka. The nature of what “cat” means is unknowable to human brains; all we can do is read, hope for enlightenment, and provide more boxes for them to play with.

3 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Medieval art is so odd. Most of those cats have human faces, and as the commenters on the Buzzfeed article were mentioning, it's not like there weren't cats around that they could use as models, so it was deliberate.

Josie Kafka said...

We have cat-faced cats in real life. Why wouldn't we want human-faced cats as art? :-)

Juan Alberto Roche Rodríguez said...

This got me thinking about this, a fithteen century manuscipt found in Croatia that have the little footprints in ink of a cat http://www.abc.es/Media/201304/12/huella-gato--644x362.JPG
Even in medieval times it seems they used to jump over your work station for your attention. Over your computer today, over your manuscripts back then.