If you've been following the blog this week, you've seen our posts on a cat that left its pawprints on a medieval scribe's work and another that left its mark on a brick made in England during Roman times that ended up in a remote outpost of the Hudson's Bay Company called Fort Vancouver in Washington State, where it now sits in a museum to be visited by schoolchildren.
I love both of these cat stories, but neither of them is as funny as the duo of anecdotes recorded by Thijs Porck, a lecturer in the Department of English Language and Culture at Universiteit Leiden.
In the first, he recounts the story of a 1420 scribe whose precious work was peed on by one cat and then, the smell being attractive to other cats, many other felines. He had to draw a little picture of a cat and what appear to be hands pointing to the edges of the urine stain. Reader beware, he seems to be saying (here with the original Latin and Porck's translation):
"Hic non defectus est, sed cattus minxit desuper nocte quadam. Confundatur pessimus cattus qui minxit super librum ostum in nocte Daventrie, et consimiliter omnes alii propter illum. Et cavendum valde ne permittantur libri aperti per noctem uni cattie venire possunt."
[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.]