Kattenstoet – the Cat Festival

(Second Sunday in May)
festivalbThe Middle Ages were not kind to cats. In the fifteenth century a papal decree known as the Vox in Rama declared that the devil was known to manifest itself in the form of a black cat. While the decree did not specifically say that all black cats were diabolical, the decree was bad news for dark cats. At this time the church was also keen on having humans burned at the stake for any signs of heresy, and having a black cat was a pretty good sign of heresy.

Even non-black cats were treated badly, even by the very low standards of medieval Europe. A good example of this was in the city of Ypres in Belgium. Ypres is now famous for the WWI battle fought nearby, but in the Middle Ages it was a center of the cloth industry, weaving fine garments from cloth imported from England. Both the wool and the finished cloth were stored in ‘Cloth Halls’, where, given Medieval standards of sanitation, the product rapidly became infested with mice.

Read more at knowyourcat.info.


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