The Cat

Aldrovandus gives us a picture of a curly-legged Cat, but, beyond saying

that it was so afflicted (or ornamented) from its birth, he gives no

particulars. Topsell, too, is singularly silent on the merits of Cats;

but yet he mentions some interesting particulars respecting them:--"To

keepe Cats from hunting of Hens, they use to tie a little wild rew under

their wings, and so likewise from Dove-coates, if they set it in the

/> windowes, they dare not approach unto it for some secret in nature. Some

have said that cats will fight with Serpentes, and Toads, and kill them,

and, perceiving that she is hurt by them, she presently drinketh water,

and is cured: but I cannot consent unto this opinion.... Ponzettus

sheweth by experience that cats and Serpents love one another, for

there was (sayth he) in a certain Monastery, a Cat norished by the

Monkes, and suddenly the most part of the Monkes which used to play with

the Cat, fell sicke; whereof the Physitians could find no cause, but

some secret poyson, and al of them were assured that they never tasted

any: at the last a poore laboring man came unto them, affirming that he

saw the Abbey-Cat playing with a Serpent, which the Physitians

understanding, presently conceived that the Serpent had emptied some of

her poyson upon the Cat, which brought the same to the Monkes, and they

by stroking and handeling the Cat, were infected therewith; and whereas

there remained one difficulty, namely, how it came to passe the Cat

herself was not poisoned thereby, it was resolved, that, forasmuch as

the Serpentes poison came from him but in playe and sporte, and not in

malice and wrath, that therefore the venom thereof being lost in play,

neither harmed the Cat at al, nor much endangered the Monkes; and the

very like is observed of Myce that will play with Serpents....

"Those which will keepe their Cattes within doores, and from hunting

Birds abroad, must cut off their eares, for they cannot endure to have

drops of raine distil into them, and therefore keep themselves in

harbor.... They cannot abide the savour of oyntments, but fall madde

thereby; they are sometimes infected with the falling evill, but are

cured with Gobium."