Macabre 17th Century mummified cat ward against witchcraft

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The practice of putting sealing up dead animals into the walls of houses has been going since the middle ages in Europe. The belief seemed to be that a dried cat or dog would protect against witchcraft and scare a witches familiar away from the house. It might have also been believed that the presence of these mummified animals also scared away rats and mice.

This cat was discovered behind the plaster when the owner was renovating a house that dated back to the 17th Century. In the walls were also two dried dogs. These people really believed in covering their bases.

As you can see, the cat has been partially eaten by flies, beetles etc over the centuries and in a few places the skeleton is showing through the desiccated skin. The mummified cat has been mounted in a display box which measures 58cm x 43cm x 13.5cm. The whole item weighs 7.5kg. There is a picture wire on the back from where it has been hung on a wall although if I was going to display it like that, I would put mirror wall fasteners on the box to mount it flush to the wall.

This is a great example of a folklore and belief that stretched for many centuries.

 

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