Roman Cats

In Ancient Rome cats were welcomed as vermin controllers but were given no great affection. Most representations of cats in Roman art show them in workaday situations with no suggestions of reverence or mystical powers, for example, a mosaic from Pompeii shows a pigeon being attacked by a cat. The cat is shown realistically and not idealized at all. The Roman Army however recognized the value of cats as store watchmen. They carried cats with them through Gaul and eventually to Britain. The Roman colonial families soon became avid pet owners (some even kept larger cats as well as the domestic variety). Today there is no doubt that some of their cats strayed and interbred with Felis Silvestris, which is the wild cat that was at that time common across the higher land of Britain and Western Europe. In the Fourth Century AD when the Romans retreated to Rome, they left behind their cats.

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