Estate Owners Welcomed Cats to Roam!

Women and Cats will do as they please…: Photo From

For all the amusing comments of those who enjoy reading books from the Regency era (both men and women) suggesting they’ll end up alone with only a house full of cats to keep them company? In the Regency era, cats were not kept as pets, coddled, or snuggled as attempted today. Instead, cats ruled an estate precisely because they worked for their vittles!

As one of the few, if not the only, animals to domesticate themselves, cats have been known to stay where the food is offered. The more intelligent cook might put out cream; hence, estate cats roamed, taking care of mice and rats. In times of the plague, smallpox, leprosy, and other diseases killing the masses, a pet that would kill disease-ridden vermin was cherished.

The Wool Winder by Jean-Baptiste Greuze, (1725-1805)

A playful cat that had enjoyed a night of hunting might find a sewing circle the most interesting thing. During the day, they may be roused by a ball of string or a length of ribbon, but by night they were, and are still, one of the uniformly deadliest creatures on earth. Moreover, they hunt indiscriminately, so the poor squirrel and the family rabbit may be the offering to the cook for another bowl of milk.

After countless hours learning about cultures that revere cats, particularly Ancient Egypt, I greatly appreciate that cats allow us their company. I’ve even visited Venice, a city full of cats. For the price of a regular dinner, most cats keep a vigilant eye out for pests. Of course, they may have made other plans and will never consult you, but it’s best to keep the bowl full for when they return.

Sources for Estate Owners Welcomed Cats to Roam!:

Zax, David “A Brief History of House Cats” Smithsonian Magazine June 30, 2007, A Brief History of House Cats | History| Smithsonian Magazine

Matthews, Mimi “The Character of Cats: Depictions in Georgian and Regency Literature” Mimi Matthews May 28, 2015, The Character of Cats: Depictions in Georgian and Regency Literature | Mimi Matthews

10 responses to “Estate Owners Welcomed Cats to Roam!”

  1. Alice McVeigh Avatar
    Alice McVeigh

    Very characterful account!! Gotta love cats!! (though dachshunds are even better…)

    1. kimbelle1 Avatar

      I knew some of the dog lovers would frown, but they get many a JAFF tale for their eager and enjoyable friends. It was a fun post to research and I was pleasantly surprised! Thank you for reading it today~

  2. elaineowenauthor207097889 Avatar

    I adore both cats and dogs, but guess which one my family is allergic to! Therefore I especially love a JAFF that includes a feline friend. Nice to see the pictures here!

    1. kimbelle1 Avatar

      In truth, I have always enjoyed both animals, but I prefer cats as an overnight trip does not mean so much planning. I thank you for finding a minute betwixt all your other activities to read my post today, Elaine!

  3. suzanlauder Avatar

    I’m a cat lover and always enjoy a story where a cat figures in as a minor character. Thanks for this article!

    1. kimbelle1 Avatar

      Hi Susan, so glad you enjoyed my post! I loved learning that they were welcomed and wanted by estates at the cat’s discretion as well. Thank you for taking a moment with me and the other authors on the blog today~

  4. cindie snyder Avatar
    cindie snyder

    Love the pics! Cats really were something special at that time. My sister has a cat that we love,I have a dog and we love him too.

    1. kimbelle1 Avatar

      Hi Cindie, it is always more fun for households that can love both cats and dogs, that is for sure! I know we had both a cat Jody and a dog Buffy when we were growing up, and though many favored the dog because it would play with them, I preferred the cat as she would come snuggle as I read, purring in contentment as I lost myself in Narnia and other such wondrous places. Thank you for taking the time and glad to know you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it~

  5. Barry S Richman Avatar

    Excellent piece on our ‘feles’ friends. I challenge Venice and their cat population to visit my current home in Turkey, where cats run everywhere and are nurtured heartily by the local population.

    1. kimbelle1 Avatar

      Barry, that truly was one of the most wonderful parts about Venice for me, and I was happy to share my meal with the felines who meandered through the streets! But you are also correct in that the middle east has them roaming everywhere as well!

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