Killing Cats in the Medieval Period: An Unusual episode in the history of Cambridge, England
Rosemary M Luff, Marta Moreno Garcia
Archaeofauna, Vol.4 (1995)
The partial skeletons of 70 medieval cats were recovered from a well in Cambridge, England. The animals had been killed by having their throats cut and were subsequently skinned and dismembered for consumption by the inhabitants of the town. A metrical study revealed the small stature of the cats in comparison with theose from medieval Colchester and late medieval and early post medieval Norwich, while an allometric analysis showed that the build of the animals was different from those excavated at the early medieval town of Haithabu, Germany, where even the female cats were much larger than the Cambridge males. Both the Haithabu and Cambridge cat assemblages are composed of almost equal proportions of males and females, and this, certainly in the case of the Cambridge sample argues against the slaughtered animals having been held in captivity.