How to Keep Your Cat, c. 1470

One of the adages I grew up with is that when you move to a new house, you should rub butter on your cat’s paws. Mom said it made sense, because it would keep the cat busy. That advice is older than I ever thought possible, having been published in medieval times.

"If you have a good cat and you don't want to lose it, you must rub its nose and four legs with butter for three days, and it will never leave the house."

The Distaff Gospels

This trick will certainly prevent your cat from running away. It's less clear whether the cat will stick around because of adoration or poor traction.

That’s an entry from Ask the Past, a blog by Johns Hopkins history professor Elizabeth Archibald. She quotes advice from old books, often very old books, whether it’s good advice or not. Mostly not. Here are some other example posts.

How to Mouse-Proof Your Cheese, 1649

How to Fart, 1530

How to Tell if Someone Is or Is Not Dead, c. 1380

How to Impress Girls at a Dance, 1530

How to Sober Up, 1628

How to Play with a Cat, 1658

If you start reading at the home page, you may be busy all day. -via Metafilter


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