As anyone who's ever tried to get some serious writing done in the same room as their cat knows, felines are skilled at finding ways of redirecting attention back to them. Nowadays, that often involves kitties clamoring over our keyboards, or basking in the warmth atop our laptops -- but, as it turns out, cats it medieval times also knew how to get in their owner's way.
Doctoral student Emir O. Filipović was perusing through some centuries-old texts last year when he happened upon a manuscript whose pages bear the indelible mark of one ancient cat's unsubtle protest.
While it might not have been the kind of history lesson he'd been expecting to uncover, Filipović writes that the discovery offers a rare glimpse into the timeless battle between a cat-owner and his pet:
The photo of the cat paw prints represents one such situation which forces the historian to take his eyes from the text for a moment, to pause and to recreate in his mind the incident when a cat, presumably owned by the scribe, pounced first on the ink container and then on the book, branding it for the ensuing centuries. You can almost picture the writer shooing the cat in a panicky fashion while trying to remove it from his desk. Despite his best efforts the damage was already complete and there was nothing else he could have done but turn a new leaf and continue his job. In that way this little episode was ‘archived' in history