Home / Funny / Animals / Oldest Cat Door In The World Has Seen Dozens Of Cats Pass Through Since The 14th Century


In the Middle Ages, cathedrals would have been overrun with rats and mice if cats hadn't roamed the grounds. Cats have been used for centuries to keep insects away at Exeter's magnificent Exeter Cathedral, formerly known as St Peter's Cathedral. In fact, they added a cat flap to one of the building's doors and carved a cat-sized opening into the wood. This adorable sign from a beloved cat owner captivated the internet. There is even historical evidence that these ancient Mauser tribes were well compensated for their hunting services.

Exeter Cathedral was built over several centuries during the Middle Ages. There are two Norman towers, built in 1114 and 1133 respectively, and the 13th-century chapter house has a decadent vaulted wooden ceiling. Most of the stone boys' houses were built in the 14th century, including the magnificently carved bishop's throne. Given the size of this religious centre, it would have required a lot of manpower to keep it running smoothly. Among the contributors were custodians, and cathedral employees in charge of ringing the bells and administering ceremonial vestments. Another special mission seems to have been to pay for the cat in the cathedral.

These clever cats were equipped with an old cat flap - a hole drilled in the north tower door. This led to the interior of the cathedral, where cats could frolic in search of vermin under a magnificent medieval astronomical clock. In return for her services, Cat was paid a large sum of money. His wages from 1305 to 1467 are recorded in the cathedral records. Some records state that 13 pence was given quarterly ``to the customer and the cat'' or ``for'' the cat. The cat's weekly wage amounted to 1 pence, which was probably used by the client to supplement the rodent's diet with other food. It is even possible that he had two cats on his payroll between 1363 and 1366 when his expenses doubled to 26 pence. 

Exeter's working cats have a long history that extends well beyond the Middle Ages. During World War II, an unpaid rat robber named Tom roams churches. Tom probably avoided a bomb that damaged part of the church, but he encountered an owl and lost an eye. His work was highly praised and his likeness was carved in stone in the restored St James's Chapel. Audrey the cathedral cat, a long-haired orange beauty, still uses the world's oldest cat flap, following in the footsteps of many of her great predecessors.

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