The rainy season has commenced with a vengeance in the PNW. Our favorite weather-blogger, Cliff Mass, has a lot to say about the change of season here. We’re scrambling to get things buttoned up before the rain turns to snow, from building covered parking for the pony trailer to getting the garden all harvested. Never a dull moment, studying the latest radar animation and dashing out to work between squalls…
Our cat-loving readers of Irish descent might be interested to know that our ancestors made provisions for their feline friends in the Brehon Laws. The laws set out a compensatory value for all kinds of critters, and cats were valued not only for their mousing abilities, but for their attractiveness as pets. A cat that could both purr and guard the barn, mill & grain drying kiln against mice was worth 3 cows. If it could only purr it was worth 1 1/2 cows. A kitten was worth 1/9 of its mother until it was independent, then its value depended on its abilities.
It wasn’t all peachy for cats though. There were fines for kitties who used the wrong areas as a littler box, and also for stealing stored food. Cats were considered to have ‘kitchen immunity’ though, and food had to be tightly stored before feline thievery was a punishable offense.
Our Irish ancestors named their kitties much like we do today: Cruibne ‘little paws’; Rincne ‘spear’; Pangur Ban ‘dusty white’, describing their appearance and personalities.
The kitties of Seven Trees are just as valuable today, not only for their prowess in keeping our food safe, but as companions and entertainers, like our silly Magnus.