Tag Archives: Cats

Tomcats alleged to be kitten-killers? Herodotus nails an old canard for us

Bast cat goddess

My favorite historian has always been Herodotus, that 5th century BC teller of old wives tales, collector of legends (urban and otherwise), belittler of the patently bogus, organizer of amazing twaddle, and story-relater beyond compare. This enterprising Greek traveled the known world of his time collecting stories and tales, sifting them and ruling on their veracity or lack thereof.

He solved a cat mystery for me just this past week – more like a cat slander, because it related to the alleged domestic deficiency of tomcats. I have countless times been told with great assurance that female cats will not let male cats near their litters because toms will kill their kittens. They do this, my informants say, to bring the female back into heat, so the males can commit more whoopee.

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