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The world's oldest cat door lets working cats enter the Exeter Cathedral since the 14th century

The cats were provided with the ancient cat flap, a hole made into the North Tower door and they entered the cathedral through it.

The world's oldest cat door lets working cats enter the Exeter Cathedral since the 14th century
Cover Image Source: Facebook | Exeter Cathedral

In the medieval days, authorities came up with an interesting solution to get a handle on the problem of pesky mice skittering through churches. The solution was to use felines to keep rats and mice at bay. One of the establishments to enforce this was the Exeter Cathedral—formally known as the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter in Exeter. They also installed a cat-sized opening in the church's door so the cats could come and go as they wished.

Evidence even proves that these cats were paid for their tasks. While the church was built several centuries ago, some of its major parts were built in the 14th century. Managing the church was not one person's responsibility and required many people. The cathedral cat was also a part of those who contributed to the upkeep of the church, reports My Modern Met


 
 
 
 
 
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They provided the cats with the ancient cat flap, a hole made into the church's North Tower door. It led to the cathedral under the astronomical clock, where the cats could sniff around to locate rats and mice. There are even records of the feline volunteers being paid for their services from the years 1305 to 1467. Thirteen pence per quarter was paid "to the custors and the cat" or "for" the cat. The history of cats and Exeter does not end here. Even during the World War II, a cat named Tom was spotted in the church. He was so valued that his name was carved in stone in the restored Chapel of St. James. Even today, the cathedral's long-haired orange cat named Audrey follows in the footsteps of her ancestors and uses the world's oldest cat flap.

 



 

In another interesting story about a cat closer to home, First Lady Jill Biden created quite the buzz online when she introduced the world to Willow, the family's long-awaited feline member. Michael LaRosa, a spokesman for the first lady, said in a 2022 news release that Willow is a green-eyed, gray-and-white short-haired tabby whose name is inspired by Jill's hometown of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. The cat—who came from an unnamed Western Pennsylvania farm—reportedly joined the first family more than a year after she caught the first lady's eye during a campaign trip in 2020.



 

"Willow made quite an impression on Dr. Biden in 2020 when she jumped up on the stage and interrupted her remarks during a campaign stop," LaRosa said in the press release, reports The Washington Post. "Seeing their immediate bond, the owner of the farm knew that Willow belonged with Dr. Biden." He confirmed that the cat was "settling into the White House with her favorite toys, treats and plenty of room to smell and explore." 

A set of photos released by the White House showed Willow adapting well to her new surroundings, wandering through the halls of the White House, sitting on a window sill, taking in the view of the Washington Monument, and sprawling on the Cross Hall of the White House. Willow now shares the White House with Commander, a pure-bred German Shepherd puppy that the Bidens adopted in December of 2021, following the death of their dog, Champ, and the rehoming of their dog, Major.

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