Rocket Cats (Need I Say More?)

Hey Grumpy Cat, maybe you shouldn’t feel so down. Consider the plans 16th-Century military leaders had in mind for your species (which is also proof that our online fixation on cats is nothing new): illustrated manuscripts from that time have recently been digitalized showing a strategy of what looks to be rockets or even jetpacks strapped to cats. catrocket


Yes, this was a serious idea found in pre-Renaissance books once owned by nobility. Scholar in residence at the University of Pennsylvania Mitch Frass, who has been making these documents known via social media, translates text from the original German:

Create a small sack like a fire-arrow … if you would like to get at a town or castle, seek to obtain a cat from that place. And bind the sack to the back of the cat, ignite it, let it glow well and thereafter let the cat go, so it runs to the nearest castle or town, and out of fear it thinks to hide itself where it ends up in barn hay or straw, it will be ignited.


The idea was to use cats and other animals as firebombs to ignite besieged towns and castles. Of course, this also touches on another popular cause from impassioned social media users – animal rights.


Crazy, right? Consider, however, just one proposed modern-day military concept, the “Gay Bomb,” which is the informal nomenclature for two theoretical non-lethal chemical weapons that a United States Air Force research laboratory speculated about producing; the theories involve discharging female sex pheromones over enemy forces in order to make them sexually attracted to each other. The theory is that a man’s military focus would be too distracted for combat.


Getting back to European history and animals, we humans have a rich anthropomorphic history. Throughout the Middle Ages, criminal animal trials were held. The earliest recorded trial involved the execution of a pig in 1266. These legal proceedings lasted until the 18th Century.


As much as we marvel at nature’s many strange, exotic and unlikely creatures, humans remain the most eccentric ones.

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