A 16th century artillery master who worked for German princes and fought against the armies of the Ottoman Empire, Franz Helm, advised readers of a Heidelberg University manuscript who wanted to capture an enemy’s castle to “obtain a cat from that place” and bind to the back of the cat “a small sack like a fire-arrow”.
Franz then advise the readers to ignite the fire-arrow but which looks like a rocket and which was apparently some sort of incendiary device and then let the cat run in sheer terror to what he predicted would be the nearest castle or town where the cat would hide himself in perhaps a barn where there was hay and straw and set it alight. That was the tortuous and torturing process which was meant to gain an advantage over the enemy.
Of course, it was not only a fanciful idea but also an abject act of gross cruelty against an innocent cat.
The illustrations of what is now being referred to as a “rocket cat” show what appears to be a rocket attached to the back of a cat. The illustration appears to be misleading because, as mentioned, it is simply an incendiary device designed to set fire to something and not to propel the cat towards the enemy lines.
The rocket cat is sadly a forerunner of the well-known kamikaze pilot of the Second World War. There you have it, an early version of cat abuse in the interests of human warfare.
This actually reminds me a little bit of the method that prisoners devised to bring in drugs and other items into prison. People outside the prison strapped the items to the cat and then the cat was allowed to walk into the prison or jump over the wall, I presume. I have no idea how successful this was but clearly remember this in a newspaper article.
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