Mummified walled up cats for sale on ebay. Is this ethical?

At the time of this post there are two mummified cats for sale on ebay. One is described as a “MUMMIFIED WITCH’S CAT – WALLED UP – GAFF 18th CENTURY” and the other as a “Real Rare Mummified Cat With Rat And 2 Mice From The Haunted Museum”. A third on offer appears to have been sold. There were complaints about it. There are two aspects to these offers to purchase which are of interest. I have reluctantly published the photo below. I feel that I have to so people can decide for themselves. Google may object.

Mummified walled up cat
Mummified walled up cat. Photo: eBay.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Historical context

At one time (perhaps several hundred years ago), in some European cultures it was believed that if you put a dead cat inside an internal wall of your home it would ward off evil spirits. It would protect you. This was a superstition which seems to hark back to witches familiars. Unfortunately for the domestic cat the legacy of those hundreds of years of persecution during medieval times (because they were seen as the embodiment of the devil) has been carried forward to the modern era. Although today no one could see the logic in the process as it is pure superstition. That said, it is entirely possible that the superstition exists to this day in some developing countries.

It is speculated that on occasions living cats were placed inside the walls. If this is so, and it is very possible, it was an act of gross cruelty.

Mummified domestic cats have been found concealed in the walls of homes in Europe and North America. We are told that the occurrences of this in North American come from European settlers. In some examples the cats are accompanied by rats or mice. One of the eBay adverts features a cat and a rat. It is almost certainly a genuine walled up cat and rat from hundreds of years ago.

For a while it was speculated that the cats had become trapped and died of starvation and a lack of water but they were found in locations that made the theory untenable. For example, they were inside the cavity of a brick wall.

Ethical context

Should ebay allow these items to be sold on its platform? As mentioned, the practice of walling up cats may well have incorporated cat cruelty. The potential link to cat cruelty would make the sale of mummified walled up cats unethical. There are calls for the items to be removed. The photographs are unpleasant. They whole concept of selling a desiccated cat which was found in a 16th century cottage is unpleasant and macabre. Some people will object to it while others see nothing wrong. Cat lovers, of which there are millions, would probably find their sale objectionable. I am one of those.

Some more on cat superstitions

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2 thoughts on “Mummified walled up cats for sale on ebay. Is this ethical?”

  1. I see nothing wrong with display one is a museum. This was done thousands of years ago and unlike a taxidermy cat, nobody is going to kill a cat and mummify I have 3 in my cat museum and nobody has objected. Real museum specimen are almost impossible to buy and can cost thousands of dollars.

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