Warning: Cat’s Eyes Removed

Cat eyes at night
Cat eyes at night
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The title might startle some Americans. It did startle some American tourists driving along a country lane in Suffolk, UK. Frances Knobel said:

“I had no idea – I had to stop the car and go back to see if I had read the sign correctly. It didn’t make any sense and seemed very gruesome that people would boast that poor domestic animals were being so horribly mistreated.”

She was referring to the road sign below:

Warning cat's eyes removed
Warning cat’s eyes removed

Some Americans might know that in the UK the phrase “cat’s eyes” not only refers to the eyes of a cat but also to an invention by a guy who lived in Yorkshire. The photograph below shows you what the invention is.

Cat's eyes
Cat’s eyes

It is based upon the eyes of a cat. You can imagine how he decided to create this product. Mr Shaw was driving home from a pub during a foggy night near his Yorkshire home. He was travelling down a steep hill and saw the classic reflection from the back of a domestic cat’s eyes in his headlights. He suddenly realised that he was driving on the wrong side of the road. I guess he credited the cat with saving his life.

It motivated him to create this product of which, at one time, there were 500 million in the UK. They are also present in the USA where they are known as turtles, buttons or Bott’s Dots.

I can remember a television programme about Mr Shaw. He lived a very simple life even though he became a multimillionaire. He liked television and had one in every room of his home which was a very modest house. He invented his cat’s eyes in 1934 and in 2006 they were voted one of Britain’s top 10 designs.

As for the sign which confused an American visitor, Suffolk county council changed it as follows:

Caution road studs removed
Caution road studs removed

This caused confusion among Brits!

Cat Eyes

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