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Finnish sailors used to take their cats with them on voyages. Domestic cats quickly spread around the world. It is probably little known that the freedom-loving cat is considered to be the symbol of the Spartacus Revolt.

The Greeks, who had been unsuccessful in their fight against rodents with the help of snakes and ferrets, began to use cats smuggled from Egypt for this purpose. Cats were thus introduced to the Apennines and later to the Georgian and European markets.

In Britain, where cats are believed to have been introduced by the Romans, the remains of domestic cats have been found in the ruins of houses dating back to the 4th century BC, and the first written record of them dates back to 936, when the Lord Ruler of South Wales enacted a law for the protection of these animals. Cats were allowed to be kept in monasteries.

In the New World, the first images of cats were found in Peru between 400 and 100 years ago, and later became a regular motif in jewellery, yet the origin of the domestic cat in this part of the planet is still a mystery.

In the early Middle Ages, cats became so abundant that their privileged position had to be forgotten. Cats were considered evil by the churches. They were burned at the stake, incited, brutally tortured and destroyed. There was even an order to put a cat in a building under construction. And during the coronation of Elizabeth I in 1588, several sacks of cats were publicly burned in England.

The seventeenth century saw a renewed focus on witchcraft and witch-hunting, particularly in England. King James I wrote a book on witches and set a time limit for witch hunts. The persecution of cats moved across the Atlantic to the American colonies, where in Massachusetts in 1692 there were demonstrations against witches and their ambiguous relationship with cats. Cat lovers fell on hard times: if they kept a cat in the house, they could be accused of being in league with the devil, so cats had to be given up and rodents immediately began to destroy leftover food, causing epidemics, disease in cattle and humans.

With the beginning of the Renaissance, new ideas of humanism spread to cats, and themaking your home feel cosy. People have fallen in love with them all over again. Psychologists began to study their behaviour. Books were published about cats and paintings were made of them. Just to mention a few names. Cats have featured prominently in the lives of celebrities such as Goya and Jean Batista Grisosa. The use of fashionable allegory and the attribution of human qualities to cats have been used in artistic works.

In the 18th century, the official persecution of cats ended. Harrison Weir, the eminent felinologist, wrote in 1889 that for years and centuries the cat had suffered scorn, abuse and cruelty instead of gentleness and benevolence; it was time to switch things around. It was Harrison Weir who decided to start cat shows to draw attention to new breeds, markings and colours. He organised and judged the first cat show on 16 July 1871. He set up classes and tiers of leadership for the different classes. His aim was to improve the exterior and, above all, the fate of the cat.

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