Thursday 7 June 2012

Dead Cats and Politicians

In the distant past in England, UK, "Dead cats which not infrequently were cast into the streets, or accidentally killed there, were sometimes used as objects of sport by the silly, low-minded, and vulgar...."

Lambeth Hustings 1865

In the 18th century and perhaps less so in the 19th century the "time of times" to use a dead cat was to throw it at an unpopular politician as he attempted to deliver his political views during an election. If it was not a dead cat it would have been a rotten egg.

In 1784 a certain Mr Fox was a candidate for the borough of Westminster, the area where the Houses of Parliament (The Palace of Westminster) are situated.

"During the poll, a dead cat being thrown on the hustings (the platform from which the politician pronounced his views - called a "stump" in America), one of Sir Cecil Wray's party observed that it stunk worse than a fox; to which Mr Fox replied there was nothing extraordinary in that, considering it was a 'poll cat'.

Apparently Mr Fox was witty man. "Poll cat" is a pun based on the "polecat" which is a reference to a weasel and not a cat at all as it happens!

In the 18th century dead cats were sometimes thrown into carriages or through open windows as a prank or given a "presents".

References and quotes: Our Cats and all about them - Harrison Weir

Copyright: Assessed as lapsed due to passage of time.

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