A cat, in Conrad Gessner, Historiae animalium


The British Library

The British Library
London, United Kingdom

In this book by Conrad Gessner, a Swiss naturalist, cats are said to possess ‘a cunning character’. Edward Topsell, the first English translator of Gessner’s work, noted, ‘The familiars of witches do most ordinarily appear in the shape of cats, which is an argument that the beast is dangerous to soul and body.’ Gessner wrote, ‘men have been known to even faint at the sight of a cat’. Cats were one of the creatures pupils were allowed to take to Hogwarts – Hermione had a cat called Crookshanks. Shown here: vol. 1, p. 345


  • Title: A cat, in Conrad Gessner, Historiae animalium
  • Date Created: 1551–87
  • Location: British Library, London, UK
  • Location Created: Zürich
  • Type: Printed book
  • Original Source: 460.c.1.
  • Rights: Public Domain. For more information visit: https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/

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