Tuesday, 5 June 2007

By a Whisker

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Although the veneration of cats is more associated with Ancient Egypt, cats were also symbolically important to the tlatoani - the Aztec rulers of the pre-Hispanic era. Chimalpopoca (died 1427) ordered his scribes to record the lives and deaths of some 300 pet cats, all of which were named after local flowers and plants. The most common cause of feline death is given as 'fatigue' (131 cats), while some of the more unusual reasons for visiting the dirtbox in the sky include the following: 'collapsed while praying' (8 cats), 'jumped from a boat' (3), 'struck down by wildfire' (3), 'rolled into the unknown', 'ate ricaqli pods till burst' and 'pecked by the oracle's geese' (one each).
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