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Remains of 900 cats found in Spanish pit

What may be evidence for the medieval trade in cat fur has been found in a pit in Spain containing the remains of over 900 domestic cats.

The state of the bones suggests that most of the felines were 9 to 20 months old when they died. The researchers said this age was likely the best for cat-fur usage, when the felines were relatively large but their fur was still free of damage, parasites or disease.

Cat skinning has been seen widely at numerous archaeological sites in northern Europe, especially Britain and Ireland, the researchers said. “The skins were basically used for making garments, mainly coats,” as well as collars and sleeves, said study lead author Lluís Lloveras, a zooarchaeologist at the University of Barcelona. “Some texts also make reference to the healing qualities of cat skin, but also to its possible harmfulness.”

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Story: Charles Q. Choi, Live Science | Photo: L. Lloveras et al./International Journal of Osteoarchaeology

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