Cats Hired To Deliver Mail

Grace Higgins | January 21st, 2020

Over the centuries, humans have always looked for new ways to deliver messages. We started by running messages from one place to another, and then it was via non-stop horseback riding and at one point carrier pigeons were quite successful. In Alaska and Canada, there is a history of delivering mail by dog sleds. We can even find evidence that in Alaska, there was an attempt of using reindeer to deliver written letters.

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History is filled with stories of how people communicated and delivered messages across vast distances. We had the Pony Express from East America to West America, and birds delivered many messages in ancient Greece. In fact, the way we communicate has shaped society, just think of the impact of the telegram on the telephone to the internet and email.

One story that is pretty crazy though, is the time that cats were thought to be a good idea to deliver mail. Cats, unlike dogs, don’t really care about pleasing you and have a mind of their own, so why would they seem like a good animal to deliver mail? Some cats even go where they are not supposed to go, just to annoy their owners. With the general personality of a cat being feline indifference and their love at lazing around in the sun, you would wonder why anyone would think this was a good idea. But the city of Liege in Belgium did, and they even got to the point of hiring over 30 cats just for the purpose of deliveries.

In the 1870s, you may have seen cats running around the streets of Liege with messages attached to their necks. Of course, the messages were in waterproof bags, this way the city of Liege and its surrounding cities could easily communicate with each other – at least that was the plan. Some feared the cats would be attacked and robbed by their dreaded nemesis: the dog.

Did the endeavor work at all? No, not really, it was scrapped after a little time. One particularly smart cat seemed to get the drift of the game and did deliver his message in under 5 hours. Most were not interested in delivering messages at all and simply went back to their own home, following their instincts of asking their owners for tuna.

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