Feeding Cats: The Cat's Meat Man was a Real Job in the 1800s

Posted by Samantha Bubar

If you're thinking of changing careers, and you love cats, this might be the perfect job for you.

However, this position is a little outdated. In the 1800s when cobblestone streets were filled with vendors and carts, there was also a cart that made its round with felines in mind: The Cat's Meat Man.

The what?

Now, to clarify, this meat is FOR cats, not OF cats, as a quick read of the job title may imply. This vendor sold fresh meat kabobs for the felines running about town. You could stop by his cart to purchase chunks of meat on wooden skewers for your cat.

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The meat was essentially leftovers from slaughterhouses, and these cart vendors would wheel around town calling out. Customers would come running to purchase these cuts for their kitty companions.

The Cat's Meat Woman

Later in the 19th century, this became a predominantly female profession. The carts were topped with a cutting block so that you could order your meat to size for your feline companions.

The ladies wheeling these handcarts around town were followed by regulars. Both wealthy and poor, feline and human, padded along behind the cart.

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This profession is often talked about in literature taking place in Victorian London and also mentioned in a biography of Charles Dickens as his favorite theatrical performance to put on for his parents.

Cats Haven't Forgotten

Domestic house cats still think of themselves as royalty. Perching at the highest point of any room to survey their lands, and their subjects, as well as claiming all the prime nap spots in every room, may be reminiscent from the time when they had full service from street carts.

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But cats have always been treated like royalty. In Ancient Egypt they were worshipped and they even lived in ancient Mesopotamian communities. Cats aren't likely to let their keepers forget their important pasts any time soon.

Today's Pet Industry

While the Cat Meat Man doesn't seem like a profession that will be coming back any time soon, it does shed light on the importance of pets in different time periods. Obviously pets have always been an important part of our lives.

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When you're having a particularly rough day at work, just think, you could be working in Victorian London pulling a cart full of meat on sticks, waiting for cat owners to flag you down!

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Feeding Cats: The Cat's Meat Man was a Real Job in the 1800s