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I believe one of the reason why there were few cats around is because they used to eat them. And once in a while the restaurant cat catches would pick up an pet cat they may find and take them back to the restaurant. I recall seeing felines in glass exhibits out the front of the restaurants. But somewhere within then and today they restricted eating felines. So cats are now not on the menu and today there are felines everywhere. Most of them began in someone's house and received thrown away, since many are very friendly. Also they have got this thing about abdominal worms. And in those days China was not as modern as now so stomach worms is a problem. Fleas aren't a really problem because they may have tile floors and real wood furniture.
Then the nine lives of the humble feline who only wished to help mankind by eradicating rodents that taken disease took a significant change for the even worse during the dark ages. Where witch hunts and burning up at the stake were the norm. Someone who didn't like pet cats somehow connected these to witches plus they were burnt at the stake with there owners. How they made that interconnection I'll never know. It began with Pope Gregory IX in the 1232 who regarded the common house cat as diabolical. Then to make matters more serious in1484 along came the greatest feline killer of all time, Pope Innocent VIII, who decreed something along the lines of all cats came from hell and should returned to the fires of hell by fire. Cats were mercilessly prosecuted and were burnt so they might go back to the fires of hell. It is amazing any survived because if you were captured with a pet cat you were burnt alongside one another. I still go to chapel and sometimes I just wonder why. And of course the Black Loss of life was in the backdrop surviving and flourishing because there were no cats to kill the rats that transported the fleas that brought on the disease. Then along arrived the cat's savior King Louis XIII of France, who in the 1630s repealed the law and cats once more started to live. However they were still hated and wiped out for many hundreds of years after that. I don't know if the Black colored Death subsided but pet cats once again guarded mankind against the diseases transported by rodents. And the famines due to mice plagues.