Then your nine lives of the humble pet cat who only wanted to help mankind by eliminating rodents that carried disease took a serious turn for the even worse during the middle ages. Where witch hunts and using at the stake were the norm. Someone who didn't like cats somehow connected those 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 deemed the normal house pet cat as diabolical. Then to make things worse in1484 along arrived the greatest kitty killer of all time, Pope Innocent VIII, who decreed something such as all cats originated from hell and really should went back to the fires of hell by open fire. Pet cats were mercilessly prosecuted and were burnt so they might go back to the fires of hell. It really is amazing any survived because if you were caught with a pet cat you were burnt collectively. I still go to cathedral and sometimes I just wonder why. And of course the Black Death was in the backdrop surviving and growing because there were no pet cats to kill the rats that transported the fleas that induced the condition. Then along came up the cat's savior King Louis XIII of France, who in the 1630s repealed the law and cats once again began to live. But they were still hated and killed for many decades from then on. I have no idea if the Black Death subsided but pet cats once again guarded mankind resistant to the diseases transported by rodents. Along with the famines due to mice plagues.
I believe one of the reasons there were few cats around is basically because they used to eat them. And every now and then the restaurant feline catches would pick up an feline they could find and take them back to the restaurant. I recall seeing felines in glass displays out leading of the restaurants. But somewhere between then and now they forbidden eating pet cats. So cats are now not on the menu and today there are cats everywhere. Most of them began in someone's house and received thrown away, because so many are very friendly. Also they may have this thing about tummy worms. And in those days China was not as modern as now so tummy worms is a problem. Fleas are not really a problem because they have tile floor surfaces and solid wood furniture.