“Guard cats” in public service
2013 01 23

By Julia Galiullina | TheVoiceofRussia



The State Hermitage Museum in St.Petersburg ‘hires’ cats to protect its artworks against rodents. The so-called ‘guard cats’ go unnoticed as they dwell in the attics and basements, away from the tourist eye. The museum administration has been ‘employing’ these highly skillful ‘guards’ ever since the museum was founded in 1764. Even though nowadays rats and mice can easily be exterminated using chemicals, the museum cannot do without cats who have become its living legend and mascot.

The first cats were introduced for ‘public service’ in the 18th century. Tsar Peter I was the first to provide shelter for a big cat he had brought from Holland at the then wooden Winter Palace. Later on, Empress Elizabeth ordered a batch of rat-catching cats from Kazan because she was scared of small rodents.

Cats acquired the status of palace guards during the reign of Catherine II. Under Catherine the Great, they were divided into chamber cats (the Russian Blue breed), and backyard cats who chased rats and mice guarding Her Majesty’s peace of mind.

The State Hermitage Museum started as a private collection of Empress Catherine II, who acquired 220 works by Dutch and Flemish artists through her agents in Berlin. At first, most of the paintings she had acquired were placed in the secluded parts of the Winter Palace which became known as the “hermitage”, or a “retreat”, in French.

Hermitage-employed cats survived the October Revolution and continued their service under the Soviet government. However, they didn’t survive the siege of Leningrad during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. After starving people ate all the cats, the city was infested by rats. But as soon as the blockade was over, two carriages with cats arrived in Leningrad (now St.Petersburg) from Russia’s central regions making the backbone of a new squadron of rat-eating cats.

Cat numbers rose to an unprecedented high in the second half of the 1960s. As cats invaded basements, museum rooms and corridors, the museum administration was ordered to get rid of them which they did. However, several years later, the ‘tailed guards’ were ordered back as the museum found it too hard to do without them in its struggle for the preservation of cultural values.

Since then, Hermitage cats have been taken good care of. Each so-called “hermit” carries a passport with a photo certifying that he is qualified to pursue the difficult task of protecting the museum basements against rodents. The cats are well looked after, fed properly, attended to if ill and respected for their hard work. Museum employees know all male and female cats by their names, and the name for each cat is picked carefully, to suit his or her character.

[...]

Read the full article at: ruvr.ru






Red Ice Radio speaks with guest Kenneth Humphreys in Hour 2 about the Dark Ages, and how the persecution and eradication of the medieval house cat directly influenced the spread of the Black Plague:

Kenneth Humphreys - The Christian Crusades, Dark Ages, Knights Templar, Jesuits, Islam & Zionism

Guest Ben Singleton also discusses cats in popular culture and the use of the cat as occult in the media and entertainment industries:

Ben Singleton - Pseudoccult Media








Related Articles
Cat caught sneaking saw, phone into Brazil prison
Oregon Plague: Woman Contracts Disease From Cat
Cat has been mayor of Alaska town for 15 years
Cats Outnumber Humans On Japan’s Cat Island
The Cat and the Occult
Lady Gaga fan kills cat for blood
Man Divorces Wife Over Her 550 Cats
Do Cats Fake Sleep?
How the Catholic Church Created the Black Death by Eradicating the "Satanic" House Cat
Ravens Protect The British Monarchy


Latest News from our Front Page

Norway Joins the Race to Develop Killer Robots
2014 10 24
Norway is a large exporter of weapons, which makes the resolution of the debate about creating killer robots an important issue for everyone.  One could debate the overall merits or failings of robotic systems, but an area that clearly has become a point for concern on all sides is the emergence of "killer robots." According to robotics pioneer, David Hanson, ...
Gene That Once Aided Survival in the Arctic Found to Have Negative Impact on Health Today
2014 10 23
In individuals living in the Arctic, researchers have discovered a gene variant that arose thousands of years ago and most likely provided an evolutionary advantage for processing high-fat diets or for surviving in a cold environment; however, the variant also seems to increase the risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and infant mortality in today’s northern populations. {snip} “Our work ...
The Ebola hoax: questions, answers, and the false belief in the “One It”
2014 10 23
“The Reality Manufacturing Company doesn’t just sell ‘fake paintings’ that are easy to spot. No. They also sell images that are geared to mesh with people’s deeply held instincts and thereby produce rigid false beliefs. People are sure that if they gave up such beliefs, their world would fall apart and blow away in the wind.” ...
New Controversial Theory Suggests "Hobbits" Were Not Human - Who Were These Mysterious Beings?
2014 10 23
The origin of the Hobbit species remains a challenging subject to scientists. The Hobbit’s discovery confirmed the view that the Earth was once populated by many species of human, but new research the Hobbit’s were not human at all! So, who were these mysterious beings? Where did they come from? The idea that our species, Homo sapiens, was the only species of human on ...
Right into enemy hands? ISIS shows off new weapons allegedly airdropped by US (VIDEO)
2014 10 23
Islamic State has published a new video in which a jihadist shows off brand-new American hardware, which was purportedly intended for the Kurds they are fighting in the Syrian border town of Kobani. The undated video, posted by the unofficial IS mouthpiece “a3maq news”, sees a jihadist showing several boxes of munitions with English-language markings, with a parachute spread out on ...
More News »