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August 15, 2023

Exeter Cathedral Has the World’s Oldest Known ‘Cat Door’, Which Has Been Serving the Cats Since the 14th Century

This 14th-century door located at Exeter Cathedral in the UK is believed to be the earliest known example of a cat flap. Historical records from the medieval period reveal that cats had significant roles within various cathedrals, as they were tasked with keeping the premises free of mice. These cats were even included on the payroll, with funds allocated to support their food if their mouse-catching performance fell short.

In the financial records of Exeter Cathedral, it is documented that during the 15th century, they had a resident cat designated for mouse control, earning approximately one penny per week (equivalent to thirteen pennies every quarter). Notably, between 1363 and 1366, the quarterly payment for this feline doubled to twenty-six pence, indicating the possibility that the cathedral temporarily bolstered its mousing efforts by employing a second cat.


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