Once upon a time in the Belgian town of Liège, the postal system was taken over, briefly, by cats.
Cats are notoriously intelligent creatures - and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to most cat lovers that cats have been helping humans out for centuries. From keeping crops free of mice and rats in ancient Egypt to helping patrol our more modern-day streets for crime, cats have a knack for some landing some pretty awesome jobs. One cat even made it to space!
But as intelligent and skilled as cats are, we know that even our feline friends have their limitations. Which is why when a city in 1870s Belgium decided to use cats to deliver mail, a system that relies on a timeline that doesn't exactly suit the ideal 17-hour sleep schedule of a cay … well, it should come as no surprise that it was relatively short-lived.
Nevertheless, in the 1870s, the city of Liège, Belgium hired a grand 37 cats to deliver mail. Messages were to be tied around the cats’ necks in waterproof bags to prevent any damage to the letters. The idea was to allow the citizens of Liège and surrounding villages to easily communicate with each other.
“Unless the criminal class of dogs undertakes to waylay and rob the mail-cats, the messages will be delivered with rapidity and safety," The New York Times reported. One particularly dedicated feline delivered his letter safe and sound in less than five hours! However, the other felines took up to a day to deliver mail to their own homes, preferring a leisurely stroll and maybe a saucer of milk along the way.
Apparently, cats aren’t too interested at sticking to a schedule that isn’t set by their catnap needs. Who could have guessed? It’s unclear exactly how long this kitty-cat mail service lasted, but it did come to an end because cats turned out to be thoroughly undisciplined - at least when it comes to delivering mail!
Possible reasons as to why cats may or may not be a good delivery service: