Here’s another trace of an ancient moggy, this time from a 1975 paper by G. S. Maxwell, “Excavation at the Roman Fort of Bothwellhaugh, Lanarkshire, 1967-8″ (Brittania 6:20-35; free download). I quote from the paper and reproduce the photo in question:
The most remarkable find in this category was, however, the collection of twenty-five brick-fragments which were discovered in the fill of a disused post-hole belonging to a first-period building on the north-west side of the Via Principalis; four of these bore imprints of an animal’s paw; (PL. VII).
Dr. A. S. Clarke of the Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh, has kindly examined these pieces and identified the animal as a cat, probably Felis domesticus. The width of the prints varies from 25 to 35 mm, considerably smaller than that of the pad-impressions from the Roman fort at Mumrills (Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot. lxiii (1928-29), 57I f.), which were identified as Felis sylvestris. [JAC: note that the name of the housecat, once Felis domesticus, is now Felis catus or, sometimes, Felis silvestris catus, the latter designating the housecat as a subspecies of the wildcat Felis silvestris. And a subspecies of F. silvestris, Felis silvestris lybica, the African wildcat, was probably the wild ancestor of all housecats.]
The fact that the impressions of the claws can also be seen in three of the Bothwellhaugh ex-amples, although more faintly than in the Mumrills fragment, would suggest that the animal was not allowed to maintain a regular pace in its progress across the drying bricks.
I like the dry humor of the last sentence.
h/t: Tweet by @DeepFriedDNA via Matthew Cobb