Oldest cat pawprint ever: two millennia

UPDATE: I thought this looked familiar; Matthew published the same story a year ago. Oh well, maybe people have forgotten, or we have new readers.


From the BBC and Mental Floss via reader Don B. we have the new discovery of a cat’s pawprints on a Roman roof tile in Gloucester. Here’s the photo:


The BBC reports:

It was dug up in Berkeley Street in 1969 but the footprint has only just been discovered.

The print was found by an archaeologist at Gloucester City Museum who was examining thousands of fragments of Roman roof tile.

The cat is thought to have snuck across the wet tiles which were drying in the sun in about AD100.

The tile, a type called tegula, was used on the roof of a building in what became the Berkeley Street area of modern Gloucester, a spokesman said.

Councillor Lise Noakes, from Gloucester City Council, said it was a “fascinating discovery”.

“Dog paw prints, people’s boot prints and even a piglet’s trotter print have all been found on tiles from Roman Gloucester, but cat prints are very rare,” she said.


  1. darrelle
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Not so sure about too smart. Too persnickety though? That definitely fits many cats I’ve known. Fits our current furry princess to a proverbial ‘T.’ Just the thought of a flea-bitten human touching her can instigate a 20 minute grooming session. After which I make a point of petting and kissing her.

  2. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    There is at least one saber toothed tiger pawprint. Lo and behold:

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted July 14, 2016 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      Very cool!

  3. William Bill Fish
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    I have a 100 year old brick with cat paws in it. Would have attached a pic but I can’t find it! Ha!

  4. Merilee
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 3:19 pm | Permalink


    • Posted July 14, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Beat me!

      I’ll retaliate by listing English words that contain “meow”.






  5. Posted July 14, 2016 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Two recycled posts in one day? Tsk tsk, Jerry! 😁


  6. rickflick
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    I saw a similar tile in the Museum of London not long ago. I believe it was from the Roman era.
    I do not know how to post a jpg image in a comment. Is that possible?

    • Posted July 14, 2016 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      Just type/paste the naked image address.


      • rickflick
        Posted July 14, 2016 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

        I was hoping I could just upload it here somehow. It looks like I have to upload it elsewhere and place the link here. Here Flickr – Flickr – Flickr…

    • rickflick
      Posted July 14, 2016 at 5:13 pm | Permalink


  7. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted July 14, 2016 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Gloucester City Museum […] wet tiles which were drying in the sun

    Sun? Gloucester?

    in about AD100.

    OIC, they’d only been here for less than 40 years ; the optimism hadn’t been beaten out of their weather expectations yet.

  8. Roger
    Posted July 15, 2016 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    Of course! Cats are too smart to go walking across wet clay, for crying out loud.

    Haha and the only reasonable explanation of course is that the cat was chasing something worth chasing in wet clay.

    • Roger
      Posted July 15, 2016 at 12:22 am | Permalink

      Since there were no other prints in the clay, one can only assume a very low flying bird of course.

  9. Posted July 15, 2016 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    When we had concrete laid for our conservatory our cat very neatly walked around the whole perimeter leaving footprints that were still visible long after the cat was no more.

  10. Mike
    Posted July 16, 2016 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    I love this kind of discovery, I find it very evocative.

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