Plant-Lore

Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Cats and blackberries

Posted on by royvickery |

090Micra is a middle-aged cat who has spent most of her life in Spain and north Africa; earlier this year she moved with her owner to London.  She settled in well, but has been miserable, taking little interest in food or anything else, during the last two or three days.  Blackberries (Rubus fruticosus) are fruiting in London, and, according to Devon folklore:

‘Cats are never very well at blackberry time.  Reported by Mrs M.C.S. Cruwys, as told by a man from Cruwys Morchard.  Horses also unwell at this time …  No doubt this observation refers to the slight physiological change many animals undergo in preparation for winter’ [1].

According to Joan Eltenton, cousin of the folklorist Christina Hole, writing from Oxford in August 1987:  ‘Kittens born in September are known as Blackberry Kittens and are usually small and weak and difficult to rear.  They are also very mischevious and naughty – more so than those born in other seasons.’

1.  T. Brown, Fiftieth report on folk-lore, Report & Transactions of the Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science 85217, 1953.

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