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Observer 8 5 33The (London) Observer, August 5, 1833. I found the original British news item whence this prior post on the sub rosa marketing of cat meat was freely plagiarized. Handily, it provides a name for the entrepreneur, which reduces the possibility that this is just a 19th-century urban myth. (The original text also helps account for the odd use of italics in the pirated version: “les pauvres malheureux” [“the unhappy poor”] is transcribed as “poor” but retains its original italics.) The fact that the captive cats were eating one another puts me in mind of the early indie cineaste Dwain Esper and his demented exploitation masterpiece Maniac (1934), which features a like-minded hustler who breeds cats for their fur. The operation runs on a perpetual-motion principle, whereby he feeds rats to cats, then feeds the rats on the skinned bodies of the cats. “I figured out that rats breed faster than cats,” he explains to a visitor. “And catskin makes good fur. Cats eat rats. And, rats eat raw meat. That is, they eat the carcasses of the cats. So, the cats eat the rats, the rats eat the cats, and I get the skins.” “A rats eating cat?” boggles his interlocuter. “Why, that is news!” According to Kino’s DVD release of the film, the cat ranch was a real facility that Esper integrated into his “plot.” Which would pretty much have to be the case, given the budgets he was working with.


  1. Ah, Maniac. One of my favorite movies.

    • Ripe for a remake, n’est-ce pas?

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