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Cat-racing In Belgium

"On festival days, parties of young men assemble in various places to

shoot with cross-bows and muskets, and prizes of considerable value are

often distributed to the winners. Then there are pigeon-clubs and

canary-clubs, for granting rewards to the trainers of the fleetest

carrier-pigeons and best warbling canaries. Of these clubs many

individuals of high rank are the honorary presidents, and even royal

princes deign
o present them banners, without which no Belgian club can

lay claim to any degree of importance." But the most curious thing is

cat-racing, which takes place, according to an engraving, in the public

thoroughfare, the cats being turned loose at a given time. It is thus

described: "Cat-racing is a sport which stands high in popular favour.

In one of the suburbs of Liege it is an affair of annual observance

during carnival time. Numerous individuals of the feline tribe are

collected, each having round his neck a collar with a seal attached to

it, precisely like those of the carrier-pigeons. The cats are tied up in

sacks, and as soon as the clock strikes the solemn hour of midnight the

sacks are unfastened, the cats let loose, and the race begins. The

winner is the cat which first reaches home, and the prize awarded to its

owner is sometimes a ham, sometimes a silver spoon. On the occasion of

the last competition the prize was won by a blind cat."--Pictorial

Times, June 16th, 1860.