"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 to 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, i860.

Cat Racing In Belgium 72