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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

DOMESTIC CATS ARRIVED IN THE VALLEY WITH SPANISH COLONISTS

BUILDING A GREAT MUSEUM FOR THE SAN FERNANDO VALLEY

Europeans brought many things to the New World,  among which were domestic animals that we know today. Spanish priests, soldiers and colonists were the first to introduce cattle, horses, donkeys, sheep, goats, house cats and many varieties of dogs and chickens to the San Fernando Valley. Though their church was very worried about "familiarity" with animals, the followers of Saint Francis Assisi (Franciscan monks) held animals in a higher status than their Catholic counterparts. 

< Most theologians in the 1700s taught that animals did not have souls. That made it ok to eat them.
 They taught about "the sin of familiarity" of seeing human traits in animals. This indicated that a devil might have possessed the creature - who else would someone be talking to?>


Once Spanish settlements in California were established, domestic cats were brought ashore from visiting ships. Cats were important for rat control on boats, and proved useful for killing rodents on land as well. Unfortunately the introduction of cats resulted in the extermination of native bird species. Feral cats have all but eliminated the bird population in the beautiful urban forest at Los Angles Valley College. When you visit our Valley Mission San Fernando Rey de España look for the little "cat doors" that gave feline residents the run of the house.

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