New knowledge about the castle cats

10. January 2020 | Nyborg Castle

The mummified castle cats will be investigated and conserved in connection with the castle project.

Sharp-eyed visitors to Nyborg Castle will remember an odd sight from the deepest region - namely two dried-out cats.

From the depths of the castle

In connection with a cleanup in the winter of 1989-90, when the lowest story of the castle was emptied to create access for the public, a dead cat suddenly revealed itself under some big bricks and timbers.

Childhood memories from the 1920’s

Over time, many other interesting aspects have popped up, having to do with the cat from Nyborg Castle.

In the 1920’s, Rannveig Nielsen was on a school trip to the newly opened castle, and the curious children, who were exploring on their own in the castle’s nooks and crannies, got quite a surprise.

“Horrors! On the wall to the left, I saw a completely dried-out cat nailed up, and a dried rat in front of it, in the same situation. I got the distinct impression that the animals had hung there since the castle’s last residents left the buildings,” she wrote in a letter to Nyborg Castle.

This suddenly made the cat more interesting. What if the cat had been used in a form of occult expulsion of pests, to protect the grain stores?

The cat found a permanent placement in the castle cellar, where it was joined after a couple of years by a second dried cat, which had been found during the restoration of a house on Kongegade St. in Nyborg.

An attempted resolution of the puzzle of the cat

“Since we plan to let the castle cat be part of the future exhibition at Nyborg Castle, we  need to collect all the knowledge we can about these cats,” according to curator Troels Malthe Borch. “Could we find out when the castle cat died? Or how it died? And how come it is preserved until the present time?”

Both cats have therefore been in expert hands at the conservation workshop and have gone through various analyses and examinations. They have also visited a veterinarian and lastly, they were at the Pathological Laboratory at the University of Southern Denmark to be CT-scanned and examined, in part by professor Jesper Lier Boldsen.

Illustration text: Conservator Ida Hovmand and professor Jesper Lier Boldsen examine the dried-out cat from Kongegade St. in Nyborg.

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New knowledge about the castle cats
10. January 2020
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The mummified castle cats will be investigated and conserved in connection with the castle project.