Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Suffocation, Due To A Cat Sucking The Breath From The Deceased's Mouth".

Superstition seems to have had, or to have , no limits.

From the Pittsburgh ( Pennsylvania ) Dispatch of March 11 1907:

"Suffocation, due to a cat sucking the breath from the deceased's mouth". That will be the Deputy Coroner's report entered in county records this morning in the case of the death Tuesday night of Bennenita Maria Delu, aged 6 months and 1 day, at Clarksville, Penn Township, Allegheny County, Pa. Old housewives, wise in mother's lore, will tell you the story that a cat will inhale the breath from an infants mouth till the little one smothers but no previous record of such a fatality is to be found in the Allegheny County Coroners office. Little Bennenita's father is Evasio Delu, a coal miner in Clarksville; the mother, Pierena Delu, keeps a little grocery store in the mining hamlet. The parents reported the death of the child yesterday morning. Deputy Coroner Thomas H. Laidley investigated the case.The mother told the Deputy that she had rocked the baby to sleep in her arms early Tuesday evening and then had carried the child into the room in the back of the store and laid it in the cradle. Fifteen minutes later she happened into the room again and found the house cat nestled on the baby's breast, it's nostrils glued to the little one's mouth. She snatched the cat away, then tried to arouse the child, but could not."
Bad kitty !.......bad ! you go lay down ! ......go.... lay.... down ! .....killing people, no no ......bad kitty !


Anonymous said...

This is NOT a superstition!

My story:

At the age of 10 or 11 I walked down the hall on my way to the restroom. I looked to my right into my parents bedroom. Our cat was on my dads chest, pawing back and forth and the cats mouth was completely covering his mouth (it could have been nose to mouth but was definitely face to face).

I scared the cat off of him. I yelled and shook him for what seemed like forever. Eventually he gasped air and came to.

He said he was having a dream that he was locked in a tomb and couldn't breathe.

So not only will a cat suck the breath from a baby, but from an adult too.

I love cats and have 3 of them. But if I had a child or baby in the household, I would make sure that the baby/child would be in a secured room when sleeping.

The danger of reporting this as a urban myth is that if people don't believe it they won't take measures to protect their children.

In other words, children and adults could die because of your misguided verdict on the subject.

Larry The Kidman said...

Hard to believe that your Dad did not wake up as the cat was "on my dads chest, pawing back and forth and the cats mouth was completely covering his mouth". Most who struggle for breath or strangle show some reaction / restiance to that type of activity. Reading on Snopes about it leaves me feeling that I am not in danger contributing to anyones possible death. See here for snopes story on it :
I will say though don't put a cat , a dog , a fish or even a fur coat ....over your mouth so you can't breath !

Anonymous said...

I googled this cuz my aunt just told us to 'watch out for the cats around the new baby, it will suck his breath away and smother him"..LOL. So now I found this and I'm LMAO.. your Dad must be a very heavy/deep sleeper. Not only would the very weight and movement of the cat surely wake him, but the fact he wasn't getting enough air definitely would have. NO Adult would just Sleep through being smothered.