Page last updated at 20:22 GMT, Tuesday, 21 April 2009 21:22 UK

Cat found buried in wall of house

The cat was found in one of the bathrooms in the house

Builders working at a house in a Devon village have found the remains of a cat, possibly centuries old, hidden in a wall.

The remains of the creature were found in one of the bathrooms at the house in Ugborough on Monday.

Dr Marion Gibson, a witchcraft and folklore expert from Exeter University, said hundreds of years ago cats were put into walls to ward-off "bad luck".

The owner of the house said the cat would be put back where it was found.

It's not something you come across every day
Kevin Read, builder

Richard Parson said: "The builders were just stripping one of the bathrooms upstairs and this little fellow come to light.

"We had an inkling that there was a cat here, there's been a local myth, a legend, that there's been one buried in the house but of course we had no idea where that was.

"My first thoughts were that we didn't need it in the house but actually it adds a bit of colour to the village so we're going to put it back."

Dr Gibson said: "Cats were often put into walls as some kind of good luck charm.

"They seem to be designed to keep away witches, the evil eye, bad luck, vermin, anything that can be seen as a threat to the house."

"It does seem to have been quite a widespread practice across the European continent.

Builder Kevin Read added: "It's not something you come across every day.

"I don't think it was too pleased to be in there to be honest."

Mr Parson said he did not know how long the cat had been in the house but locals in the village claimed it was about 400 years.

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