A cat piano or Katzenklavier (German) is a musical instrument with polyphonic aftertouch described by Athanasius Kircher. It consists of a line of cats fixed in place with their tails stretched out underneath a keyboard. Tails would be placed under the keys, causing the cats to cry out in pain when a key was pressed. The cats would be arranged according to the natural tone of their voices.

from G. Schott, Magia Naturalis

hat tip: @gschamberg on Twitter – his original tweet is here

Stuff like this makes me want to put old German quack doctors in a box and beat them. Unbelievable.

There’s so much historical weirdness about cats. It’s hard to imagine why when you look at stuff like this.

And some people actually claim cats haven’t historically been maligned
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