Proposal: cats could deliver mail

A variety of animals have been used to deliver mail over the years, from camels and dogs to horses and pigeons. But cats? According to a 19th century article in the New York Times, around 1877 the Belgian Society for the Elevation of the Domestic Cat tested 37 cats for the task by taking them far from the city of Liege where they "promptly proceeded to 'scat.'" Within 24 hours, they had all returned home.
NewImageThis result has greatly encouraged the society, and it is proposed to establish at an early day a regular system of cat communication between Liege and the neighboring villages. Messages are to be fastened in water-proof bags around the necks of the animals, and it is believed that, unless the criminal class of dogs undertakes to waylay and rob the mail-cats, the messages will be delivered with rapidity and safety.
"Domestic Explosives and Other Six Column Fancies: (From the New York Times.)" - William Livingston Alden


  1. Cats will deliver mail to whoever gives them food. Besides, mail can be a bit bulky for cats. Now if the cat was fitted with USB…

    1. :) beat me to it

      Clearly though this could be a solution to the whole US Postal Service issue. Plus consider selling LOLcat stamps – collectors would obsessively collect them.

      1. Another solution would be to stop electing people who try to destroy the USPS.  But I do like cats.

  2. Wasn’t there an ancient Outer Limits (probably written by Harlan Ellison) about a future soldier flung back in time (providing quasi-plagiarism for “Terminator”); who expected to be able to recite his war reports to cats to deliver? yeah…

    1. No, carrier pigeons are still around. It was the passenger pigeon that went extinct. Probably from laziness.

      1.  The truth is more bizarre than fiction here.  The generally accepted reason for the passenger pigeon’s demise is that they would only copulate when in dense crowds and hunting reduced the density of crowds enough to kill their libido.

  3. So, as per the experiment described, the process would be:

    1. Attach a message, which you want delivered to yourself, to a cat.
    2. Take the cat far away from where you live.
    3. Release cat, return home, and wait for the message to be delivered–the message you created for yourself–to you.
    4. ??
    5. Profit!

  4. Given how my cat reacts when I put a harness on her, I imagine cats would take to mail bags like, uh…. a cat to water….

    1. It’s surprising the cheese delivery service ever took off, after the milk delivery fiasco.

  5. I suspect there’s something about the way they were moved from place to place and the fact that one of them was able to make it back in a little under five hours, that limits the transportation methods and distance where this is, um, practical.

  6. Since our cat loves to chew on envelopes, I suspect you would also need postal inspector cats to arrest cats who are guilty of tampering with the mail.

  7. In all seriousness… if you’re going to reduce the number of people doing it, why not use robots? A Segway chassis would be a good platform.

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