Cat abuse is entertainment?

A cat piano designed in the 17th century makes “music” by poking trapped cats in the rear.  And why would one create such a device (aside from the desire to be cruel to cats, of course)?

In order to raise the spirits of an Italian prince burdened by the cares of his position, a musician created for him a cat piano. The musician selected cats whose natural voices were at different pitches and arranged them in cages side by side, so that when a key on the piano was depressed, a mechanism drove a sharp spike into the appropriate cat’s tail. The result was a melody of meows that became more vigorous as the cats became more desperate. Who could not help but laugh at such music? Thus was the prince raised from his melancholy.

For more on the inventor, Athanasius Kircher, check out this article.  (via boingboing)

[tags]Cat piano,  Athanasius Kircher, cat abuse[/tags]