Owners of a heritage home in Victoria, B.C., recently discovered a mummified cat under their floorboards.
As reported by the Vancouver Island Free Daily, Stefan and Magda Opalski bought the property, now known as the Wentworth Villa Architectural Museum, in 2012.
When the couple was doing renovations, they came across a well-kept cat carcass under the floorboards of the home’s servant entrance.
“It seemed they uncovered other bones of different animals that lived in this area but they’d all decomposed naturally,” Angela Andersen, director at the museum told the publication. “But the cat was well preserved so they think it was intentionally dried or mummified.”
The Opalskis did some research and found that it was a common European practice to bury cats underneath homes to ward off rats, witches and bad spirits.
The home, built in 1862, was one of the first and largest settler homes to exist outside Fort Victoria. It belonged to the Ella family, who emigrated from England and lived in the house for 80 years before new owners turned it into an antique store and then a museum.
Wentworth’s mummified cat is now kept in an airtight crate along with other items such as headstones, glass bottles, broken plates, children’s toys and jewellery that were found in the walls or the yard.