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"The Cats of Ulthar" is a short story written by American fantasy author H. P. Lovecraft in June 1920. In the tale, an unnamed narrator relates the story of how a law forbidding the killing of cats came to be in a town called Ulthar. As the narrative goes, the city is home to an old couple who enjoy capturing and killing the townspeople's cats. When a caravan of wanderers passes through the city, the kitten of an orphan (Menes) traveling with the band disappears. Upon hearing of the couple's violent acts towards cats, Menes invokes a prayer before leaving town that causes the local felines to swarm the cat-killers' house and devour them. Upon witnessing the result, the local politicians pass a law forbidding the killing of cats.
Influenced by Lord Dunsany, the tale was a personal favorite of Lovecraft's and has remained popular since his death. Considered one of the best short stories of Lovecraft's early period, aspects of the The Cats of Ulthar would be referenced again in the author's works The Other Gods and The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. It was first published in the literary journal Tryout in November 1920 and now resides in the public domain.
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