Rats and Cats
The ‘Rats and Cats’ scam first appeared as an advertisement in The Lacon Local News - an illinois newspaper in 1875. The paper printed a small advertisment offering the following deal:-
We are starting with a cat in ranch in Lacon with 100,000 cats. Each cat will average 12 kittens per year. The cats skins will fetch 30 cents each. One hundred men can skin 5000 cats a day.
Now what shall we feed the cats?
We will start a rat ranch next door with 1000,000 rats. The rats breed 12 times faster than the cats. So we will have four rats to feed each day to each cat.
Now what shall we feed the rats?
We feed the rats the carcasses of the cats after they have been skinned. Now get this! We feed the rats to the cats and the cats to the rats and get the skins for nothing!
You have to remember that this was over one hundred years ago when there were more uses for a cat pelt than just dressing Whitney Housten for court appearances.
Turns out I won’t always love you.
The story was picked up by the AP and run across the US for weeks attracting thousands of would be investors to The Lacon Local News.
However, the business never actually existed. Not because it was scam but because it was a hoax. Willis Powell, the editor of the Lacon, was sick and tired of the various get rich quick advertisements that he was forced to print that he decided to create his own joke version.
It was his way of commenting on the phenomenon without directly biting the hand that feeds him. Of course, it blew up in his face and he vowed to never print hoaxes again.
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