It seems not too inappropriate on the day we say farewell to Pope Benedict XVI to allude to his great affection for cats. This was commemorated by the National Catholic Register in an article which includes the late Pushkin of the Birmingham Oratory and which can be seen at Benedict XVI: A Look Back at the Cat-Loving Pope’s Favorite Feline Friends
Recently there was an article on the website The Conversation about cats as pets and companions in the medieval period. It can be seen at Cats in the middle ages: what medieval manuscripts teach us about our ancestors' pets
I had the impression that other than as mousers - including, of course, the famous Welsh feline guardian of the native Prince’s grain store - cats were rather despised in the medieval centuries or seen as potentially malign. Reading the article showed me that I was wrong in that, and indeed that pet cats could be seen as signifying domesticity.
Going back to where I started I suppose one can try to imagine various medieval and Renaissance Popes accompanied by cats - maybe Celestine V with one as a companion in his hermitage, the Avignon popes and some Renaissance popes with pampered pets, but perhaps more so a Blofeld like white cat to accompany the real toughies - Gregory VII, Innocent IV, Bonifave VIII, Alexander VI, Julius II, Paul IV…. Innocent III a discreet feline companion, a rescue stray for Urban VI ….a street cat to accompany the besieged Clement VII, something exotic like a Siamese for Julius III, an English tabby for Adrian IV ….