I have encountered several times the claim that cats are rather deadly encounters for any commoner and the difference between a commoner and an adventurer is, that the adventurer actually would have a fighting chance to survive a one on one encounter with a cat. That does not seem to hold true for a lvl 1 wizard, so wizards elongate their lives by petting cats instead of trying to kill them. Evil Hat claims that bags full of cats were Mage-killer weapons due to statistics for a long time - but apparently 5E seems to fix that - but yet again, that thread mentions, that cats are or used to be utter commoner-killers since at least AD&D 2nd Edition (or older). The Commoner-killing properties of cats even found their way into Order of the Stick and got it mentioned on TVtropes Cats are Mean under Tabletop, pointing to 3.5 as the source.

Is there an official source, like a Dragon magazine article or a blog post, that references this joke/story/meme? In case of multiple finds, the oldest official source wins.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @samuei I look for exactly what is written in the question: an official source, like a Dragon magazine article or a blog post, that references this joke/story/meme. Unearthed Arcana are likewise an official source of this kind. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    May 19, 2021 at 14:02
  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ Although I've heard this joke before (along with "the Wizard died by slamming his toe on some furniture"), I can't seem to find a definite source for it. Looking at the 3.5 stat blocks, it seems that a Cat, with +2 Initiative and a full attack (two claw swipes and a bite), if they all hit, deals 3 damage, with a 75% possibility of killing a Level 1 Commoner (1d4 HP) in one turn, and with 14 AC and Stealthy, the cat would usually have the upper hand in combat. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tsugihagi
    May 21, 2021 at 16:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've found references to a Murphy's Rules cartoon of it, still looking for that cartoon. \$\endgroup\$
    – JohnP
    Aug 13, 2022 at 15:59


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