No tour of Riga is complete without a stop by the Cat House, a custard yellow building at Meistaru 10/12, adorned with two black cat statues on the roof. The story of the cat house has to be one of the stranger tales in the Baltics. It goes something like this: in the early twentieth century, a wealthy Latvian merchant — let’s call him Ludvigs — built a stately art nouveau home on the same square as Riga’s Great Guild, a German run and Germano-centric organization with control over business interests in the city. Ludvigs, being the savvy businessman that he was, sought but was refused entry to the guild. Incensed by the Guild’s denial, which likely would have crippled his ability to do business in Riga, he hatched a plan to spite the Guild. Here, a reasonable person might think of any number of ways to get back at the organization that essentially crushed your livelihood. A good old fashioned poisoning, framing thine enemy for murder or embezzlement, starting a rival guild, or even egging the Great Guild Hall all seem like reasonable solutions. But Ludvigs wasn’t a reasonable man. Nay. Ludvigs wanted to be sure the guild REALLY knew the depths of his wrath.

And so he commissioned some cat statues: two statues of black cats, their backs arched high to the sky, their tales stuck up in the air. And when Ludvigs’ revenge statues were ready, he installed them on the roof of his custard yellow home, and… POINTED THEIR ASSHOLES AT THE GUILD.

"Riga Black Cat House"

Ludvigs to Guild: “I point my cats’ anuses at you, you rotten scoundrels”

You may be wondering why Ludvigs thought these cat statues were such a worthy and appropriate revenge. Let’s take a closer look:

No? Still not getting it?

No? Still not getting it?

Amazingly, the most remarkable part of this story is yet to come. The Guild was absolutely outraged by the cat anuses. “How dare that good-for-nothing Ludvigs,” is what I imagine they exclaimed upon first laying eyes upon the twin feline bottoms. They were so angry, they TOOK LUDVIGS TO COURT to have the cat butts turned away from the Guild. I shit you not. There exists actual legal documentation of this court case. After a long and drawn out court battle, the two sides came to an agreement: Ludvigs was to turn the cat anuses away from the Guild, and the Guild would accept Ludvigs into their ranks. And that, my friends, has to be about the worst story of revenge that I’ve ever heard (albeit a worthy destination when in Riga!).

Couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to buy a mini cat souvenir to add to my collection!