Associated Press Cat and Rat Ranch Hoax

About a story that ran from the Associated Press about a get rich quick scheme involving a cat and rat breeding ranch.


4. GLORIOUS OPPORTUNITY TO GET RICH Associated Press, c. 1875

Willis B. Powell, an Illinois editor, released to the Associated Press a story about a cat-and-rat ranch proposed for his town of Lacon. The story, which was printed throughout the U.S., went as follows: "Glorious Opportunity to Get Rich--We are starting a cat ranch in Lacon with 100,000 cats. Each cat will average 12 kittens a year. The cat skins will sell for 30 cent each. One hundred men can skin 5,000 cats a day. We figure a daily net profit of over $10,000. Now what shall we feed the cats? We will start a rat ranch next door with 1,000,000 rats. The rats will 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 will 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 cat skins for nothing." In 1940 Goldfish Bowl, published by the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., reported that this prospectus had been a hoax created by Powell.

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