A big thing that drives me bonkers is people trying to understand medieval societies purely from what was written down at the time
Normal people were not in control of the written record in medieval Europe. Literacy was not widespread, and writing materials were expensive. People did not generally write down their thoughts and observations about society unless they had a good amount of authority and privilege, and as a result these writings are usually moralistic in some way.
The main question to ask is "why do all these moralists spend so much time and parchment railing against cats, if 'everyone' hated them?"
And why are there so many charming marginal illustrations of cats doing cat things, like messing with this nun's yarn while she's trying to work?
And why did this monk let a cat track ink all over his manuscript?
Just because moralists think one thing, it doesn't mean that everyone is on board. Imagine people judging today's society by Matt Walsh's blog.
@alpine_thistle i feel like a good metaphor here is "imagine if people in the future reconstructed their idea of how average people from this era felt about cops based on cop shows and nothing else"