Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night keep the mailman from his duty. But, in England at least, claws are a different matter.
As we saw on Monday, two stories this year of cats attacking postmen got this blog's bad-animal-sense twitching. Was this just the tip of a feline iceberg?
In fact, fairly cursory research revealed that these stories crop up quite regularly, and the cats are not the only problem: it's also their owners.
-In August 2002, a carrier attacked by cats called Boo Boo and Yogi told a dramatic story:
"I put up with it the first couple of times, but the last scratch was quite deep. Blood was dripping on to the driveway and over other letters in my bag. After the attack the cat jumped up on the window sill and looked out at me as if to say 'got you that time'."
The owner, as in our previous cases, was disbelieving:
Mr Davies said: "I can't understand the attacks. They are both really well behaved cats but are very playful."
Perhaps, in another instance of us being two countries divided by a common language, the Brits use the word "playful" to mean "bloodthirsty"? (It would explain a lot about their soccer culture, I suppose.)
- In May 2004, a family had to install a mailbox at their front gate because the attacks of their cat Bat meant that postmen were at risk approaching the door.
The Coyne family realised they had a problem with their territorial pet when an official letter from the Royal Mail arrived complaining about their "guard cat".
It said the postman had been scratched and "more incredible than this, your cat has been known to jump onto the postman's leg and dig its claws in".
-In December 2007, Georgi left a postman bleeding after scratching his hands as he put letters through the door. Her owner, typically, denied any malicious intent: "I think she only wants the letters but obviously she must just accidentally catch his fingers."
-In June 2009, another owner poo-pooed the threat when he got a letter threatening suspension of delivery:
Mr Ridge said friends and neighbours thought the threat was laughable and he plans to ignore the letter.
"We were not around when this happened, but it seems some mail was put through the letterbox and their hand was scratched.
"Illy is only a kitten and I am sure she was just playing."
Mr Ridge, who runs a fruit and veg business, added: "Everyone finds it so amusing that our playful kitten has been mistaken for some savage beast."
- In October 2009, the owners of Magic got that same letter after he dashed out his cat door and attacked the carrier three days in a row. The head of delivery services had to bravely come to their house to deliver the news as well, because, of course, they couldn't see the problem:
"I told them my cat wouldn't hurt a fly... He's a soft cat. We've never seen him attack someone and we've never heard of him hurting anyone before. I can't believe they are saying this."
As these stories show, cat attacks on the mail are not only a regular occurrence, the problem is compounded by the owners, who react with either disbelief and laughter.
But as a postal spokesperson said in the case of Bat:"The safety of our people is paramount and attacks by animals are not amusing when you're at the receiving end."
Fortunately, some attack-cat owners are better role models. We'll turn to those encouraging stories on Monday.