A mixture of clay and straw used as a building material; hence n cat-and-clay (chimney) a chimney built of sticks laid up log-cabin fashion and coated with this material.
1803 NY Eve. Post (NY) [26 Mar 2]/3 KY, They were commanded to make brick, (or what we call cat and clay) without straw, and we are commanded to pay our proportions for the support of a government, (whose policy is to oppress us) without a chance of a free trade to procure the money. 1840 Daily Natl. Intelligencer (DC) [30 June 2]/6 PA, Why, sir, that sum would build three or four comfortable “Log Cabins,” and finish them off completely, with puncheon floors, clap-board roofs, cobs, ribs, eave-bearers, butting-poles, weight-poles, and ridge-poles, and including cat and clay chimneys into the bargain. 1855 Daily Commercial Reg. (Sandusky OH) 9 Mar 1/5, With the little hen house, cave, and an oven of “cat and clay,” its young fruit trees, truck patch, bushes and green sward, it would be a paradise compared to the room occupied by the poor in large cities. 1906 Muncie Sun. Star (IN) 14 Oct mag sec 2/2, This building took the place of the original structure erected in 1816, of unhewn logs, the spaces between the logs being daubed with a mixture of mortar and straw called “cat and clay.” 1917 in 1944 ADD sWV, Cat-and-clay. . . of a chimney. 1927 AmSp 2.350 WV, Cat and clay chimney . . a chimney built of sticks and daubed with mud. 1936 AmSp 11.314 Ozarks, Cat-an’-clay. . . A rude chimney made of sticks and mud. 1941 Writers’ Program Guide West Virginia 345, Rusty wood-burning stoves have replaced the ‘cat and clay’ chimney in most homes. c1960 Wilson Coll.csKY, Cat-and-clay. . . Said of a chimney made of a wooden pen covered with wisps of straw covered with mud. Very rare.