Cat : Superstition and Beliefs
Stop teaching a kid "C for cat"
Perhaps no animal has inspired as much superstition as the cat. Throughout history, cats have been worshipped as gods by certain cultures and abhorred as demons by others. In European folklore, the black cat is the traditional companion of witches. Because of this old belief,
If a black cat crosses one's path, it is also considered a sign of bad things to happen.
The black cat has become an omen of misfortune and ill luck, and a popular notion is that unhappiness will follow quickly in the wake of the black cat that crosses one's path.
An old book called Beware the Cat (1584) gives warning that black cats are witches in disguise, and that killing a cat does not necessarily mean killing the witch, for a witch can take on the body of a cat nine times. In the Middle Ages, the brain of a black cat was considered an essential ingredient in all recipes of the witches and witch doctors.
The old belief that a cat has nine lives goes back to ancient Egypt. The cat-headed goddess, Bast (or Ubasti), was associated with the benevolent aspect of Hathor, the Lioness, and was said to have nine lives. The Egyptians did not fear the cat, but rather reverenced it, and they elevated cats far above the role of domestic pet. To the Egyptians, the cat was transformed from mouse catcher to supreme deity, the "Sayer of Great Words." The Egyptian word for cat was Mau, which is at once an imitation of the animal's call and the nearly universal human cry for mother. Cats came to be worshipped with such intensity that the wanton killing of a cat was punishable by death.
Because the old Egyptians had a great fear of the dark, they observed with awe that the cat, a creature of the night, walked the shadowed streets with confidence. Carefully considering the import of the cat's midnight vigils, the Egyptian sages decided that the cat was solely responsible for preventing the world from falling into eternal darkness.
At the same time, the cat's nocturnal excursions made it a symbol of sexuality and fertility. It seems quite likely that long before Cleopatra worked her magic on Caesar and Antony, the sirens of the Nile used makeup that mimicked the hypnotic eyes and facial markings of the cat.
Bubastis, a city in Lower Egypt, dedicated itself to the worship of the cat. Each May some 700,000 pilgrims journeyed to the city to participate in the festival of the cat.
During the Persian invasion of 529 B.C.E., the Egyptians' deification of the cat proved their undoing. Knowing of the obsession of the Egyptian people with the divinity of felines, Cambyses II, king of the Persians, made a cat part of the standard issue to each of his soldiers. The Nile-dwellers led by King Psamtik III laid down their spears and bows for fear of harming the cat that each enemy soldier carried, and the Persians conquered the city of Pelusium without shedding a drop of blood.
Some people believe that the unwavering stare of the cat can bring about illness or insanity or even cause death. Such an unreasoning, fearful response to cats is known as ailurophobia. Henry III of England (1207–1272) would faint at the sight of a cat. Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) had plans to dominate the world with his Third Reich, but the sight of a cat set him trembling. Napoleon Bonaparte (1769– 1821) arrogantly snatched the crown of the Holy Roman Emperor from the pope and conquered nearly all Europe, but when he spotted a cat in his palace, he shouted for help.
Such dread of cats may be genetically transmitted: when Joseph Bonaparte (1768– 1844), King of Naples, visited Saratoga Springs in 1825, he complained just before he fainted that he sensed a cat's presence. Although his hosts assured His Majesty that no such animal was anywhere present, a persistent search revealed a kitten hiding in a sideboard.
Besides a glance that can bring on terror, folklore also empowers the cat's eyes with the ability to see in the dark. Since all other creatures can see only in the daylight, to see at night reverses the natural order of things and is perceived as sinister and satanic.
SOME BELIEF ABOUT CATS
cats are angels protecting humans
Black cats are lucky
Popular belief in the UK
A black cat crossing your path will bring bad luck
All cats, especially black ones, are in league with the devil
Early Christian belief
Cats are gods who have taken feline form
Ancient Egyptian belief
Owning a black cat means you’re a witch
17th Century belief
White cats are lucky
Popular belief in the USA
All cats are lucky
Popular belief in China where cats are kept at the workplace as well as the home
Cats are as guilty of witchcraft as their owners
Both the accused, human and cat, would be hung at the gallows in the Middle Ages
Killing a cat is a crime punishable only by death
Ancient Egyptian belief
A sneezing white cat will bring good fortune to a bride-to-be
Popular belief in some parts of the USA
A sneezing cat will bring good fortune to all who hear it
An old Italian belief
Cats are gossip mongers so delicate matters should never be discussed if there’s a cat in the room
Popular belief in the Netherlands
A black cat crossing your path will bring good fortune
Popular belief in Scotland
A black cat crossing your path in the light of the moon means you’ll die in an epidemic
A common belief in Norman times
The Scottish wildcat is a man killer
Common belief until as recently as the 1950s
A cat eases the afterlife journey from Hell to Paradise
Old Malaysian belief
A cat placed in an empty, waiting cradle will quickly bring a baby to newlyweds
Common belief of Pennsylvania Dutch
A cat keeps the sun’s rays safe in its eyes at night
Ancient Egyptian belief
A cat washing behind its ears means rain is on the way
Old English belief
Tortoiseshell cats have the power to banish storms at sea
In Britain and Japan, it's considered good luck to have a black cat cross your path.
In Yorkshire, England if you own a black cat then you are lucky and if run across one then you're unlucky.
In Scotland if you see a strange black cat on your porch, it will bring prosperity to you.
In 16th century Italy, people believed that if someone was sick and a black cat were to lay on their bed, they would die.
every country has their reason for superstitious beliefs of black cats, but where did it originate from? That is the question.
Today the cat is not feared as it was in earlier times, and it is now the most popular pet among people in the United States, Australia, and France. However, many superstitious people still regard a cat as an unlucky omen and believe that not only the black cat, but all cats, have nine lives
IN REAL Cats Make the Best Pets
If you are at work full time like me, it is difficult to own a dog because it would be unfair on them to be left alone all day. That is the great thing about cats; they don’t need your constant attention. If you’ve got a cat door (flap) you can just leave the house in the morning and a cat will please his or herself until you get home. Depending on your cat’s preference they may like to spend their day inside your house, or if you have a cat like mine, he is dying to get out in the garden as soon as he wakes up in the morning. If you get a cat door that has adjustable locking mechanisms, you can choose whether to let your cat go out or indeed whether to let it in the house. These mechanisms are also great for stopping unwanted cats from coming into your house and eating your cat’s dinner!
Another great thing about cats is that they are very clever and after a while will learn your daily routine. Our cat Joe is always waiting for us in the garden when we get home or he comes running out of nowhere to greet us when he sees the car pull up; and he always knocking on our door at 7:30am asking for his breakfast, which means that he doubles up as a great alarm clock when you’ve accidentally forgotten to set yours! Cats also know the sights and sounds of when they are going to be fed, no matter where they are in the house, if they hear that cupboard door opening they are there in a flash. Joe has also recently learned how to open doors and can often be found lying in a pile of my handbags in the bottom of the wardrobe.
Depending on whether your cat spends more time with you or more time with other cats, they will begin to alter their body language and vocal communication to be more in tune with their surroundings. If you have recently bought a cat from a shelter and it is very vocal (meows constantly) it is likely that they have been an indoor cat previously that has learned that people use their mouths to communicate so is trying to do the same.
Unlike other pets, cats don’t need a high degree of grooming. Unless you have a long haired cat, most cats will groom themselves and only require occasional brushing. Be sure that they have a good diet so that their coat stays glossy and make sure that they are wormed and protected against fleas. Cats are also naturally clean animals by their very nature which makes them good housemates, it also means that if you have a litter tray for your cat, it must be kept clean otherwise your cat will give you some very clear signs that he/she doesn’t want to use it.
Some people have a view that cats are aggressive and spiteful animals who only think of themselves. I have heard them referred to as the ‘teenager’ of the animal kingdom. Whilst it’s true that some cats, those who have had difficult lives for instance, can develop bad habits but if you give your cat affection, treat it with respect and ensure that it understands the boundaries of living in your home, it will give exactly the same back to you. You only get out of a cat what you put in. Most cats are affectionate, loving creatures who like nothing more than a warm place to sleep, which is often your lap, and a good cuddle (much like all of us!). If you ensure that you do the above, your cat will be the most loyal companion in your life.
Just like dogs, cats can also be great companions. They will want to spend time with you and will thank you in purrs when you stroke them. In fact they purr even when they are near you. Cats get excited when you come home from being away or from work and sometimes want to chat with you (usually to tell you that their hungry).
Make a House a Home
Many people have previously said that having a cat makes a house a home. If you are alone they are a comfort to have around and they never moan about what you are watching on TV so long as they can nestle down in your lap to watch. They occupy certain places in the house where they like to sleep and they can turn what was a cold room into a welcoming place just by their very presence in it. They are unobtrusive, unlike dogs, but as soon as you own a cat the house won’t feel the same if they’re not there lying on your lap, on the radiator and sometimes in the wardrobe!
No pet is cost free but healthy cats require relatively little routine medical intervention, equipment and their food can be quite cheap depending on what you buy. My advice would be not to buy a great deal more that the basics, cat litter tray, cat food and water bowl, scratching post and maybe a bed. Whenever I have bought, what look like exciting toys or cat treats, Joe has generally ignored them and preferred to play with the buttons on my jacket, or the tie strings on my bathrobe. He is also quite happy with ordinary wet and dry cat food and often turns his nose up at ‘treats’. All cats will be different but it’s best to start simple until you know your cat, their likes and dislikes.
If you’re a keen gardener like me one advantage to having a cat is that other cats will generally avoid entering your garden to use it as their own personal toilet. I tried for years to stop my neighbours’ cats from digging up my bedding plants or using my cherry slate as their litter tray. I tried orange peel, citrus sprays, high pitched sound devices, padding down the soil in my borders with mesh wiring, none of these things were as effective as owning a cat who will see your garden and his/her territory to protect.
It’s not quite as easy as training a dog but you can train cats to do certain things. Most cats will be litter trained within their first three months, cats can be trained how to go through cat doors, how to open doors, not to sleep on your bed and claw your carpets. For really patient owners who have a lot of time on their hands, I have also heard that you can train a cat how to use a human toilet and flush it.......please let me know if any of you have managed this!
One of the most important things about owning a cat is they are fun to be with. Each cat will have its own little personality, likes and dislikes, and quirky behaviour. They will never bore you and will often do things to make you laugh like trying to eat your dinner or chasing spiders and flies. There are a range of toys that you and your cat can play with together – other than toggles on your clothes. They will jump over and sit on the most extraordinary and uncomfortable things just to be with you. They will find interesting and unlikely places to sleep and will all look adorable when they’re curled up asleep.