As mysterious little creatures, cats have certainly made their mark in myths and legends. As a cute, innocent-looking pet, many of the mythical stories are an impressive and surprising collection of urban—and rural—tales. In this article, a local veterinarian lists some of the more popular ones.
Cats have long been associated with several different goddesses. Egypt’s Bastet, who was often depicted in feline form, may be the most well-known. The ancient Greeks had their own feline goddesses, including Ailuros, Artemis, and Athena. The Norse had goddess Freya, who drove a chariot pulled by two large kitties. Goddesses Durga and Parvati from The Hindu were also closely associated with big felines.
Felines have also been associated with both good and bad luck. As you may know, Western mythology has seen black cats as unlucky. Unfortunately, this superstition continues to this day, and plays a role in the low adoption rates of black cats. In other cultures and eras, black cats have been considered good luck. In some legends, Fluffy’s luck depends on her coloring. For example, Buddhist mythology states that felines with dark fur bring gold, while lighter-colored cats bring silver. In Russia, Russian Blue cats are considered lucky. Age and luck are connected in China, with older kitties being the most fortunate.
The legend of the pussy willow is one of the most endearing myths about cats. This tale begins with a litter of kittens playing and chasing butterflies on a sunny spring day. Sadly, the kittens fall into a river. Their desperate mother cries out in distress. A willow tree on the riverbank hears her terrified meows and lowers its branches into the water. The kittens grab the branches and climb to safety, soaking wet and crying. According to lore, willow trees extend their branches with furry ‘kitten’ buds every spring.
Last but not least, let’s not forget that cats have nine lives. No, that isn’t true. While some of our feline friends do have an unbelievable ability to escape dangerous situations, this is just by sheer luck. Keep Fluffy safe and sound indoors. Offer her fun toys, soft beds ,treats, and catnip to help make her time inside enjoyable.
Do you have a cat? Contact your local veterinarian for any information you need about cats and their care!