!Header Content 1

Arch Creek Animal Clinic
Call us today! 305-945-1223
Give us a call today! 305-945-1223

15372 W Dixie Hwy, 
North Miami Beach,
FL 33162

Feline Folklore

August 1 2021

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.

Cat Goddesses

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.

Pussy Willow

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. For more tips on keeping your indoor cat happy and stimulated, check out our article on Keeping Your Cat Entertained.

Our Advice on Feline Folklore in 2024

What are the roles of feline goddesses in ancient Greek mythology?

In ancient Greek mythology, feline goddesses played significant roles, symbolizing various aspects of life and divinity. Ailuros, not widely known, was associated with cats and represented nature’s protective and nurturing aspects. Artemis, the goddess of the hunt, wilderness, and childbirth, was sometimes linked to lions, embodying strength and independence. Athena, the goddess of wisdom, courage, and warfare, also had connections to felines, particularly in representing cunning and grace. Through their associations with cats, these goddesses highlighted the revered qualities of felines in ancient Greek culture, such as agility, mystery, and protection.

How do different cultures view black cats in terms of luck?

Cultural perspectives on black cats vary significantly around the world. In Western mythology, particularly in the United States and parts of Europe, black cats have often been superstitiously viewed as bringers of bad luck or associated with witchcraft. This negative perception, unfortunately, still affects their adoption rates today. In contrast, other cultures hold a more positive view of black cats. For instance, in parts of the UK and Japan, they are considered symbols of good luck and prosperity. In Scottish lore, a strange black cat’s arrival at home signifies prosperity. This belief dichotomy illustrates how cultural narratives shape our perceptions of animals, even within the same species.

What is the Chinese belief regarding the age of cats and luck?

In Chinese culture, a fascinating belief links the age of cats to luck. It’s thought that older cats are the most fortunate. This belief stems from the idea that with age comes wisdom, and older cats are seen as carriers of more knowledge, experience, and mystical qualities. The respect for elders in Chinese society also extends to feline companions, with the older cats being revered and valued for their ability to bring more excellent luck and fortune. This cultural perspective highlights the deep respect and admiration for the aging process and the wisdom it is believed to bring.

Is the belief that cats have nine lives actual, and what should owners do to keep their cats safe?

The belief that cats have nine lives is a myth, not a fact. While cats are known for their agility and ability to escape harm often, they do not have multiple lives. As pet owners, it’s crucial to prioritize their safety. Keeping cats indoors can protect them from dangers like traffic, predators, and diseases. Stimulating toys, climbing structures, and interactive play help keep indoor cats healthy and happy. Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and preventive care are essential for their well-being. It’s important to remember that, like all pets, cats rely entirely on their owners for safety and care.

What recommendations does the veterinarian make for indoor cat care and entertainment?

A veterinarian would recommend creating a stimulating environment for indoor cats to keep them engaged and healthy. This includes toys that cater to their natural hunting instincts, such as interactive toys, puzzle feeders, and scratching posts. Setting up perches or window seats allows them to observe the outdoors safely. Regular playtime is crucial for mental and physical stimulation. Maintaining a routine for feeding, grooming, and litter box maintenance is also essential. Additionally, regular veterinary check-ups ensure their overall health and well-being. Creating a loving, interactive environment is critical to a happy, healthy indoor cat.

Do you have a cat? Contact your local veterinarian in North Miami, FL, for any information you need about cats and their care! Our comprehensive veterinary services are here to keep your feline friend healthy and happy.