Fluffy Said What?! Cat Myths Through the Ages
It’s no wonder the game “Whisper Down the Lane” is so popular among kids and grown ups alike. We hear what we want to hear and pass it along. Sometimes it’s amusing, other times it just shows how well we’re able to fill in the blanks when we don’t have all the puzzle pieces.
Cat myths likely developed in the same way as a million rounds of “Whisper Down the Lane.” In the absence of concrete scientific research, what else could explain why cats were such stealthy hunters or amazing jumpers? Indeed, their abilities seem to defy human logic, and the prevalence of flawed explanations took root across cultures and centuries.
We can’t really blame the people before us; they were simply doing their best to understand the many puzzling behaviors of felines. Sure, some cat myths are downright mean-spirited, but there are also many civilizations that celebrate cats as companions and even deities. For example:
- Ancient Egyptians used to worship cats as symbols of power and fertility.
- Mesopotamians praised a happy, dancing, cat-headed goddess named Bast or Pasht.
- Li Chou was the cat fertility god in China.
- Shashthi was worshipped in India, where she was known as the feline deity of maternity.
- Viking goddess Freya rode in a chariot led by cats (highly-esteemed animals at the time).
- In Ireland during the first century, Iruscan was the “king of the cats.”
Fill in the Blanks
The Pet Experts aren’t exactly sure where common idioms like cats have “nine lives” or they “always land on their feet” came from, but we’re certain the one about “curiosity” came about for good reason.
Many cat myths developed as a result of a cat’s coat. Black cats, for example, have suffered abuse and condemnation for hundreds of years as the fictitious harbingers of bad luck, evil, or witchcraft. But it wasn’t always like that. In the Middle Ages, if one crossed your path, it signified fortune and good luck.
In addition, cats with tortoiseshell coats were thought to bring good fortune, white cats predicted a quick marriage, and polydactyl felines were good omens.
Modern Cat Myths
Nowadays, cats have to deal with a number of myths that are equally misleading, such as:
- Cats are solitary, aloof animals that don’t need or benefit from companionship.
- Cats require less veterinary care.
- Cats cannot be trained.
- You can vape or smoke around cats.
- You can feed cats as much as they’re willing to eat.
- Cats don’t experience pain or suffering.
- Cats show aggression to assert dominance.
- Cats only purr when they’re content.
- Cats are only active at night.
Perhaps there will always be pet myths, but as long as The Pet Experts at Naperville Animal Hospital are around to battle these fallacious foes, we hope people will learn the truth about these amazing animals.
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