Last week’s column discussed a few misconceptions about dogs, this week we will discuss our feline friends; both misconceptions and myths.
With this weekend’s upcoming Halloween celebrations, I thought it would be timely to talk about one of the most recognizable characters associated with the holiday; the black cat.
It seems odd that these ebony creatures were revered by the ancient Egyptians and yet vilified by Europeans in the Middle Ages who considered them a symbol of the devil. For three thousand years early Egyptians worshipped cats; they were depicted as deities, glorified in their art and sculpture, considered protectors of the pharaohs and even mummified and buried in cat cemeteries!
Fast forward several centuries into the Middle Ages, sail across the Mediterranean Sea and you’ll find a very different scenario. The Europeans distrusted them intensely and saw them as an instrument of the devil.
The cat population exploded in the cities and these dark creatures with their nocturnal meandering and glowing eyes became a source of fear and superstition. My favorite belief from that era was that should a black cat cross your path without doing harm, you were somehow under the protection of the devil himself; not a good thing!
But here’s the best part; in order to reverse your bad luck, you were to walk in a circle, go backward across the spot where your path’s intersected and count to 13!
Finally, cats have nine lives; if that were true scientists would be working night and day to learn their secret! The interesting thing about this myth is that its origins are unknown and yet it is alluded to from the pyramids of Egypt, to the proverbs of early Europe and in the plays of William Shakespeare.
What I love about all these things is that they speak to the role that cats have taken in the course of human history; that they have been an influential part of lives since time immemorial.
Maybe it’s time to make a shelter cat part of your life?
Shelter needs: The shelter desperately needs canned dog and cat food, Purina cat and kitten chow, and cat and dog treats. Gift cards for pet supply and grocery outlets are also greatly appreciated.