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Cat Superstitions: Legends and Folktales

From how certain cats ended up with their distinct characteristics to why an ancient culture believed they possessed the power of the sun, superstitions involving cats are quite common , from the Bible to the ancient Egyptians. In this article, you will encounter legends and old beliefs concerning the Manx, Siamese breed, and cats in general .

Bible Legends

Have you heard about the legend that says cats were sneezed out of lions while on Noah’s Ark? Therefore, the creatures that were not created by God were supposedly the product of the Devil , under his control and associated with evil. Another legend linked to Noah’s Ark involves Manx cats. When the time came for the cat to board the ark, it took it’s time and slowly entered the threshold only to lose his or her tail when the door shut. Perhaps this legend originates from the known characteristic of cats to take their time when moving in and out of doors and rooms.

Chinese Legend

In some Chinese legends, the cat possessed the ability to talk and in some cases, was ultimately in charge of the world. However, the cats were plagued by laziness and decided to allow human to take over the day-to-day tasks of running the world. Instead, the cats preferred to lie around. Because of this, they lost their ability to speak. Siamese cats have been the center of legends and tales for many centuries.

Siamese Cat Legends

In the past, they served a great purpose , helping to guard the treasures of palaces and temples. A legend states that the cats would stare so intensely at the treasures that their eyes became crossed. How did the Siamese come to have a kink in their tail? This characteristic supposedly emerged when a princess placed her rings on the tail of a Siamese for safekeeping while she bathed. To keep them from falling off, the cat created knots around the rings, which led to it having a kink in its tail.

Ancient Egyptian Beliefs

Since felines caught the glow of the setting sun in their eyes, ancient Egyptians believed that they were responsible for keeping it safe until the sun appeared once again in the morning. Cats were not allowed to be killed for this reason. The Persians took advantage of this superstition and when they went to attack Egypt, they tied cats to their shields knowing that the Egyptians wouldn’t fight the intruders because they didn’t want to injure or kill any of the cats.

Old English Folktale

There is an old English folktale that tells the story of a maiden who had to spin 10,000 skeins of linen in order to prevent a sorcerer’s curse from affecting her lover. It is said that her three cats assisted her in spinning the threads, which gave way to the thought that the purring of a cat is likened to the humming of a spinning wheel.