Aboard ships, cats were used as mascots and to catch mice. Virtually all mariners were male. Mariners predicted weather by watching the cat. When the cat washed its face, they would expect rain. When the cat was frisky, they would expect strong winds. Cats would also know if the ship was about to sink. Every detail of the cat’s behavior would be closely scrutinized for portents
In ancient Egypt cats were honored; they were considered sacred animals. Cat amulets were coveted and used for protection. The Egyptians punished unsanctioned killing of a cat with death. The entire family in an Egyptian home would go into mourning when a cat died. All members would shave their eyebrows to show their sorrow. Dead cats were taken to the city of Bubastis, where they were embalmed and ceremoniously buried. Hundreds of thousands of mummified remains of cats have been found in Egyptian tombs.
Sekhmet, an Egyptian Warrior Goddess, is depicted as a lioness – the fiercest hunter known to the Egyptians. Tame lions were kept in temples dedicated to her at Leontopolis.
|The Goddess Bast, in her cat form, was the Goddess of dance, children, music, fertility and women. She is the daughter of (Sun God) Ra and possesses the divine all-seeing ‘eye of Ra’. During 945–715 BC, Bast transformed from a lioness warrior deity into a major protector deity represented as a cat: Bastet.
The ancient Egyptians may have punished the killing of a cat outside of a temple with death, but they offered thousands of cats to Bastet, generally by breaking their necks. ☥
, Goddess of the Moon, changed herself into a cat in order to escape the serpent Typhon. She then fled to Egypt in this guise.Medusa
is said to derive from an earlier Anatolian deity. This theory is supported by images of her with a lion – which symbolized the power of the Sun.
Cats were burned alive on Ash Wednesday during the Middle Ages to produce the ash for the mass. In England, the effigy of Guy Fawkes that was ceremonially burned every year sometimes contained a cat that would howl as the flames rose. Cats have been found walled-up alive in the foundations of several medieval buildings, including the Tower of London.
Toward the end of the Middle Ages there were few cats left in Europe. Their absence led to a great increase in rats and diseases, including bubonic plague. The few cats that had survived the persecutions came to be highly valued.
Buddhists take a negative view of the cat. According to a traditional tale, Maya sent a rat with medicine for the ailing Buddha, but the cat killed the rat so Buddha perished (If Buddha hadn’t died he might not have become an IDOL of such proportion – they should sing praises to that cat!!!)
For such a common animal, cats are notably absent from the Chinese zodiac.
Muslims have always been lovers of cats. When cats enter a mosque, it means good luck for the community. ;>