Cats are believed to be the oldest domesticated animals in the world. They also have a long, rich history in cultural symbolism, especially with the ancient Egyptians. Some cultures believed that having a cat was a status symbol of sorts and were usually only owned by the wealthy. In fact, Egyptian hieroglyphics have been found depicting cats as god-like creatures that were adorned in gold and jewels. In later times, having a common house cat wasn’t enough. People began purchasing bigger, more exotic cats – like lions, tigers and panthers as their pets. Again, only the wealthy could afford a pet like that so maybe there is something to the old belief that cats are only for the wealthy!
Cat were also believed to be incarnations of important goddesses in various cultures. If you were to research most cultures extensively, you would likely find that people believed in the divine presenting themselves in feline form. The Egyptians believed that cats were an incarnation of a moon goddess and therefore, they were highly revered. The Romans believed that cats were an incarnation of Diana, the goddess of motherhood, so cats were very respected in that culture as well.
However, cats were not always revered as symbols of divinity. Some cultures associated cats with the occult and witchcraft, both of which were punishable by death. In the Middle Ages, Europeans believed that cats were omens of death and misfortune. Because cats have traditionally been the pets of choice for people who were believed to be witches, it is no wonder that cats got a bad rap from people who feared witchcraft and dark-sided things. That said, black cats were thought to be especially evil simply because of their color! Black cats are not really bad luck, although this superstition remains prevalent in virtually every country in the world today. Let’s take a look at some other myths about cats and see how much truth there is to any of them.
Four Cat Myths – Debunked
Cats have nine lives.
Like any other living creature, cats only have one life. This rumor probably got started by the ancient Egyptians and other cultures who believed gods were reincarnated as cats over and over, thus seeming like nine times. Cats are also notorious for surviving falls, captivity in small spaces and many other dangerous situations as well, making them seem a bit immortal.
Cats are nocturnal.
Nope – cats are not nocturnal. They tend to be most active at dusk and dawn – which makes them crepuscular. Cats do have amazing vision in low-light situations, but they cannot see in total darkness, much like their human counterparts. Some cats may change their routines to match their owner’s, meaning they may become more active during the day and less active at night – much like people!
Cats do not get along with other animals.
There actually may be some truth to this one. Cats do prefer to be the only animal in the home because they tend to be very territorial and private. Introducing another animal – be it cat or dog – into the environment likely will not sit well with a cat because they are used to being in charge of their space. On the other hand, cats who are raised together and live together as adults do fare better when it comes to relationships, but there will always be a bit of friction between them throughout their adult lives.
Cats absolutely need milk in their diet.
Actually, cats do not need milk and it could do them more harm than good. As they age, most cats become lactose-intolerant, which means milk can make them sick. All cats need is a good brand of cat food that contains lots of vitamins and nutrients to provide them with a balanced diet to help them thrive.
More Interesting Cat Facts
The first year of a cat’s life is equal to 15 human years, in terms of development.
Cats cannot taste sweetness.
Cats sweat through the pads of their feet.
A purring cat doesn’t always mean a content cat. They also purr when feeling stressed, excited or sick as well.
Cats rub against people to mark their territory – not because they particularly like them.
Black cats are symbols of good luck in the United Kingdom and Australia.
Cats have 24 more bones than humans and can rotate their ears 180 degrees.
Cats use their whiskers for navigation, sensing their surroundings and recognizing danger, not for balance.
Cats close their eyes when happy or content – not just when they are napping.
Cats can make 100 different sounds, compared to dogs who can only produce about 10.
Cats can jump five times their height.
Most cats sleep around 16 hours per day, which is 70% of their lives.
Pregnant cats reach full term gestation in about nine weeks, compared to a human’s nine months!
Like Eskimos, cats greet each other by rubbing noses together – assuming they are in the mood to be friendly!
Domesticated cats have been around for 3,000+ years.
Cats have 30 teeth – and they are super sharp!
As you can see, cats are pretty cool for a lot of reasons. It is no wonder so many people have them as pets or can relate to them on some level. In fact, some people think that cats are so cool that they want to have them tattooed on their skin. Here’s a pictorial overview of some of the best cat tattoos that we have found.