From ancient Egypt to nowadays Turkey… Time is passing by, but one thing has not changed for a few thousands years – cats are still favorites all around the globe. Of course, there is one common saying according to which the world is divided into two perfect halves – cat lovers and dog lovers. It doesn’t matter to which half you belong, cats are interesting beings to study about, everyone has to admit that. And here’s quite a few things in a nutshell, that I wanted to share and it’s all about the cats. So, dog lovers, please pardon my very cat moment.
You have probably heard that people in ancient Egypt were quite serious about cats. Cat was basically an object of a kind of worship, considered as an earth representative of goddess Bastet, which was a deity protecting people from diseases. So cats did protect people’s houses from snakes and rodents and all the diseases those intruders could potentially spread. According to Herodotus, Egyptians during great fires were protecting cats instead of extinguishing flames, since the cats tend to jump straight into fire. After a death of house cat, people were mourning, shaving their eyebrows and taking a corpse of a cat to a temple to undergo the mummification proccess. In later centuries, cats started to symbolize rejection of hindering bonds as it was pictured as a company of the Roman goddess of liberty, Libertas.
Then the Dark Ages came, for cats also darker, since suddenly they began to be seen as a part of evil and paganism, associated with black magic and witchcraft. Everyone knows that cats were faithful companion of witches. Usually it was a black cat, which until today is a symbol of all misfortunes and many people avoid it, at least in most of European countries and North America. In the UK and Australia people believe that black cats bring luck.
I took you on a journey to a time long ago, but it’s time to come back to the present to see what else we can still learn about cats. Just a few facts and stories that maybe you have never heard about, even if you’re living in this half of the planet among the rest of cat lovers.
Lets first focus on some cat behaviours. You probably noticed that cats like to rub their heads on you, what basically signifies: “This is my human, this is my territory!”. Probably right after your cat will go and start long self-washing process, which means more or less: “You smell, human, I want to get rid of your smell now”. When you call your cat and it doesn’t respond, don’t be surprised. Those smart creatures are able to recognize your voice, they are just too lazy to react or more likely they just prefer to ignore it, because – let’s be honest – sometimes they just don’t care. “What do you want, human, I’m sleeping here”. Cat laziness? The fact is that cats spend 70% of their lives sleeping. They are also outstanding manipulators, using different types of mewing for different purposes. Did you know that when they are hungry they can imitate the voice of a newborn? In fact they can make more than a 100 different types of sound, while dogs can make only 10.
Then why do we still love cats? They manipulate us, they are moody and they tend to not care at all. Well, but… They can perfectly read human emotions, so if you’re down, they will come to keep you company and make you feel better with their purring presence. If they like you, of course. It is also proven that the noise that cats make when they are purring is for the faster treatment of bone fractures. Something hurts you? Put a cat on you. Or let it come itself and heal you. We can’t force a cat to do anything, everything depends on it’s good will. After all, the cat is a proud and independent being. And believe it or not, every regular cat – unless it’s as fat as Garfield – can run faster than Usain Bolt. Amazing, huh?
Today, there are more than 500 million domestic cats in the world and, for example, in Australia there are 9 cats per 10 people. Fair enough to call it “cat country”. And what are the benefits of keeping a cat at home? Well, a cat at home reduces the risk of stroke or heart attack by one-third. But what about the cat’s independence if we keep it at home? Some people believe that cats should live outside. Some of them seeing cats on the streets will consider them as homeless and miserable. There is a special place on this planet, where cats are kings of the streets – they not only live on the streets but they own them. Turkey. Especially in Istanbul. People are crazy about cats there. They take care of them every day, providing food and water and we can truly say that there is a special bond between Turkish people and cats – a kind of symbiosis. It comes from the Islamic belief, according to which cats bring wealth.
In Gabrovo, Bulgaria, a black cat without a tail is a symbol of energy efficiency and local people treat it as an emblem of the city. You can wonder, how in the world there can be a cat without a tail. There is one story connected with it. Gabrovian people are famous from being thrifty (some also will call them stingy, but let’s not go to far). In the past tailless cats were protecting the warmth of the home. How did the cat lose its tail? The owners cut the tails of their cats to close the door faster after them, not to let temperature inside to go down. Sounds crazy and I can assure you that there are a lot of jokes about it. And let’s be clear – no one cuts a cat’s tail there. But the fact is that there is this tailless cat breed. I have seen it – looks like a regular cat, just without a tail and it was born this way.
I could go more with the topic, discovering more cat-friendly places in the world, finding the weirdest human-cat relations, telling more funny stories etc. Cats, cats, cats… You can love them or not. And they can also either love you or not. That’s the truth – they are picky and they know human nature. And to gain a cat’s love seems truly like a gift.