8 Cat Myths From Around the World That Will Blow Your Mind

Cats have always fascinated humans, haven’t they? From ancient Egypt to medieval Europe, and all the way to modern times, these mysterious felines have inspired countless myths and legends.

They have been seen as magical, wise, and sometimes even a bit eerie.

A circle of cats surrounded by symbols from different cultures, each representing a myth

Why do people tell so many stories about cats? The answer might lie in their independent nature and strange habits, which often leave us wondering what they’re really thinking.

Get ready to explore some of the most interesting and peculiar cat myths from different cultures around the world.

1) Black Cats Bring Bad Luck

You might have heard that black cats are bad luck.

This idea is pretty common in the United States.

If a black cat crosses your path, some people believe it means something bad will happen.

This belief isn’t the same everywhere.

In some cultures, black cats are actually thought to bring good luck.

In Italy, if a black cat jumps on the bed next to a sick person, it’s seen as a sign that the person will die.

This superstition makes people really cautious around black cats in certain situations.

In Germany, people think differently about black cats.

If one crosses your path from right to left, it’s considered bad luck.

But if it goes from left to right, you’re in the clear, and it’s seen as good luck.

Even though these myths are popular, there’s no real evidence that black cats bring bad luck.

They are just regular cats with dark fur.

So, whether you think they bring bad luck or not depends on where you live and what you believe.

2) Cats have nine lives

You’ve probably heard the saying that cats have nine lives.

This idea has been around for centuries and is known in many cultures.

The number nine is considered mystical in various religions and legends.

In some Spanish-speaking regions, people believe cats have seven lives, while in Turkish folklore, it’s six.

Cats are incredibly agile and often seem to escape dangerous situations.

Their speed, sharp reflexes, and ability to land on their feet help them avoid injury.

These traits might make it seem like they have extra chances at life.

During the Middle Ages in Europe, cats were linked to witchcraft and the supernatural.

This connection may have helped spread the belief in their multiple lives.

Though it’s just a myth, the saying that cats have nine lives highlights how amazing and resilient these furry creatures are.

3) Cats always land on their feet

People often think cats always land on their feet.

Cats are very agile, thanks to their flexible spine and strong sense of balance.

They can twist their bodies in mid-air and usually land on their feet.

This move is called the “righting reflex,” and they develop it when they are just a few weeks old.

However, this ability doesn’t make them invincible.

Cats can still get hurt from high falls.

If your home has balconies or high windows, take precautions to keep your cat safe.

Even a fall from a tall piece of furniture can be dangerous.

Remember, just because cats have this amazing skill doesn’t mean they’re immune to injury.

Be mindful of their environment and help keep them safe from high places.

4) Cats can see in complete darkness

You might have heard that cats can see in complete darkness.

This isn’t exactly true.

Cats do have excellent night vision compared to humans.

Their eyes are designed to capture more light, which helps them see better in low-light conditions.

Cats have a layer of cells called the tapetum lucidum in their eyes.

This layer reflects light that passes through the retina back into the eye, giving them a second chance to process it.

This is why their eyes often glow in the dark.

While cats can see better than humans in the dark, they still need some light to see.

They can’t see in absolute darkness.

In completely dark places, they rely more on their other senses, like smell, whiskers, and hearing, to move around.

So, while cats are great at navigating in low light, they can’t see in total darkness.

Their super-sensitive eyes give them an edge, but they still need a little bit of light to see where they’re going.

5) Cats are aloof and uninterested in humans

Many people think that cats are aloof and don’t care about their humans.

This idea has been around for a long time.

It might be because cats do things quietly and on their own time.

Cats often show they care in subtle ways.

They might follow you around the house or sit near you without making a fuss.

They can also purr when they are happy or rub against you to show affection.

Your cat might not be jumping up and down like a dog, but they still enjoy your company.

They may even get lonely if left alone for too long.

Taking the time to notice these small signs can help you see how much your cat cares.

6) Pregnant women should avoid cats

Some people think pregnant women shouldn’t have cats.

They worry about a parasite called toxoplasmosis.

This parasite can be in cat poop and might harm an unborn baby.

Pregnant women don’t need to get rid of their cats.

Just avoid changing the litter box.

If you must, wear gloves and wash your hands after.

Toxoplasmosis is rare.

It’s also found in undercooked meat and unwashed fruits and vegetables.

So, it’s not just about cats.

You are more likely to get it from gardening or eating certain foods.

Being careful with hygiene can help reduce risks.

Living with cats is usually safe.

Enjoy your furry friend with some simple precautions.

7) Cats suck the breath out of babies

One of the most unsettling myths about cats is that they suck the breath out of babies.

This idea has been around for a long time, causing unnecessary fear among parents.

The truth is, cats do not have any intention or ability to steal a baby’s breath.

It’s likely that this myth started because cats often enjoy snuggling up to the warmth of a sleeping baby.

People might have seen a cat close to a baby’s face and thought it was something dangerous.

In reality, cats probably just like the smell of milk on the baby’s breath.

There is no scientific evidence that supports this myth.

It’s important to remember that cats are not a danger to your little one in this way.

They just enjoy cozy spots and the presence of someone they love.

8) Cats Hate Water

You might have heard that cats hate water, but this isn’t entirely true.

While most cats don’t enjoy being submerged, many are fascinated with running water.

Cats often play with dripping faucets or paw at their water bowls.

Some even enjoy splashing around in sinks.

Kittens, especially, can be found exploring watery areas like bathtubs and showers.

While they usually outgrow this, the curiosity is real.

Not all cats react the same way to water.

Some cats may dislike the feeling of being wet, especially on their fur.

But remember, there are exceptions.

Some cat breeds, like the Turkish Van, are known to like swimming and playing in water.

So, next time you see your cat avoid a bath, it doesn’t mean they hate water altogether.

They just have their own unique preferences.

Historical Roots of Cat Myths

Cats have been both revered and feared throughout history.

Two prime examples are their roles in Ancient Egypt and Medieval Europe.

Ancient Egyptian Reverence

In Ancient Egypt, cats were sacred creatures.

They were associated with the goddess Bastet, who embodied home, fertility, and protection.

Egyptians loved cats for their ability to control vermin and snakes.

Killing a cat, even by accident, was punishable by death.

Cats were often mummified and buried with their owners.

This reverence ensured that cats had a protected and cherished place in Egyptian society.

Their graceful nature and hunting skills only added to their mystical reputation.

Medieval European Superstitions

In Medieval Europe, cats weren’t always so lucky.

Black cats, in particular, were seen as omens of bad luck or even witches in disguise.

These beliefs stemmed from religious changes and widespread fear of witchcraft.

Cats were believed to be familiars for witches, aiding them in their dark deeds.

Many cats were killed due to these superstitions, especially during the time of the Black Plague.

Ironically, the decrease in cat populations likely worsened the spread of the plague by allowing the rat population to flourish unchecked.

Historical events and cultural shifts largely shaped these beliefs, showing how cats could be seen as both divine protectors and sinister harbingers.

Feline Folklore from Asia

In Asia, cats have long been seen as symbols of luck, protection, and mystery.

From Japan’s famous beckoning cat to China’s lucky cats, these feline figures hold important cultural significance.

Japan’s Maneki-neko

Maneki-neko, or “beckoning cat,” is a popular symbol in Japan.

You’ll often see it in shops and businesses, waving its paw to invite good fortune and customers.

These figures can be made from materials like ceramic or plastic.

The cat’s raised paw has different meanings.

If the right paw is up, it attracts money and success.

If the left paw is up, it brings in customers and people.

The color of the Maneki-neko also has special significance.

A white cat represents purity, a black cat wards off evil spirits, and a gold cat brings wealth.

According to legend, a wealthy man was once caught in a storm.

He found shelter under a tree near a temple and noticed a cat lifting its paw as if beckoning him.

When he approached, a lightning bolt struck the tree.

Believing the cat saved his life, he donated money to the temple, leading to the creation of Maneki-neko.

Chinese Lucky Cats

In Chinese culture, lucky cats, similar to Japan’s Maneki-neko, are known as Zhaocai Mao.

They are believed to bring wealth, prosperity, and safety to their owners.

These figures are often golden, symbolizing wealth and riches.

You’ll commonly find them in businesses, waving their paws to attract luck and financial gain.

Some Chinese lucky cats hold a small golden coin or a symbol of prosperity.

The gesture of the cat waving its paw is a sign of good fortune.

The movement mimics the Chinese hand gesture for inviting someone to come closer.

This act is considered a way to attract wealth and positive energy into one’s life.

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