the NINE LIVES of cats...

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rich in folklore and mystic, here is the story behind CAT and their NINE LIVES...

lazy cat
Surely most today don't believe our feline friends really possess NINE LIVES. But back in the day, many did, and with other legends spoke of the cat, he was thought of by some as a mysterious creature, indeed, while worshipped by others.

One of the most obvious explanations for this belief is the simple fact that the cat is such a resilient creature and seems to survive situtions where other creatures would not and because of this, it was believed the cat had extra lives. BREWERS DICTIONARY OF PHRASE AND FABLE explains the myth of a CAT'S NINE LIVES as it's hold on life is "more tenacious than many animals." Cats have been worshipped by many cultures since the earliest of times, but with the dawn of the Middle Ages, the belief turned and cats were thought to be evil and of the Devil and many were slaughtered because of this belief. One way of doing this was to toss the animals from high places in a public spectacle and many of the felines survived to the amazement of the spectators.


The number NINE, it seems, is a significant and lucky number in many cultures and it is because of this maybe, the digit has been attributed to the fabled number of lives the cat is rumoured to have. NINE is the TRINITY OF TRINITIES (three times three) and has been held in high regard since the most ancient of times. China, where it is believed the myth originated, holds to the belief of NINE being a lucky number. The ancient Egyptians worshipped cats and it is said, Atum-Ra, the Sun God, would take the form of a cat when he would visit the underworld. The gods which Atum-Ra gave life to were known as THE ENNEAD, meaning THE NINE.

William Shakespeare wrote of cats having NINE LIVES in his play "Romeo and Juliet", and an ancient proverb writes, "A cat has nine lives. For three he plays, for three he strays, and for the last three he stays." Zora Neale Hurston, an African-American writer in the early 20th century, wrote stories filled with southern black folklore, one of which told of why cats have NINE LIVES. In this story a hungry cat entered a house and found a dish filled with NINE fish and decided to eat them all. The fish however, were meant for NINE starving children who died the next day from hunger. The cat also died from his over-indulgence of eating so many fish at once. When the cat reached heaven he told God his story. God was so angry that He threw the cat down from Heaven and made him fall for NINE days to earth. Because the cat was responsible for the NINE children's lives, as punishment, God decreed he must die nine different times before he remained dead.

Not all cultures believe cats have NINE LIVES. In Arabian and Turkish proverbs the cat only possesses seven lives, and in Russia it is said the cat survives nine deaths, making the number of lives a grand total of ten.


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