11 Jan 2013


The cat was created when the lion sneezed
 - Arabian proverb.

In Dutch it's Kat, in Swedish; Katt, in Italian; gatto, in  Spanish and Portuguese; gato, in Polish; Kot, in Turkish; Keti, in German; die Katze, in Armenian; Kitta, in Chinese; mao, in Persian; pushak, in Lithuanian; puize, In Egyptian; mau.

Described in Murray's Oxfod Dictionary as Felis catus, family Felidae (the cat family); it was probably domesticated in ancient Egypt from the local race of wildcat. MORE

Not so say both Hebrew and Arabian legends which claim that ......

the first cat appeared on Noah's ark when, after creating the ark, Noah and his children fearing the voracious appetite of the rats and mice prayed to God who, in response, caused the sleeping lion  to produce a cat from his nostrils with a giant sneeze.

Hmm, not the only legend to surround the cat and Noah.

Another old legend has it that .....

Cats were the only (domesticated) creatures on earth not to be created by God at the time of the creation BUT when God covered the earth with water and Noah set his ark afloat, the ark became infested with rats who, being rats, ate everything in sight.

Praying for a miracle, Noah was rewarded when two cats sprang to life from the mouths of the lion and lioness.

And according to Romanian folklore ....

When the day came for Noah and his family to go aboard the ark, Mrs Noah refused.
Shouting at his wife "You old devil, get on board" it is said the Devil took this as an invitation from Noah and planning to drown the family climbed aboard the ark in the form of a mouse.
And so, on seeing the mouse gnawing a hole in the ark, Noah threw his glove at it  - the glove instantly turning into cat.

Three interesting stories, with such a connection with water it's hardly surprising that so many tails (excuse the pun) and superstitions surround the cat and the sea.
  • The Manx cat has no tail after on turning up late for the ark an impatient Noah shut the door trapping the cats tail.
  • Fishermen's wives kept black cats as they believed that they would prevent danger from occurring to their husbands. Indeed these black cats were considered so valuable that they were often stolen.
  • If a sailor was approached by the ship's cat it meant good luck. If, however, the cat came only half way it meant bad luck would befall the sailor.
  • Using a cat to predict sea voyages, sailors believed that a loudly mewing cat meant a difficult journey, a playful cat a journey with 'good' winds.
  • Mi-ki  (tri-coloured cats) have long been taken on ships by Japanese sailors as they are believed to bring good luck.

Sources: Oxford Dictionaries.com, The Cat In Folklore, ChristStory: Cat Legends, Cat Stuff: Folklore and Superstition, The Magic Paw.


Jean said...

A tri-coloured cat is always female.

Nina said...

I love that in Egyptian it's mau. Loving it. :)

Kelly said...

Very interesting!

Suko said...

Fun post today! I adore cats, and enjoyed this post a lot.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...


These are some legends I haven't heard. Thanks for sharing.

Alexia561 said...

Had't heard the Noah's Ark story before. Very interesting, especially for us cat lovers!

The Golden Eagle said...

I had no idea there were so many stories about the origin of cats!

Betty Manousos said...

indeed very interesting!!


Jenners said...

I think my favorite part was the proverb that started the post!

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

Well I learned a lot about cats here today! WOW! :)

Claudine G. said...

Cats are harbingers of good luck. Always. I love the legends and how cats are tied so closely to sea adventures!