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Cats - Gods and Devils.

Throughout history cats have taken on mythic proportions in different cultures. Cats first were domesticated in Egypt around 3000 BC. Egypt had problems with mice and rats infesting their food. The African Wild cat a small yellow cat with black stripes started coming into the cities to hunt these rodents. Without mouse traps or other forms of pest control it quickly became apparent that these cats were extremely helpful. People started leaving out treats to encourage cats to hunt in their home. The cats stayed in the cities as there was plenty of food and no predators as other animals kept their distance from humans. This situation was mutually beneficial to human and feline alike.

Cats gained such popularity in Egypt that they attained a god like status, as people believed cats embodied the characteristics of the gods. Unique feline characteristics likely assisted this view point. It is believed that purring had something to do with the development of these beliefs. It’s also possible that its distinctive eyes, keen instincts, and agility also helped persuade the Egyptians that cats were god like. Cats reached such a high status that some were mummified when they died along with mice and food. Also, killing a cat in Egypt was punishable by death.

With such favorable conditions the cat population grew dramatically. While initially there were strict laws forbidding the export of cats, these laws were eventually relaxed as their numbers grew. Consequently, cats started to be sold around the world. Popularity grew to such a level that different breeds formed on all habitable continents of the world.

While cats peaked in popularity and status in ancient Egypt, unfortunately, their status and popularity waned in Medieval Europe. People thought they were connected with the devil and suffered the same fate as many suspected witches. Likely all the traits the Egyptians saw as god like, the Europeans saw as signs of the devil. Cats were nearly wiped out in Europe during this time, and it wasn’t until witch hunts stopped that cats were tolerated and allowed to make a come back.

Now cats enjoy immense popularity around the world. Over 5000 years cats have developed from a wild animal to a trusted human companion. While labels of god or devil affected their history they have finally settled on simply being a pet.



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