Cats are one of the most popular pets in the world. Mysterious and unpredictable – these animals are everywhere. This does not only apply to the animals themselves – cat toys, cat figures, cat ornaments for the garden, cat clothes… But have you ever wondered what cats represent in different cultures?
Many different cultures have used cats as a symbol of something magical and spiritual. Many even believe that they can bring happiness and luck. Today, let’s take a look at what cats represent in different cultures around the world and find out where these beliefs come from.
Cats in different cultures around the world
Compared to dogs, domestic cats are a relatively new part of human life. Humans and dogs have had a close bond since at least 14,000 years ago, and perhaps as early as 32,100 years ago, but the relationship between cats and humans is about 9,500 years old.
So what makes cats so special and how have they become such an important part of our lives just like our dogs, despite the huge difference between them? To find out, let’s take a look at different cultures around the world.
Some say that the people of ancient Egypt were the first to have cats as pets, as early as 3000 BC. The Egyptians fell in love with their lovable nature and admired them for their ability to protect them from snakes and rats. As they did with other animals, they also began to worship cats.
The ancient Egyptian goddess, Bastet, who represented beauty and fertility, was depicted with a cat’s head. Bastet was a mysterious goddess who symbolized both the sun and the moon as well as light and heat.
The ancient Egyptians even had funerals for their cats when they died and performed similar rituals as when the pharaohs died.
Rome and Greece
The ancient Greeks fell in love with Egyptian cats and stole six pairs so that they could have their own. By the time they raised the first litters of cats, they had already become known throughout the country and began selling them to the Romans, Gauls and Celts.
The cats soon began to spread throughout the Mediterranean, creating a vast empire that their owners could only dream of.
In the beginning, cats in ancient Greece were luxury gifts for courtesans rather than pets. The relationship between cats and Greeks was very different compared to the relationship the Romans later had with them.
In China, people often exchanged cats for fine silk. Their elegance and good hunting ability won the hearts of the Chinese. They soon became a symbol of love, peace, peace and luck.
In modern China, the cat is seen as a pet only for women. Many people still believe that they are a symbol of luck and a way to drive away evil spirits.
Their presence in this country dates back to the year 999, when a Japanese emperor received a cat as a gift on his 13th birthday.
While the Japanese believed that cats could attract good luck, they also believed that the shape of their tail was a symbol of evil. People also began to associate them with feminine elegance and passed a law banning the commercialization and captivity of cats.
In India, cats are associated with the goddess of fertility, Shashthi, who is most often depicted with a cat’s face. They made small statues of cats and used them as lamps and as deterrents for pests.
Buddhists believed that they could keep evil spirits away and admired them for their meditative nature. Despite all this, however, Buddhists believe that cats are not sacred.
As you can see, cats are admired in many different cultures around the world. Loved for their elegance, their mysterious air and their hunting qualities, they are still one of the most popular pets in these cultures today, just like on many others.