History of Cats

Cats were much loved throughout early history. Whether they were keeping mice out of the grain stores or being worshipped as in the case with the Egyptians, our feline friends were very well regarded.

There were cat Goddesses such as Bastet, (Bast) Egyptian Goddess and daughter of Ra, sister of Sekhmet, the Lion headed Goddess. Bast was the Goddess of protection, pleasure, fertility and childbirth. She protected the home from evil spirits and disease, especially diseases associated with women.

In Germanic myth the Nordic Goddess Freya, rode in a chariot pulled by cats and the Midgard serpent, who wanted to destroy the earth, was disguised as a cat for a while to trick Thor. Some propose that the latter has to do with the eventual demonization of cats in the Middle Ages, but I think that’s a stretch.

It was Pope Gregory IX, who in all probability hated women and was perhaps scratched by a cat in his youth, who demonized cats when he became the 178th pope of the Catholic Church from 1227 to 1241. He issued a Papal Bull, (an official papa letter or document), declaring that, “Cats are endowed with Satan’s Spirit”, which led to a huge numbers of cats being tortured and killed throughout Europe and causing cats to be associated with all things evil and occult.

This is the very same pope that authorized Witch Hunts to take place in the 1200’s.

It is said that the Black Plague was helped along by the decimation of our feline friends as this gave the rats free reign to cavort throughout the villages spreading disease via their fleas spreading to humans.


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