|Kirk, who was like a son to us, especially to my hubby. RIP|
You can love cats, don't love them and think they are stand-offish, you can treat them as children or be too allergic to even be in the same room with them. But you cannot deny that there's something mysterious and special about these creatures.
|My little old man Bones, the cat we still have today|
The history of house cats is immense, so I'm only going to tell you a few key and interesting facts out of it here.
It is now thought by scientist that the first domestication of wild cats occurred over 8,000 years ago. Some of the earliest findings of this domestication lead back to ancient Cyprus, where archaeologists discovered a skeleton of a cat buried with a human even earlier. Other scientists, however, believe that the domestication of cats happened around 12,000 years ago in the Middle East area, with the rise of the first agricultural societies.
While the domestication of dogs occurred much earlier before the domestication of cats, and dogs had many uses to humans, it is thought that the reason cats were initially domesticated during the beginning of agricultural societies was to have them hunt mice that would get into the grain storage.
In the Middle Ages, cat became associated with dark powers and witchcraft. They were often killed as protection against evil and this went on until about 1600, until the domestic cat once again started to become popular in the West. A number of superstitions were also developed during the Middle Ages in Europe, such as the belief that a cat will suffocate a newborn infant by putting its nose to the child's mouth, sucking the breath out of the infant.
Interestingly, though, cats were favored by actors because they seemed to relax and calm their nerves before performances.
Chinese also valued cats highly but for more practical purposes of killing rats, but they were also favored as pets. Japanese respected and revered cats as bringing good luck and good fortune. The same is true in Russia, where cats are often put into a house first before a family moves in so they can bring good luck and cleanse the space of evil spirits.
|Maneki-neko, the "lucky" cat of Japan|
Today, cats are the most common pet in households around the world. With over 80 various breeds of domestic cats, there's a large variety to choose from. But whatever breed they are, they make great companions, even if sometimes they don't show the love as readily as dogs. In fact, sometimes it seems that cats behave more closely to us, humans.
I'd like to tell you a personal family story about cats. This story is fascinating and amazing, but also sad, so I have to give you a warning. I heard this story from my grandfather. When he was a child of about 3-4 years old, he was with his mother in evacuation (as this was during World War II) in some small village far away from any big city. He fell very ill, and the local doctor said that he will not survive the night. There was a cat in the house they were staying in. The cat kept coming and laying on my grandfather's chest. The adults tried to chase him away a number of times, but in the end they gave up and let him lay there. In the morning, my grandfather was all better...and the cat was dead. It was as if he took the sickness into himself. My grandfather is not a big believer in a lot of supernatural things, but the few times he told this story, I could see that there was still amazement in his voice.
What is the most amazing experience you've ever had with cats? Are you a cat person at all?