Ancient Cat Lovers

     There are many cat lovers in all ages but probably the most ardent ones are the Ancient Egyptians to whom cats are gods. Bastet, the goddess of of the ripening of crops, is portrayed as either a slender, Siamesish black cat or as a woman with the head of a cat. There is a story that Persians strapped cats to their shields and went to battle with the Egyptians, because of this Egyptian soldiers couldn't fight, afraid of killing a cat, and were defeated. 
      Bastet is the daughter of the sun-god Ra and very important indeed, as aforementioned she controls the ripening of crops, which basically governs life and death in Egypt. After their demise cats were even mummified! Cat worship began to fade after the Greek Ptolemy family came to power. It ended finally with Roman occupation in the I century b.c. (human time measurement).

       Like the Greek god of the forest, Pan, who became Satan, the cat became an embodiment of the devil and a witch's familiar but while religious cat-hate raged in Europe, the opposite unrolled in the Middle East. It is said that the prophet Mohammed (who came later) loved his cat so much that he cut off the sleeve of his cloak rather than disturb its peaceful sleep.
      Cat-love is not without its reward. The Crusaders brought over the plague-carrying black rats of the Holy Land and because cats were few, the rats met little resistance in their path. In the Middle East where cats were loved and in Northern Europe (Russia, Finland, etc.) where they weren't persecuted, nothing of the sort ever happened.

      In the Far East cats were also loved, more or less. In Buddhism the cat isn't allowed into heavenbecause one of us refused to help the Buddha. We shouldn't answer for the decision of an individual! Nevertheless there seem to be different groups of buddhists, whose view on the matter is different. According to legend the Birman (a breed, see Birman) originated from a temple. The legend and the symbol "Beckoning Cat", thought to bring good luck, comes from a temple (The legend goes like this: Once there was a poor temple, all the monks had was a cat. One day a group of rich samurais passed along the road. The cat beckoned to them and they turned off the road, found the temple and gave it money).

       Most other ancient people excepting those that had never seen a cat worshipped our bigger cousins, namely the puma, leopard, tiger, lion and cheetah. For further Cat Lovers, this time by person click below.

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