Ok so this blog post is just a lighthearted look at the old saying. You know the one, about cats having 9 lives. It is fairly obvious that it is logically impossible for a cat too have more than one life. However it is quite interesting to find out how this rumour came about. Also O want to take a look at why some people may actually believe the myth to be true.
Where did the cats have 9 lives myth come from?
This myth has been around for hundreds of years. It also varies from country to country. In the US and UK it is 9 lives, where as in Spain and the Arab Kingdom it is 7 and 6.
Nobody can know for sure where the myth originated but it has been spoken about for a long time. Here is a quote from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and remember that this story was completed in the year 1595 !
“Tybalt: What wouldst thou have with me?
Mercutio: Good king of cats, nothing but one of your nine lives.”
So that places this myth as at least this date but surely Shakespeare must have heard it from somewhere else?
There are lots of myths and superstitions focussed around cats. And this is just another one of them.
Why would people think cats have 9 lives?
I think anyone who has owned a cat could quite easily see how he myth could come about. How many times have you see. Your cat fall from somewhere and just manage to land on its feet unscathed?
You see cats are very agile creatures. They have reactions as fast as a snakes strike and brutal accuracy in everything they do. This coupled with the incredible speed of their decision making makes them seem almost untouchable.
Cats have an amazing mechanism as well that self rights themselves during a fall. It is almost as it the body instantly snaps the right way round making sure that they always land feet first. This is something that they have got from their ancestors who were accomplished tree climbers. Having a body reaction like that to a fall situation was essential.
Another thing to note is a cats weight compared to its size. Cats look quite bulky and heavy but underneath there thick hair they have a very lightweight frame and a wide surface area. This means that there weight is easily absorbed by their legs during a fall. There legs themselves along with the rest of their bodies is very strong and flexible which is why they have such lightening fast reflex.
So cats do not have 9 lives then?!
No definitely not. Cats have one life but due to the advantages mentioned above it can appear that they are indestructible.
People have looked after cats since the dawn of time. The ancient Egyptians used to even go as far as worshipping them as shown by hieroglyphics. Could the myth have even stemmed from as far back as that?
Unfortunately though just like every other animal and pet our cats are not immortal. We need to care and protect them from incident even if they appear to have 9 lives!
My name is Andy Baines and I am the owner and writer here at Super Crazy Pets.
For the last 20 years I have been the carer/parent of many exotic pets, from reptiles to amphibians I have cared for and looked after them all.
I created this website to share my knowledge of looking after pets with other fellow owners.
My works and articles have been shared on many online publications including The Spruce Pets.
You can read more about my story by visiting the about me page.