CATS IN THE ENLIGHTENMENT (Part 6 – Naturalists’ Views on the Domestic Cat)

Not everyone was touched by the light of the Enlightenment, and a few scientists such as George Louis Leclerc de Buffon, a dog lover, and author of the Histoire Naturelle 1749-67, did not have a very high opinion of cats, and turned away from a reverence for nature, instead valuing animals solely for their purposefulness and […]

HISTORY OF THE CAT IN THE MIDDLE AGES (PART 3)

Jews‘ Association with Cats: Often depicted with the heretical symbol of the cat in the Bible Moralisée, the church considered Jews heretics.  In one illustration two clerics devoted to the church read a book and pray, while two bearded men (Jews) shun the church. One of whom holds out a money bag to a seated […]

HISTORY OF THE CAT IN PERSIA – THE DARK AGES (PART 7)

The History of the Cat in Persia: Before reaching the Far East, cats travelled through Persia and India via the Silk Routes where Persian Zoroastrians, in stark contrast to the Arab Muslims, considered the cat evil and treacherous.  During the Sassanian Empire (224-651), the cat in Zoroastrian mythology was said to have been created by […]

HISTORY OF THE CAT IN THE DARK AGES (PART 3)

Cats in Lindisfarne Gospel and Book of Kells   Even though, on the one hand, Christianity sought the total destruction of the old ways and temples during the Dark Ages, on the other, in their place, it began to erect a handful of churches and monasteries that blossomed into isolated centers of art, writing and […]

THE ROMAN CAT (Part 2)

ROMAN CAT HISTORY   The Roman Cat Accompanied Roman Legions In war the cat accompanied Roman legions emblazoned upon their shields and flags (Simpson, 1903).  “The company of soldiers, Ordines Augustei, who marched under the command of the Colonel of Infantry, sub Magistro peditum, bore on their ‘white’ or ‘silver’ shield, with a light green […]

THE ROMAN CAT (Part 1)

The Roman character was even less inclined than the Greek to truly appreciate the cat’s positive attributes.  The very traits of duty, obedience and loyalty that the Romans highly prized were quite obviously non-existent in the domestic cat.  In contrast, though, by its very nature, “the (Roman) cat represented freedom, independence, and autonomy” (Engels, 2001) […]

THE ETRUSCAN CAT

ETRUSCAN CAT HISTORY   The Phoenicians most probably introduced the Egyptian domestic cat to the Etruscans, as there is evidence of the Phoenician trade in Etruscan tombs located in the area of Civeta Castellani  (Hamilton, 1896).  Pictured on many of these tombs walls, the vermin killing domestic cat was familiar to early Etruscans.  On one of […]

THE MYCENAEAN CAT

MYCENAEAN CAT HISTORY   The Mycenaean civilization lasted a mere 500 years ending abruptly due to infighting, the invasion of the Dorians, or an invasion of the “Sea People”.  Primarily warriors, the Mycenaeans enlarged their empire by conquest rather than by trade, as the Minoans had, and inhabited what is today the whole of the […]

THE MINOAN CAT

MINOAN CAT HISTORY Although ancient Egyptians forbid the export of their beloved cats, determined smugglers stole the prized and worshipped animals to trade or sell.  In an effort to reclaim the kidnapped beasts, the ancient Egyptians dispatched whole armies to repatriate them, and in some cases emissaries were even given the duty to buy them […]

BUBASTIS, CITY OF CAT GODDESS BAST (Part III)

During the years 1887-1889, Edouard Naville excavated Bubastis and found huge pits filled with the remains of cremated cats near brick ovens that were blackened from use.  In one pit he found 720 cubic feet of bones, but he noted that in many cases ichneumons (mongoose) were buried along with the cats.  Naville’s find is […]