In honor of Halloween, I thought I’d stray away from the usual tips and talk about cats and our connection to the spiritual world. Due to our independent and elusive character, as well as their stealthy demeanor and imposing appearance, we cats have gained fame as venerable, and have been cataloged as emissaries of the spirit world.
History of cat superstitions and paranormal activity
We cats, specifically black cats, are haunted by an air of superstition and paranormal experiences. Stories about spells, ghosts, and mysticism date back thousands of years and have been the target of persecution and used in rituals that increase during the Halloween season. That is why I, Milo Fwancis, Chief Scratching Officer at Scratch Play Meow wanted to investigate where all these stories come from.
Among the attributed beliefs, it is thought that cats represent witches or that they have the ability to see the astral world, among others. These ideas date back to ancient times, from ancient civilizations like Egypt, where cats were seen as figures of great veneration and reverence – just like we deserve.
The Egyptians proclaimed us, rightfully so, as a sacred animal during the 5th and 6th dynasties (c.2465 - c.2150 BC). Their affection and respect for cats led to the creation of cults and temples to worship them.
And so, it is possible to see these manifestations in other ancient cultures such as the Abyssinians, who paid homage to them with art and statues, and the Persian civilization. To be honest, I’m not sure why these practices don’t still take place today. I mean, we deserve them!
The Egyptians had a cat-headed goddess named Bast (or Bastet) to whom they paid devotion. That is why in archaeological discoveries, mummies of cats were found that were carefully mummified to ensure their transit to the spiritual world. In the Bible, the "cat" is mentioned in the apocryphal Letter of Jeremiah.
In medieval times, cats were associated with black magic and witchcraft, and for this they were cruelly punished and mistreated (RUDE!). Black cats in particular were thought to have occult powers as they were the pets of witches. We find this in literature, poetry, stories, proverbs, and even the British composer Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber made them a musical, the popular “Cats.”
But beyond human belief, the truth is that we cats are very skilled animals and science certifies it. Which, let’s be real, I don’t think there was any doubt there. :-p
History of cats
The first appearance of cats occurred in the Pliocene period, around 5.3 to 3.6 million years ago, and they continued their evolution with relatively little change, until today. The origin of the domestication of the cat is unknown, but scientific studies suggest that there are two lineages of Felis Catus. A lineage (F. Silvestris) appeared in Asia Minor possibly 6,400 years ago and spread throughout Asia and Europe. And the second lineage that appeared in Egypt 6,000 to 1,000 years ago before dispersing through the Mediterranean, possibly thanks to human introduction due to the trade routes of that time, resulting in both lineages mating with the African breed of cats, of who, it is believed, descends the domestic cat.
Currently we have different breeds of cats with different shapes, colors and sizes around the world, becoming one of the favorite companions of the human being.
True or false - can cats see ghosts?
When asked if cats can see ghosts, the answer is unclear. So far there is no scientific evidence that proves that cat can see ghosts, and furthermore, there’s no scientific proof of the existence of ghosts, a concept understood according to the Encyclopedia Britannica as "soul or specter of a dead person, usually believed to inhabit the netherworld and to be capable of returning in some form to the world of the living room. However, there has been loads of anecdotal evidence in which humans insist they had an encounter, or even live with, a ghost. When it comes down to it, the whole thing is a mystery and depends on what each individual believes. According to descriptions or depictions provided by believers, a ghost may appear as a living being or as a nebulous likeness of the deceased or, occasionally, in other forms. Belief in ghosts is based on the ancient notion that a human spirit is separable from the body and may maintain its existence after the body’s death.” On its part, the Royal Spanish Academy define ghost as a "chimerical vision such as that which occurs in dreams or in the figurations of the imagination."
In contrast, science claims that cats possess great abilities in terms of their senses, which could allow them to sense a spirit that would otherwise go undetected. A powerful vision, greater than 180°, good sense of smell, keen hearing, and a muscular system that allows them to have an enviable balance system, makes them excellent and elegant hunters and able to tune into the world on a deeper level.