Nine lives – Are you kidding me right meow?
Are you a cat purr-son? If you are, the myth about cats having nine lives should be familiar to you. Science has proven that these furry felines do not have nine lives – in fact they only live one noble life.
How did this myth come about? Let’s find out!
The nine lives myth could have come from from their intuitive and lightning-fast reflexes that allow them to minimise injury when perceiving danger. Not only do they have an extremely flexible spine, but they also have the dexterity to twist, turn and land upright in high speed even when falling from high places. It seems like cats have a natural flair for physics!
Did you know? In 2012, Sugar the cat fell from the 19th floor of its owner’s apartment building in Boston and was left unscathed after the 60-metre fall! No wonder people believed in the old saying about nine lives.
I’m sure that most people (myself included) cannot recall where we first learnt that cats have nine lives. So I did some research and discovered that the myth seems to have originated from ancient Egypt where cats were worshipped!
Apparently, the ancient Egyptian Sun God, Atum-Ra, was believed to take the form of a cat in his visits to the Underworld. Legend has it that Atum-Ra gave birth to eight other gods and thus he represented nine lives in one.
Digging further, I uncovered even more fascinating facts!
As the ancient saying goes, “A cat has three lives. For three he plays, for three he strays and for the last three he stays.” It’s a statement about the sturdy nature of cats and the idea that they are the most loving when old yet too old to chase mice and run away. Hence, nine lives in total!
Others also believed that the number came from China – where the Chinese consider “9” a lucky number. The number nine — sometimes called “the trinity of trinities” — is also believed to be magical in many religions and regions around the world. Perhaps the reason why the myth has been circulating all over the world!
Anyway, enough talk about cats – it’s the year of the dog! It must be a huge relief to dogs that cats only live once. Have a paw-sperous year ahead everyone.