Cat Folklore

Cat Folklore

There have been many tales and legends about cats that have existed through the years. Here are some that have been passed down.

Noah did not take any cats on the ark because they did not exist at that time. When the ark started to be overrun with mice and rats, a lion sneezed and out came two cats from its nose. They quickly destroyed most of the mice and rats.

The Chinese believe that a cat is a crossed between a lion (dignity) and a monkey(curiosity and playfulness).

An Italian legend says when Mary gave birth to Jesus, a mother cat had kittens in the manger. Many artists have shown this event in their paintings.

Japanese sailors believe that cats having combined colors of red, white and black can predict storms.

The Chinese and Japanese believe the cat was excluded from the zodiac because a cat did not weep when Buddha died and killed a rat against Buddha’s orders.

Russians believe that the cat Ivanovitch reigned over the animals in the forest.

A Polish legend says when a litter of kittens was thrown into a river to drown, the willows join their branches together so the kittens could cling to them. The buds on the willows in springtime are like cat fur hence the name pussy willows.

In the Brittany region of France, it is said that every black cat has one white hair. Finding the white hair brings good luck.

A Great Britain folktale tells of a poor orphan who sends his cat on a journey on a ship. The cat returns with a fortune for the orphan. The orphan marries his master’s daughter and becomes lord mayor of London.

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In the Ozark mountains of Arkansas, a woman who receives a marriage proposal and cannot decide, takes three cat hairs from a cat’s tail. She wraps the hairs in white paper and leaves them on her doorstep. The next morning, if the hairs form the letter “y”, it is yes and if the hairs form the letter “n”, it is no.

When a black cat crosses one’s path it is bad luck in the United States, good luck in Great Britain.

Owning a black cat is good luck but meeting one is bad luck. Stroking a black cat three times will bring good luck.

A cat born in May is bad luck. If a cat leaves the home of an ill person, that person will die.

If a cat sneezes near a bride on her wedding day, the marriage will be a happy one. If a cat sneezes three times in a row, members of the family will catch colds.

Fishermen’s wives believe their husbands will return safely if a cat is kept in the house.