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The cat, more than any other animal, is man’s closest personal companion in some ways. It is associated with indoor life and the joyful household hearth more than any other animal. It is, as St. George Mivart puts it, “the inhabitant of a number of modest dwellings where the dog has no place.”
Its self-sufficiency and beautiful, silent motions. Its elegance of form, beauty of colouring, daintiness of habit, and, most importantly, the pleasant, playful activity of its young make it a welcome fireside companion across the civilized world, and the playmate of innocent children in countless happy households.
It is seen as beneficial because it tends to keep rodent pests at bay. Nonetheless, it results in a dual existence.
The pet of the children, the admired habitué of the drawing-room or the salon by day, may at night transform into a wild animal, pursuing, striking down, and torturing its prey, frequently making night hideous with its cries, sneaking into dark, filthy, noisome retreats, or taking to the woods and fields, where it perpetuates untold mischief.
It now assaults the dovecote; it now steals on the mother bird sleeping in her nest, knocking the bird, nest, and young to the ground. It transforms into a poacher at night. No animal it can reach and dominate is safe from its ferocious grasp.
In fairness to the cat, it should be noted that it cannot be criticized for adhering to the natural proclivities of the Felid, the carnivorous family of animals to which it belongs.
It was brought to our country by a man, and the disruption of nature’s equilibrium produced by its arrival is man’s fault, and it occurs because he failed to control his own pet and protégé.
We are more to blame than the cat for its free-roaming, bird and game killing. Many cats are naturally sedentary and would not travel far from their homes unless forced to, but the neglected one must bestir itself to survive.
Abandoned or deserted by human companions, and frequently expected to seek the majority of its own food, its range expands as its intro? on easily obtained prey, it must diminish the number of people living in its immediate neighbourhood; otherwise, turned and permitted to shift for itself, it must satiate the hunger caused by wandering, fighting, and exposure by its own efforts.
Many people believe that it is a “poor cat that cannot earn its own living.” Some people never feed their cats, and it’s no surprise that neglected and rejected pussies become a nuisance to animals.
The cat is the only domestic animal that is not normally treated as property under the law, and so is neither entirely restrained nor protected by it; it is also the only one that is frequently allowed to run wild and earn its own living by its owner.
This, on the other hand, is the least of two evils. The greater danger is that hundreds of thousands of cats, abandoning their owners or being abandoned by them, have reverted to the wild state, bred in the woods, and the numbers of their progeny have increased to the point where they are a threat to small game, insectivorous birds, and poultry, necessitating the development of some method of repression.
The situation has deteriorated to the point where numerous states’ politicians have been requested to adopt steps to repress these midnight marauders.
Some data has been presented in recent years to support the belief that the cat spreads disease, particularly among children.
The purpose of this message is to examine the cat’s origin, history, character, habits, and economic position, as well as how its favourable habits might be completely utilized and its harmful habits reduced.
According to Mivart, it appears likely that the Mammalia, which includes the cat, descended from a highly developed “ something reptile-like batrachian of which no trace has been found.”
The domestic cat’s origin is unknown, but its link with man and his home dates back to historic times. All of ancient nations’ history may be traced back to a time when there were no cats.
There is no evidence of the house cat among the early nomadic cultures. The Stone Age lake inhabitants in Switzerland had no pet cats, but they hunted and ate wild species.
The Indo – Aryans of the Vedic Age did not have any. They did not exist in Ancient Greece or Rome. The cat is not mentioned in older records of civilization, nor is it depicted as a domesticated animal on any of the most ancient monuments or works of art that have been uncovered.
However, some Hebrew scholars feel that the animal alluded to there is the jackal. Even in Egypt, where the cat appears to have initially been tamed and became an object of veneration, domestication appears to have occurred quite late.
Everything indicates to the cat being domesticated in Africa at some probability. African cats are thought to be more ferocious and do not lend themselves as easily to domestication as cats from other places.
The cat appears to have emerged as a domestic animal during the thirteenth dynasty in the ” Land of Cush,” following the conquest of that region.
Cat mummies from Egypt have been thought to belong to this species, although naturalists disagree, and Blainville identifies three species among cat mummies: Felis Caligata, the Egyptian cat (which is identical to Felis Maniculata), Felis Bubastis, and Felis Chaus, an Asiatic species.
Two of these species can still be found in Africa, both wild and domesticated.
Ehrenberg, on the other hand, believes that all of the cat mummies he has examined are the remains of the Abyssinian wild cat, Felis Caligata. Felis Temminckii, Pallas, and Blyth argue that the domestic cat, Felis Domestica, is the product of several species interbreeding, as there are many little wild cats in many regions of the world, and as Felis Domestica freely breeds with.
The domestic cat, Felis Catus, appears to be the offspring of several species, including Felis Catus, the common cat of Europe.
Since writing the preceding, I’ve given some thought to the likely origins of Felis Domestica, and I’m now inclined to concur that Felis Maniculata and Felis Caligata are nearly identical to Felis Caffra.
It is important to remember that many closely related forms that have been labeled as species or races may have no true basis in nature other than the groping of the human intellect.
Almost certainly, all of the members of this group of closely related African cats classified under several names are identical to or descended from Felis Caffra.
According to Elliot, the color of this widely spread variety appears to range from dull yellowish to dark gray.
It has markings similar to the ordinary tabby, but they are less frequent, and it also has a blackish phase. Its color variants encompass almost all of the domestic cat’s color variations, with the exception of those that are the result of domestication.
Its look is similar to that of a domestic cat, except that it appears slightly leaner than the typical form of the family pet. If we account for the alterations brought about by domestication, anatomically it is very similar.
The scanty markings of this species may not account for the abundant ones of the domestic tabby, but they could have been formed centuries ago in Europe by several crosses with the well-marked wildcat Felis Catus when wildcats were plentiful and the domestic cat had not yet become common.
The cat was domesticated in Egypt at least thirteen hundred years before Christ. A statue of King Hana, perhaps of the eleventh dynasty, with his cat Bouhaki between his feet is one of the earliest depictions of the cat with man.
Monumental references to the animal emerge in documented ceremonies of the eighteenth dynasty, around 1500 B.C. The cat is mentioned in hieroglyphic inscriptions dating back to 1684 B.C., and possibly as far back as 2400 B.C.
The first known pictorial image of puss as a domestic pet is on a tablet from the eighteenth or nineteenth dynasty (about 1500 to 1638 B.C.) presently at Leiden, where she is placed under a chair.
Egypt’s Cat a complete history of the domestication of the cat would be an intriguing story. She sat at the thrones of the mighty in Egypt. She was devoted to woman, Isis, or the moon, and possibly also to the sun.
According to Plutarch, the picture of a female cat was placed at the top of the sistrum as a symbol of the lunar orb. Horapollo claims that the cat was worshipped in the temple of Heliopolis, which was dedicated to the sun.
Some scholars claim to have discovered evidence that one sex was thought to be symbolic of the moon and the other of the sun. Such respect was offered to the animal presumably because its eyes change the shape and size of its pupils with the waxing and waning of the orbs of day and night, and become more bright when the moon is full.
A cat-headed goddess known as Bast, Pasht, Sekhet, Pasche, Tefnut, or Menhi occurs in Egyptian temples and is thought by some to be the Diana or hunting goddess of the Egyptians. Others refer to her as the goddess of love or pleasure.
It’s possible that the cat will be picked to represent both Diana and Venus. This goddess, known to the Greeks as Bubastis, appears to have predated the cat’s deification and to have been a lioness goddess until the cat was domesticated, when the deification of the king of beasts was forgotten, and the cat became a lioness goddess “The “little lion” of the fireside took its place as a revered object.
Puss appears to have become a prized jewel and a fetish of the Egyptian people beginning in the twelfth dynasty. The Nile Valley was a great grain-growing region at the time, and Egypt was the ancient world’s granary.
The utility of the cat in collecting rats and mice was undeniably appealing to the Egyptians, but this was only accidental, and Egyptian cat was no valid basis for the extreme veneration goddess. with which cats were treated.
The Egyptians’ intense love, affection, and concern for this animal is exemplified by ancient tales that appear unbelievable in the light of the twentieth century.
The sinful killing of a cat was prohibited by law. The city of Bubastis, which is now in ruins between the Nile’s arms and above the contemporary town of Benha – el – Asl, was dedicated to cats and cat worship.
Bubastis was constructed around 1500 B.C. during the reign of Thothmes IV. The pilgrimage of seven hundred thousand people to this city in one year is recorded by Herodotus, who claims that the lives of cats were so sacred that when a fire occurred and an impulse to rush into it seemed to possess the felino, the Egyptians occupied themselves with keeping them as a cat of Bubastis.
The burning building failed to put out the fire. Despite all of the delicate care, several cats escaped and threw themselves into the flames, amid the wild laments of the bereaved and terrified Egyptians.
All members of any family who had lost a cat had their brows shaved, and the sacred animal was embalmed and interred at Bubastis.
No Egyptian dared to endanger a cat’s life. The old historians repeat a tale about Cambyses, the Persian king, who attempted to seize the town of Pelusium but was defeated by the Egyptians.
According to legend, after he distributed living cats to the soldiers in the Bronze statues of his army’s front rows, the Egyptians retired and surrendered the town without a fight. According to Diodorus, a Roman who accidentally killed a cat in Thebes was nearly ripped apart by the enraged mob.
Cats were not allowed to be exported. An Egyptian delegation searched the Mediterranean countries for every cat that had been taken out of Egypt and, if possible, brought it back.
The temples of Bubastis, Beni Hassan, and Heliopolis were hallowed retreats for the deified animal, but the Bubastis temple was the most important “ She is the most beautiful woman in Egypt.”
During their lives, the sacred cats were robed, pampered, and worshipped there. Their necks and ears were adorned with gold jewellery and trinkets. They “drowned and played in the shadows of gigantic temples” there “After death, their remains were gently and reverently preserved there.
Mummies of cats who had lived in the temple of the goddess Pasht at Bubastis were highly revered by the people, and their coffins included numerous gold jewellery bearing the same letters as those found in Egyptian monarchs’ mausoleums. Cat mummies were wrapped in exquisite linen, similar to how kings’ bodies were wrapped.
How the Mighty Have Fell! In recent years, sacred deposits at large cat burial sites have been raided, and the bones have been used to fertilize Egyptian fields or prepared and exported abroad to be sold as fertilizer.
Outside of Egypt, with its pictorial art, mummies, and inscriptions, there are little records of the cat’s early history. Little is known about its place in men’s houses between the period of the most recent Egyptian records and around 260 B.C., when it appears to be well established in Greece and Rome.
The Asian Cat. The cat is alluded to as a wild animal in Chinese records around 400 B.C. and does not appear to have been tamed in China until after the beginning of the Christian era.
It also arrived in Persia and India, although the precise date of its initial appearance in domestication there is one of history’s mysteries, and whether it originated from Egypt and interbred with native varieties or was domesticated only from native species is unknown.
All long-haired cats, on the other hand, are thought to have originated in the East and have a common ancestor in the Pallas cat ( Felis Manul ).
The Europe Cat. Some officials believe the cat arrived in Europe from Cyprus, while others believe it arrived from Egypt. Diodorus claims that hunters captured it and transported it from Numidia to de cadent Greece.
Whatever the facts were, its former splendour was vanished. It was scarcely honoured and worshipped in Greece and Rome, but it was tolerated and valued for its ability as a mouser. It appears to have spread slowly over Europe.
There appears to be no evidence of its domestication in the United Kingdom or France prior to the ninth century.
Despite the fact that its utility was recognized early on, it quickly became a beast of ill repute, a reputation that accompanied it for centuries. Its frigid temperament, nocturnal habits, burning eyes, and horrifying night howls made it a prey of superstition.
It was associated with devils, witches, sorcerers, owls, bats, and the spirits of sin and darkness, and it was the object of horrific persecution and torture during the dark and middle ages.
It may have been viewed as bad in part because of its claimed dislike of blue, the color of the “cloak of heaven” and the Virgin Mary’s clothing.
The cat was a prominent figure in witchcraft trials, considered as an imp of Satan, accused of casting spells, and girt with mystery and superstitious fear.
Cats were thrown from high towers in Flanders on the second Wednesday of Lent; this practice continued in Ypres until 1868 or later. On the first Sunday of Lent, cats were burned in Picardy.
On the evening of St. John, they were sacrificed in bonfires in Metz and other towns. In England, they were hanged, burned alive in huge fires by hundreds, roasted alive in brick ovens or at archery contests, tucked into leather bottles, and fired with arrows.
They were impaled on spits and roasted alive in front of slow fires in Scotland. On the continent, they were occasionally burnt in iron cages over fires, alongside effigies of murderers.
It was a popular sport for dogs to bother cats. Boys tied cats together by their tails and hanged them to watch them fight.
Persecution, terror, and agony followed poor pussy through the ages until the eighteenth century, when superstition began to crumble.
Even now, though, there is still some fear of the cat in many nations; many people regard her with distaste, if not hatred, and so the old heritage of fear still darkens pussy’s pathway, and she maintains an apprehensive demeanour as she slinks across the street.
Many people’s folklore is teeming with superstitious cat tales and fables, many of which indicate a distrust, disapproval, or suspicion.
Puss has a significant literary legacy and has contributed numerous terms and proverbs to the languages of the place. She is the source of fifty English words or phrases.
Her star, which has been overshadowed since the fall of the Goddess Pasht, has once again reached its apogee. Humane societies carefully guarded her against injury, uncontrolled by law or public emotion, pampered, petted, worshipped nearly as if elderly, “queen” of the cat exhibition, visited by her most devoted fans ““Puss faces the start of a new era as humble slaves.”
Dozens of publications are devoted entirely or partially to chronicling the history, variety, diseases, allies, and foes of cats, as well as anything else relevant to the adored pet.