CAT MYTHS AND TALES

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Looking for more cat myths and tales? We’ve gathered a few more ways in which cats, both real and fictional, have made an impression on the world. We hope you enjoy!



Politicians & Cat Myths

Theodore Roosevelt had a few cats over the years, one of which was “Slippers,” a gray cat with six toes. Slippers loved White House diplomatic dinners and always managed to put in an appearance at them. On one occasion an impressive array of ambassador, ministers, and other beribboned and bedecked guests had to be directed around an object smack in the center of the carpet. It was Slippers, quite happily rolling around and enjoying himself.


Winston Churchill loved cats. He was given one on his 88th birthday, which he named Jock after the friend who gave him the feline. Jock lived at Chartwell, Churchill’s famous home, and was a popular attraction there after it was opened to the public. Jock passed away in 1975, well after the prime minister’s death in 1964. The curators at Chartwell quickly replaced him with another cat, which they named Jock. Churchill’s will stipulate that a marmalade cat should be kept at Chartwell forever, and he left a sum of money to cover room and board for each of the original Jock’s successors.


How the Cat got its Purr

In the time before stories were written in books, a princess was given an impossible task. She was ordered to spin 10,000 skeins of linen thread in 30 days, or else the prince she loved would be put to death.

The imprisoned princess had only her three cats for company. In desperation, she asked them to help her. The three cats and the princess worked night and day and finished the chore in the allotted time. The cats’ reward was the ability to purr, a sound somewhat like the whirring of the spinning wheel.

- From a European folk tale


A Lucky Guest

Should you book a table for 13 people at London’s famous Savoy Grill, your party will be joined by an uninvited guest: a 3-foot-high wood sculpture of a regal black cat, called Kasper.

The tradition started in 1898 after an unlucky South African guest named Woolf Joel held a dinner party attended by only 13 people. All his guests knew the superstition about a terrible fate befalling the first person to rise from a dinner table of 13, but Woolf Joel took no notice of such silly beliefs and exited first after dinner, unconcerned about his future. On his return to South Africa shortly afterwards, he was tragically shot dead.

Since then, the Savory hasn’t allowed a dinner party of 13 to sit without providing an extra guest to make the number up to 14. At first this was a member of staff, but in the 1920s Kaspar was commissioned by the hotel and created by artist Basil Ionides. He has been the fourteenth member of groups ever since.


More Cat Myths & Tales

-- A New Zealand woman identified only as Fiona has a cat who has dragged 60 items of women’s underwear filched from neighbors into the house. “Obviously, my stuff wasn’t good enough,” Fiona remarked. – An item in Newsweek, May 20, 1996

-- Folklore has attached many meanings to touching the cat. Back in the days when humans grooming cats was unthinkable, it was said: if you rub a cat’s fur backwards, you’ll soon get into a fight.

-- A kinked tail is considered a flaw in a Siamese cat. However, legend tells us this flaw had a purpose, which was to serve royalty. Before princesses in Thailand (formerly Siam) bathed, they took off their jewels and put them on the tail of their cat. The cat curved the tip of its tail to keep those gems from falling off.



-- As late as 1910 people still believed that if you should come upon a cat with its tail towards the fire, you could expect bad luck.

-- If the cat washes behind her ear a stranger will appear. This superstition dates back to the 1700s. By the 1920s, it was believed that washing behind the right ear indicated a man, and washing behind the left ear indicated a woman.


We frequently update this page with new cat myths, tales and folklore, so please feel free to visit us again soon!


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