THE CAT BEHIND THE MYTH by Brenda_Molina

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									    THE CAT
BEHIND THE MYTH
      Brenda Molina

     June 02, 2009-2pm
       There is not another animal that has been the source of so many superstitions and myths

as the cat. The myths that have been told for hundreds of years are almost as amazing as the

animal itself. Because of their importance throughout history, the cat has been sacred to many

religions, worshipped as a goddess, sacrificed for its supernatural powers (both good and bad),

and burned at stake for being the witch’s accomplice. But, what caused the sudden change of

heart for the world? Could it have had anything to do with religion by any chance?


       The cat’s empire started in Ancient Egypt, at least 7,000 years ago. She started as a

homeless creature trying to survive by feeding on vermin and she was just very good at hunting

them that slowly she developed a close relationship with the people. She was an African Wild

Cat. And these cats weren’t considered cute and cuddly, yet. But, slowly and surely both parties

realized the many benefits to having each other: There were so many rodents around the fruits

and vegetables that the wild cats always had food to eat, without even touching the crops. This

was a huge advantage for the people because they were getting their crops, their homes, and their

boats protected from vermin for free. Installation was easy too. All the people had to do was

leave food out for the cats to get them closer to their homes. (Sheppard Software)


       The cats soon started to get domesticated. It took about 500 years for the cat’s grand

status as goddess to increase. She was called Myeo, or Mau, in Egypt and got a whole temple in

honor of her! (Coll) The Egyptians believed that the Sun god, Ra, died every single day and he

would fight his way back up from the underworld. If one day Ra happened to die in battle and

the great serpent, Apopis, devoured him, the god would not rise again and there wouldn’t be

light. Thus, it would be the end of the universe. Ra was life to the Egyptians and it was no

mystery why an animal whose eyes reflect in the dark would quickly be worshipped and
admired. They believed that cats had the sun’s rays in their eyes and “with that fire burning in

their eyes, the lions would kill the serpents of the night.” (Deguara)


       Cats were not worshipped because of one goddess, there were many goddesses that were

the epitome of cats: There was Sekhmet, the goddess of war and destruction (later to be goddess

of fertility and motherhood as well) and the Eye of Ra, who in one myth was sent down to earth

to slaughter the human enemies of Ra. There was also the goddess of fertility, the moon, and the

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