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Cat-tastic Tales: Unmasking the Myth of Nine Lives

A surprised looking cat

Ah, cats – those mysterious, enigmatic creatures that have captivated human hearts for centuries. With their graceful movements, piercing eyes, and uncanny ability to land on their feet after even the most audacious leaps, it's no wonder that these feline wonders have inspired a myriad of myths and legends. Among these legends, one shines particularly bright: the notion that cats possess not one, not two, but nine lives.

Why do we say cats have nine lives?

Three cats looking up

Cat’s seem to defy gravity, can tumble from great heights, and land gracefully on its feet, seemingly unfazed by the heart-stopping plunge.

Such death-defying feats have led many to wonder, do cats truly possess multiple lives? While deep down we recognise our furry friend are not secretly harbouring eight extra lives, the origins of this myth are as charming as a kitten's playful antics.

Cats are the unrivalled acrobats of the animal kingdom. Their nimble bodies and keen reflexes allow them to escape from situations that might spell doom for other creatures.

Where does the saying come from?

The origin of the "nine lives" myth is elusive. From Shakespeare's playful quips to ancient proverbs that outline a cat's three-part journey through lives devoted to playing, straying, and ultimately, staying, it's clear that this belief has deep and mysterious roots. And while scholars may continue to ponder its true origin, one thing remains certain: cats have left their paw prints on the tapestry of human culture for centuries.

Romeo and Juliet Abstract Image

‘Tybalt: What wouldst thou have with me?
Mercutio: Good king of cats, nothing but one of your nine lives.’ Romeo and Juliet

Do cats have nine lives, or seven, or six?

A wet cat

As we traverse the globe, not all things are equal. In Spain, feline survivors are awarded seven lives, while in Turkish and Arabic legends, they are gifted a mere six. The enchantment of the number nine, with its mystical undertones, might explain why it's so often linked with our feline companions. Ancient Greece, a realm of myths and gods, cherished the number nine as a beacon of tradition and spirituality, infusing it with an otherworldly charm that cats seem to embody effortlessly.

An Ode to 9

A picture of the nine muses in greek mythology

The number nine has danced through human history as a symbol of mystique and meaning.

In ancient cultures, it can be known to signify completeness or eternity due to its triple-triple nature (3x3=9).

In Greek mythology, the Muses numbered nine, guardians of inspiration and arts. Chinese culture reveres nine as auspicious, linked to longevity and everlasting success.

In cats' mythos, the nine lives notion emerged, blending this mystical number with feline agility. The number nine is woven into beliefs and tales, a reminder that symbols carry stories beyond their numeric form.

In the realm of reality...

A man cuddling a cat

Let's be honest, it’s unlikely our cherished companions have supernatural power - but one should never say never.

While their agility and reflexes are impressive, they are far from impervious to harm. The myth of nine lives adds charm but it is our love, care, and responsible ownership goes a long way for their well-being!

Perhaps our beloved cats don’t possess a treasure trove of extra lives. But they do possess the uncanny ability to leave paw prints on our hearts. Whether they're sauntering along precarious ledges or performing aerial acrobatics, let's celebrate our feline friends for the extraordinary creatures they are – one life at a time.

James and the team at Kuba & Leia


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