RAMBLINGS : CATS
Is your cat secretely wanting to kill you?
Ever wondered if your cat secretly wishes he or she could kill you? Our cute fluffy, furry and soft friends (to most humans), have been a subject of many conspiracy theories over the years but the one going strong which gathered the biggest following so far, says cats have been sent to Earth by aliens in order to stop humans from advancing as a race.
It is believed that at first the aliens send the big cats to Earth, like lions and tigers, to kill off humans, however it was a failed attempt as we learned how to protect ourselves and ended up hunting some of them. You know the biblical myth of the Babel tower? Turns out it was actually the cat aliens, not ‘God’, who were responsible for humans dispersing across the globe speaking different languages, in order to halt their progress. The aliens were greatly satisfied with the results of their meddling and left the primitive human civilisation alone for a fair while. It wasn’t until their next visit on Earth, when they noticed humanity creating complex structures, like the pyramids, when they decided the only way to track human progress (or the lack of it) was to spy on them. And that’s how domesticated cats came about – a smaller, less intelligent version of a cat that looked and acted cute, was meant to report to their mothership on humans using their telepathy skills. This seemed to have worked out for the alien race and in the end lead to cats being worshipped as gods back in the ancient Egypt. (Read more here, or watch Futurama’s ‘That Darn Katz!’ episode here.
Whether, you believe the alien theory or think people may have too much time on their hands, Egyptian love for cats was a real deal – they were considered sacred animals. Killing one was punishable by death and their owners shaved their eyebrows in grief after their pets death. Cats were also mummified and placed in a pyramid for their feline afterlife. According to DNA testing, all cats derived from the same Wildcat subspecies Felis silvestris lybica, and were first domesticated back in 10,000 B.C.. One could speculate reasons as to why cats became worshipped by the Egyptians, but turns out that back in the day they were pretty useful in keeping the vermin in check and killing snakes – both of which threatened the grain stock of Egypt, therefore cats were somewhat protecting humans from hunger and starvation. Cats also played a big role in the religion of the ancient Egypt and many deities took on a cat form. Bastet, one of the most famous Egyptian goddesses, took on a form of a cat and was a protector of motherhood and fertility.
The usefulness of cats in vermin control, allowed them to spread across the globe – they were happily taken on board of ships sailing all over the world to keep them clear of rodents. The ancient Romans considered cats a symbol of freedom and an effective way of pest control. The cats also hopped over to Asia, where dedicated mousers protected silk cocoons and important manuscripts.
Unfortunately, the middle ages brought a low time for the catkind – during the Spanish Inquisition, the Pope Innocent VIII has declared cats to be evil. It was an especially strange move considering a biblical legend in which a domestic cat was created from a lion’s sneeze at Noah’s arc to protect the food supply. Pope’s declaration has caused mass killings of cats which in turn lead to an accelerated spread of the Black Death because of the rising rat population who transmitted the disease. After being declared evil, the reputation of cats only took a darker turn. They became associated with witchcraft and burned alive in bags or dropped from the top of the church towers. Not surprisingly, some survived the fall which was a bad omen for the person who tried to kill it.
This of course does not mean that some cats living in the Middle Ages, did not become pets. While there are some reports that cat skin market became a thing at some point, there’s also reports of cats and humans getting along in the dark ages – like Countess of Leicester purchasing a cat in 1265 (it’s unsure if purchase was made for cuddles or a pest problem) or a cat being on the payroll (one penny a week) in the Exeter Cathedral to control the vermin. With the arrival of the Enlightenment, came better times for cats which were no longer considered to be the spawn of the devil and so has the modern obsession with cats began.
Nowadays, cats live in over 600 million households on 6 continents and one could say they rule the Internet, as well as the world. “Cats” is one of the most-searched-for terms on the Internet and YouTube videos. Cat content is everywhere but surprisingly, there actually is as much dog content as there is cat, so why are felines more popular and viral? While cats are cute – the kind of cute that we are biologically drawn to take care of (big eyes, tiny noses, round faces) – this cannot be the only reason they essentially took over the Internet. The cyber cat craze could be heavily influenced by two cultures that dominate the Web – American and Japanese, which both consider cats very cute. Their love for the feline might have simply taken over the online world but our long standing history with catkind could also have had an influence. It’s important to remember though, that in other cultures, it’s not all about felines – for example, in some African countries goats are definitely considered cuter than cats.
Whatever the reason is, cats rule the world (sort of) – some rose to international fame (like Grumpy Cat) but most are simply treated like kings and queens in their homes – with water fountains, automated litter boxes and all the toys and treats their hearts could desire. Cats have been winning human hearts over thousands of years now, so who knows – maybe they actually have been sent over by the aliens and one day they will literally take over the world…