Cats & Death

You might know already, but I am a cat person. As I write this, my youngest cat is dreamily watching a YouTube channel made to relieve cats of boredom and anxiety. My eldest is sat on a blanket recovering from his latest trip to the vets. Like my Instagram bio states, I’m all about cats and death. However, you might not realise just how connected those two things are and why this is a perfect combination.

Ruby watching her anxiety combatting videos

Rocky is still a poorly old soul

If you Google ‘cats and death’ you get some odd results. Particularly interesting is whether cats can smell death and a news report of a cat in a nursing home who predicts who will die. Oscar and his little visits to patients are explained in this video but it would seem he can sense something, thought to probably be a smell, in the patient and recognises those that will die soon. He sits with the patient until their death, curled up with them until their last moments. A study and a paper was presented in a medical journal about little Oscar, concluding nothing but presenting the evidence he can sense the incoming death of a person.

Then there’s others like the video of man who fakes his own death in front of his cat to see what he does, not surprisingly the cat is fairly indifferent to its owner’s dramatic demise. I must try it some time but I have a feeling my two would have a very similar reaction. Linking to Oscar, maybe they just intelligently know that it’s fake and won’t be fooled by our silly ways. Cats are pretty intelligent, my Ruby figured out how to open a door within a week of living with us.

With three legs, half a tail and shaved patches, I’ll admit he’s an odd looking cat.

If you look a little deeper, there are a number of links to cats and death throughout the past, for example in Ancient Egypt. Ancient Egyptians mummified cats regularly, worshipped cat headed deities and used them in their art. It’s well known they were definitely cat people, holding them in high regard. Through the UK, cats have often been part of superstitions around death, this is explored at thegreatcat.org and seem to mainly concern the cat either having influenced or indicating whether the dead person had gone to heaven or hell. Cats have been revered or hated in many different ways in the way no other animal seems to be. Makes me think of witches with black cats as familiars too, especially at this time of year!

Black cats in particular have always been considered unlucky at least, if not a harbinger of death and doom. Black cats play a large part in the superstitions that surround death, like one jumping over a dead body would make it a vampire, or encountering a black cat at a funeral meant another death was imminent. I wish I could say this was not present in a modern and rational world but our poor Ruby really struggled to find a home after she lost her leg and most of her kittens to a dog. It’s felt people definitely thought she was an unlucky little one to have around. A comprehensive list of folklore and superstitions can be found here.

Unlucky to some extent but lucky to be alive! Ignore the evil look in her eyes…

You may think I wrote this post just to share photos of my cats and you may well be about 40% correct but I’m sure some of you don’t mind that at all. Apologies to all the dog people out there, but all I can say is why not both? I like dogs too, just cats a little bit more. I can certainly appreciate a lovely dog, or a basket full of puppies like I saw on Monday at the vets. However it just shows, cats and death go paw in hand so it’s not so weird to write my blog while sat with my cats around me. More death topics and an update on my week to come over the weekend!

MG x

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