Cats are sweet and grumpy animals and these characteristics make them one of the most well-loved pets in many homes around the world. Cat lovers often think that their beloved felines can stay with them throughout their lives simply because they have nine lives. Sadly, this belief is only a myth. The truth can be very disappointing and heartbreaking to those who have a big heart for cats. Finding out the truth about it, however, may allow those who believe to find solace and peace of mind.
A cat’s nine lives: The legend
According to experts, there is no actual origin of the myth pertaining to cats having nine lives. Historical records also show nothing about where and when this myth came from. This makes oral history extra troublesome, right? But if we probe a little deeper, we’ll find out that the nine lives of a cat was initially mentioned in a particular proverb. Unfortunately, the origin of the proverb that mentions cats having nine lives still remains unknown and a mystery. But it can be told based on estimated timelines.
In Romeo and Juliet, one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, we can see that the author wrote about the good king of cats and mentioned about one of the cat’s nine lives. This famous play was written by Shakespeare during the 16th century. Thus, this makes us conclude that the myth or legend predates the 1500s.
Cats have nine lives: Why is it so?
Cats are animals which are known to have a high sense of agility. Also, they are known to be very intelligent and fiercely independent as well. Surprisingly, cats can fall and land with their feet even if they fall from a high place. As a matter of fact, there was a record of a cat that fell from a 32-storey building in New York. What is astonishing in this documented case is that the cat had survived the fall, sustaining only slight injuries.
Feats and incidents such as this can be considered the origin of the idea of cats having nine lives. Well, in case you are not aware, cats have a very fantastic and amazing anatomy. And also, you may not know that cats are an evolution of their very first ancestors who dwelled and lived in trees. This might explain that cats may have adapted their natural instinct of living in high places before they become domesticated.
Anatomically speaking, cats have what they call a “righting reflex,” a point in their body that allows them to twist the moment they fall. By using this righting reflex, cats can land with their feet in a secured manner. Also, cats have a body with a large surface, and this significantly reduces the impact whenever they fall. Moreover, cats have bones and ligaments that have a high sense of flexibility. Such flexibility enables them to receive less-serious injuries in case they fall from a high elevation.
Cat’s nine lives: Why specifically 9 lives?
According to numerology, the number 9 is highly significant due to its composition: it has three sets of 3. There are religions like Roman Catholic, Greek, and Islam that consider the number 9 as something symbolic, and it comes with mystical properties. In Islam religious culture, the number 9 is almost similar to India’s thoughts and ideas about Sanatana Dharma. In Greece, on the other hand, the number 9 is pointed out as the ‘trinities’ trinity’ which is very much similar to the composition of numerology.
What is even more fascinating is that cats have other life variations in other countries. People in Spain believe that cats have seven lives. Cats only have six lives according to Turkish and Arabic legends.