Cats have a long history of mystery and magic, worshiped and feared by many. In ancient Egypt, cats were seen to be sacred animals with supernatural powers, who were worshiped by gods. But do cats really have nine lives? Honestly, no.
Why have people believed this myth for centuries?
Well, cats are just really good at jumping. Cats posses a ‘righting reflex’, which enables them to twist around quickly whilst in the air. This means that if they were to fall or be dropped from a height, they can twist in the air and land on their feet. Cats are extremely well balanced animals with quick reflexes and a flexible backbone. A cat’s back has more vertebrae than a human’s back. These characteristics make it easy for a cat to be quick on its feet and land safely, hence why they survive large falls and close calls on the roads.
So, where does the nine come from?
In truth, the myth has been around for so long that we really don’t know where it started. However, nine is seen to be a magical number, and was referred to as the ‘trinity of trinities’ by the Ancient Greeks. In China, the number nine is considered to lucky and is deep-rooted within the mythology of Chinese Dragons. An old English proverb states “A cat has nine lives. For three he plays, for three he strays, and for the last three he stays”. However, this was meant playfully to refer to the life stages of a cat – as cats mature they become more affectionate and have less energy to hunt and play. However, not all religions believe cats to have nine lives. Turkish and Arabic legends have it that cats have six lives, where as some Spanish-speaking religions believe them to have seven.
Wherever the myth may have come from, one thing we do know is that our flexible felines have one life only. No matter how many times they seem to cheat death.
The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the writer. Content published here does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Petplan.