How many times has my Persian-mixed cat dodged in front of a car, jumped out a window, fought a dog or jumped into a cat fight that I seriously started wondering, does a cat have 9 lives?
Science forces us that cats do not, in fact, have 9 lives but like us, we only have 1. We must understand, that the lightning reactions of cats coupled with their ability to right themselves from falling from a great distance due to the “right reaction” gives us the impression That cats can survive any disaster. Cats have a great reputation for their jumping and tumbling abilities. When they jump, they can jump very high and when they land, they usually land upright, on their feet! Cats have been known to fall out of buildings during an earthquake and still survive or get out of a collapsed building! Thanks to the cat’s “reflex,” cats are able to turn around very quickly when they fall through the air. Their very good balance along with their flexible soft spines add to their staying power.
Origin of 9 lives
How does this old English proverb go? “A cat has nine lives. For three he plays, for three he strays, and for another three he stays.”
Although the proverb is not to be taken lightly, the legend of the nine lives can be traced back to history.
Nine has always been a number meant to carry magical connotations. The ancient Greeks believed that nine was a mysterious number based on tradition and referred to as the trinity of all trinities.
In ancient Egypt, the cat was revered and worshiped. The nine gods of the Aeneid consisted of Atum-Ra, the sun god who gave life to the gods of air, moisture, earth and sky. In return they produced Osiris, Isis, Seth and Nephthys. Atum-Ra, when visiting Hades, took the form of a cat and embodied nine souls in one Creator.
In Europe, the cult of the cat continued until at least the Middle Ages, but the cat was no longer considered divine, but was considered magical. Medieval Europe was known as a difficult place for a cat to live among some mysterious rituals in which cats were thrown from tall towers. Legend dictates the story of Baldwin III, Count of Overyes, who threw cats from a tower in AD962. This event is still noted today with an annual cat festival. The Belgian city celebrates with a parade that honors the history of cats, after the cats are thrown from the 70-meter-tall Cloth Hall tower. Live cats were used until 1817, but the cats escaped so quickly that they were never caught again for similar ceremonies. Now only toy cats are used these days!
Explanation of science
Cats’ amazing ability was finally explained by science in 1894 when French photographer and physicist Etienne Jules Marie (whose research in photography was an essential tool for human and animal movement) snapped a cat by its legs, upside down, and then dropped it! The experiment was captured by a camera that took 60 frames per second. The film shows how the cat rights itself and lands on its feet by twisting its head, back, legs and tail in order to lessen the impact.
Cats don’t always get on the right track which is why they sometimes come home with a bump or bruise. So it’s actually not difficult. Studies of cats falling from varying heights indicate that about 90% survive with broken bones and bruised claws, but distance is crucial. too high and the results are not clear, just like their human counterparts. Too little and the cat does not have time to correct its fall.
Still, the cat inspires charm that’s why the legend of the cat and the nine lives has been so excited.
The curiosity of the proverb and the cat
Curiosity usually does not kill curious cats because they have a great knack for avoiding death with a mustache. These explorers spot danger at every turn and why not, they have eight more lives than everyday household pets…right? mistake!
The cat’s multiple lives legend exists in many cultures of the world, but not all cultures cite the lives of nine people. Some Spanish speaking regions believe that cats have seven lives, while Arabic and Turkish stories claim that cats have six lives! But when you think about it, two lives are better than one!
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