Our feline friends have been domesticated for over four thousand years, so it is expected that they would end up in legends and tales told throughout the ages. They have represented guidance and protection in both life and death.
The Legend of Galinthus
The legend of Hercules is one many know. Yet, many are unaware that this story not only involves a cat, but is the reason cats have been associated with darkness and transformation. Hercules is the son of king god Zeus, who seduced Alcmene.
Zeus’ wife, queen of the gods, was very jealous and tried to prevent Hercules from being born by sending her daughter Eileithyia, goddess of childbirth. Galinthus, a maid servant of Alcmene stepped in to save the day by tricking Eileithyia into announcing Hercules’ birth. As punishment for thwarting Hera’s plans, she turned Galinthus into a cat.
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The Legend of the Sacred Cat of Burma
The cat breed, typically known as Birdman, has its own legend. In a sacred temple for Tsun Kyan-Kse, the goddess with sapphire eyes, the head monk, Mun-Ha would mediate alongside a white cat with yellow eyes and brown nose, tail and paws.
When Mun-Ha was murdered by the Siamese, his feline friend placed his paws on Mun-Ha’s robe. In front of Tsun Kyan-Kse, the cat became gold with sapphire eyes. His legs, tail, ears and face became brown, and his paws pure white. This transformation inspired the onlookers to fight the attackers.
The Norse Legends
The Greeks were not the only ones with stories involving cats. Ancient Norse legends include the sacred felines. Norse goddess Freya was known for loving cats. She was the Norse goddess of love, fertility, and beauty. It’s said that her chariot was pulled by two large cats.
These cats were given to her by Thor. She loved cats so much, that she was known to bless those who were nice to them. If you gave cats milk, she would bless your crops.
Even when the weather was good on someone’s wedding day, it was said that the bride “fed the cat well.” Cats were so sacred to the Norse, that when Fenrir, son of Loki, was to destroy Odin, king of the gods, he was restrained by a magical chain in which an ingredient was the sound of a cat walking.
Many ancient cultures mention cats in legends, from the times of ancient Egypt and earlier.