Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Celebrate World Cat Day With Tazi-Kat!

Dear Readers:

Today is World Cat Day, a day to celebrate cats and all that we do for you humans! For example, do you think anyone could make you feel as insignificant as a cat can make you feel? This is just one of the many services a cat provides (we keep you humble!) and one of the many feline-esque accomplishments that we celebrate today!

Much ado has been made about cats throughout history, from ancient myth to modern literature. Popular author Lillian Jackson Braun (1913 - 2011) will forever be remembered in the hearts of cat lovers for her charming Cat Who…series, about two Siamese cats who assist their human companion in solving mysteries. For those who prefer talking cats, Shirley Rousseau Murphy writes the Joe Grey Mysteries, about a large grey tom-cat and his lady friend who have the ability to talk (a secret that is poorly kept from their human companions). Lloyd Alexander (1924 - 2007, of The Black Cauldron fame) sets aside medieval fantasy for fantasy of a different sort in The Town Cats and Other Tales and then there is T.S. Eliot’s (1888 - 1965) Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the inspiration for the Broadway musical CATS!

Oh! How could I forget about Mrs. Murphy, the mystery solving cat that is the star of Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie's books! Sneaky Pie is my hero, having co-authored every one of the Mrs. Murphy mysteries! No, I have not forgotten the most famous cat of all, Dr. Seuss’ (1904 - 1991) The Cat in the Hat; I just saved him for last because he gives me the creeps! (To those who have read the book: don’t you agree that that babysitter should be fired?). Are there any more famous literary cats that I am forgetting? Please mention them in the comments section below!

In addition to being literary rock stars, cats have had to fight the bad rap we get through superstition. Ailurophobes (that’s a person with a fear of cats) will tell you that a black cat is bad luck; that all cats will suck a baby’s breath because they are jealous of the new arrival; and that we are all familiars of witches! Not true! It was during the dark ages that people stopped worshiping us cats as supreme beings and associated us with evil – something to do with us liking the dark and having glowing eyes and having the ability to scream like a demon and…okay, I get it! I guess we cats can be scary!! Since I have come to realize that people love a good superstition (or explanation of folklore), here is a list of “catty beliefs” for your reading pleasure:

• In Norse mythology, cats were believed to have great influence on the weather. Cats were thought to cause storms (which is crazy, because everyone knows we hate rain!). The dog, an attendant of the storm king Odin, was a symbol of wind. Cats came to symbolize down-pouring rain, and dogs to symbolize strong gusts of wind; thus the saying "it's raining cats and dogs"! ( will give you the truth on the thatched-roof “folklore” story!)

• The expression “Cat got your tongue?” has a particularly gruesome origin: during the ancient years of the Middle Eastern cultures, a sometimes punishment for prisoners was to have their tongue cut out of their mouths and fed to the King’s cats.

• Sailors used cats to predict the outcome of voyages. Loud caterwaulers predicted a stormy voyage. A playful cat meant a safe passage. They also believed that to throw a cat overboard was to guarantee stormy weather, so they always kept their ship’s cats happy and well-fed – and away from the rails!

• A bride will have a happy and successful marriage if a black cat sneezes near her on her wedding day (Note to Mommie: don’t leave me behind if that day should ever come!)

• In many cultures, cats are symbols of fertility! Some cultures put a cat in a cradle and give it to a newlywed couple to ensure the birth of children.

• In the Dark Ages, a live cat was buried in the foundation of a house to ensure good luck to its inhabitants (not so lucky for the cat, though, huh?).

• In America, it is bad luck if a black cat crosses your path and good luck if a white cat crosses your path. In Great Britain, it is just the opposite! (This might explain why the British love my column!).

• Once upon a time, people believed that cat’s blood cured all ailments. (This could explain Charlie Sheen’s claims of “tiger’s blood”).

• In Transylvania, if a cat jumps over a corpse, the corpse will become a vampire!

• A medieval superstition states that a cat sitting on top of a tombstone meant that the dearly departed was actually possessed by the Devil

• Another medieval superstition states that two cats fighting on a gravestone are an archangel and a demon, fighting for possession of the soul

• Legend has it that Mohammed cut off the sleeve of his robe rather than disturb his cat from resting on it. (Are you listening, Mommie?)

• A Thai legend states that cats guarding a sacred temple from Burmese invaders saved the temple treasures by hooking their tails together in a circle and refusing to allow anyone to pass.

I hope you have enjoyed this list; feel free to pass it on to others, and always remember that “Cats are cats...the world over! These intelligent, peace-loving, four-footed friends – who are without prejudice, without hate, without greed – may someday teach us something”. –James Macintosh Qwilleran (via The Cat Who Saw Stars, by Lillian Jackson Braun)



Gracious thanks to fellow blogger Maya Lynn Lincoln for reminding my Mommie of this important holiday!

Professional acknowledgement to the Dictionary of Superstitions, by David Pickering.

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.


  1. HAPPY WORLD CAT DAY TAZI-KAT!!! I hope you and all of the cats out there celebrate it with all of your heart. Thank you all for your wonderful companionship, love, and all of the wonderful things that you do for us humans everyday. I really appreciate it all.
    Also, wonderful article. I love it.

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