On August 8, the world unites in its love for amazing, graceful creatures walking by themselves - cats. It is unlikely that there is a person in the world who is completely indifferent to these perfect creations of nature.
Bastet, fiery ears and nine lives
In every most ordinary fluffy purr there is definitely something magical, it is not for nothing that references to cats can be found in the legends of many peoples. For example, Slavic epics tell about the companion of the god of wisdom Veles - the cat Bayun.
He was an unusually vociferous and fluffy handsome man who lured travelers with wonderful fairy tales heard for as many as seven miles around. Bayun … ate everyone who gave in to his call. But the one who managed to catch and tame the fluffy storyteller received protection from any diseases, since Bayun's tales became healing for its owner. And in the Urals, they say, there was once a magical Green Cat. She herself lived in the mountainous depths, but her fiery red ears sometimes appeared on the surface. A person who noticed these ears could find a scattering of precious stones nearby.
Celtic legends tell of Kat Shi - a huge black cat with a white spot on his chest and a frighteningly protruding mustache. If you treat this magical beast with milk on Samhain (a Celtic autumn holiday), he will repay the good with some magical gift. But at the same time, he is able to steal the soul of the deceased, who was not immediately buried. According to another version, Kat Shi is a shape-shifting witch who can turn into a cat eight times, but for the ninth time will never be able to regain her human form. Probably, it was from this legend that the belief about nine feline lives originated.
But nowhere in the world were cats revered so earnestly as in Ancient Egypt. From time immemorial, the land of Kemt (another name for Egypt), the priests spoke and wrote about the divine feline essence. And then the graceful beauties had their own goddess - Byet, or Bastet, the patroness of sunlight and moonlight, fertility and home. The authority of the cat goddess was so great that she entered the "sacred nine" (a group of supreme Egyptian gods). In honor of Bastet, majestic temples were erected, and on the basis of one of her statues, archaeologists found the inscription: “I am a cat, mother of life. I give life and strength, health and joy of the heart."
From life to books
From folk legends and traditions, cats, over time, naturally migrated to the pages of literary works. For example, in the 9th century, a monk of one of the Irish monasteries left in the margin of a Latin manuscript a poem dedicated to a white cat named Pangur, who probably lived with his master in a monastic cell. The monk (whose name has not been preserved in history) praises the cat for exterminating the mice gnawing on books, and in fact calls him his colleague:
The cat is used to it and I'm used to it
Feud with the enemies of books.
Each of us in our own way:
He - by hunting, I - by letter.
These poems are more than a thousand years old, but they have survived to this day as evidence that in the Middle Ages they composed not only sublime ballads or scientific treatises.
And in the novel by Hoffmann "The Worldly Views of Murr the Cat" the cat appears as a creature who sincerely considers himself to be much smarter than any of the people. To tell the truth, he has some reason for this: Murr can read and write, traces his ancestry from Puss in Boots himself, and his biography was written from his own feline face. The owner of the cat, however, forbade him self-education and literary works, since Murr neglected his direct duties - catching mice. Hoffmann's biographers have established that Murr had a real prototype: a cat that lived in the writer's house and died shortly before the end of his work on the novel.
It happened that cats appeared in the form of demonic characters. The most famous of them is the Behemoth, portrayed by Mikhail Bulgakov in the novel The Master and Margarita. This active and charming member of Woland's retinue received the name of the real demon. The hippopotamus in Christianity is a demon of unbridled carnal desires, primarily gluttony. No wonder he brings Margarita "pure alcohol", and he himself is not averse to a drink and a snack (which is only one scene of his large-scale gluttony in Torgsin). And only at the end of the book does the reader see the Behemoth in his real appearance - a young page, "the best jester that has ever existed in the world."
At the forefront of scientific progress
However, cats and cats inspired not only writers - their trace in science is no less significant.
The cat with the speaking name Nicholas Copernicus, by his own admission of the astronomer and cosmologist Edwin Hubble, helped him with all his feline strength. After Copernicus examined all the sheets of the owner's manuscripts, the mysteries of the expanding Universe were solved, as if by themselves.
In the 1960s, American intelligence developed an operation codenamed Acoustic Cat. In it, the animals were supposed to be used to spy on the employees of the Soviet embassy. The operation was allocated substantial funds: training of "spies" and surgical operations cost the US government $ 25 million. Microphones were implanted under the skin next to the ears of the participants of the enterprise, and transmitting antennas were placed in their tails. Thus, the animals could receive and transmit signals, and their walks near the embassy did not cause any suspicion.
With all the efforts and material costs, the "Acoustic Cat" suffered a complete fiasco: the first purr, landed near the Soviet embassy in Washington, was immediately hit by a car. The rest of the furry intelligence officers also fell short of their hopes. It was almost impossible to control them, and they themselves did not at all seek to find out the political secrets of the USSR.
At the beginning of the 21st century, the scientific world was preoccupied with cloning issues, and before creating a genetic copy of a person, scientists carried out experiments on animals. Employees at the University of Texas created a copy of the Rainbow cat by transferring an embryo from its DNA to a surrogate mother named Ellie. It is interesting that with the complete genetic identity of its mother, the Zoned cat differs from her outwardly. However, she is completely healthy and even herself became the mother of two kittens. And in 2010, a cat named Oscar served medicine: he became the first to have prostheses implanted to replace the lost legs. The new design, called an “intraosseous percutaneous amputation prosthesis,” is similar in structure to porous deer antlers and allows the metal to be attached directly to bone tissue. This attachment is much stronger than traditional prostheses and, moreover, prevents dirt and bacteria from entering the junction.
After Oscar got used to the new paws, prostheses began to be installed on people, and all of them were highly praised by patients for their convenience.
In 2002, the International Fund for the Protection of Animals celebrated World Cat Day for the first time. The holiday was invented not only to celebrate furry favorites. Day of cats is conceived with the aim of drawing attention to stray animals, to their diseases and cruelty to them. The celebration soon gained popularity, and today millions of "cat lovers" from all over the world join it.
Every year on August 8, the owners of the baleen-striped ones are simply obliged to pamper their pets especially: to treat them with something tasty, to please them with a new cozy house or an interesting toy. Knowing the feline addiction to comfort, the owners of the profile business appoint the opening of hotels, cafes and shops for furry visitors on this very day. And TV channels release programs dedicated to the heroes of the occasion.
In the diverse palette of "cat" holidays, there are many other days dedicated to purrs. On June 8, residents of St. Petersburg celebrate their cats, on September 5 - Kaliningraders. November 17 - the holiday of the Black Cat is celebrated in Italy, February 17 is the Day of cats celebrated in Poland, March 1 is the Day of Russian cats. And on March 27 there is a holiday for the elite - cats living in the St. Petersburg Hermitage, the Day of the Hermitage Cat. In other words, there are more than enough reasons to congratulate cats and cats in the world. But it is the International Day of Cats that is a common big holiday for all lovers of these amazing animals around the globe.