I’m taking this space to warn you ahead of time that our friday posts come from the mind of our kids, so we’re never really sure what kind of literary gold we’re going to get until we actually see the post in writing. I’m not really too spun up about what they write, as long as they write content that’s appropriate for publication and for kids their own age. So, here’s a post from a boat kid:
Since they were domesticated, cats have been revered for centuries as the graceful, powerful predators that they are. To this day, they remain one of the most popular pets in the world, known for their beauty and skill.
They originally evolved into the cat family about 40 million years ago. It is not known exactly who or when they were domesticated, but by 3500 B.C. they were already chasing mice, rats, snakes, and other vermin out of the Egyptian grain storehouses, and because of this they were highly revered, eventually being seen as sacred in the eyes of the Egyptians. They had a goddess of fertility and love, designated “Bast” or “Bastet” who was depicted with the body of a human and the head of a cat, occasionally even taking the form of a lioness. This deity was found in paintings and murals in tombs, along with several depictions of various cats who were worshipped right along with her. The cat as an animal was worshipped, kept as a pet with the status of a king, to the point that if a person killed a cat, the punishment was usually death or worse. And if a cat died? Well, it’s owners would shave off their own eyebrows as a sign of mourning! Then the cat would be mummified, something that was usually only reserved for humans, as a sign of respect for the departed cat.
Cats were first tamed in Egypt, yes, but it wasn’t until 1000 B.C. that they left Egypt; this was about the time that Phoenician and Greek traders came down to Egypt on boats and brought cats with them back to Europe. The cats were valued for their vermin control, and so were kept by the Greeks and Romans. The Romans even went so far as declaring that the cat was “a symbol of liberty” and was considered the spirit guardian of the house. Meanwhile, cats had spread into the Middle East and soon found their way to Asia, where they exploded in popularity, revered for their “beauty and mystery”, and were used to ward away rodents from attacking silkworm cocoons and destroying temple manuscripts. They were also the subjects of many paintings and calligraphy projects by artists and writers in Japan and China.
However, what comes up must come down and as the cat’s popularity soared in ancient times it fell into the dumps in the Middle Ages, and the cat was associated with witchcraft, evil, and the devil. Because of this, hundreds of thousands of cats were killed, and modern experts say that the decrease of the general cat population caused the rat population to swell and soon the Black Death, aka the Bubonic Plague (named for the buboes that formed on the skin) became a major problem. Millions died in 1300 A.D., and it is estimated that approximately almost one-half of all people in Europe were killed because of the contagious disease. It was around the 1600’s that people started to realize the cat’s relevance with the Plague and soon they gradually gained popularity once more as pets and vermin control. It was then that through exploration, trading vessels, and later colonist ships that cats were brought westward to the new world of America. It is estimated that many cats in Canada and the US are descended from these cats.
Tens of millions of cats are kept as pets worldwide, and they prove themselves to be affectionate, loyal companions every day, with playful, lovable personalities. They protect farms from rodents, they make lovable companions and even my own cat is amazing. So, wishing you all good tidings (and a bunch of happy kittens), Adios!
Tulum-5 has a new baby ship’s cat. She’s taking to the boat and starting to get used to the giant grey dragon dog (Great Dane) we have onboard. LF2SF is written entirely onboard a cruising sailboat with zero budget for advertising and no sponsorships. We are heading south slowly, when we’re not making repairs or waiting on parts.
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