Hello lovelies! This week we just want to share fun pictures of our own familiars and Rebecca’s notes on the subject (which you will find below the kitty pictures). Keep is strange and (carefully and with consent) hug your cat!


In the beginning:

  • Cats started living beside humans around 10,000 – 12,000 years ago in the fertile crescent
  • Cats became useful when humans began to settle down and began to till the earth and starting to create surplus grain stores
  • With the store came mice and with the mice came a job for the cats

Ancient Egypt:

  • Scientists found a cat cemetery in Beni-Hassan that had a lot of cat mummies (I say “a lot” because some sources say 80,000 – 300,000 mummies)
  • Cats were praised for being able to kill vermin and snakes such as cobras
  • Bastet (or Bast, also known as Ailuros in in the Greek religion)
    • had the head of a cat
    • The meaning of her name is uncertain, but it was suggested that it means “She of the ointment jar” and was associated with protective ointments
    • Her name became associated with lavish jars in which Egyptians stored ointment and perfume
    • She was originally known as Mafdet, who was known for justice and execution and had a lion’s head
    • She softened into Bastet, and in addition to being associated with perfume, represented protection, fertility, and motherhood
  • Some cats were mummified after death, sometimes being given to Bastet as sacrifice
  • The punishment of killing a cat was severe, often resulting in the offender’s death

The Devil as a Cat:

  • The worship of all Pagan gods was officially banned by imperial decree in 390 AD
  • Since cats are said to have 9 lives, witches supposedly were able to assume the shape of a cat 8 times
  • Cats emerged as classic familiars for witches in the mid-late 1500’s
  • Cats accused of being a witch’s familiar, were generally burned alive, and were often thought to be the Devil

Many trials portrayed witches as a gathering, described by William of Paris in the 12th century as “So according to the idolatrous practice of this age Satan is believed to appear in the form of a black cat… and to demand kisses from his adherents: One abominable kiss, under the cat’s tail…”

  • One of the offenses in the trials of the Templars (1307 – 1314) were charged with venetrating (i.e. revere, worship, honor) a cat
  • Apparently a broth made from black cats can cure consumption (?!)

Despite all this, cats were cherished by the witches that owned them:

There lived a witch whose cat was killed by the innkeeper’s dog. The old woman stood by, sad but dry-eyed (witches could not weep) while the innkeeper’s servant dug a grave for the animal. The old woman asked the servant, whose name was Willan, to read some verses over the cat from a book she had, a request that sent the man into howls of laughter. He threw the small, furry body into the hole he had dug, reciting in a loud voice a silly, mocking rhyme: ‘Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. Here’s a hole and go thou must.’

‘Very well,’ said the old woman bitterly. ‘You will be punished, as you will see.’

And Willan was indeed punished. A day later, as he was plowing the innkeeper’s field, the plowshare caught in a rock on the ground; the handles flew up into the air and pierced the young man’s eyes. He was blinded for life (Lehane 114-115).

North America:

Iroquois myths from North America tell of Old Woman Moon and her companion, Bobcat.  While she weaves a head strap, symbolic of the moon’s shape, Bobcat sits patiently beside her. Then, when she gets up to stir a pot of hominy on the fire, Bobcat pounces on Old Woman Moon’s head strap, and unravels it.  So, storytellers say, the cat undoes the moon, forcing it to change from full to famished, once every month. The moon cycle and the human female cycle are closely related in this myth.

Cats and sailing:

  • In various parts of the world cats were believed to control the weather
  • In the 19th century, maritime insurance companies would not insure ships without a cat on board
  • In 17th century, England, tales that the ship’s cat saves the day is common (some stories involving putting a tortoiseshell cat in a cast iron pot until thunder stopped)

Unfortunately, during the inquisition (started in 1231 AD and lasted 700 years) cats were considered the same as witches, and were often burned along with their familiars

Cats did not start living inside until the 20th century

  • when refrigeration made it possible to store food inside
  • This is due to their requirements of a high protein diet and many people could not afford extra fresh meat or fish
  • Cats had to supplement their diets by hunting outside
  • Cat litter was invented in 1947, before then cats roamed neighborhoods
  • Spaying and neutering became accessible in the 1930s, before then keeping cats inside during mating season quickly became… messy

Cat Familiar:

  • Companion to a with, they’re drawing together and intuitively know they are meant to be together (Gus sat on my lap at the shelter)
  • Reportedly, you can learn almost anything about magic by talking with your cat and the cat is capable of doubling any spell’s power (tried talking to Gus… He just wanted food)
  • The cat chooses you, and if you wish to become familiars, you must ask permission first (not what happened with Gus)
  • Once the familiars chose each other, they (yes, both) will chose a magical name for the cat, after which the cat is able to help and increase the power the magic, from divination to potions
  • Cat familiars should be taken care of by being given treats, high quality cat food, and they’re a huge fan of catnip
  • The familiar and cat share a telepathic connection, so the familiar will alert the which to when there are spirits, and the familiar will be able to guide the witch between two worlds (which ones)

Cat Facts:

  • Cats can be right / left handed
  • Domestic cats can run up to 31 mph
  • Cats have 230 bones, humans have 206
  • Cats are the only domestic animal not mentioned in the Bible
  • Cats use their whiskers to determine if they can fit into a space or squeeze through
  • In ancient Egypt, when a cat died the house would go into mourning as if they lost a relative, and often shaved their eyebrows

Cat Myths:

  • Washing a cat can bring rain, additionally, if a cat sneezes or washes behind its ears either it will rain or the weather will change, or if a cat scratches the furniture a storms are coming
  • Additionally if a cat sneezes near a bride to be, she will live a long and happy life
  • If you drown a cat you will drown
  • A cat sleeping with all 4 paws tucked in means cold weather is coming
  • Dreaming of cats means good luck for your home
  • Dreaming of white cats is good luck, but seeing a white cat at night is unlucky
  • If a black cat appears on your front porch it is a sign of good luck
  • BUT to undo a bad luck from seeing a black cat, walk backwards in a circle and count to 13
  • If you see a one eyed cat, make a wish it will come true