Personality Of A Man Who Loves Cats

Real men don’t eat quiche and prefer dogs to cats, right? After all, a dog is a man’s best friend. Not necessarily. Millions of men love cats. How many, though, enthusiastically rave about or even openly admit to, being cat fanciers? If Cat Fancy readership gives any clue, where a small percentage of subscribers are men, then perhaps it is a small minority. Yet in the Victorian age, Mark Twain kept nineteen cats at his Hartford home, commenting, “A home without a cat – and a well-fed, well-petted, and properly revered cat – may be a perfect home, perhaps, but how can it prove title?”

So when did the age-old notion originate that canines are masculine and felines are feminine? Where did this deep-seated collective belief begin? Biology offers no explanation. Anyone who has known a feisty tomcat can attest that cats can be as “masculine” as dogs. The psychological explanation that men like dogs because they can dominate them is also too simplistic. To truly understand the female connection with cats one must delve deep into ancient history.

Domesticated cats first appeared in recorded history in Egypt around 3500 B.C. As agriculture allowed Egypt to prosper, the first cats approached civilization to do what they do so well – be predators. They controlled the rodent population that was raiding grain bins, quickly making them prized animals.

Although no one knows exactly when the Egyptian cat was first sanctified, the earliest known portrait of the cat goddess, Bastest, was found in a temple around 3000 B.C. At first, the cat was considered sacred to the Egyptian goddess, Isis. Eventually, the cat itself came to be seen as an incarnation of deity. Bastet emerged as the daughter of Isis and her husband Osiris. Thus was born the origin of the cat as a female entity.

Bubastis became the center of the cat cult. Around 950 B.C., Bastet took precedence over all other goddesses in Egyptian paganism. Known as “the Lady of Bubastis,” the cat took on a powerful and lasting foundation as a creature linked with femininity. She protected her followers in childbirth, and against infertility, illness, and bodily dangers. The Lady of Bubastis was the center of a cult that lasted over one thousand years.

Retrospectively then, the fondness of both men and women for cats comes from ancient times. Any femininity associated with cats emanates from Bastet, the cat goddess. Remember that, guys, the next time you adopt a feline. You are not just bringing home a cat. You are bringing home a goddess!

Gregory Simpson is Vice-President of the Board of Directors of Meriden Humane Society, Inc., a no-kill shelter incorporated by Connecticut legislative charter in 1893. He is also past state advisor to the national organization, Friends of Animals, Inc. In the December 2005 issue of CAT FANCY, he was named one of the 40 Ultimate Cat Lovers in the U.S.

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