Have you ever wondered how the notion that “a cat has nine lives” came about? Historians say the ancient Egyptians worshipped cats as gods. The people revered the number nine because they associated it with their sun god, Atum-Ra.
According to one version, Ra gave birth to eight other gods. Since Ra often took the form of a cat, people began associating the nine lives (Ra plus eight) with catlike longevity, and it has persisted ever since.
Whether or not you believe this theory, other cultures have credited cats with having multiple lives, too. In China, for example, it’s also nine, supposedly because the number is so well divided – the trinity of trinities – that it’s considered lucky.
Other cultures, however, associate cat’s life with less than nine. Italy, Germany, Greece, Brazil and some Spanish-speaking regions apparently grant them seven, while according to Turkish and Arabic traditions it’s reportedly six.
In English lore, cat’s life has always been nine for centuries. In fact, even William Shakespeare used the expression in opening of Act 3 in Romeo And Juliet, which was written in 1595:
“Tybalt: What wouldst thou have with me?
Mercutio: Good king of cats, nothing but one of your nine lives.”
Science, however, dictates to us that cats do not have 9 lives but like us, have only one. We must understand that the lightning reflexes of cats coupled with their ability to right themselves from a fall from a great distance due to their ‘righting reflex’ gives us the impression that cats can survive practically any catastrophe.
According to Pet Plan, cats have a huge reputation for their jumping and landing abilities. When they jump, they can jump high and when they land, they usually land upright, upon their feet!
Cats have been known to fall off buildings during an earthquake and still survive or emerge from a collapsed building!
Due to their ‘righting reflex’, cats are able to twist and turn around very quickly as they fall through the air. Their extremely good balance coupled with their flexible backbones add to their survivability capabilities.
Cats are incredibly intelligent and intuitive. They have lightning-fast reflexes, quick decision making skills and remarkable dexterity.
However, there is no scientific evidence that suggests cats have nine lives. As far as we can tell, cats have one life on this earth, just like everyone else.