When I was still a child, I always heard people saying that cats have nine lives. Little as I was, I even wished that I’ll be like the cat and might have nine lives for myself too. But obviously, like some chocolate being left under the sun, that dream of mine melted away when I knew the real story behind cats having nine lives. The question, Do cats really have 9 lives — may simply come from their nature of being flexible in situations that might harm them. Like other living things, cats have only one life. Just like you and me; and like all other animals as well.
Do Cats Really Have 9 Lives?
So why do people say that cats have nine lives? Well, this saying has several origins. In fact, each uniquely different from the other but equally interesting. This “9-lives” thing dates back as early as the ancient Egypt and ancient Greece, both of which regard cat as a mystical and magical creature.
In the tales of ancient Egypt, Atum-Ra (the ancient Egyptian sun god), visited the underworld in the form of a cat. Egyptian legends say that the sun god gave birth to eight more gods. Atum-Ra gave life to the gods of the air, moisture, earth and sky. These four gods soon produced four other gods called Osiris, Isis, Seth and Nephthys. With these eight other gods and himself being the ninth god, Atum-Ra represented nine lives in one.As with Egypt, early Greece also believed that cats possess magical powers. Ancient Greeks believed that nine was a magical number and called it the “trinity of trinities” which invoked many religions and traditions in the world.
In addition, it may also originate from an old English proverb which states, “A cat has nine lives. For three he plays, for three he strays, and for the last three he stays”. Even William Shakespeare used the nine lives myth in his play Romeo and Juliet.
However, this righting reflex have one key point to consider, which is very crucial for the cat to land safely in the fall and that is the height between the point in which he/she is falling from and the point where he/she will land. Studies with regard to cats falling imply that only 90% of cats or so survive with injuries like broken bones and bruises. However, the distance is very critical. If the jump is too high, it may provide a very bad result and if it is too low, the cat may not have the enough time to position himself at all.
Childhood fantasies of owning several lives may have ended here, but it is astonishing to know that this feline has this amazing ability to a righting reflex. With this kind of reflex, it is indeed tantamount to 9 lives or even more for cats. This best suited their nature though because cats are definitely playful and are risk takers. Hence, this kind of flexibility and agility will help them protect themselves from harm and any untoward incident. Indeed, these little felines and kitty are cute and adorable with all of their fluff and fur but also one of a kind in the animal kingdom because they are the very few, if not the only one, who can jump from one place to another in higher distances without hurting themselves.