Why Do Cats Have 9 Lives? (History and Folklore Explained)

Why Do Cats Have 9 Lives

There are many old sayings that we still use today without really knowing where they came from or exactly what they mean.

One such saying is “cats have 9 lives.”

But where did this saying come from? Why do cats have 9 lives?

This saying has interesting origins, as I will explain!

Why Do We Say Cats Have Nine Lives?

The saying that cats have nine lives likely comes from the fact that cats are very good at escaping danger.

They often have a lucky escape, and it seems like they always come out unscathed.

This is likely where the saying comes from – the idea that cats are somehow invincible.

But where did this idea come from?

Ancient Egyptians and Greeks both believed that cats were magical creatures with special powers.

They thought that cats could see in the dark, and that they could sense things that other animals couldn’t.

The ancient Egyptians even worshiped cats as gods!

So it’s no wonder that people back then thought of cats as being a bit invincible.

Cats have also been known to survive falls from high up, which only adds to the idea that they have nine lives.

You don’t have to search very hard to find news reports of cats falling 10 stories and walking away, or even falling from an incredible 32 stories and surviving!

So there you have it – whether or not you believe in this saying, one thing is for sure – cats are definitely unique creatures!

Why Did Egyptians Worship Cats?

The ancient Egyptians worshiped cats because they believed that the animals had special powers.

They thought that cats could see in the dark, and that they could sense things that other animals couldn’t.

They also believed that cats were capable of bringing good luck to those who looked after them, which certainly worked in cats’ favor!

I think it’s probably safe to assume that the Egyptians also witnessed cats surviving some pretty incredible situations, which added to their beliefs.

Cats were so special to Egyptians, that those who killed them, even by accident, were often sentenced to death!

Do Cats Have 7 or 9 Lives?

Do Cats Have 7 or 9 Lives
Photo by Braedon McLeod on Unsplash

There is some debate over how many ‘lives’ cats actually have.

Some people believe that cats only have seven lives, and this is certainly something I’ve heard said.

However, the saying “cats have nine lives” is more popular than the saying “cats have seven lives.”

I don’t think it really matters too much. It’s not something you want to put to the test any time soon!

Are Cats Really Good at Surviving and Escaping Danger?

Yes, cats really are good at surviving long falls and escaping danger.

They have a few senses and physical abilities that help them out. One is that cats are very agile and powerful for their size, enabling them to jump high and run fast.

They’re also very flexible. Cats don’t have rigid shoulders as we do, instead, they have free-floating clavicle bones (more on how a cat’s shoulders work here).

This enables cats to fit through tighter spaces than what looks possible as they can basically make themselves thinner.

Cats also have a very powerful sense of smell, which helps them to avoid danger – as well as sniff out food from what seems like a mile away.

Then there are their almost satellite-like ears that twist and take in sounds like a pin dropping in a crowded room.

Overall, cats have a range of very developed senses – along with a ‘sixth sense’ – that enable them to sense, predict, and calculate danger in a way we can only admire.

Why Do Cats Have 9 Lives and Dogs Don’t?

There is no definitive answer to this question, but there are a few possible explanations.

One explanation is that cats are better at escaping danger than dogs are.

Cats have been known to survive falls from high up, while dogs often don’t make it out alive.

This is likely due to the fact that cats are more agile and have better reflexes than dogs.

Another explanation is that cats are more independent than dogs, and they don’t need as much human interaction.

This means that cats are less likely to get into dangerous situations since they can take care of themselves in the wild.

In a nutshell, cats are much better at looking after themselves than dogs are and are more likely to escape with near misses due to their exceptional reflexes.

How High Can Cats Fall?

This isn’t something you ever want to test or even find out through accidents, but cats can survive falls from heights that seem impossible.

In fact, it’s been reported that cats have fallen from as high as 100 stories high and lived to tell the tale!

Some of the more famous cases of cats surviving high falls are;

Tumbleweed falling from a third-story window and living, a cat falling off a 12-story building and landing on its feet, and Chapel who fell 32 stories and walked away with a few scratches.

Whether you see this as a cat losing one of its nine lives or just chalk it up to a combination of physics, evolutionary biology, and physiology – it’s incredibly impressive!

In Summary

So, do cats really have nine lives?

Well, no, not in the literal sense of the word.

But it certainly seems like it sometimes, and looking back in history cats certainly did a good job of convincing whole civilizations that they had many lives!


Image credits – Photo by Johannes Beilharz on Unsplash

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