St. Patrick's Day Tales: The Irish Cat Kings March 17 2017, 0 Comments
Ah, St. Patrick’s Day: a day full of history, tinged with myth, magic, and gallons of green beer.
Besides wearing green and pretending to be Irish for the day, there’s that guy, good ol’ Saint Patrick, who shook his stick and banished of all the snakes on the Emerald Isle. And don’t forget about those stingy leprechauns sitting on pots of gold at the rainbow’s ephemeral edge.
“ 'They’re always after me lucky charms.’ There, I said it. Can I take this off now?”
Celtic folklore has always been imbued with a sense of magic and mystery, especially when it comes to cats.
The King of Cats
Cait Sidhe, pronounced “caught shee,” and translating to “fairy cat”, were said to be the King of Cats. They were thought to be mythical, fairy-like creatures who took the form of large, all-black cats with a white patch on their chests.
These mythical moggies were more fairy than cat, fearsome felines who could steal the souls of the dead if the family didn’t distract them with riddles designed to stump the curious cat mind; But they could also bring blessings.
"Boop. This dog is bless."
On the night of Samhain (a Celtic festival similar to Halloween), if you left a saucer of milk out for the fairy cat, your house would be blessed. If no milk was left for the mysterious black cat, you would be cursed and all your cows' milk would dry up.
Lady Francesca Wilde, mother to none other than Oscar Wilde, wrote about Cait Sidhe, calling them the King of Cats. “A most important personage in feline history is the King of the Cat,” writes Lady Wilde. He is a cat who has “genuine claims to royalty” despite having the appearance of a rather “common looking fellow.”
Artist: Eldar Zakirov
Lady Wilde spun a tale about an old woman who gave shelter to a black cat and her two kittens. She let the three cats warm themselves by the fire and fed them a saucer of milk, to which the mother cat said, "You have been very civil to me, and I'll not forget it to you."
With that, the black cat and her kittens ran up the chimney, never to be seen again. But in their stead, they left the woman a piece of silver, more silver than she could ever make in a month.
The Black Bog Cat
Or, as I keep calling it, The Black Blog Cat.
Black Bog Cats are mysterious creatures who prowl the boglands and peat marshes of Ireland. Unlike the superstition that paints black cats as omens of misfortune, if you come across a Black Bog Cat in Ireland, you will be granted great wealth and happiness. Small sculptures crafted from the very turf these Bog Cats are said to prowl are sold in many stores to grant luck to travelers!
The Calico Cure
An old Irish wives’ tale claims that if you’ve got a wart on ye olde foot, just rub it on the nearest calico cat's tail: instant Wart-Be-Gone!
Sláinte! Have a safe and happy St. Patrick's Day! And maybe Tweet or Instagram us (@meowingtonsco or #meowingtons on Insta) cute pictures of your cats dressed up in some St. Paddy's Day Cait Sidhe #swag.