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Felines are godly creatures. Not because they think of their human parents as their personal slaves, or because they expect to have all their whims immediately fulfilled. But because of their unparalleled grace, intellect, poise, and beauty. Before they were domesticated, cats were worshipped by all. Clearly, they haven’t forgotten this. If you pay close attention, you may even notice that these beautiful creatures make more than a few appearances in ancient mythology. We’re all familiar with the Egyptian Gods and Goddesses who donned the appearance of fierce felines. Contrary to popular belief, the Egyptians weren’t the only people who worshipped cats. Here are a few tales from all over the world about cats who were considered Gods.
1. Freyja’s Majestic Cats
Freyja is the deity of wealth, love, war, fertility, magic, and divination. She is a Norse Goddess whose carriage was driven by two powerful and able cats who were given to her by the God of thunder himself. It was believed that the cats brought good fortune, leading farmers to leave offerings to ensure a bountiful harvest season.
2. Ai- Apaec
The Mochica people, who were a pre-Inca civilization, believed in and prayed to a God with a catlike appearance. His power was such that he was the most adored and feared God of all punitive Gods in the Mochica civilization. The old and powerful God had wrinkles and deep lines on his face, catlike whiskers protruding from either side of his fanged mouth, and wise, sullen eyes. He was believed to be able to shapeshift into the form of a tomcat at will.
3. Li Shou
This cat God is one of the most prominent Gods appearing in the Chinese Book of Rites. Li Shou protected the crops against mice and rats who sought to destroy. Many farmers paid respect to and offered offerings to Li Shou in hopes that he would look favorably upon their farms.
From Greek mythology, Hecate was a Goddess who assumed the shape of a cat to get out of a particularly tight spot. She was being chased by the monster Typhon and her only escape was adorning the shape of a cat. After her transformation, she treated all feline in the land as equals.
Ovinnik is a Polish creature who took the form of a cat to watch over domestic animals. He was especially adored by farmers as he also chased off mischievous faeries and evil-natured ghosts.
6. Ceridwen’s Little Helpers
Ceridwen is the Welsh Goddess of Wisdom. Her aides were wise, white cats who descended to the Earthly plane to carry out her wishes for her people on Earth. There are many notable gods and goddesses across history and mythology who either took the shape of cats or were cats themselves. The First Nation and Native American lore are a good place to start.