Why Do We Say A Cat Have Nine Lives?

Why Do We Say A Cat Have Nine Lives?

There’s a common myth that’s been around which seems like forever that a cat have nine lives.


That myth raise a few questions;  where does the saying come from? why do we say it? why the number nine? why cats?  and who keeps track?


We can only guess as to where the saying originated, it’s been said across the world in many cultures for hundreds of years. Even in the famous play Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare it is mentioned;


“good king of cats, nothing but one of your nine lives”

-William Shakespeare (Romeo & Juliet)

 As well as in an ancient English proverb “A cat has nine lives. for three he plays, for three he strays and for the last three he stays”. A proverb that seems to be referring to the circle of a cats life, young and playful – adult and sleepy – old and loyal. Maybe a derivation of the original saying but yet proves how old it really is.


When we think of cats having godlike powers, because living more that one life is godlike, we think of Ancient Egypt. In Ancient Egypt cats were worshiped, they were believed to be magical creatures that if you housed a cat it would bring you good luck. If you were to kill a cat even if it was an accident you would be sentenced to death.

The goddess Bastet had to power to transform into a cat and were depicted as cat in sculptures or paintings. She were also the goddess of childbirth likely because cats are very fertile and usually give birth to several kittens. Thus were the number 9 could originate from giving birth to nine lives the highest singe digit number, yes also the highest single digit number in hieroglyphs.


Alternatively, the myth could also originate from the fact that cats have a lot of survival abilities. Their abilities to always land on their feet and surviving falls that would have killed any other animal. They are able to survive longer falls due to their bone structure and elasticity of their bones, their body mass is also very big compared to their weight which helps in reducing the landing force.


Similar story that happened to my cat


My Cat Ezra once fell from the fourth floor of my building, he was walking on the wall like cats love to do, without a fear in the world. Suddenly the wind struck, it slammed the door closed and the noise scared him, he jumped and fell all the way down. I watched him twisting and turning in the air and then hitting the ground.


It sounded like a slapping a soft pillow when he landed, Could be blamed on his excess fat. He was then immobile for a brief moment, I though that was it, I didn’t think anybody could survive such a fall. but to my surprise he stood up peed and then walked away as if nothing had happened.


I brought him to the vet later on that day, the vet confirmed that besides a few scratches he had no major injuries.

My cat cheated death that day, here’s a picture of him wearing a bow-tie I just got him.

They can survive in most environments, due to their fast reflexes their decision making skills. Cats are very intelligent compared to other animals.


But as you may well know, cat don’t actually have nine lives. They are merely able to survive things that might kill other animals. Cats only have one life just like any of us on earth they are not gods and definitely shouldn’t be put up for the test.

Always be careful and attentive to your feline friends and treat them nicely.

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