Cats can see in the dark, their pupils can enlarge or the other way, they have a strange urge to be alone – this is why this animal is called the symbol of mystery. This symbol is highly related to anger, dark and ocultism. However, the symbol has changed during the decades. During the antiquity, cat was recognised as a holy animal, after her death people were graving. In the medieval era, cat was the messanger of the devil itself. After Aristotel to contemporary society had created quite a different translation to the cat symbol. The independance, ability to ingratiate and allure are known the be the most important skills. English epithet ‘‘cattish‘‘ sums it all up. In Asian countries the point of view to cat symbol is quite different. In India cat is the beuty symbol, in muslim countries it is beliewed that cat brings good fortune and has seven lives, in China – cat Mao has a second sight. Usually, a cat is a symbol of a woman and has all of the woman abilities: slyness, ability to reincarnate, sagacity, attention, sensitiviness, attraction and anger. Psychoanalytics, when reading dreams, associates cat symbol with agression and anxioty. They believe that woman find cats symbol in their dreams a lot more than men. For those who deam cats, they have to understand that they have cat features. It is an animal that had a beautiful, shiny fur and soft pillows on their paws, however they can show their claws and ambitious character any time. From one point of view, cat is connected to warmth, home comfort, on the other hand (if it‘s a black cat) – it‘s the strengh of magic, sexual inclination and agression.
Information translated from a book:
Орел B.E. Kультурa, символы и животный мир. Харьков: Гуманитaрный центр, 2008.
This book is dedicated to the animal symbolism as the projection of human psychics. The author has depicted a role, and functions which animal performed in men life. A particular attention has been paid to projective function of animals as reflection of psychological features of individuals. The author provides a detailed description of legends and tales, where animals are perceived as forms of a human soul reincarnation. He explores the psychological mechanisms, which underpin such kind of perception, and levels of animal symbolism analysis. There is a detailed analysis of various animal symbolisms in the last chapter.
This book may be useful for psychologists- practitioners, which specialize in the area of projective psychology, for university students of psychology faculties, as well as for everyone who is concerned with problems of symbols interpretation.
All the movement in this story happens through the feminine. The empress goes over the sea. Then the cat takes the initiative. The cat tells
the hero to go home or back again. The cat tells the hero how to redeem her. The cat rules the whole story. So, all the action is initiated by
the feminine. The story shows how the feminine principle brings up a healing compensation by becoming active. The men just follow the
orders of the women. That is clearly compensating a too patriarchal conscious situation. One must understand that such fairy tales emerge
to compensate the ruling attitude.
This dual function of the apple, to create strife and conflict, is also in our story because the whole tragedy, the overall problem, is that the
girl is turned into a cat and has to be redeemed, and this wouldn’t have happened without the episode with the apple. <…> We can only go deeper into that when we have discussed the cat, because we will see that the cat (I
anticipate a bit here) is the dark side of the Mother of God.
Historically, the cat was first endowed with archetypal power at the time when in Egypt it came to be regarded as a sacred animal. Its
sanctification meant that it was virtually purified of the dark aspects of its nature, and was connected with man’s spiritual life. In Egypt,
from very early on, the cat was considered to be sacred to Isis.
The cat was also worshipped as lunar. It was believed that during the hours of darkness, when the rays of the sun were invisible to humans,
they were reflected in the phosphorescent eyes of the cat, as the light of the sun is reflected in the moon. So here we have the kind of
feminine consciousness about which we have spoken already.
The cat is closely linked with consciousness and all creative processes. The sexual orgies of Bastet were believed to increase vegetable,
animal and human fertility. On the other hand, the black cat’s orgies, practiced on moonless nights, were virtually sterility rites. Intercourse
with the devil, who often took the form of a cat, bore no fruit, produced hail, rain and storms, destruction of crops, death of animals and
sterility or impotence in humans. The white cat was a healer and a nurse. She destroyed poison, counteracted irritation and strengthened
people’s powers of recuperation. Her tail was widely used to cure blindness and, generally speaking, the cat’s power appeared to be located
in the tail which is also believed to be an organ of balance. On the other hand, the black witchcat poisoned people’s minds, infected their
bodies with disease and inflicted them with blindness. The devil used the tail of his incarnation to bewitch people and bind them to his will.
You often see cat dreams in women who have no independence, who are too doggishly attached to their husband and children, and then I
always stress what a cat does. A cat goes its own way. It knows what it wants and goes its own way. A cat comes for certain feeding times, and then it’s really friendly. But when it wants to leave, “Meeow,” you
have to let it out. It’s very cruel to imprison a cat. You can keep a dog in a flat but to keep a cat inside a flat and never let it out is really
cruel, because it needs the independence; it needs to roam about and have its own life. This can be a nuisance if they run wild and
overbreed. Then there are plagues of cats. They become destructive because there are too many. So this negative side of the cat goes very
much with the witch persecution.
We have had the important motif of the cat, and now we should look at the round golden basket. It’s a mandala, a symbol for the Self and
it shows that the cat is a unity of the Self and the anima. In Psychology and Alchemy, Jung gives dreams of an anima figure whose head
shines like the sun, and there he says that at that stage the anima and the Self are contaminated; they are still one.29 So here we have a
symbol that unites the symbol of the Self, the totality, with the highest form of the anima, if we take it from the point of view of a man’s
psychology. If we look at it from a woman’s situation, then it would mean that her cat aspect, the cat aspect of the feminine principle, is the
real total aspect. The Virgin Mary does not have that basket, the cat has it. She really is the potential totality, and in that, greater than
Franz, M. L., (1999). The Cat : A Tale of Feminine Redemption Studies in Jungian Psychology. Inner City Books.