Astrological Guide to the Cat
21 March 20 April. Element: Fire. Ruler: Mars. Mode: Cardinal.
TYPE: Aries is the first sign of the Zodiac and marks the beginning of
the Sun's journey through the twelve signs. The Anan cat typifies the
glorious sense of awakening, rebirth and joyousness connected with the
Spring Equinox. Self-centred, self-willed and incredibly focused,
impulsive, assertive and fearless, this furry Mars-driven 'me first'
maniac is first to the feeding dish, first to answer the pro-creative
call of the wild and first into trouble!
HEALTH: Problems will be most likely connected with the head or brain,
upper jaw and carotid arteries. Guard against eye troubles, toothache
and feverish sickness such as cat flu.
TYPICAL ARIAN CAT: Ruddy Abyssinian or the 'ginger torn from next door'.
21 April 21 May. Element: Earth. Ruler: Venus. Mode: Fixed.
TYPE: The Iaurean cat is a steadfast old-fashioned puss cat, preferring
home comforts and home cooking to nights out on the tiles. However,
too much of the lazy, luxurious lifestyle can lead to a typically rotund
Taurean physique, and sturdy appetites should be carefully monitored. In
between periods of soundless sleep, however, this pragmatic,
possessions-conscious cat can fiercely defend its own personal
patch.Truly a formidable sight is the furious Taurean feline with fur
'bushed' and nostrils flaring!
HEALTH: Vulnerable parts of the body are the neck, throat and ears.
Guard against throat infections and obesity.
TYPICAL TAURLAN CAT: Pedigree Shorthair or sturdy tabby non-pedigree.
22 May - 21 June. Element: Air. Ruler: Mercury. Mode: Mutable.
TYPE: Inquisitive, intelligent, restless and energetic, the Gemini cat
is the quintessential playful pussy with a mental dexterity bestowed by
its quicksilver messenger of the gods ruler. Mercury. Versatile and
adaptable, this lively feline is a born conversationalist and its
vivacious chatter literally charms birds out of trees. Represented by
the Twins, the Gemini cat often shows its duality by adopting another
home in addition to its own, and can be a puzzling, enigmatic little
soul with two sides to its nature. Constantly active, with a seemingly
endless supply of energy, this cat can wreak havoc indoors!
HEALTH: Legs, shoulders, lungs and nervous system arc most at risk.
Soothing sleep should be encouraged.
TYPICAL GEMINI CAT: Loquacious Oriental or Siamese/Oriental cross.
22 June 22 July. Element: Water. Ruler.The Moon. Mode: Cardinal.
TYPE: The Cancerian cat is a domesticated and dedicated home-loving
individual. Unless destined for breeding, this feline must be neutered
since nothing less will convince Cancer's cat that it wasn't born to
breed. Neutering, however, will not diminish their kindly care and
concern for all things small and furry nurturing and nourishing is the
only game in town for this maternally minded cat! Generally cuddly
creatures with kind, sweet expressions on their Moon-shaped faces, these
pussy cats are the human equivalent of 'lovely people'.
HEALTH: Cancer rules the breasts, stomach and alimentary canal, so these
cats are prone to digestive and stomach upsets. Guard against mastitis
in the lactating queen.
TYPICAL CANCERIAN CAT: British Shorthair or motherly-type moggie.
23 July 23 August. Element: Fire. Ruler: Sun. Mode: Fixed.
TYPE: Flamboyant, big-hearted with a strong sense of self, the Leo cat
is certainly the King of the Beasts. Expecting a lion's share of
appreciation and adulation, it's deep depression time when Leo doesn't
get it. But who could refuse this glorious beast their undivided
attention? Making excellent parents the male proud and protective, the
female, wise and caring the Leo cat has a bearing which is bold,
regal and fearless with, when affronted or crossed, an imperious gaze
causing lesser creatures to cringe.
HEALTH: Heart, circulatory system and spine are vulnerable. A healthy
diet is advised. Guard against diseases of the spine.
TYPICAL LEONINE CAT: Red Norwegian Forest Cat or non-pedigree with long,
luxurious coat. Red, of course.
24 August 22 September. Element: Earth. Ruler: Mercury. Mode: Mutable.
TYPE: Discriminatory, analytical, critical and practically minded are
all characteristics of the Virgo subject, and this sign, traditionally
associated with the cat, describes certain 'fussy pussies' to a tee.
Virgo is a real cool cat, not particularly demonstrative, but one which
likes its own space. Always displaying a painstaking fastidiousness to
health and hygiene, Mr or Ms Virgo can be downright finicky with their
food; meals should be small, tasty and varied to tempt this fussy
feeder. Constantly questing for perfection, the Virgo puss can become
cantankerous and angst-ridden, but it can be relied upon to have the
neatest, cleanest habits with never a paw out of place. Ideal for the
HEALTH: Virgo rules the hands, the nervous system and intestines.
Nervous stress could give rise to stomach ailments.
TYPICAL VIRGO CAT: Neat little Korat or slender tabby
23 September 23 October. Element: Air. Ruler: Venus. Mode: Cardinal.
TYPE: Lovers of peace and harmony, Libran cats are intelligence and
charm personified and guaranteed to tune in to their owners' every mood.
Ruled by Venus, goddess of love and all things pleasurable, it brings
all these attributes into its sybaritic temple your home. Considerate
and courteous, this cat enjoys communicating and the companionship of 'a
significant other'. Your luck is in, Libra cat-owner! As it drapes
itself languidly on the sofa, you will be surprised to note how
tastefully the Libran feline blends in. Negativity and laziness may
prevail when confronted by the trauma of decision or disharmony. Then
the Libra puss will contemplate its pretty paws, the universe and
everything else, but . . .
HEALTH: I he kidneys, loins, lumbar regions and urinary system are all
ruled by Libra. Guard against nephritis and urinary tract infections.
TYPICAL LIBRA CAT: Graceful Balinese, pretty tabby and white
24 October - 22 November. Element-Water. Ruler: Pluto. Mode: Fixed.
TYPE: Like its Master, Pluto, Lord of the Underworld, Scorpio cat has
demonic hidden depths. Never cross a Pluto cat, for not only will it
never forgive you, it will fix you with its glittering, hypnotic gaze
and harbour resentment for the rest of its nine lives you could say it
is a likely candidate for rehoming! Also, having a rare personal 'animal
magnetism', this often heavy, muscular cat possesses deep, powerful
passions and will disappear into the night to haunt graveyards, garbage
bins and the seamier side of town. Deeply intuitive, possessive and
manipulative, the Scorpio feline is the witches' familiar and a very
good one to have on your side!
HEALTH: Scorpio rules the regenerative organs and symbolises the
'elimination' process. Guard against problems with the genitals, bladder
and colon. Ruptures and abscesses may occur.
TYPICAL SCORPIO CAT: Oriental type, 'black as a witches' hat'.
23 November 21 December. Element: Fire. Ruler: Jupiter. Mode: Mutable.
TYPE: Sporty and with a fine sense of adventure, the happy-go-lucky
Sagittarian cat is a bundle of energy with a 'mis'-guided missile
approach to life and a positive threat to artefacts not Blu-tacked down.
Sag cat is a free spirit, needing space both physically and mentally.
Desperately unhappy 'imprisoned' indoors, and a carefree hunter out of
doors, this one is the personification of the cartoon rascal Top Cat
with a talent for getting in and out of scrapes with rakish charm and
optimism. A bit of a braggart with an emphasis on 'personal freedom',
this cat may disappear for days at a time perhaps to be found at the
local rescue centre waiting to go home!
HEALTH: Sagittarius rules the thighs, hips and liver. Guard against
physical injury following bouts of derring-do. Jupiterian
over-indulgence on the cream and sardines may upset liver function.
TYPICAL SAGITTARIUS CAT: Red Abyssinian or rakish wandering torn.
22 December 20 January. Element: Earth. Ruler: Saturn. Mode: Cardinal.
TYPE: Capricorn is a practical, prudent puss; careful and wondrously in
control. An authoritarian figure in the household, this is the one to
whom all other pussies defer. The 'father-figure' of the Zodiac, Cap-cat
knows best; it is wise and patient, abeit delivering a right with a
reproving paw if youngsters play up. If ever there was a teacher of the
old school dressed in cat's clothing, his name would be Mr Capricorn,
Sir. But Cap is kindly, too you can probably discern a rare, off-beat
sense of humour just to show they bear no hard feelings! Capri-corns are
cautious; and the same goes for those grave-faced little baby Caps, too.
Who says you can't put old heads on young shoulders?
HEALTH: Both Saturn (the planet symbolising old age! and Capricorn rule
the skeletal system, and 'limiting' conditions such as rheumatism and
arthritis arc common. So, too, arc diseases associated with cold and old
age, bone problems and skin complaints.
TYPICAL CAPRICORN CAT: Russian Blue and cats of an angular build. Any
lean, rangy, lonesome type of cat.
21 January 18 February. Element: Air. Rulers: Saturn/Uranus. Mode:
TYPE: When the influence of Saturn is strong Aquarius cat is not
dissimilar to the strait-laced Cap-cat, but it soon changes its tune to
become extrovert and rebellious when Uranus is around. So
unpredictability is the keyword with this highly intelligent feline. On
the one paw gregarious, charming and chatty to the world at large,
especially to its fellow felines, on the other Aquarius cat can become
totally dispassionate towards its person and, disappointingly, can't be
doing with cuddles either. Scientifically inclined, this cool cat's
preferred viewing is a video or computer game not for it the plain
old-fashioned goldfish bowl!
HEALTH: Problems can occur with the circulatory system. Other vulnerable
areas are the lower legs (ankles) and shins, so guard against fractures
and breaks. Tooth and gum disease can also be problematic, so organise
regular dental checks.
TYPICAL AQUARIUS CAT: Lean, clean Foreign White, or slim shorthair with
widely spaced eyes and pointed ears.
19 February 20 March. Element: Water. Rulers: Jupiter/Neptune. Mode:
TYPE: A dreamer, intuitive and possessing a strong spiritual
sensitivity, the Piscean cat often enjoys a psychic rapport with its
owner, offering companionship, inspiration and insight to the
relationship. The perceptive Pisces puss takes frequent trips to a
feline fantasy-land, retreating there when the going gets too tough for
its tender little soul. But it has the kindest nature in the Zodiac and
compassion is Pisces' forte, so all lost and abandoned strays will
benefit from its selfless devotion. Under the influence of Neptune,
ruler of its element Water, Piscean energies may 'drain away' so
mental and physical space is a must to replenish strength and vitality.
HEALTH: Pisces rules the feet, the liver, the circulation and clotting
mechanisms. This sign also rules the pituitary gland, which controls the
flow and cycle of the body. Allergies to certain drugs and nervous
stress can also be encountered. Ensure clean water is available at all
times and don't give shellfish and other seafood to this cat.
TYPICAL PISCES CAT: Water-loving Turkish Van cats or soft-furred,
semi-longhaired pussies with lustrous eyes.
Lucy A. Leavers
Ńats and fairies
Fairies on the Isle of Man, situated between England and Ireland, have a
particular affinity with cats, who, it is said, have the power to see
ghosts and other supernatural beings after dark. It is for this reason
that the fairies allow cats to stay with them when they creep into
people's kitchens at night. Should the family have put out the cat at
night, the fairies will let it in again!
A magic world
A Celtic belief was that the eyes of the cat were magical windows
through which one could see the palaces of fairy kings. These same kings
could also look out on to our world, keeping a close eye on what people
were doing. This belief was possibly enhanced by the fact that cats tend
to watch people so intently. It was also said that if you looked deeply
into a cat's eyes you could see the magical world of fairies.
In Russia, folklore portrayed cats in a favourable light. In one legend
the evil angel Lucifer, wishing; to return to Heaven to wreak revenge on
those who had thrown him out, turned himself into a mouse so he could
gain entrance without anyone noticing him. However, the gates of I
leaven were guarded by a dog and a cat. The dog ignored the mouse, but
the cat sprang out at it, driving Lucifer back down to Hell. God was
pleased with the actions of the cat, making sure that everyone on Heaven
and Earth knew how it had saved their souls.
This, according to Russian folklore, explains why cats are such
delightful creatures, encouraging us to cherish them and treat them
The riddle of tail-less
The tail-less Manx is a native of the Isle of Man, an island steeped m
ancient Celtic folklore. Legend has it that invaders cut off the tails
of the island's cats to decorate their helmets. Mother cats, anxious to
save their kittens from harm at the hands of the invaders, bit off their
tails at birth until eventually the kittens were born tail-less.
It is also maintained that, bringing to mind the almost tail-less
Japanese Bobtail, the Manx was transported from Japan to the British
Isles by Phoenician traders, who ranged far and wide by sea from their
home in the Eastern Mediterranean. But the most probable origin is that
in 1588 one of the ships from the Spanish Armada sent to invade England
was wrecked off the coast of the Isle of Man, and tail-less cats on
board swam ashore to become the ancestors of the present-day Manx.
The cats of the Isle of Man are said to have their own king. He appears
as an ordinary cat during the day, but at night assumes full regal
powers and travels across the countryside in a great fury, seeking
terrible revenge on anyone who has dealt him an injustice during the
A Scottish monster
In the Scottish Highlands stories are told of elfin cats large black
beasts with arched backs, erect bristles and white spots on their dark
chests. If it can be avoided, locals do not cross their path as they arc
thought to be witches in disguise. Another terrible creature was Cait
Sith, the Highland Fairy Cat, an extremely ferocious feline said to be
about the size of a dog, jet black in colour and with large fangs and a
white star on its chest. This terrifying vision for the unwary traveller
was further compounded by the halo of sparks or stars said to surround
the creature as it moved.
A cat heard that there were some sick hens on a farm, so he disguised
himself as a doctor and presented himself there, complete with a bag of
professional instruments. He stood outside the hen-house and called to
ask how the hens were. 'Fine,' came the reply, 'if you will get off the
Recalling the adage: 'Try as he may to act as an honest man, a villain
cannot fool a man of sense', this story was included in Aesop's Fables,
compiled in Greece around 570 ĀŃÅ. Among these are probably the earliest
stories about cats known to the Western world.
The kindly willow
There is a legend that many little kittens were thrown into a river to
drown. The mother cat wept and was so distraught that the willows on the
bank felt compassion and held out their branches to the struggling
kittens. The kittens clung to them and were saved. Each spring, ever
since that time, the willow wears grey buds that feel as soft and silky
as the coats of little kittens. And that is how these trees came to be
called 'pussy willows'.
Japanese folklore tells the story of a cat and a hunter. The cat, about
the size of a dog, amused itself by stealing fish and chasing and
pouncing on children. The hunter chastised the cat and beat it, causing
the cat so much pain that it swore to exact revenge. One day, after
watching the hunter make thirteen bullets, the cat followed him into the
forest. The hunter noticed a strange creature sitting on a rock and
fired a bullet. Although there was a loud bang, the animal did not fall
down dead. This was repeated with all thirteen bullets, causing the
hunter to fear that he was shooting at a demon. He then pulled a charmed
bullet made of iron from his pocket, and shot the creature stone dead.
When the hunter approached, he noticed his cat lying dead next to a
tea-kettle lid. The vengeful creature had been hiding behind the lid,
pulling faces at the hunter. Not realising that its master had a
fourteenth bullet, the cat had been shot.
In England at the beginning of the eighteenth century, bounties were
being paid out of parish funds to the killers of wild cats (Felis
sylvestris), which took domestic livestock. This was designated at four
pence per head, considerably cheaper than that paid out for the wolf two
centuries earlier, which was fixed at five shillings a head fifteen
times as much.
Probably the only legend surrounding the British wild cat comes from the
Midland county of Leicestershire, where there was a cave known as Black
Annis's Bower. Annis was a wild and ferocious woman who was sometimes
said to be one Agnes Scott, a murderous female thief. In any event Annis
was likened to Britain's wild cat, since she would lie in wait on the
branch of an oak tree, springing on her victims below to suck their
blood and rear them to pieces with her formidable claws.
The legend of Black Annis persisted until the nineteenth century when
Leicestershire mill girls gave her the name of Cat Anna, 'the witch who
lived in the cellars under the Castle'.
The Chesbire Ńat
'This time it vanished . . . beginning with the end of the tail and
ending with the grin': the origin of the Cheshire Cat featured in Lewis
Carroll's nineteenth-century children's story Alice's Adventures in
Wonderland is somewhat uncertain, but there are two sources on which the
Cheshire-born author may have based the character of the famous
disappearing cat. One talc was set in the town of Congleton, where a
ghostly cat unpredictably appeared and disappeared, a phenomenon which
was witnessed by certain townsfolk during the nineteenth century.
The second was a medieval tale from the city of Chester, the home of one
John Catterall, a landowner who was also a forester. His skill with an
axe made him ideal for the post of public executioner, and Catterall
subsequently gained fame for the manner in which he dispatched
wrongdoers with a wide grin upon his face. Appropriately, his coat of
arms displayed a grinning cat.
The saying 'to grin like a Cheshire cat' was used long before Lewis
Carroll's day. Some believe that the famous Cheshire cheeses were marked
with the head of a cat; others maintain that it relates to the
open-mouthed wolf heads depicted on the arms of the eleventh-century
Earl of Chester.
A tale of revenge
There was once a gentleman with a beautiful daughter who had an evil
heart and knew more than any decent Christian should. The village people
wanted to 'swim her' the witch test involving the ducking stool; if
she floated, it would prove she was a witch. However, they dared not do
this because of the powerful position of the girl's father. But, in
revenge for their wicked thoughts, the girl cast a love spell over a
poor fisherman who took her to sea with him, unbeknownst to the other
A storm blew up and the whole fishing fleet was lost to a man. The
girl's hatred for all mankind was such that she had 'whistled up a
storm'. For her sins she was changed into a four-eyed cat and ever after
haunted local fishing fleets. This is why fishermen won't cast their
nets before half-past three (cock crow) and always throw back into the
sea a fish or two 'for the cat'.
In the Fen country of eastern England it is believed that, when a cat
goes upstairs to sleep, a flood is imminent. Given the frequent
incidence of floods in this area great interest is taken in early
indications of potential watery-disaster, and not surprisingly there
have been many instances to confirm the accuracy of this belief.
Fenland fishermen also believed that cats could hear fish swimming under
water, and so based their activities on observation of their cats'
The old Cornish custom of stroking that painful eye affliction, a stye,
with the tip of a black cat's tail is still held to be effective. This
should be done nine times, as the number nine relates to the power of
the cat and the number of lives it is said to possess.
In the town of Gunthorpe in Lincolnshire it is said that down the
riverside road leading to Stockworth the ghost of a cat 'as big as a
pig' is sometimes seen. A human skeleton was apparently found near that
location and subsequently rebuned.
The entrance to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge is flanked by two
lions. It is said that, when the clock of the nearby Catholic church
strikes midnight, the lions roar and leap down to drink from the
Trumpington Street gutters, or even enter the museum itself.
Many cat legends come from England's West Country. In Devon and
Wiltshire, it is believed that cats born in the month of May never catch
rats or mice, but rather, snakes and glow-worms. In Somerset, it is
believed to be unlucky to meet a funeral procession. To reverse the ill
fortune, you must touch your collar until you meet a black cat.
Beneath the hill called Windwhisile, near Ilminster, also in Somerset,
it is said that the Devil himself is buried after dying of the cold one
dark night. Many references have been made to instances of the Devil's
presence, usually seen engaging in the eternal struggle between good and
evil. Over Church in Wins-ford, Cheshire, the Devil's Punchbowl in
Surrey and Devil's Dyke in West Sussex-are three examples.
Apparently, one or the Horned Ones most famous feats was on Exmoor at
the spot known as Tarr Steps an ancient stone bridge over the River
Baric with slabs extending over 180 feet (SS metres), including the
approaches. It is said that this was built by the Devil in a single
night for his own use, and that on one occasion a cat ventured across it
and was at once torn into many pieces.
The naming of cats is a
difficult thing,' wrote T. S. Eliot in Old Possum's Book of Practical
Cats. From Asphodel to Zen, there's an enormous variety of given names
to call your cat. Many breeders start with the As for their first
litter, going on to Bs for their second and so on. Favourite places,
people, songs or events all evoke the doting owner's personal
preferences. The naming of cats is certainly not an easy thing to
accomplish and is often best left to the imagination of the individuals
But in countries around the world Felis catus or the domestic cat is, or
has been, known as:
Cath: Welsh and Cornish
Katta: Byzantine Greek
Katti or Kissa: Finland
Poosa: Sri Lanka
The mydtlcal three
Homer's Iliad records that the Ancient Egyptian pantheon consisted of
three companies of nine gods each. Immersed as the Egyptians were in the
Isis cult, this may have given rise to the belief that the cat had nine
The gods comprising the first group were Tern, Shu, Tefnut, Qeb, Nut,
Osiris, Isis, Set and Nephtys. The gods of the little company were of a
lesser stature, while those in the third company remained anonymous.
This belief is reflected in a later saying: 'The cat has three names:
that which we call it, the name it calls itself and the name which no
'A rose by any other
name . . .'
While 'Puss' is believed to be derived from the name of the Egyptian
goddess Pasht, Bastet or Bubastis, the Latin word Felis or Feles was
applied to both the cat and the weasel, as did the Greek word galle,
which was originally used for both. Later, in medieval Latin, the words
used (or a cat were murilegus, muriceps or nmcio meaning mouse-catcher
A twelfth-century bestiary states that: 'The vulgar call her "catus the
Cat" because she catches things (acaptur) while others say that it is
because she lies in wait (captat) "because she watches".
Named from the age of
Among the names commonly used for cats in the Middle Ages were Pyewacket
and Grimalkin, as in Matthew Hopkins' book about witchcraft. This name
was also used for the witch's Siamese cat in the play, and later film,
Bell, Book and Candle.
I he famous French astrologer Nostradamus (150366 CE) is known to have
owned a cat called Grimalkin. This name means Little Grey Man'.
Cats are often called 'moggies' probably derived from the custom of
calling old women 'Maggy' or 'Moggy'. Since a cat was often the only
companion of an old woman living alone, it is not surprising that the
name would have applied equally to each, without distinction.
In the ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui, concerning the propitious
placement of furniture and artifacts in your living space at home and at
work, thereby enabling harmony, good health, good fortune and good
relationships to benefit your life, it is said that the cat is
particularly beneficial. Cats not only ensure luck and a positive
outlook, they are also a source of energy and love, bringing good
fortune to their owners.
Aztec symbol of
The ancient Mexican Aztec wheel of fortune comprises twenty magical
symbols. This system of divination was called the Tonalamati, and
originally only Aztec priests held the secrets of this code. The symbols
represent the elements and animals, including birds, rain, flowers,
trees and shrubs.
The ocelot is the only feline mentioned, and it was said that this
beautiful cat is 'the animal incarnation of sunlight in the black ol
night'. Symbolising bravery and nobility, the ocelot also represents
impulse and aggression. It was a danger-ous animal much feared by the
Aztecs, and therefore an excellent symbol of ambition and power the
former enabling the realisation of the latter. It can also bring a
warning that caution, in times of doubt, is the better part of valour.
An aid to good health
The restorative powers of cats to ailing humans are also widely
acknowledged. Today, medical science believes that cat ownership, or
indeed ownership of any companion animal, reduces stress and heart
disease and generally assists in boosting the immune system.
Cats are certainly known to draw out negative radiations from the human
body. They are, in fact, 'ray-seekers', absorbing these radiations from
an owner who is sick or who has a negative attitude to life. Often when
cats rub up against certain parts of the human body, they are taking
away negative radiation. When this happens, you may be sure that there
is something ailing that part of your body even though you may be
unaware of it.
The cat knows best
Likewise you can ascertain the 'bad' locations in your home or
workplace. If the cat lies on it, or in it, and will return to that
place even though you place books or other objects on it, rest assured
that this is not a 'good' place for you.
If, despite severe discouragement, Puss still inhabits your favourite
chair, move that chair to a different location or relinquish it
altogether. Places which cats choose not to occupy arc usually 'good'
places for humans.
Having said that, who can argue when a favourite feline opts to curl up
and go to sleep on your knee? Even the great prophet Mahomet, on
contemplating his cat asleep in the folds of his sleeve, chose to cut
away the fabric rather than disturb her!