THE origin of the cat has puzzled the learned, and the stock from whence it sprang is still, in the opinion of some, a mystery for the zoologist to solve.
Historians tell us that the feline race came into existence about the same time as the horse. Reference is made to the cat in Sanskrit writings over 2,000 years old, and still earlier records are found in the monumental figures, inscriptions, and cat mummies of ancient Egypt. These carefully-preserved relics of the past assist us in answering the question as to how this least tameable of animals became domesticated. There are many legends concerning Puss and the manner in which she first sprang into existence. A surprising account of he cat's creation is found in the works of an Arabian naturalist. It is as follows:
"When Noah made a couple of each kind of animal enter the Ark, his companions, as well as the members of his family, said to him, 'What security can there be for us and for the animals so long as the lion shall dwell with us in the same vessel?' The patriarch betook himself to prayer and entreated the Lord God. Immediately fever came down from Heaven and seized upon the king of beasts, so that tranquility of mind was restored to the inhabitants of the Ark. But there was in the vessel an enemy no less harmful—this was the mouse. The companions of Noah called his attention to the fact that it would be impossible for them to preserve their provisions and their clothes intact. After the patriarch had addressed renewed supplications to the Most High, the lion sneezed, and a cat ran out of his nostrils. From that time forth the mouse became so timid that it contracted the habit of hiding itself in holes."
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TEXT and IMAGE CREDIT: The Book of the Cat. Authors: Frances Simpson, Frances Simpson (Miss.) Publisher: Cassell and Company, limited, 1903. Original from: the University of Michiga. Digitized: May 22, 2008. Length: 380 pages. Subjects: Cats. Children's apperception test.