The symbolism of the cat is very heterogeneous, balancing between positive and negative elements. This can be explained by its ability to be kind and malicious at the same time. The cat is usually attributed to witches because of its ability to see in the dark. In Egypt cats were worshipped in the form of Goddess Bastet, the divine cat. In late medieval period the terrible demons were really debased pagan gods, like the triple-headed demon Haborym. His cat head is derived from the Egyptian pagan goddess Bastet who is also associated with fire because she and her sister Bubastis killed the serpent Apep by burning him in flames. In Greece and Rome the cat was sacred to Diana, a lunar deity. Diana turned herself into a cat to escape Typhon. In Christian culture the cat belongs to both sides: the devil and darkness, on one hand, and Jesus Christ, on another hand, when compared to a hunter of souls. It is also an attribute of the Virgin Mary because according to the legend the night Christ was born, a cat bore a litter of kittens. Sometimes it represents treachery in the Scenes of the Last Supper, when pictured at the feet of Judas. For example, in Jacopo Bassano’s painting The Last Supper (1542), Giuseppe Vermiglio’s Last Supper (1622), the cat is contrasted with the dog as a symbol of conflict and enmity. It is also a symbol of liberty.
Symbolism of evil
Cats looked mysterious creatures for humans, especially black ones, so they became the symbol of bad luck or the forces of darkness and even were associated with magic in Western tradition. No wonder that the black cat is one of the symbols of the Halloween.
In Kabbalah as in Bouddhism the cat is associated with the serpent: it represents the sin, sometimes depicted at the feet of Christ. Continue reading Cat