You don’t even have to be a cat owner to have heard the saying before. It’s thrown about regularly in day to day life, but where exactly does the saying ‘A Cat has 9 lives’ come from?
Do cats really have 9 lives? And if not why has this saying become so well known? Whether you’re an interested cat owner or just curious about the answers to these questions, look no further.
Today we’re going to investigate the saying ‘Cats have 9 lives’ and find out if there’s any truth in it.
Do cats really have 9 lives?
Despite how commonplace the saying is, it goes without question that cats don’t really have 9 lives. As much as all cat owners would love for their fur babies to be reincarnated 9 times, this doesn’t happen to our heartbreak.
Every single cat that has ever walked the Earth has proven time and time again that there is no science behind this saying, so where does it actually come from?
Most theories suggest that the saying comes from the lifestyle that cats live, so let’s take a deeper look at the possible reasons behind this myth.
Jumping (and falling?)
Most research suggests that the primary reason behind the ‘9 lives’ saying lies in our cat’s lifestyles.
Any cat owner will be fully aware of the panic you get when you find your cat perched on top of a tall wardrobe or tucked away high up in a tree.
To us, as owners, they are our babies, and the heights that they climb to puts them at severe risk of injury or even worse.
But to cats, high spaces are appealing. As another popular saying goes, ‘curiosity killed the cat’ and to most owner’s dismay, this is a constant fear.
From the moment their eyes open as kittens, cats are incredibly curious and will spend a large amount of their lifetime exploring. If your cat is allowed outdoors, it is not uncommon for them to be gone for the whole day.
This causes worry to us, but for cats, this is a whole day of fun. Most outdoor cats will walk between 40 and 200 meters on a sunny day, exploring unknown areas, catching prey, and having a total ball.
Just as the outdoors is exciting, so are high spaces. These areas nestled high up in the air are unknown and could be great sources of fun.
That’s why it’s unsurprising to find your cat climbing a tree, jumping ridiculous heights to reach the top of furniture, or even climbing onto the roof of your house.
Quite often, our worst nightmare as cat owners happen, and our fur babies will fall from these high spaces they are so insistent on climbing too.
Now if a human being were to jump from a high branch of a tree, or out of the window of a house, they would cause themselves a great deal of injury. But this rule doesn’t apply to cats.
As yet another saying goes, cats always land on their feet and run away from scenarios that would cause any other being a lot of harm.
So, it’s unsurprising that the ‘9 lives’ saying could be based on the numerous potentially deadly scenarios cats get themselves out of.
Disasters and Long Lives
Despite the most probable meaning behind the saying being the excessive amount of jumping that cats do, there are some possible meanings that could also be behind the ‘9 lives’ saying.
Or perhaps these are just things that have kept the saying as common as it is.
Most individuals who actively use social media will be aware of cats getting themselves out of deadly scenarios.
I’m not talking about falling from something like a tree here, instead, I’m talking about the countless videos that have emerged on the internet of cats.
These videos include them diving from collapsing buildings or jumping from high rise buildings, yet always landing on their feet unharmed.
Countless videos like this have emerged on the internet, so, unsurprisingly, some people may truly believe that cats have 9 lives.
Another possible reason behind the saying is the fact that some cats do seem to live forever. Several factors can cause cats to live longer lives. For example, house cats generally tend to live longer lives than those who go outside as they are exposed to less risk and illness.
Similarly, mixed breed cats tend to live longer than pedigrees as there is a lower risk of inbreeding in their history which could lead to a shorter lifespan.
A very famous cat that could add to this narrative is Creme Puff.
This cat lived in England up until her death in 2005. Up until now, the story seems unsurprising until you find out Creme Puff was actually born in 1967 and was 38 years old at the time of her death.
There are lots of different cats that outlive the expected lifespan for a domestic cat by an excessive amount, so it’s understandable you might think these cats have 9 lives.
Why not 10 lives? Or more?
Now that we’ve established the meaning behind the multiple lives, let’s take a look at why ‘9 lives’ was chosen as the amount. There are so many other numbers that could have been chosen, the options are endless, so why 9?
The meaning behind the 9 lives probably lies in an old English proverb. The proverb goes that a cat has 9 lives, for 3 he plays, for 3 he strays, and for 3 he stays.
So this saying provides a possible meaning behind the saying, while also outlining the different stages a cat goes through in its lifetime.
It is also worth noting that in some countries the number 9 is lucky. In ancient Greece, the number 9 was an incredibly mystic number known as the trinity of all trinities, so this is another possible reason why 9 was chosen.
So, unfortunately, the answer is no, cats do not actually have 9 lives.
That’s why it’s so important that we appreciate our fur babies while they are here with us and treasure every single moment.