The relationship between man and domestic animals has always been tenuous at best. Some of our attitudes towards animals are influenced by family and by societal history that goes back thousands of years.
The domestic cat, in particular, has had a roller coaster ride with humanity. Archaeological records point to Egypt as the beginning of domestication of the cat. There, the cat was revered, even worshiped. Anyone who killed a cat was sentenced to death. If a house caught on fire, cats were pushed to safety first.
Cats made their way to Europe via Greece. The Greeks had to steal cats from the Egyptians, because they would not give them up willingly. Cats were highly valued for rodent control and were even taken aboard ships to kill any mice on board.
In 10th century Great Britain, cats were worshiped, but around 1300 a dark chapter in cat history occurred when Christianity spread to Europe. In an attempt to stifle the pagan symbolic potency of the cat, the church denounced the creature as an agent of the devil. Cats were slaughtered in masses up to the point of extinction by 1400. People who harbored them were accused of witchcraft.
In about 1347 the Black Death (Bubonic Plague) hit Europe and became one of the worst natural disasters on record. At first, Europeans thought cats and dogs brought on the plague. This led to the annihilation of both animals. Later, it was found that there was less of a problem with plague where there were lots of cats because they killed the rats that carried fleas that transmitted the disease. Two thirds of Europe's population eventually died of the plague, and cats were once again allowed to live.
In other parts of the world, cats were better appreciated. Where Islam ruled, cats were held in respect. Legend has it that Mohammed so adored cats that when one of them was sleeping on his sleeve and he had to go out, he cut off the sleeve rather than disturb the cat! In China, cats were given as gifts, and in Japan they are seen as lucky. The statue of the "Beckoning Cat" with one paw held up brings good luck to Japanese and Chinese homes and businesses.
In today's society, cats are worshiped by some, but not as part of a religion. They are beloved because of their quiet allure, the ease of caring for them, their fastidious cleanliness, their captivating charms, and, of course, their skills at catching rodent pests.
These are a few of the adoptable felines at the Payson Humane Society animal shelter, 812 S. McLane Rd.:
Faith is a precious, 3-year-old, spayed female tabby kitty. She is bi-colored with white and tabby markings.
She is a quiet, gentle cat in the kennel, but when you pay attention to her, she comes to life. She gives the best "high five" with her dainty paw!
Take Faith home to be your good luck charm and she will show her gratitude in purrpetuity.
Bob is a spiffy, 1-year-old, neutered male cat. He has a gorgeous, long coat of many colors with a fancy white chest and socks. His orange-gold eyes color him purrfect.
Bob is a super-friendly heartthrob who loves being around people. What a cool cat!
Rolly is a cute, 3-year-old, neutered male ginger tabby cat. He is a friendly boy who loves curling up on a fleece blanket or a warm lap to while away the cold days of winter.
Rolly is a laid back guy and gets along with the other cats in his kennel. He's dreaming of a white Christmas in front of the fire with a loving family.
Midge is a sweet, 1 1/2-year-old, spayed female kitty. She has a short, black fur coat and luminous yellow eyes that follow your every movement.
Midge is quiet and to herself in the kitty kennel, but when you take her out, she comes to life and shows her inquisitive, loveable side. She thinks catnip is groovy and a little pinch of it transforms her into an exotic, flirtatious temptress.
Spot is a darling, 10-month-old, spayed female kitty. Her crisp, black and white spotty coat is the picture of purrfection.
She has a delightful, friendly purrsonality and she gets along with all kinds of people as well as her kennel mates. Spot is definitely a keeper!
Low-cost spay/neuter clinic
Low-cost spay/neuter surgeries will be offered in Payson by the Plateau Land Mobile Clinic Wednesday, Dec. 13 and Thursday, Dec. 14 in the Bashas' parking lot.
Surgery fees are45 for any animal weighing less than 60 pounds.Additional fees may apply.accinations and other services will be available to surgery patients at an additional low-cost fee.
Spay/neuter surgeries will be on an appointment basis only.o make an appointment or for further information, call the clinic toll-free at (888) 241-9731.
Interested pet owners may also call the Payson Humane Society at (928) 474-5590.