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Cat Mandala – The Symbolism Of The Most Venerated Animal

Cat MandalaToday I will talk about cat mandala, because it is a very popular mandala design, but it also has a very interesting and unique symbolism.

I love cats and I am sure there are lot of people who feel the same. For a long time I didn’t like cats, because they seemed too disloyal, selfish and arrogant to me. I preferred dogs instead, because they were more friendly and devoted.

But one day, my friend found a little abandoned cat, she brought it to me and she told me to take care of it because she couldn’t; she was too busy and always traveling.

The funny thing is I couldn’t stand it at the beginning, not only because it was always trying to hunt me, but also because it destroyed my house: my curtains, my books, my dishes, actually almost everything. He was just playing, because he was a kid and this didn’t seem cute to me at all at that time.

After a while I started to get used to him, especially when he asked for cuddles and love. Before I realized, he became my best friend. I also liked to believe we had a very strong connection as a sort of soul mates connection.

Another interesting fact is that his birthday is about the same as my birthday. I don’t know the exact date of his birth, but when I met him he was 4 weeks old and it was the beginning of October. My birthday is on the beginning of September so I’ll let you make the calculations.

Anyway, turning back to the story, I started to study and understand his behavior and personality, until I found out that cats are actually my favorite animals and this cat is very special to me.

Now he stays with my mom in Romania, because I moved in England in the meantime and I didn’t want to make him break away from his friends and the place he had already used to. I did this for a few times and I noticed he wasn’t happy at all about it. It was so hard to me to leave him, but it is also good to know he is in good hands.

So… let’s see together how awesome the cat is!

When Was The Cat Domesticated?

Cat MandalaAccording to Wikipedia, the cultural depiction of cats and their relationship to humans is old and stretches back over 9,500 years.

Cats are the subject of legend in the history of many nations and a favorite subject of artists and writers.

It is believed that cats were originally domesticated because they hunted mice, that would eat stored grains, but a recent study reveals that the cats domesticated themselves.

Their coexistence with humans naturally developed from the mutually beneficial nature of the relationship, with their hunting protecting the food stores. The cats got their prey and the humans got effortless pest control, so both species had benefits from this relationship which evolved and continues to this day.

The exact history of human interaction with cats is still somehow vague, but in 1983 in Cyprus a human skeleton and a cat skeleton were discovered, each in his own grave, both oriented in the same direction and both buried ceremonially with stone tools, a lump of iron oxide, and a handful of seashells.

Cats are not originally from Cyprus, so this is evidence that cats were being domesticated just as humankind was establishing the first settlements in the part of the Middle East (Fertile Crescent).

The Cat In Ancient Civilizations

Ancient Egypt

Cat MandalaCats were called “mau” in Ancient Egypt and they were associated with the goddesses Isis (the mother of the Pharaoh, she helped the deads enter the afterlife) and Bastet (originally a fierce lioness warrior goddess of the sun, later she was changed into the cat goddess), that were often depicted in cat form.

Killing a cat was absolutely forbidden and whenever a household cat died the entire family would shave their eyebrows and mourn. The families took their dead cats to the sacred city, Bubastis where they were embalmed and buried in sacred tombs. The ancient Egyptians mummified dead cats out of respect in the same way they mummified people.

In the cemetery of Beni Hasan of central Egypt were found more that 200,000 mummified animals, most of them cats.

The cats were venerated and represented in social and religious practices for more than 30 centuries. It is believed they were protecting the pharaoh from venomous snakes and also from bad luck.

Ancient Egypt was the civilization that admired, respected and venerated cats the most.

Ancient Greece And Rome

The Greeks and the Romans considered the cats were deviousness and cunning, especially the female cat that was lecherous (having sex frequently with different partners) and often associated with lust.

Later, those civilizations associated some of their goddesses with the Egyptian ones, so they started to be depicted like cats or women with cat heads.

Middle Ages

In this period the cats were associated with witches and were killed en masse in the middle of the 14th century during the time of the Black Death (or Black Plague was the most devastating period in human history; it killed 30-60% of Europe’s total population). Had this bias toward cats not existed, local rodent populations could have been kept down, lessening the spread of plague-infected fleas from host to host.

 

China And Japan

Cat Mandala

Maneki Neko

Here the cats were symbolizing good luck and were people’s friends. Actually in Japan, the Maneki Neko is a very popular cat figurine often believed to bring good luck to the owner.

Fisherman used to interpret cat actions as predictions of the weather and fish patterns.

I believe in this part of the world (including China, Japan, but also India) wisdom and tradition remain their strength, from antiquity until today. Most of these people know how to celebrate life and how to see the beauty and the uniqueness in all things, and the cat is a very good example in this case. While the Europe used to see the cat as a very negative animal and symbol, the Asian population just observed it and understood it is only another great animal and gift from nature.

Spiritual Symbolism Of The Cat

The cat represents both balance, and opposites as light and dark, action and rest, inner and outer.

Cat MandalaIt is often considered a dark and bad luck animal, because it tends to be active at night and is able to see in the dark thanks to its highly adaptable eyes. Actually cats love to explore the unknown and to see things that other don’t see and this make them a symbol of wisdom.

The cat symbolizes:

  • both independence and enjoying social connections
  • patience, waiting for the right moment to act
  • courage, spirit of adventure, enjoying playing, skittish but not fearful
  • deep, relaxed, connection with self, mysterious
  • healing from the inside out, positive energy and vibrations
  • curiosity, exploration of the unknown and of the unconscious

The cat is in control of its life. Independence is a very important quality and it is not to be confused with selfishness. The cat knows exactly what it wants and when it wants it and it will never want to change that. On the other side, social connection are important as well and the cat knows when and how to obtain them.

It spends time relaxing and meditating, so it will know exactly what it needs and it will act accordingly with courage and determination. It knows to wait for the perfect moment and then act with the maximum agility and flexibility.

Most of the time curiosity brings it to threats, but this does’t ever stop the cat of being the way it is.

I think we have to learn a lot from them.

12 Cat Quotes

Cat MandalaI chosen the most close to reality quotes I found all around the internet.

  1. “Perhaps one reason we are fascinated by cats is because such a small animal can contain so much independence, dignity and freedom of spirit. Unlike the dog, the cat’s personality is never bet on a human’s. He demands acceptance on his own terms.” – Lloyd Alexander
  2. “Time spent with a cat is never wasted.” – Attributed to Sigmund Freud, but also to Colette, but no reference of this quote has been found on their works.
  3. “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” – Albert Schweitzer
  4. “I believe cats to be spirits come to earth. A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through.” – Jules Verne
  5. “Cats know how to obtain food without labor, shelter without confinement and love without penalties.” – W. L. George
  6. “Cats are anthropomorphised in art because they are so laid back that you attribute human thoughts and feelings to them.” – Jim Davis
  7. “My relationship with my cats has saved me from a deadly, pervasive ignorance.” – William S. Burroughs
  8. “Cats don’t like change without their consent.” – Roger Caras
  9. “Way down deep we’re all motivated by the same urges. Cats have the courage to live by them.” – Jim Davis
  10. “The smallest feline is a masterpiece.” – Leonardo da Vinci
  11. “Cats choose us, we don’t own them.” – Kristen Cast
  12. “A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.” – Ernest Hemingway

Cat Mandala Prints That I Recommend

The cat mandala designs are stunning for both home decoration and art. If you love both cats and mandalas, as I do, then you are in the right place. Here are some gorgeous cat mandala stickers from Etsy. Enjoy!

Cat Mandala Print

Cat Mandala Print

Cat Mandala Print

Cat Mandala Print

Cat Mandala Print

Cat Mandala Print

Cat Mandala Print

Cat Mandala Print

I hope you enjoyed my post and if you have any questions or opinions about the cat mandala, feel free to leave a comment below and I will  more than happy to make discussions with you! Blessings!

Anna

2 Comments

  1. Con todos mis respetos. ¿Que tiene que ver los mandalas con los gatos?

    • Hello, Juan!
      A mandala is an integrated structure organized around a unifying center, but, at the same time it is the result of imagination, creation, one’s inner self. So you can always add specific elements, as animals, objects and anything that will make you feel it is your own and unique mandala.
      Often it is confused with the Zentangle art. In this case you have to use patterns to create abstract art or to fill some realistic shapes with the same patterns. These don’t require an unifying center.
      These two form of art intersect when it comes to a circle that has a center and it is filled with patterns from the center to the outside. It is a mandala because respects the main rule of having a center, but it could be also a form of Zentangle art, because it has the Zentangle specific patterns. Both have the same goal: meditation! But still, they are two different concepts. A mandala is a more deep concept than Zentangle art.
      Maybe I should add some more specific photos on my posts to make the two concepts more clear. Actually, right now I’m writing an article about Zentangle art, so I hope this will help people to get rid of confusion.
      Thank you for your comment!

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