Why Cats Will Dominate The World When Humans Are Gone
When my neighbor’s 13-year-old son brought home a box that barely fit in his chubby arms for the very first time and from the edge of the box peeked out a furry little white head of the prettiest kitten any of us had ever seen, none of us thought much of it.
All we knew was that her fur was pristine white and soft to the touch, her toes were baby pink and tiny, her big blue eyes resembled gems, and we adored her right away.
Of course, the only one who seemed to have a problem with the newest addition to the neighborhood was my dog. Humans. Cats. Even rats, really. And it didn’t make sense because Millie had not only always been a very gentle soul but also the happiest dog you would ever meet, and she pretty much got along with everyone. Watching her growl at Halo — the name they had eventually decided for the kitten since she looked like an angel anyway — only a few days after her arrival was confusing and also a bit alarming.
We assumed that the strange animosity came from the fact that Halo had everyone wrapped around her tiny paw, which automatically meant less attention for Millie.
Needless to say, we were wrong. Terribly.
There was a short wall between our decks, one that allowed Millie to peek over it if she wanted, but unlike her, Halo could jump over it and go back and forth between the two houses whenever she desired. Now, I know it sounds like completely irrelevant information until we reach the more interesting part: Halo visited our house much more regularly than we had thought.
One day, desperate to understand why the two of them didn’t seem to get along, I hid behind the door that led to the deck and peeked from the gap between its hinges to observe them.
And apparently, Halo wasn’t exactly the angel we thought she was.
Poor Millie, who liked sunbathing in the deck, had to sit back and watch Halo walk along the edges of the roof of our house until she could sit the closest to Millie as possible without allowing the dog to reach her and then hang her tail down so she could slowly swish it left and right in front of Millie’s eyes to tease her until all my dog saw was red.
I thought it was a little funny. Millie, though, didn’t seem all that amused.
Except, we knew that Millie was harmless. So we left it at that. And once Millie got bored of the game, she started to ignore Halo until she went away. It got better again.
For a little while.
The neighbors continued adopting cats, the cats reproduced, and there were twelve more of them in less than half a year. They had thirteen cats in total — another thing I was in hysterics about while my dog remained thoroughly unimpressed.
She did have to deal with thirteen cats instead of one now, though. So there’s not much we could blame her for.
And in the midst of the chaos that they would all cause every day, I remember my brother standing at the deck with his hands on his hips. “They’re too smart for their own good,” he had said, looking just as amused about the situation as I was. “Imagine if they dominated the world.”
It was just another joke, a fairly universal one because we’ve all talked about how cats could collectively destroy human society, right along with the government, and then take over the world since they’re like little aliens anyway. The only humans who would probably survive under their rule would be the ones that would serve them.
Maybe they’ll get rid of dogs while they’re at it.
I think about this more often than I’d like to admit; how the one thing that would genuinely make for the greatest difference in our planet’s cat population’s lives would be for all cats to have a safe and loving home, hence the existence of ‘feral cat colonies’ would become an only hazily remembered embarrassment and a memory of a time when humans were simpleminded and lacked evolution in their thinking. However, their cats were still patient with them.
If they allow us to survive alongside them, we’d probably be more patient with everything and learn how to communicate better instead of hurrying along with our daily lives, barely speaking to anyone since cats demand attention whenever they see fit. Cats love grooming, so everybody would have to stay clean 24/7.
Lack of water wouldn’t be a thing for them because saltwater doesn’t affect them. We’d all bear scratches and claw marks, whether as battle scars or bites of endearment; we’ll find out later. The market that sells cat toys would plummet at the speed of a giant snowball rolling down a hill since cats don’t like that stuff but prefer playing with things that are supposed to be off-limits to them instead.
They would unlock doors with their nose prints, and humans would no longer be allied to enter.
While we’re on the subject of cats ruling over humans though, it’s not like this would be their first time anyway.
So let’s talk about that.
Cats In Ancient Egypt
Egyptians from ancient times, acclaimed cat-lovers, worshipped many animals for thousands of years. Though dogs were respected for their ability to hunt and protect when needed, cats were clearly believed to be the most special. They even believed that cats were not only treasured pets but also magical creatures capable of bringing good luck to the people who lived with them.
They dressed their cats in jewels and fed them treats that would otherwise only be fed to royalty, and when these cats died, they were mummified just like the pharaohs of Egypt were. When cats died, their owners would even shave their eyebrows off. They continued to mourn that way until their eyebrows grew back.
In the art of ancient Egypt, felines are ever-present. Cats were so specifically special to them and were held in such high esteem that those who killed them — whether by accident or on purpose — were either immediately sentenced to death or subjected to other severe punishment.
Ancient Egyptians also believed that cats would protect them against ‘tiny monsters’ that made Egyptian homes less safe to live in. These Egyptian cats accompanied Vikings on their journeys, and their population continued to grow around the world. They praised the little felines for killing venomous snakes and scorpions and deemed them worthier than any other pets because they kept rats and other pests away from food. Some believe that without cats, civilization might not have survived.
Cat-themed artifacts were very common, seeing from the ones that have survived the millennia and dug out from the ground where they had been buried for hundreds of years.
Through the years, their image, though, has become softer. They are now considered important members of Egyptian families and are treated with much respect and love as their own children.
If you’ve ever known your fair share of spoiled cats, you now know that they’ve probably not forgotten the days when they were worshipped.
Cats As Gods
Now, we already went over how cats were mummified but did you know that they were buried with royalty due to how highly ancient Egyptians worshiped them and associated them with deities?
Mafdet, the first feline goddess that Egyptians worshiped, was considered the goddess of judgment, justice, and execution. Her name means ‘she who runs’ solely due to her ability to provide justice. Depicted as a woman with the head of a cheetah (but sometimes a cat, a leopard, a lynx, a mongoose, or a panther), she had braided hair that split into what resembled a scorpion’s tail. She often wore a headdress made of snakes and was considered the protector of the pharaoh.
According to the Pyramid Texts of Egypt’s Old Kingdom, goddess Mafdet protected the sun god Ra from venomous snakes. Mafdet is also said to have brutally protected the royalty of Egypt.
Sekhmet, who ancient Egyptians would make sacrifices to in the name of worship, was a warrior goddess and a healing goddess. Depicted as a lioness, she was seen as the power that led the pharaohs in warfare. She was a force to be reckoned with because while she had healing and protective powers, she also happened to be destructive and retaliating.
Ancient Egypt myths also say that goddess Sekhmet, in her tower of rage to destroy humanity, turned into a bloodthirsty being who unleashed her violence on humans because of their indifference and disobedience to the gods. At the same time, they believed that Sekhmet continued to protect them and help them pass on to the afterlife upon death.
Bastet, the goddess of protection, pleasure, and the bringer of good health, was depicted as a domestic cat with half her head shaped like a cat’s and the other half like a woman. The name for the goddess came from the main city that worshipped her in northern Egypt called Bubastis. She was the goddess of protection, pleasure, and the bringer of good health. Also, the daughter of Ra and the sister of Sekhmet, Bastet, protected homes from evil spirits and disease. She is one of the most well-known figures of the Egyptian pantheon.
Admired for their cleanliness, cats are praised by Muslims and often taken in as housepets.
Anyways, even if they weren’t worshipped as deities, cats were an integral part of ancient Egyptian lives. They provided companionship and pest control to the living and were believed to have remained friends with people in the afterlife.
Cats As Symbols Of Luck
Despite what people believe about black cats bringing in immense back luck, they’re actually a symbol of prosperity. There are uncountable beliefs about cats, and maybe people should start talking about the positive ones more often.
Like the Egyptians believed that the powers of a cat could protect them from all evil (men and women wore charms and amulets depicting cats to protect the home and bring good luck during childbirth), Europeans believed that cats were essential to a good harvest and therefore treated them with utmost respect and care.
Aside from that, a black cat in specific was considered to be very lucky by Sailors to have to board. Russian people put a cat in a cradle and believed it to veer evil spirits away from a new baby; Britain considered it lucky if a cat walked in front of a bride and groom, Italy believes cats to be symbols of purity. Japan believes that beckoning a cat will also bring them a fortune.
If you’ve ever had the chance to visit a Chinese or Japanese restaurant, you may have noticed a little cat figure sitting by the cash register or somewhere nearby. It’s a fortune cat called Maneki Neko that is believed to attract luck for its owners. The cat has its paw raised in the air as if waving, and its name means ‘beckoning cat.’ If its left paw is raised, it attracts customers, and if it’s the right one, it invites good fortune. Both paws in the air can represent protection.
The white Maneki Neko brings happiness, purity, and positive things, the gold one for wealth and prosperity, the black one for warding off evil spirits, the red/pink one for success in love and romance, and the green one for good health. You can sometimes find them holding a fish (most likely a carp), a gem, a small hammer, or a Japanese coin called ‘Ryō.’ These are all meant to represent different things, but all have one thing in common: being harbingers of fortune.
Why Cats Could Rule The World If They Wanted
House cats outnumber dogs by 3 to 1 worldwide, although dogs were first domesticated for their ability to hunt, shepherd, and protect their owners. Cats have somehow managed to cement a silent takeover of the world after making us trust them, anyway.
In the book ‘The World Without us,’ author Alan Weisman studies what would happen if humanity mysteriously disappeared from the globe one day. And basically, if humans vanished from Earth, eventually, house cats would be the ones to take over the world because of just how many of them are around and how smart they are.