A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to author Roby Sweet. Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Omen Cats: When Cats Predicted the Future



Hello, modern cats and humans. Today I, Miss Cuddlywumps, will share with you some information I have recently found about so-called “omen texts.” We are talking here of ancient Akkadian (c. 900–626 BC) and Neo-Babylonian (c. 626–539 BC) texts that could supposedly help people predict the future.

Surely you are familiar with omens, those “if–then” statements about odd occurrences that are sometimes believed to show what the future might hold. Like this one: If a vulture perches on the roof of a house, [then] someone in the house will die. (She of Little Talent once saw seven vultures perch on the neighbors’ house and everyone in the house was just fine, so I think this omen does not work—unless there is something special about seven vultures.)

In ancient times, omens were more widely believed than they are today. Even the behavior of cats was thought to mean something about the future. I have found the following ancient cat omen texts that unfortunately are not complete; they give us the “if” part, but not the “then.”


  • If a cat [sa-a] weeps in a man’s house…
  • If a cat eats a snake in a temple…
  • If a cat appears in a sick man’s house…
  • If a cat talks in human speech…
  • If a woman gives birth to a cat…

 I can actually finish those last two for you:


  • If cat talks in human speech, then that cat will go viral on YouTube and/or star in a movie (please see trailer below).
  • If a woman gives birth to a cat, then she will sign a six-figure book deal and Lifetime will make a movie about her (I do not have a trailer for this one. Sorry).

 I cannot begin to guess the meanings of the other omens, so you will have to approach the future without their wisdom. Sorry.

 

[ She of Little Talent reminds me to tell you that information for this post came from David Engels’ book Classical Cats (London: Routledge, 1999) p. 45-46.]

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