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cat_sithAccording to Celtic legend, it is said that a witch could turn into a cat eight times.  On the ninth time, the witch would remain a cat forever.  The cat-witch, once changed, then becomes a witch’s familiar. A familiar can’t be bought; they either have to be gifted to the witch by another witch, or they will find the witch themselves.

The Cat Sith (Scottish Gaelic) or Cat Sidhe (Irish Gaelic) or Cat Si (in new orthography) is a fairy creature from Celtic mythology, said to resemble a large black cat with a white spot on its chest.  Legend has it that the spectral cat haunts the Scottish Highlands.  The legends surrounding this creature are more common with Scottish folklore, but a few occur in Irish.  Some common folklore suggest that the Cat Sith was not a fairy, but a witch that could transform into a cat nine times.

 

The Cat Sith may have been inspired by the Scottish wildcat itself.  It is possible that the legends of the Cat Sith were inspired by Kellas cats, which are a distinctive hybrid between Scottish wildcats and domestic cats only found in Scotland (the Scottish wildcat is a subspecies of the European wildcat, which is not found anywhere else in the British Isles).       

bastetAn old book called ‘Beware the Cat (1584) gives warning that black cats are witches in disguise, and that killing a cat does not necessarily mean killing the witch, for the witch can take on the body of a cat nine times.

Another belief that a cat has nine lives goes back to ancient Egypt.  The cat-headed goddess, Bastet, or Bast, was said to have nine lives.   

 

My thanks to Macy from Twitter, Wikipedia and www.unexplainedstuff.com for this information.

A Cats Prayer

Lead me down all the right paths,
Keep me from fleas, bees, and baths.
Let me in should it storm,
Keep me safe, fed, and warm.

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