Cats, it has been a while… Then Beach recently stumbled on this very strange passage in Abbe Huc’s Chinese Empire (1854). Can there be any truth to it? Beach is doubtful but he certainly likes the idea.
One day when we went to pay a visit to some families of Chinese Christian peasants, we met, near a farm, a young lad who was talking a buffalo to graze along our path. We asked him carelessly, as we passed, whether it was yet noon. The child raised his head to look at the sun, but it was hidden behind thick clouds, and he could read no answer there. ‘The sky is so cloudy’, said he, ‘but wait a moment’; and with these words he ran towards the farm, and came back a few minutes afterwards with a cat in his arms. ‘Look here,’ said he, ‘it is not noon yet’; and he showed us the cat’s eyes, but pushing up the lids with his hands. We looked at the child with surprise, but he was evidently in earnest. ‘Very well’, said we, ‘thank you’, and we continued on our way.
Beach can well imagine the party of Europeans, Huc at their head, fleeing from this serial killer in training: ‘from an early age he liked inflicting pain on cats, then he moved on to squirrels and his baby brother.’
As soon as we reached the farm.. we made haste to ask our Christian friends whether they could tell the clock by looking into a cat’s eyes. They seemed surprised at the question; but as there was no danger in confessing to them our ignorance of the properties of a cat’s eyes, we related what had just taken place. That was all that was necessary; our complaisant neophytes immediately gave chase to all the cats in the neighbourhood.
And here the fun really began.
They brought us three or four, and explained in what manner they might be made use of for watches. They pointed out that the pupils of their eyes went on constantly growing narrower until twelve o’clock, when they became like a fine line, as thin as a hair, drawn perpendicularly across the eye, and that after twelve the dilation recommenced.
Beach has visited in this place before Cat Organs (see now Andy the Mad Monk’s recent addition of Pig Organs) but cat clocks? Presumably the eye narrows with the growing sunlight? Are cats used as clocks elsewhere or had our narrator stumbled on a very unusual part of China!? drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com. Special honours for anyone finding this custom in modern or contemporary East Anglia (another very unusual part of the world).
29/2/12: Invisible writes in: I was wondering if the cat clock had something to do with the same polarisation mechanism as the Viking sun-stones, but I find to my astonishment that the pupil dilation is a well-known phenomenon. The folk of East Anglia were, apparently, far too busy putting cats up the chimney and concealing them behind walls to tell time by gazing into their eyes. ‘ Then Dennis M: ‘In Japanese ninja lore the cat eye clock is rather well known. I first saw it in some ninja book years a ago‘. Thanks Invisible and Dennis!
CURIOSITY KILLED THE CAT
If you're solicitous about learning the connections between words, you'll surely want to know about the relationship between "solicitous" and another word you've probably heard before-"solicit." "Solicitous" doesn't come from "solicit," but the two words are related. They both have their roots in the Latin word sollicitus, meaning "anxious." "Solicitous" itself came directly from this Latin word, whereas "solicit" made its way to English with a few more steps. From "sollicitus" came the Latin verb sollicitare, meaning "to disturb, agitate, move, or entreat." Forms of this verb were borrowed into Anglo-French, and then Middle English, and have survived in Modern English as "solicit."
The Solstice occurs twice each year (around June 21 and December 22) as the Sun reaches its most northerly or southerly excursion relative to the celestial equator on the celestial sphere. The seasons of the year are directly connected to both the solstices and the equinoxes.
The term solstice can also be used in a broader sense, as the day when this occurs. The day of the solstice has either the most sunlight of the year (summer solstice) or the least sunlight of the year (winter solstice) for any place other than the equator. Alternative terms, with no ambiguity as to which hemisphere is the context, are June solstice and December solstice, referring to the months of year in which they take place.
At latitudes outside the tropics, the summer solstice marks the day when the sun appears highest in the sky. Within the tropics, the sun appears directly overhead (called the subsolar point) from days to months before the solstice and again after the solstice, which means the subsolar point occurs twice each year.
The word solstice is derived from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), because at the solstices, the Sun stands still in declination; that is, the seasonal movement of the Sun's path (as seen from Earth) comes to a stop before reversing direction.
The term solstice can also be used in a wider sense, as the date (day) that such a passage happens. The solstices, together with the equinoxes, are connected with the seasons. In some languages they are considered to start or separate the seasons; in others they are considered to be centre points (in England, in the Northern Hemisphere, for example, the period around the northern solstice is known as midsummer, and Midsummer's Day is 24 June, about three days after the solstice itself). Similarly 25 December is the start of the Christmas celebration, and is the day the Sun begins to return to the Northern Hemisphere.
Many cultures celebrate various combinations of the winter and summer solstices, the equinoxes, and the midpoints between them, leading to various holidays arising around these events. For the southern solstice, Christmas is the most popular holiday to have arisen. In addition, Yalda, Saturnalia, Karachun, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Yule (see winter solstice for more) are also celebrated around this time. For the northern solstice, Christian cultures celebrate the feast of St. John from June 23 to 24 (see St. John's Eve, Ivan Kupala Day, Midsummer), while Neopagans observe Midsummer, also known as Litha. For the vernal (spring) equinox, several spring-time festivals are celebrated, such as the Persian Nowruz, the observance in Judaism of Passover and in most Christian churches of Easter. The autumnal equinox has also given rise to various holidays, such as the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. At the midpoints between these four solar events, cross-quarter days are celebrated.
In the southern tip of South America, the Mapuche people celebrate We Tripantu (the New Year) a few days after the northern solstice, on June 24. Further north, the Atacama people formerly celebrated this date with a noise festival, to call the Sun back. Further east, the Aymara people celebrate their New Year on June 21. A celebration occurs at sunrise, when the sun shines directly through the Gate of the Sun in Tiwanaku. Other Aymara New Year feasts occur throughout Bolivia, including at the site of El Fuerte de Samaipata.
In many cultures, the solstices and equinoxes traditionally determine the midpoint of the seasons, which can be seen in the celebrations called midsummer and midwinter. In this vein, the Japanese celebrate the start of each season with an occurrence known as Setsubun. The cumulative cooling and warming that result from the tilt of the planet become most pronounced after the solstices, leading to the more recent custom of using them to mark the beginning of summer and winter in most countries of Central and Northern Europe, as well as in Canada, the United States and New Zealand.
In the Hindu calendar, two sidereal solstices are named Makara Sankranti which marks the start of Uttarayana and Karka Sankranti which marks the start of Dakshinayana. The former occurs around January 14 each year, while the latter occurs around July 14 each year. These mark the movement of the Sun along a sidereally fixed zodiac (precession is ignored) into Makara, the zodiacal sign which corresponds with Capricorn, and into Karkat, the zodiacal sign which corresponds with Cancer, respectively.
Islam and cats
||It has been suggested that this article be merged with Muezza. (Discuss) Proposed since August 2017.|
Origins of reverence
Cats have been venerated in the Near East since antiquity, a tradition adopted by Islam, albeit in a much modified form. According to many hadiths, Mohammad[not in citation given] prohibited the persecution and killing of cats. Muhammad purportedly allowed a cat to give birth on his cloak, and cut off the sleeve of his prayer robe rather than wake his favourite cat, a female named Muezza, who was sleeping on it.
One of Muhammad's companions was known as Abu Hurairah (literally: "Father of the Kitten") for his attachment to cats. Abu Hurairah claimed that he had heard Muhammad declare that a woman went to Hell for starving a female kitten and not providing her with any water, but this was disputed by Muhammad's widow Aisha. According to legend, Abu Hurairah's cat saved Muhammad from a snake. In gratitude, Muhammad stroked the cat's back and forehead, thus blessing all cats with the righting reflex. The stripes some cats have on their foreheads are believed to mark the touch of Muhammad's fingers.
The American poet and travel author Bayard Taylor (1825–1878) was astonished when he discovered a Syrian hospital where cats roamed freely. The institution, in which domestic felines were sheltered and nourished, was funded by a waqf, along with caretakers' wages, veterinary care and cat food. Edward William Lane (1801–1876), British Orientalist who resided in Cairo, described a cat garden originally endowed by the 13th-century Egyptian sultan Baibars, whose European contemporaries held a very different attitude towards cats, eating them or killing them under papal decrees. Wilfred Thesiger, in his book "The Marsh Arabs", notes that cats were allowed free entry to community buildings in villages in the Mesopotamian Marshes, and even fed, though dogs and other animals were driven out. Aside from protecting granaries and food stores from pests, cats were valued by the paper-based Arab-Islamic cultures for preying on mice that destroyed books. For that reason, cats are often depicted in paintings alongside Islamic scholars and bibliophiles. The medieval Egyptian zoologist Al-Damiri (1344–1405) wrote that the first cat was created when God caused a lion to sneeze, after animals on Noah's Ark complained of mice.
Hygiene and neutering
In Islamic tradition, cats are admired for their cleanliness. They are thought to be ritually clean, unlike dogs, and are thus allowed to enter homes and even mosques, including Masjid al-Haram. Food sampled by cats is considered halal and water from which cats have drunk is permitted for wudu. Furthermore, there is a widespread belief among Muslims that cats seek out people who are praying.
Muslim scholars are divided on the issue of neutering animals. Most, however, maintain that neutering cats is allowed "if there is some benefit in neutering the cat and if that will not cause its death". Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen, a 20th-century Saudi Arabian Sunni imam, preached:
If there are too many cats and they are a nuisance, and if the operation will not harm them, then there is nothing wrong with it, because this is better than killing them after they have been created. But if the cats are ordinary cats and are not causing a nuisance, perhaps it is better to leave them alone to reproduce.
SOLAR WORSHIP OF EGYPT
Cats in Egyptian religion
The earliest evidence of felines as deities comes from a c. 3100 BC crystal cup decorated with an image of the cat-headed goddess Mafdet. The goddess Bastet was originally depicted as a fiercely protective and warlike lioness, like Sekhmet, but as Bastet's image "softened" over time, she became more strongly associated with domestic cats.
As cats were sacred to Bast, the practice of mummification was extended to them, and the respect that cats received after death mirrored the respect with which they were treated in everyday life. The Greek historian Herodotus wrote that in the event of a fire, men would guard the fire to make certain that no cats ran into the flame. Herodotus also wrote that when a cat died, the household would go into mourning as if for a human relative, and would often shave their eyebrows to signify their loss.
Diodorus Siculus describes an interesting example of swift justice imposed upon the killer of a cat: about 60 BC, he witnessed a Roman accidentally kill an Egyptian cat. An outraged mob gathered and, despite pleas from pharaoh Ptolemy XII, killed the Roman.
Eye of Horus
EYE OF CAT
The Golden Compass
The Golden Circle
The Walls Have Eyes & Ears
THE CAT HAS 9 LIVES
There is also an ancient proverb that claims, “A cat has nine lives. For three he plays, for three he strays and for the last three he stays." Some people believe the nine lives myth is related to cats' ability to always land on their feet.
Independent System Operators
International Organization for Standardization