World cat day, here are the urban legends about felines

World cat day, here are the urban legends about felines

The cat has always inspired legends, even urban ones. In their day we remember some of them. From the phantom cat killers to the danger for newborns, without forgetting the famous escaped panthers

(photo: Asurobson, via Getty Images) August 8 is International Cat Day. It would have been created in 2002 by the Ifaw (International Fund for Animal Welfare), an animal rights and conservation association. Currently, however, his site does not even talk about it in passing, and on the net the first traces seem to date back to 2007. Small mysteries that basically don't interest anyone, because similar initiatives have existed for some time. Our National Cat Day, established as early as 1990, is February 17th. In the United States it falls on October 29.

Of all the anniversaries that support the daily cycle of creating content on social media, however, we must admit that the celebration of the cat is very appropriate to the times. The Internet, as we know, is so populated with cats that the phenomenon is a matter of study. But before the lolcats and Grumpy cat (2012-2019), people were already making very special memes involving these felines, and they continue to do so. They are urban legends.

Killer of cats, black and otherwise

Between 2014 and 2018 in the United Kingdom, newspapers (not only tabloids) reported the hunt for an alleged killer of cats. It initially struck in Croydon, a town south of London, but then other communities began to find hideously mutilated poor animal carcasses. Much of the population, associations, veterinarians and some policemen were completely convinced that behind the cat killers there was a human hand, obviously a disturbed individual.

After at least 130 pounds spent and thousands of hours of work, investigation (operation Takahe) have concluded that the cats were preyed upon by foxes . No case was attributable to a sadist. A conclusion is perhaps a little disappointing (and not accepted by all), but widely expected by those who had understood that there was a moral panic out of the way. It was an interpretation of the legendary facts of the ordinary, and this idea was widespread, spreading the word to other communities. And yet it was already happened to you: at the end of the Nineties, at the time of the panic, satanic, had developed a similar case in the same areas .

all to see, recalls the legend of the black cats sacrificed at Halloween. As for the candy, poisoned , are never evidence of this widespread form of sadism, of course, attributed to the satanists . Even here, perhaps, the voice was born from an error of interpretation. The cats, black and not, can disappear for many reasons during the year, but if it happens around October 31, the two things must be connected.

Cats large

Every year in Italy there are several hunts to the panther or other large cat exotic. If we exclude the buffaloes of the pranksters, because the alleged sightings of the population. Sometimes they sprout, photos and videos of the animal or its footprints . The farmers denounce the disappearances of the animals. Regularly, arrive experts that get out of balance and legitimise the sightings: the animal certainly is neither a big cat nor any other animal ordinary. Their not ago. Arriving authorities, and often decide that it is better to be sure of this: part of the hunt for the feline, followed by local newspapers . Then everything resolves in a soap bubble: the panther, watch a bit, it was really a cat, or a stray dog.

One of the latest cases is that of the panther bell, which began to peep in the province of Benevento during the lockdown. He has recently written the CeRaVoLC, that the foundation is following with interest the episodes of panterite in our country. Once again, the script does not change, and we can recognize all the cliches that make the story interesting for folklorists. We have, in particular, the involvement of experts (real and alleged) and the role of newspapers in the food the whole, up to the anticlimax, and the passing of the story: next time.

the Assembly of the Student Movement, “The Panther” at the Faculty of Political Sciences of the Università degli Studi di Napoli “Federico II”. Photo taken by Angel in January 1990 in the Hall of the Ground Floor in Via Cardinale Guglielmo Sanfelice, 48 – Napoli (NA) (Delehaye / CC-BY-SA https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons) This urban legend also gave the name of a student movement . In December 1989 he began a famous hunting a suspected panther, the roman, which, of course, is mocking of the efforts to capture it... This happened at the same time a series of student protests . In 1990, two young advertising, Stefano Palombi, Fabio Ferri , had the brilliant idea for a name and a logo to the student movement, which at that time occupied the university. Thus was born The panther, we used the feline is taken from the logo of the Black Panther .

Cats that kill

In a moveable Feast , the unfinished autobiography of Ernest Hemingway , the writer speaks of a strange superstition . In a winter parisian writer working in the café. Also the wife was out of the house to give private lessons of piano. The small Jack Hemingway, said Bumby, was left for some time with a special baby-sitter: a cat named F. puss. To feel the writer, was very protective of the baby, and if he was quiet in his bed. But many were not convinced, and warned the writer about the dangers. “The most ignorant and superstitious people claimed that the cat would suck the breath of a child, and would have killed him,” writes Hemingway.

it was Not a fancy parisian. The belief that cats ruby the breath of newborns is in fact a very ancient and widespread. According to Snopes, at least since the Eighteenth century that the cats take the blame for the dead babies. In more recent times, the legend is updated. We can no longer say that cats steal your breath , and then let's say that attracted by the smell of milk, there is a risk to go up on the child and smother unknowingly.

notwithstanding that with pets and babies, we need prudence, this version is much more credible than the first. Adult cats can drink milk, but not go crazy like in the cartoons. And if we can not exclude from the realm of possibility that a cat can smother a baby, at the moment, we are not in the news. What happens, and that happened also before, is that unfortunately, every year thousands of children die suddenly, for example for the syndrome of cot death . And domestic cats sometimes provide a convenient scapegoat.

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