02 October 2006


I mentioned earlier (much earlier...last March, I think, in the "Maslenitsa" post) how pagan traditions still are a part of everyday life. Superstitions here are rampant--and strictly adhered to. It is much more serious than the jesting, game-like way we treat similar occurrences in the US. I'll tell you more later, if you like, but here are a few that center on Russians views of cats.

If someone gives you a cat, you must give them a coin in return. Paper money is not acceptable. You must also give someone a coin if they give you a knife or scissors to ensure that the knife will not cut you. I'm wondering if giving a coin for a cat prevents scratching and/or biting. (In which case, it didn't work. Lena is very bite-y despite the giving of a coin.)

Three-coloured cats are lucky. Blue cats are lucky, too. (I'd really like a little Russian Blue...) Beazy is a torti, so she should be "full of luck" I'm told.

If you see a cat washing its face, company is on the way.

If a black cat crosses your path, it's a seriously bad omen. Cars will stop and let another car pass in order to avoid the black cat's bad tidings. Apparently, the bad luck is only visited on the first person to cross the cat's path.

Only cats can communicate with the domovoy, or spirit of the home. (This spirit, while generally kind is also temperamental and intolerant of laziness. It lives in the doorway of a house. That is the reason you do not shake hands over a doorway or give or accept anything across a doorway. You might disturb the temperamental domovoy which, in turn, would lead to strife.)

Instead of a bride being carried over the threshold, a cat is often let in first to entice benevolent spirits and tell the domovoy what's going on, who's coming in and to be nice.

If a person enters a new house before a cat, the person will die.

Perhaps this cat/domovoy relationship is why cats are said to absorb all evil that enters your door. One of my friends said, knowing the trials I'm facing and hearing of my cats' illnesses, "Just think, Katya, how awful things would be for you if you didn't have your cats! They have taken on so much bad for you."

And lastly, a Russian proverb: He that denies the cat skimmed milk must feed the mice cream.


ps Beaze seems a bit better.


Maggie said...

That's interesting! I didn't know about any of that.

Glad to hear Beaze is a bit better.

Lauri said...

Intersting... I have heard that about torties, our mia is a tortie and I was hoping to show the judge her pic( needing all the luck on our side as we could get) but we never got the chance.

Glad your Kitty is on the mend