Cat Sidhe & The King of the Cats

Ireland is known as the island of Saints and Scholars, yet some of the deeds of those saints were nothing less that outright battles with the creatures of this and the Otherworld. Some of these creatures are still remembered to us in our ancient tales.

The cat -sidhe is one of the more interesting creatures because not only are they all black with one white spot upon their breast, they were also said to be as big as a dog in size. As impressive as the description of these creatures may sound, there was a lot of fear linked to coming across one of them. There are many tales which speak of games played at a wake so that a cat sidhe would be distracted from stealing the soul of the recently departed.

Tales also spoke of certain nights known as 'cat nights' where a witch may transform themselves into a cat. It was said to be wary of harming any cat in case it may be a witch in feline form, for none would want of raise the ire of these magical women. Yet there was also a limit to the use of this ability. It was said that a witch can change freely to and from feline form, but no more than eight times, for where the witch to change for the ninth, then as a cat is how they would live out their days.

One other notable tale is of Cat Royalty, in that there was in Ireland a King of the Cats. One of the most famous was said to be Irusan who live in a cave near the monastery at Clonmacnoise. There he grew to be as big as an ox yet was not as well known as you might think.  When a belligerent bard, the then chief poet of Ireland Senchan Torpeist, cursed all the cats on the island, it raised the ire of Irusan. The king of the cats moved to hunt the man down, and slay him so that the curse could be ended. When finally he found his prey, he seized unto his arm and began to drag him away. All the poet's pleas and flattery could avail him nothing but contempt from the Kind of the cats.  Alas the actions of Saint Ciaran put an end to Irusan. Seeing the poets plight the saint came from the nearby forge at Clonmacnoise and saved the bard by killing Irusan with a red hot poker.

It is said that the king of the cats lives to this day looking as any other cat does. So, if there is a King o the Cats why wouldn't there be a Queen?
Have you asked your cat if they are royalty?

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