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Do Cats Actually Have 9 Lives?
Cat Fun Facts

Do Cats Actually Have 9 Lives?

Our world is full of numerous interesting myths that have persisted generation after generation, and one of them is the claim that cats have nine lives. But seriously, do cats actually have nine lives? Is it true or is it only a whimsical notion? Okay, let’s assume it is indeed true, then, why do cats have nine lives? In this article, we will explore the ancient origins of the “cats have nine lives” myth, its cultural significance, and why this feline myth has persisted for so long.

Do Cats Truly Possess Nine Lives?

The myth that cats possess multiple lives exists around our planet. In some cultures, it is believed that cats have six lives, while some other cultural legends claim that cats have seven lives. You are probably perplexed and wondering, “How many lives do cats have?” Well, cats do not have nine lives or seven or six. Just like us humans, cats only have one life; and there exists zero scientific evidence to back up the cultural folklore that cats have multiple lives. Nonetheless, cats are gifted with certain advantages by nature that makes it possible for them to escape seemingly dangerous situations.

Why Do We Say Cats Have Nine Lives?

For centuries, our cultural folklore has peddled the claim that cats have several lives. While this myth has been established as false, there exists compelling explanations that might make you answer “Yes” to the “Do cats have nine lives?” question. One of such explanations is the remarkable ability of cats to survive falls from great heights that are otherwise lethal to humans. This is due to their instinctual ability, the righting reflex.

This unique skill has been a source of fascination for years, and it is the inbuilt ability of our feline friends to turn and orient their bodies while falling so as to land on their feet. This ability is only possible due to cats’ anatomy—a flexible backbone and an unmovable clavicle. Note, however, that the righting reflex only starts to take shape when your cat is 3-4 weeks old, and it takes another 5 more weeks for the ability to be perfected. This means that kitties are still highly susceptible to dangers around them; therefore, they must be protected.

Where Does The Saying Come From?

Now that you have an answer to the “Why do people say cats have nine lives?” question, you might be wondering where the saying comes from. It originates from the old English proverb, “A cat has nine lives. For three he plays, for three he strays, and for the last three he stays.” Also, nine is regarded as a magic number. Since cats have been revered and considered magical creatures throughout history, it is only fitting that they are associated with nine lives.

Ancient Origins of a Cat’s Nine Lives

The idea of cats having nine lives can be traced back to different origins, and Ancient Egypt is one of them. In this particular culture, felines were highly regarded and worshipped. Cats were associated with the Egyptian goddess, Bastet, who was linked with fertility, home, and protection. Also, in mediaeval Europe when superstition and folklore was at an all-time high, cats were thought to have supernatural powers, and were associated with witchcraft and paganism. In essence, the saying “Cats have nine lives” is a product of the spread of the aforementioned beliefs over time and across multiple cultures.

a kitten playing with a toy on the floor
a kitten playing with a toy on the floor

Do Cats Have Nine Lives, or Seven, or Six?

Although the notion of “nine lives” is predominant in Western cultures, it is interesting to note that different cultures assign different numbers of lives to cats. For example, some Spanish-speaking countries believe that cats have seven lives, while some parts of Turkey think cats have only six lives. Regardless of the attributed number of lives, it is necessary to note that cats do not have multiple lives.

Can Cats Cheat Death?

Indeed, cats are well-known for their keen senses, remarkable survival skills and an other-worldly ability to escape dangerous situations. The myth of cats having nine lives is a reflection of their ability to seemingly escape accidents miraculously. Sadly, there is no scientific evidence to back up the myth of cats having nine lives. Your cat has just one life; therefore, it is important that you shower it with the same love, care, and attention you would give to any other pet.


The feline mythology of cats having nine lives is very charming and whimsical; also, it is a product of centuries of cultural beliefs, traditions, and the exceptional capabilities of cats to survive challenges. However, as enchanting and fantastical as this myth is, it is crucial to remember reality: our feline friends are just like us, and they have only one precious life to live. It is our responsibility as their parents to ensure that the only life they have is filled with endless love and care.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Do cats have 9 lives in real life?

No, cats do not have nine lives in real life. 

Do cats have 9 lives or 7?

Cats neither have nine nor seven lives. Just like any other living creature, they only have one.

Why do they say cats have 9 lives?

The saying about cats having nine lives was propagated by beliefs of different cultures and the exceptional survival ability of cats. 

Why do people say cats have 9 lives?

The saying that "cats have 9 lives" is a figurative expression based on their agility, survivability, and ability to escape dangerous situations.