Cats in Folklore and Art

There is something magical about cats. Perhaps that's why they are the most popular pet on the planet and feature prominently in the folklore, myths and artwork of so many cultures throughout time. Believed by many to have special powers, and often the companions of royalty or witches, they are mysterious creatures and hold a special place in our hearts. I've included below some links for anyone interested in exploring more about cats in folklore and art.

'Four Cats in Poses' - Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Cats in Folklore and Mythology

Cats in Folklore: Not Just a Witch's Familiar - Icy Sedgewick
Cat Folklore and Legends from Around the World
14 Legends About Cats From Around the World
Cats and World Mythology
Cat Magic, Legends, and Folklore Cats
Black Cats
Beware of the Cat: Tales of the Wicked Japanese Bakeneko and Nekomata – Part 1
Beware of Cat: Tales of the Wicked Japanese Bakeneko and Nekomata – Part Two
Cats Throughout History: Tales of Good, Bad and Just Plain Kooky Feline Legends
Meet the “King of Cats” From Celtic Folklore
Cats in Japanese Culture and History
Ancient Egyptians Weren’t the Only Ones Who Worshipped Cat Gods & Goddesses
Il Gatto Mammone: The Italian Legend of the Cat King - Folklore Thursday
Feline Folklore: Into the Woods, for our feline friends - Terri Windling
Mis-purrs-ecptions: Cat Folklore
Cats in Celtic Folklore: The Cat Sidhe
Cats in Folklore and Relgion
The Cat in Folklore - book chapter

Child With Cat, Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Child With Cat - Pierre Auguste Renoir

Cat Superstitions

Why are people so superstitious about cats?
Black Cat Folklore: Beliefs, Superstitions, and Witches
Folklore, Superstitions and Proverbs
Cats and Weather - The Folklore

Arthur Rackham, "By day she made herself into a cat," 1920
By Day She Made Herself Into a Cat - Arthur Rackman

Books about Cats

Kaibyo: The Supernatural Cats of Japan - Zac Davisson
The Mysterious World of Cats - Herbie Brennan
The Secret Lore of the Cat - Fred Gettings


The Guest Cat - Takashi Hiraide
A Cat, A Man and Two Women - Junichiro Tanazaki
The Travelling Cat Chronicles - Hiro Arikawa

'Black Cat and Tomato Plant' - Takahashi Hiroaki

Cats in Art

The Great Cat (fantastic website about cats in history and the arts)
Cats in Art: How Our Feline Friends Have Inspired Artists for Centuries
Obsessed with Cats: The Ukiyo-e Prints of Utagawa Kuniyoshi
Stroke of genius: why do artists love cats? - The Guardian
Cats in Japanese Art - Printed, Painted and Sculpted Felines - Tofugu
Bakeneko – The Changing Cat
We Talk to the Curator of the Japan Society's "Life of Cats" Art Exhibit in New York City
6 Fascinating Facts About Cats in Japanese Art
Top 10 Cats Pictured In Famous Art
10 Best Cat Paintings - Artnet
Goddess, Hunter, Consort, Thief
Japanese Ukiyo-e Prints with Cats (Search via

Want more cats? I've also got a couple of catty Pinterest boards you may like to explore.