Cats of Ephesus

The ancient Greek city of Ephesus, (Efes) in Turkey is home to a bevy of well-fed felines, curled up on marble columns and sprawling in the sun. They have resided here since antiquity. In Islamic tradition cats are admired for their cleanliness and throughout modern day Turkey are treated with kindness, even venerated. The medieval Egyptian zoologist Al- Damiri (1344-1405) wrote that the first cat was created when God caused a lion to sneeze, after animals on Noah’s ark complained of mice. The cats usefulness in ridding cities of rats and mice not only assisted in protecting the granaries and library scrolls from being eaten but also the spread of disease by vermin. Their venerable status is therefore nothing to be sneezed at!

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