The Felidae, or cat tribe, is a large family of which the domestic cat is only one branch.
Brehm’s Thierleben mentions lions, tigers, pumas, leopards, panthers, snow leopards, jaguars, and yet more as members of the true cat family.
It may be wondered why I use an old-fashioned book like Brehm’s when there are many more up-to-date books on the
No doubt if we were going to study animals purely from the biological or anatomical side, the newer books would be far better, for there would be a lot of new and valuable discoveries, but our purpose is to discover what animals mean to us psychologically, how they affect us, how we are to estimate a dog, cat, or horse when we meet them in dreams or active imagination and for this purpose Brehm remains the textbook par excellence, for he has no modern one-sided attitude but
portrays a great deal of what man projects onto animals and that is just what we need to know.
One could say that he describes animals not in modern scientific concepts, but in almost anthropomorphic terms.
He says, for instance, that certain animals are tricky, fierce, ill-tempered, humorous, or the reverse, and so on, which is, of course, an application of human terms onto an animal that is really simply itself.
A tiger is fierce or cruel when we look at it from our point of view, but from its own, it is simply obeying the law of self-preservation.
When it sees a weaker animal, it sees a providential meal and to fail to add this tidbit to its larder would be to betray the law of self-preservation.
It knows nothing of chivalry, protecting the weak and all that, so what meaning could the words fierce or cruel have from its point of view?
But these words convey something of its nature to us, for they describe how we experience a tiger.
We do not even pretend in these lectures to study animals just as they are.
Therefore, the animal’s anatomy and so on are only of secondary importance to us.
These must, of course, be realized correctly; any illusions or delusions would be fatal.
For instance, it matters in a dream whether an animal belongs to a warm- or cold-blooded species, whether it has a cerebrospinal system, what its biological functioning is, and so on; but it is much more important for us to realize the
impressions each animal makes on man.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the domestic cat is mainly descended from the Egyptian cat where North African wild cats were domesticated from very ancient days; according to Brehm, already about 2000 b.c.
A late nineteenth-century naturalist, Di:. Nehring of Berlin, came to the conclusion that our domestic cat has a dual origin: Egyptian and Southeast Asian, i.e., from a Chinese, originally wild, cat which was domesticated.
Most authorities, including Brehm, seem to take Egypt as their most likely origin and admit to possible crossing with
European wild cats, but mainly on account of the color of the pads of the paws.
It seems to be most unlikely that our cats, with the possible exception of those with short, bushy tails, descend in any marked degree from tamed European wild cats.
Therefore, for the most part, they are not indigenous to our soil.
This Egyptian origin applies to the shorthaired breeds, especially the common tabby.
Long-haired Persian or Angora cats, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, come from the “manul” cat of the deserts of central Asia.
Siamese cats do not seem certainly to originate in Siam. ~Barbara Hannah, Cats Dogs and Horses Lectures, Page 68-78