01 October 2010

Photo Hunt - letters



The theme for the week's Photo Hunt is letters. There is just one letter that springs to mind and that is the rough M that appears on the forehead of all tabby cats, something that they share with several of their bigger cousins. Above are Robyn and Boris

The origin of the M is the subject of religious legends

One legend tells about Mary and the tabby cat in the manger. It seems that the baby Jesus was cold and fussing, and Mary asked the manger animals to move in closer to warm him. The manger was simply too small to accomplish that, but a little tabby cat came in and nestled next to the baby, and cosseted Him with purring and warmth. Mary was so grateful, she bestowed her own initial, "M" on the cat's forehead.

An Islamic legend states that Mohammed, a cat lover once cut off a sleeve of a garment when he had to leave to attend prayer, rather than to disturb his cat, Muezza, who was sleeping upon the sleeve. It is said that the reason he loved cats so much is that one once saved his life when a snake crawled into his sleeve. (This may be a variation of the well-known Muezza story.) Legend also claims that Mohammed bestowed on cats the ability to always land on their feet. These stories assumes that the "M" symbolizes the enormous esteem which Mohammed felt for cats and that the sight of the "M" on a cat's forehead invokes memories of Mohammed.

Make of these what you will. As far as I am concerned the M tops off the most beautiful creature on this planet.

UPDATE: Sparkle has a far more plausible theory as to why tabbies have an M on their foreheads:

"Actually the truth behind the "M" is that it stands for Master, so that humans will always know who is boss"

Sparkle is quite right of course!

32 comments:

And Miles To Go... said...

great take on "letters" Have a wonderful weekend.

James Higham said...

Aw, you should have sent those photos. :)

jams o donnell said...

Thanks Bridget

James I would have needed a time machine. I only took them a couple of hours ago!

Carver said...

Great take on the theme. Beautiful shots of your beautiful cats with M on the forehead. Very interesting historical information too.

Sue St Clair said...

I had not heard of either of those legends before, but our own Queen Mary has this same "M" :)

Beautiful cats :) Happy weekend Jams!

Pagan Sphinx said...

Great post, Jams. You wanna know somethin'? I didn't know that tabby cats had that rough M on their foreheads. You've increased my tabby intelligence. :-)

Boris and Robin are really cool kitties.

Annie said...

Wow, here I am, a big-time cat lover, and I've never heard those legends! Thanks for sharing those. Agree completely, they are the most beautiful creatures. Have a great weekend.

ewok1993 said...

that is a wonderful legend. i am a cat mommy so i'm really loving this post of yours.

Colin Campbell said...

Learn something new every day. Interesting.

susan said...

They are very lovely and the 'M' story was new to me too.

YTSL said...

I never knew about tabby cats and the letter "M". Thanks for pointing it out, jams -- and the religious stories are icing on the cake (or should I say jam on the bread? ;b). :)

EastCoastLife said...

Robyn and Boris are such good looking cats. I'm amazed at the 'M' story.

archiearchive said...

I hadn't heard those legends before. Thank you for sharing.

Life Ramblings said...

those are adorable cats. thanks for the enlightenment on the letter M.

Liz said...

I never would have noticed the M if not for your post. Great take on the theme.

Have a great weekend.

Liz @ MLC

bookmouse said...

Gosh, I had never heard those legends before - yet again I've learned something from your blog - thanks! Your cats are beautiful. I am having cat envy! (I don't have one).

healingmagichands said...

I had never heard those legends. Interesting that people have felt the need to explain the marking on tabby! What I think is interesting is that you can often see that faint "m" even in the fur patterns of cats that are not tabbies. My all black cat Mike had darker hairs marking out that letter on his forehead.

Very cool take on the theme today.

Sparkle said...

Actually the truth behind the "M" is that it stands for Master, so that humans will always know who is boss.

jams o donnell said...

Thanks everyone. Glad you found it interesting!

Sparkle you are quite right!

upto6only said...

wow i can see the letter M. great take. love your shot of the cat too :)

happy weekend

Greyscale Territory said...

I've had a few cats and remember vaguely thinking there was a distinct shape on the forehead of tabbies, but I had no idea about the letter M legend associated with Mary! Enjoyed this post!

Alice Audrey said...

I like Sparkle's version - simple and to the point.

chaoticallyme said...

That's fascinating! Our poor kitty was on his way out the back door when I read your take on this week's theme and yanked him back inside to check out his "M". It's there! A very cute "M" if I do say so myself ;)

CherryPie said...

That is a great idea for the theme :-)

Liz said...

That's interesting. I hadn't noticed the M but I don't often see genuine tabby cats.

Marites said...

I've been wondering about those M's too and I didn't know that it some sort of legend. Thanks for the info..your cats are lovely and cute!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

How interesting. I didn't know any of that.

Anneke (Mudhooks) said...

Interesting! I have a tabby and never heard of this.

Mine is late this week...

Ann said...

My husband says I have a M on my head especially when I am angry. May be I am an incarnation of Cleopatra's cat. I taught my students about Ancient Egypt and we learned the importance of the cats.

I have not hear about your stories, but this is true.

the Sarawak cats are very good mousers. Mainly because we don't feed them at night. So good are our cats that about twenty years ago, the Middle East Sultans found their cats have becoem fat and lazy, and they had mice and rat infestation.

They imported a lot of Sarawak Cats. This is true.

The secret: Don't feed them at night, they will be hungry and look for mice and rats.

azahar said...

MMMarvelous!

JDeQ said...

Interesting - I had no idea about the M - checked on Dante and sure wnough, 'tis there. I suspect he would agree that it stands for Master!

Enjoy the weekend.

jams o donnell said...

Thanks everyone