Cats in Celtic Mythology: The King of Cats & Other Stories

If you follow Celtic Knotworks on social media, you know we’re proudly owned by Raven – the lovely black cat who shares our home and studio. Cats show up all over the place in Celtic and Norse myth, legend, and lore. Here are some of our favorite stories:

Freya’s Cat-Drawn Chariot

Normally chariots are drawn by horses, but Freya, Norse goddess of beauty and love, did things her own way. She had her two cats Biegel and Trjegul transporting her around. These cats were a gift to her from Thor – he’d found them as kittens, struggling to stay alive without their mother. Legend says she had the cats bring her to the funeral of her son Baldur. Loki had tricked Freya into revealing Baldur’s only vulnerability, to mistletoe. Cats are also highly vulnerable to mistletoe, so keep this festive holiday green away from the kitty!

Celtic Knot Works Jewelry Celtic Spirals Cat Pendant
Celtic Knot Works Jewelry Celtic Spirals Cat Pendant

Kitty Vs King Arthur: What’s Going on in Britain?

Arthurian legend and lore contains a number of confusing stories about cats. In Wales, they have stories about the Cath Palug, a monstrous beast that killed 180 warriors before King Arthur was able to defeat it. The key to victory against this terrifying cat was Arthur’s decision to polish his shield like a mirror. When the Cath Palug saw his reflection, he battled that instead of the king. 

Don’t feel too bad for kitty. There are plenty of tales throughout Great Britain and France detailing times the Cath Palug – which sometimes had other names, and occasionally fish-like features as well – defeated and devoured King Arthur. 

The King of Cats is Dead: Long Live the King of Cats

Another British tale tells of the King of Cats. The King of Cats is a furry black cat with a white spot on his chest. One day, a man comes home to tell his wife and cat (Old Tom) that he’d seen nine such cats walking in a procession, carrying a casket marked with a golden crown. One of the cats told him to tell Old Tom that Old Tim had passed. At this, Old Tom, who’d never spoken a word in his life, sat straight up, said, “What?! Then I’m the King of Cats now!” He ran out of the house and was never seen again. 

Which Celtic Cat Story is Your Favorite?

We’re out of time, but have only begun to scratch the surface of Celtic Cat Stories. What legends would you like us to tell? Share your thoughts in the comments below or hit us up on social media!

Similar Posts