Cats had a great impact upon the symbolism of great cultures, due to their appearance, their independency, their playful behavior or fight abilities. Cats have been seen from different points of view by different cultures.
The ancient Egyptians worshiped cats as gods, as they believed that their soul will inhabit cats after death and they had a special symbolism in their culture related to cats. They gave cat a human-like form, worshiping it as Bastet, the cat goddess.
In medieval Europe, cats were regarded as keeping a malefic seed, being witches' companions and devil's tool. The Church commanded that all black cats ought to be killed and therefore, the evil seed on earth be eliminated. Cat's nocturnal behavior, characterized by the reflection of light from its retina in the dark and its amazing speed also this conception.
Wildcats also have symbolic attributes in various cultures on the globe. For example the indigenous South American people thought that the jaguar was a sacred beast and believed that its eyes were windows into the spirit world, also having the ability to reflect the future.
Some cultures belief that black cats bring good luck, others believe that they bring misfortune. In some cultural areas, cat representations are used as talismans or mascots. For example, in Japan, Maneki-neko, the “beckoning cat”, has a good symbol of attracting good fortune.
Cat's qualities put it into limelight in some cultural traditions, symbolizing liberty, as cats are very independent, cleanliness, courage, stealth, strength and so on. The strong maternal instinct made cat become the symbol of fertility and maternity, while white cats depict purity.