by Finn Frode
Milly - our old Norwegian Forest Cat
As you'll know most tabby cats carry a distinctive "M" marking in their foreheads. In Lorraine Chittock's book 'Cairo Cats - Egypt's Enduring Legacy' I found this story of how it got there:
"A cat once killed a snake that was attacking the Prophet. Grateful, Muhammad stroked her back - hence cats never fall on their back. He also put his noble hand on her forehead and that is why every cat has four dark lines on her forehead." (tradition of the Prophet quoted by Jalaluddin Rumi)
Just a legend of course, but a nice one that explains why the cat (contrary to the dog) is held in so high regard by Islam. Also read Michaels article: 'Islam faith and cats' here on the site.
Jalaluddin Rumi was a 13th-century Persian poet, theologian and mystic, who lived most of his life in the Anatolian city of Konya. I'm pretty sure he had a cat - and it must have been one of the ancestors of todays Turkish breeds.