Why aren’t cats mentioned in the bible?

Let’s admit it, we don’t know why cats aren’t mentioned in the bible (actually the cat – meaning domestic cat – is mentioned once in the bible but there is confusion about it). It’s probably because men wrote the bible. If women had written it there would have been more cats in it…..

Why no domestic cats in the bible!?
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Why no domestic cats in the bible!? Image: MikeB

And we should take note that we are referring to domestic cats because the lion is mentioned in the bible. For instance: Proverbs 30:30: ‘The lion, which is mightiest among beasts and does not turn back before any’. There are many other referrals to the lion in the bible.

Of course, domestic cats were very much in existence at the time of Jesus Christ. They would have been mainly community cats (shared ‘ownership’) but at the time of Christ the wild cat had been domesticated for about 7,500 years. There would have been domestic cats too during the times referred to in the Old Testament (8th century BC to 1st century BC) although at that time they would have been less common.

There is lots of speculation on the internet as to why cats aren’t mentioned in the bible and some of them are amusing viz ‘cats have nine lives, God has three’ or ‘God is not a cat person’ which means I have to mention that the Prophet Muhammad was a cat person.

Cat cartoon featuring Noah's Ark

The cat (believed to be referring to the domestic cat) is mentioned once apparently in the bible namely Bar., vi, 21 (Book of Baruch). It is a book in the bible according to some Christian traditions. There seems to be some confusion over the reference to the cat in this book, however. We don’t know the word for ‘cat’ as used by the Jews at that time.

Some guys on Reddit.com discuss this and say that there is no Hebrew version of the word ‘cat’. It seems that the word for cat was unknown to the Jews at that time.

Frankly it is highly confusing. The word for cat might have been lost in translation! However, the common-sense reason why domestic cats are not mentioned in the bible is because they were not considered relevant to the bible’s content by the authors at that time. There is no obligation to refer to cats in the bible. A lot of subjects are omitted from this book.

One proposed reason is that there was a backlash against the Ancient Egyptians worship of the cat god (Bastet). That would have been uncomfortable for the Jews at the time.

It is interesting that in this regard the bible is in stark contrast to the Hadiths of the Koran which mention the Prophet’s love of domestic cats. The Prophet was an ailurophile but sadly this has not been translated to better animal welfare in Muslim countries; quite the opposite in fact.

Google does not help. It places one website high in search results (constative.com). This site says that cats are not mentioned in the bible because they caused the Black Death in Europe! The Black Death occurred in the 14th century, thousands of years after the bible was written. Thanks, Google, for your stupid search engine.

P.S. The dog is mentioned over 40 times in the bible but nearly always in a derogatory and contemptuous manner.

I have a page on cats in the bible:

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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9 Responses

  1. M E King says:

    There is no direct mention of cats in the translated Bible. It is known that the Israelites distrusted everything associated with the Egyptians, who ruled over them. The fact that the Egyptians held cats in such high esteem encouraged the occupied population to despise them almost as much as they hated the occupiers, so this may be the reason why they are not mentioned in the Bible.

    Probably as good a reason as any that cats were not mentioned.

  2. M E King says:


    By no means definitive but at least based on on something.

    • Michael Broad says:

      But ME this linked page does not address the question.

      • M E King says:

        Because the bible is irrelevant to me the men who wrote the bible were not historians they were fanatics that demanded everyone cave to their ‘right’ way of thinking. The actual history of cats and mankind are much more interesting. The vast majority of species on the planet were not mentioned because these men lived on a very small patch of the earth. If they were so all knowing and guided by their sky fairy they would have addressed all the animals especially those that were wiped out by their masters mass homicide called the great flood.
        Interestingly they did mention man’s other companion the dog usually in very derogatory terms which is twisted by dog lovers to say that dogs are a gift from god. Modern canines are not a product of natural evolution but man’s creations. The common domestic cat is a product of it’s own natural selection and adaptation to living in co-existence with us.
        A work of fiction can contain many actual facts to make it a better story but it’s still fiction in the end and not a reliable source for information. So it’s failing to mention cats is irrelevant as a source of information Micheal. And I’m quite sure if they were mentioned cat haters would have found a way to twist the words so that cats were a source of evil in the world today.

        • Michael Broad says:

          I get it ME and I agree. The bible is full of holes. Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason picked holes in it. It was published in the late 18th century so it was brave work.

          “I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church. All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit…..”

          I endeavoured to answer the question in the title in a straight way without digressing and criticising the bible although it needs to be criticised.

          • M E King says:

            That is sort of hard to do. It appears the authors hated the Egyptians and therefore the cats they worshiped.
            There was also little to no animal welfare at the time. Animals worked or were eaten for food and used for clothing.
            Animals seem , to me at least to be mentioned when trying to define a good or bad human proclivity.
            I’m not trying to be nasty or offend simply offer my explanation of why cats aren’t in the bible.
            Thomas Paine got it right.

  3. M E King says:

    Fact based knowledge is not found in fairy tales created my man.

  4. Albert Schepis says:

    Very interesting stuff!

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