American syndicated columnist George Anne Geyer has published a new book, When Cats Reigned Like Kings: On the Trail of the Sacred Cats. For her newspaper columns, Ms. Geyer typically writes about some of the most intractable political issues of the day and interviews well-known heads of state. But speaking on VOA’s News Now’s Press Conference USA, she said there is definitely a connection between politics and cats.
Having covered the wars in Vietnam, El Salvador, Iran and Iraq, and Lebanon, Georgie Anne Geyer said that she became a “little tired of humans.” While working abroad, she confessed that she became fascinated with how the early cultures – ancient Egypt, Siam [now Thailand], Japan, Burma, and Turkey – worshipped the cat. Ms. Geyer said her interest was further heightened when in 1975 she found an “adorable little cat” on the streets of Chicago, which looked just like the Egyptian cat gods and which she took home and gave the royal Egyptian name of “Pasha.”
Georgie Anne Geyer said she believes so many cultures have considered cats to be sacred animals because their character is so nuanced. For example, ancient peoples interpreted the eyes of the cat, which glow in the dark, as something innately spiritual. And they believed that animals took part in the transmigration of souls, that cats would carry the soul of the departed person into the other world. According to Georgie Anne Geyer, ancient peoples from different cultures and races saw cats in similar ways. And although many people think of cats as independent, they in fact can become very loving and dependent on their owners. When Cats Reigned Like Kings: On the Trail of the Sacred Cats, by Georgie Anne Geyer was published in 2004 by Andrews McMeel Publishing.
For full audio of the program Press Conference USA click here.