Here Kitty, Kitty: Cat Got Your…Foot?

There’s a new survey out about cats and dogs and the people who like them (or don’t like them). Here’s the gist: 74% of people like dogs a lot, while just under half of the people feel the same way about cats.

As if cat people would fill out some stupid survey.

I like both of them…although I prefer them to be outside, where God intended all animals to be. I grew up on a farm, after all, with more animals than you can imagine (that includes one or two of the hired men, but that is an entirely different story).

But even with that tough-girl-farming background I had an ick moment at the Villa Zorayda in St. Augustine recently (, as I found myself alone in a room with their famous “Sacred Cat Rug” (well, I was mostly alone…but we’ll get to that later).

The Sacred Cat Rug is 2400 years old. That’s not a typo. And that’s old, even for someone who looks for old things and places as a matter of course.

You know if you’re looking at something man-made that old, you’re probably talking ancient Egypt. Yup. According to the Villa Zorayda’s literature, the rug was “taken from a pyramid in Egypt.” I’m assuming that means “stolen by the light of a gas lamp by some guy in a pith hat”.

Like most items stolen from pyramids, this one has a curse. The Zorayda doesn’t say what the curse promises will happen, but it only applies to people who walk on the rug. And since the rug is now hanging on a wall in the Villa, behind protective plexiglass, it doesn’t seem too likely that will happen, so I guess it doesn’t matter what horrible fortunes the curse portends (if you don’t know what portends means, insert the word “pretends”).

Here’s the ick part: not only does the rug have a bold and graphic cat motif, but it’s made of cat hair, too.

Those little minxes just give and give and give, don’t they?

Whoever “took” the rug from the pyramid, “took” a little something else too: a mummy (presumably 2400 years old as well). While they took the whole thing (wrapped up in the rug), they only kept the foot of the mummy. It wasn’t any ancient fetish, but rather because the foot was somehow embedded with gems–a big ruby in one of the toes, and another milky looking rock in the ankle. I’m not sure how the gems were embedded…and honestly, I don’t want to know. What happened in ancient Egypt stays in ancient Egypt, I say, especially if it has to do with embalming and pulling someone’s brain out through their nose (that’s everything I remember about mummies from school).

Anyway. The foot was in the room, too.

I’m not sure that the foot is cursed, but I know that I cursed when I saw it.