In her fascinating exploration of feline history, Georgie Anne Geyer explores the connections between the royal and sacred felines of ancient civilizations and the beloved domestic cats of today. Chasing an irresistible mystery across the globe, Geyer conducts exhaustive research into the little-known puzzle of how cats came to occupy their unique position in the lives of humans. Treated with the tenacity, resourcefulness, and narrative instinct of a seasoned foreign correspondent, the investigation yields unexpected answers and poses tantalizing new questions.
It was Geyer's curiosity about her own cats that inspired her to study the history of human-feline relations and especially the exalted status of cats among the ancients as royal or sacred beings. In Egypt, Geyer learned of the cat-goddess Bastet and of the cat's role in the transmigration of souls. In Myanmar she saw Leonardo DiCaprio, Ricky Martin, and the other incongruously named cats of the Nga Phe Kyaung monastery, trained by the monks to jump through hoops. She even met a family who dutifully guards the heritage of the Japanese Bobtail, cultivating the line in—of all places—rural Virginia.
Richly illustrated with photographs of Geyer's journeys and historical cat images, When Cats Reigned Like Kings describes forty-one recognized modern cat breeds plus other popular cats. Every cat lover can, thus, trace his or her cat to these breeds and their many relatives. The result is a remarkable book, bound to delight and amaze cat fanciers and adventure seekers.