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The Cat Sìth (Scottish Gaelic: [kʰaht̪ ˈʃiː]) or Cat Sidhe (Irish: [kat̪ˠ ˈʃiː], Cat Sí in new orthography) is a fairy creature from Celtic mythology, said to resemble a large black cat with a white spot on its breast. Legend has it that the spectral cat haunts the Scottish Highlands. The legends surrounding this creature are more common in Scottish folklore, but a few occur in Irish. Some common folklore suggested that the Cat Sìth was not a fairy, but a witch that could transform into a cat nine times.
As proposed by British cryptozoologist, Karl Shuker, in his book Mystery Cats of the World (1989), it is possible that the legends of the Cat Sìth were inspired by Kellas cats, which are probably a distinctive hybrid between Scottish wildcats and domestic cats only found in Scotland (the Scottish wildcat is a subspecies of the European wildcat, which is absent from elsewhere in the British Isles).Typical Kellas cats resemble large black wildcats, but with some peculiar features closer to domestic cats, and have probably been present in Scotland for centuries, maybe even some two millennia or more. Others believe that the Cat Sìth was inspired by the Scottish wildcat itself.
Cats have been associated with deities, witches and magick for centuries. Here are some snippets of cat-related folklore.
"The White Cat" by Anne and Janet Grahame Johnstone