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On August 17, Cat Nights Begin, harking back to a rather obscure Irish legend concerning witches; this bit of folklore also led to the idea that a cat has nine lives.

The term Cat Nights refers to a rather obscure old Irish legend concerning witches and the belief that a witch could turn herself into a cat eight times, but on the ninth time (August 17), she couldn’t regain her human form, thus remaining a cat forever.

This bit of folklore also gives us the saying, “A cat has nine lives.”

Because August is a yowly time for cats, this may have prompted the speculation about witches on the prowl in the first place.

Here’s a poem in honor of Cat Nights:

Cat Nights

By old Irish lore
on the 17th of August
more cats are among us
than ever before.

It is said that witches
can turn into a cat.
But no more than eight switches
as a matter of fact.

On the ninth switch
they cannot regain
their life as a witch.
A cat they must remain.

So if in mid August
you should hear the cats yowl
amongst sounds of the locust
when cats are on the prowl

Then you will know
as lore was told over time
that cats will show
lives as many as nine.

By V. Neumann

Found at: The Old Farmer’s Almanac

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