The Egyptians were perhaps the first to immortalize the cat in paintings and statues, and many elevated the cat to godlike status. So how did the cat lose its status as a revered idol? During the Middle Ages, many believed cats to be witches in disguise or Satan's tool, and unfortunately, that myth continues to haunt cats to this day. In more recent times, portrayals like that of the sinister Siamese cats in Disney's "Lady and the Tramp" continue to perpetuate the idea that cats are mean or planning world domination.
Fortunately for cats, there are true feline enthusiasts who are crazy about this species. For proof, look no farther than a cat show. The first cat show took place in 1871 in London, and the United States soon followed, with the first official cat show taking place in New York City's Madison Square Garden in 1895 [source: The Cat Handbook]. Soon after, organizations like the Cat Fanciers Association were founded, and now more than 400 cat shows are held annually throughout the United States.
In recent years, trends in cat couture and kitschy kitty toys have grown tenfold. Would you buy a wig for your cat? Many cat lovers are willing to shell out big bucks for wigs, clothing and high-end kitty condos. In addition, cats have become Internet sensations thanks to Web sites like icanhascheezeburger.com, and viral videos like the Keyboard Cat. The "crazy cat lady" is no longer the poster child for introverts, and cat lovers from all walks of life, including men, are proud to call their felines loyal friends. In fact, the cat's quirky attitude and funny behaviors make it the perfect muse for an entire new generation of artists and enthusiasts, which is why it's so easy to understand how the cat came to be America's most popular pet.