Cat Sìth

Region of origin: Scottish Highlands

A fairy creature taking the form of a large black cat with a white patch on its chest. They were said to steal the souls of mortals who had recently died before they could be properly interred and sent on to the afterlife, resulting in people employing methods of discouragement and distraction, such as catnip, riddles and music to dance to, to keep them from the body before the funeral. During Samhain, saucers of milk would be left on the doorstep for cat sìth, and in return they would bless the house, cursing homes and livestock of those who neglected an offering. An alternative telling, some folklore claimed the cat sìth weren’t fairies but witches that had assumed an animal form; they would be able to do so eight times before being trapped in the cat’s form on the ninth; this possibly serving as the origin to the belief that cats had nine lives.