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Divinities and devils, worshipped and persecuted, fond companions and savage individualists. Mark Tully investigates mankind's symbiotic relationship with the cat.

Our relationship with the cat is a fascinating and contradictory one. Ancient cultures revered and sometimes worshipped them. Cats have at times been companions to holy men in many of the great faiths and exterminated at others. They are loyal friends and implacable enemies.

Mark Tully asks what it is that makes our relationship with one of our oldest pets so contradictory. He talks to art historian and journalist Caroline Bugler about the intriguing ways cats have been depicted in sacred art and draws on music by Rossini, Scarlatti and Peggy Lee and the writings of Doris Lessing, P.G. Wodehouse and Diodorus of Sicily.

Producer: Frank Stirling
A Unique production for BBC Radio 4.

30 minutes

Music Played

  • Robert Smith

    Robert Smith - The Lovecats

    Performer: The Cure

  • Peggy Lee & Sonny Burke

    The Siamese Cat Song

    Performer: Peggy Lee

    • Peggy Lee: Greatest Hits.
    • Not Now Music.
    • B0030DLLVQ.
  • Benjamin Britten

    For I will consider my cat Jeffrey

    Performer: Carys Lane (soprano solo)

    • Britten: Choral Edition.
    • Chandos Records Ltd..
    • Chan 9511.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Toccata & Fugue

    Performer: Gustav Leonhardt

    • Great Organ Works: Gustav Leonhardt – J. S Bach.
    • SEON - Sony Classical.
    • SB2K 63185.
  • Gioachino Rossini

    Comic duet for two cats – Duetto buffo di due gatti

    Performer: Felicity Lott (soprano), Ann Murray (mezzo-soprano), Graham Johnson (piano)

    • On Wings of Song.
    • EMI Records Ltd - EMI Classics.
    • CDC 7 54411 2.
  • Gustav Mahler

    Symphony No. 2 in C minor, "Resurrection": V. Finale: Im Tempo des Scherzos

    Performer: Magdalena Hajossyova, Berlin State Opera Chorus, Berlin Staatskapelle, Otmar Suitner, Uta Priew

    • Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection".
    • Berlin Classics.
    • B00514XQVK.