About Cats, People and their Relationship


The cat, the best friend of many, is a beloved, admired, fascinating, charming, elusive, scary and mysterious creature. The image of the cat has accompanied humans over thousands of years; they have attributed powers and deep meanings to them. Cats’ independent and obstinate nature, its beauty, flexibility and the fact that they are small predators, made them into the most mysterious and enigmatic friends of humans. Some people hate them, some love them, but no one remains indifferent to them.
The first exhibit of its kind – Cats – which presents the development of the relationship between cats and humans, from their first appearance in ancient Egypt until today, deals with these images and their artistic, social and cultural meaning through a large selection of items from diverse fields.
Next to hundreds of “cat” items, you will find motifs and references to cats in literature , applied arts, folklore and popular beliefs. The Israeli cat is allotted a place of honor, from its first appearance in children’s songs in the Israeli moshavot until today.
The exhibit focuses on encounters between humans and cats on several levels, and is divided into nine parts, alluding to the nine lives of a cat.
The first part presents the sacred cat from several historical angles, as it is reflected in the iconography of Egypt, Greece and Rome.
The second part deals with cats in the Middle Ages in Europe, when it was considered a satanic creature who accompanied witches, constituting part of the fairytales about dark sorcery.
The third part deals with the physiology and physiognomy of cats, while stressing its unique characteristics, such as night vision or its ability to fall from high places without being injured.
The fourth part presents the image of the cat in mass culture – in comic books, animation films and illustrations.
The fifth part focuses on cats in Israel and in local culture through books, television programs, illustrations, records, songs, etc.
The sixth part presents different kinds of cat shows – caring and pampering cats to the extreme.
The seventh part – cats as a news item – and mainly the subject of street cats. The documentary Jungle – Tel Aviv’s Street Cats, was produced specially for the exhibit. It was produced by Danny Yitzhaki and Eyal Shirai, on the life of cats in the urban space.
The eight part presents cats in Israeli art, beginning with Nachum Gutman, Jan Rauchberger, Farid Abu-Shakra, Dorit Keidar, Avraham Eilat, Shai Yehezkeli, Adi Kaplan and Shachar Carmel.
The ninth part presents the cat as an object of admiration in contemporary culture through the collection of items related to cats such as figurines, clothing or household accessories. A special collection comprises items relating to Puss in Boots – pins, mementos, dolls, posters, etc.

Curator: Dana Tagar
Opens July 5, closes December 31, 2007