St. Gertrude, Patron Saint of Cats and Cat Lovers

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Talk to St. Gertrude if you’re having problems with your cats.

PicMonkey CollageDear Einstein,

My humans tell me that St. Patrick’s Day is a big celebration because some guy chased the snakes out of Ireland. That’s nothing. Thanks to me, there’s not a snake or a lizard or rat in my neighborhood. They don’t dare come out. We need a cat saint day. Instead of drinking green beer, kitties can hold catnip parties in my honor. It can be the day of

St. Fluffy

Greatest respect to Fluffy, hunter among hunters.

While I’m all for having a special cat saint, becoming a saint is a lengthy process that requires a lot of paperwork. Being an energy efficient creature, I bet you’re not interested in reinventing the hamster wheel. Besides, there’s already a two-legged saint for we kitties and cat-lovers, St. Gertrude of Nivelles.

Her special day happens to be on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. She’s the patron saint of gardeners, travelers, widows, recently deceased people, the sick, the poor and the mentally ill. People call upon Gertrude for protection from mice and rats, fever, insanity and mental illness.

When humans paint pictures of St. Gertrude, she’s usually holding a staff with a mouse on it. Maybe that was her way of always having snack food around. A lot of icons show her holding one our feline brothers.

gertrudeSt. Gertrude, who was born in 626 A.D. in Landen, Belgium, was never known to be a crazy cat lady, but her writings confirm that, as the abbess at the Benedictine Monastery at Nivelles, she kept kitties to control the four-legged rodent population.

Don’t most Mickeys have four legs, you ask? Not in Gertrude’s book. She looked at lost human souls as mice, and made it her mission to pray for them to get them out of Purgatory.

One the other paw, bread baked in her ovens and made with the water from her special well was said to repel mice and rats. Other contemporary accounts said she prayed for the mice to go away and they did. So Gertrude was known for her association with mice, although she wasn’t a fan of them overrunning her place. And cats and mice go together like saints and Heaven. So she became the patroness of cats and cat lovers.

Humans also call upon Gertrude for safe travel. One legend said a large sea monster threatened to capsize some pilgrims’ ship. When they called upon St. Gertrude for protection, the creature fled. So next time you end up in the carrier on the way to the vet’s office, you can meow to Gertrude for safe passage. (In the sense of full disclosure, she’s never been much help once I actually arrive at the clinic.)

Her patronage of gardeners and herbalists would also extend to growers of catnip and catmint. Nothing makes a kitty happier than to dig in freshly tilled soil, so, in the spirit of sharing the labor, we kitties honor St. Gertrude by fertilizing the neighbor’s flower bed.

Gertrude of Nivelles is also the patron of the insane and people who are unhinged, so she’s the perfect intercessor for our brothers and sister who are stuck in hoarder homes, and a protector of merely eccentric crazy cat ladies (and dudes.)

Next time your human pulls out the carrier, and you cry out in protest, make it count by yelling for St. Gertrude. She might be able to postpone your trip with a well-placed sea monster on the hood of your humans’ car.

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