The Cait Sith of Scotland is a large black cat with dark green eyes, long ears and a white spot on her chest. If a person encountered the Cait Sith, they would hear a prophecy from Her. As a being from the Otherworld, She watches humans and reports on what She sees. In addition, the Cait Sith guards the secrets of the Otherworld.
People should be wary of the Cait Sith for a number of reasons. First and foremost, She steals people’s souls from their bodies. In Scotland when a person died, the family would guard the body in a Feille Fadalach (late wake). The first thing, they did was to douse all the fires. Afterwards, they lit a fire far away from the body to entice the Cait Sith to its warmth. Catnip was also spread around there as well. To distract the Cait Sith, people played music, held wrestling matches, and told riddles.
On Samhain (Halloween), the Cait Sith goes from house to house looking for milk to drink. If She found a full saucer, the Cait Sith blesses the family. Otherwise the Cait Sith curses their luck and their milk cows.
The idea that a cat has nine lives comes from stories about the Cait Sith. A witch could transform into a Cait Sith eight times. On the ninth time, they would remain in cat form forever.
Various people have suggested that the Cait Sith is the Kellas cat. This hybrid animal is the result of a mating between the Scottish wildcat and a domestic cat. The Kellas cat is pure black with a white a spot on his chest. This large cat also has powerful hind legs. The Kellas cat was once believed to be a hoax, until a specimen was shot and killed in 1984. (This animal is named for Kellas, Moray, where they was first seen.)
The Cait Sith helps people to understand “nonduality.” Is She the Kellas cat or is the Kellas cat, the Cait Sith? They are neither and both, going beyond human constructs. The Cait Sith and the Kellas Cat are from this world and the Otherworld. At liminal places, the two worlds bleed into each other, making them nondual. This can be one way to grasp nonduality.
Nonduality has been defined as “the philosophical, spiritual, and scientific understanding of non-separation and fundamental intrinsic oneness.” To grasp what nonduality is has been elusive. Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Neo-Platonism all have their own understandings of this concept.