Saint Gertrude, patron of the cats
St. Patrick's Day, March 17, is the day on which the first patron of cats, Gertrude the Saint, is celebrated throughout the world.
Gertrude of Nivelles lived between 621 and 659 AD in Belgium. She is the patron saint of gardeners, hikers, widows, newly deceased, sick, poor, mentally ill, and travelers looking for a place to stay. Worshipers pray for Gertrude for protection against mice and rats, fever, insanity and mental illness. Gertrude was known for her prayers for the lost souls in Hell, symbolized by medieval icons as rats, so she is surrounded by rodents in the many of her paintings and sculptures.
Faithful Catholics and cat lovers made the conceptual leap from Gertrude and the rodents to cats more than 1,300 years after her death in the 1980s. The first publication between Gertrude and Cats was probably a 1981 catalog called Metropolitan Cats published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Some experts explain the spread of the idea by linking Gertrude as a protector against the rodents, and many people think that she is a cat and therefore the ideal patron of their favorite pet and today you can find many symbols and paintings of her - always accompanied by a cat. Since then, the idea that Gertrude is the patron of cats and cat owners has spread throughout the world.
Although the Catholic Church has never officially recognized her as the guardian saint of cats, this does not prevent cat lovers around the world from admiring her and believing in her with all their hearts.