I hadn’t realized it, but cats really used to run everything. As with most cases of imperial power, they blew it.
According to an ancient Chinese legend, the gods originally gave cats dominion over creation. I don’t know if that was before or after Adam and Eve were tossed out of paradise. Cats were even given the power of speech so their commands would be understood by lesser beings (humans, I guess).
However, the cats were about as careless with their blessings as Adam and Eve were. They were too busy sleeping under the cherry trees and playing in the meadows to attend to their serious work.
The gods gave cats three chances to clean up their act. Each time they found cats sleeping and playing instead of keeping the world in order. Finally, the cats admitted that they didn’t really care about running the world, and suggested leaving it to humans to do. The power of speech was taken from cats and given to humans.
We all know how that turned out.
Apparently our ancient Greek friend Aristophanes used the excuse, “The cat did it,” in one of his comedies.