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This is the story my english teacher told me:

Baby Jesus was crying and crying in his crib. Mother Mary called each of God's animals into his little room to try and calm him down. Donkeys, camels, goats, dogs...none of them could stop him from crying. The last animal to try was the cat. The kitty crawled into his crib and lay down beside him and purred - and the baby stopped crying. So, to say thank you, Mary bent down and touched the cat on his forehead - and that's where the tabby cat got his "M".

tanyuh
 

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I've never heard that story before, interesting though! :)
The one I heard is about ancient Egypt. The Egyptians' grain stores were being ruined by rats and mice and soon they would have nothing to eat - if it weren't for the cats which hunted down the mice and saved the crop. In return for this, the Egyptians revered the cats, which were treated with the utmost respect. The High Priest stroked one cat's forehead, leaving the mark of the scarab (a type of beetle) which symbolised life. After that, all cats had the mark of the scarab on their forehead.
Interestingly, I've noticed that the M mark on Egyptian Mau cats is sometimes refered to as a scarab.
 

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Yet another story, this one from the Islamic world, recounts that Mohammed had a tabby called Muezza who once saved his masters life by slaying a snake that had crawled up Mohammed's sleeve. Later, when it was time to attend prayers the cat had fallen asleep upon the sleeve, so to avoid disturbing Muezza, Mohammed cut the sleeve from his garment.

From that day on all tabby cats were born with the 'M' marking on their forehead to remind all that see them that Mohammed loved cats, and that cats should always be respected.
 
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