Does anybody really
know if Black Cats
cause Bad Luck?
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Are Black Cats really Bad Luck charms?
Presented to you compliments of: Alfred and Little Cat B
In history the black cat has often been maligned as being a
bad omen and bad luck, when in fact a black cat is just a
black cat. They have no special ability to curse someone to
have a bad day, and in a lot of cultures the black cat is
actually good luck. It may be that the primary reason that
the black cat has been considered to be bad luck or an ill
omen is because the black cat has more chance of being
unseen by people until it is nearby, so frightening them.
A cat that is uniformly black in color is simply a felid.
There is no particular breed of common house cat that is
always black, the coat color of a black cat is a result of
pigmentation of the fur and can show up in any breed and any
gender, perhaps because the black color does have the one
obvious benefit of allowing the cat to blend into the
darkness so that they can more easily hunt out rodents.
But black cats throughout history have been associated with
the supernatural, evil and witchcraft. In Babylonian and
Hebrew folklore cats are compared to serpents coiled on your
hearth. In Egypt was worshipped as a god, and killing one
was punishable by death. When the family cat died in Egypt
the cat was mummified and mourned by the family. Romans
introduced the cat to Europe and also considered them to be
In the folklore of most European countries (except Ireland
and Great Britain), a black cat crossing your path is
considered to be an omen of bad luck. At one time the
Catholic Church considered cats to be witches' familiars or
transformed witches, always up to no good.
During the Middle Ages there was a flurry of
and cats were hung from trees and immediately killed on
sight because they were suspected of being witches or
witches' familiars. This ultimately was a primary cause of
the wide spread of the Black Death or Plague (Bubonic
Plague) in Europe because the rodent population boomed due
to the natural predators of the rodents having been killed.
In Ireland some believe that if a black cat crosses your
path in the moonlight it means that there will be an
epidemic. However, in Scotland's folklore a strange black
cat showing up on your doorstep is actually a sign of an
unexpected windfall or upcoming prosperity.
In Italy long ago if a black cat lay upon the bed of a sick
person it meant that person would die. In old England
fishermen's wives would keep a black cat and care for it,
and in return the cat would prevent danger from befalling
their husbands while at sea.
The black cat has many, many superstitions attached to it.
In places where the witch-hunts were few the cat remained a
symbol of good luck. They are also considered to be good
luck on board a ship.
In Indian and Romanian society the superstition that if a
black cat crosses your path it means bad luck will occur to
you is still a popular myth. The extensive witch-hunts of
the past were not a part of these regions so it is unknown
why this superstition developed there.
In America, having a black cat's bones is considered by some
to give the bearer magical powers and good luck. There is an
Internet black market that actually sells black cat bones
intended for this purpose.
The black cat has also become a symbol of anarchy due to an
anarchist by the name of Ralph Chaplin using the depiction
of a black cat in a fighting stance for the IWW's symbol of
Above all the black cat seems to be much maligned above all
other animals as being a bearer of ill omen, even though
some cultures consider them to be good luck or even sacred.
There are other creatures that have been said to look like
black cats and really cause misfortune, but they are
supernatural in origin and it could be that the people who
originated the superstition saw these creatures rather than
a real black cat.
In any case black is not the most popular of colors for
adoption at Humane Societies and Cat Rescues in the United
States, whether it is due to this superstition or not.
Okay enough reading........
Where's my Treats?
Alfred wants his Feline Treats