Black cats have been the subject of superstition for centuries and this time of year conjures up the many myths and superstitions. In the Middle Ages, the color black was associated with mystery, darkness, and evil, therefore, black cats were often associated with witches and thought to be bad luck.
Some people believed these cats were demons in disguise, so the woman who owned the cat was thought to be a witch. But anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting a black cat knows they are truly wonderful and loving animals. There is even a Black Cat Appreciation Day celebrated every year on August 17th. Did you know that not all black cat superstitions are negative?
- Fishermen and sailors traditionally believed that having a black cat onboard ensured a safe journey home. English sailors, in particular, believed that a happy cat ensured good weather at sea. In some fishing communities, the fishermen’s wives kept their cats indoors, believing that this will keep their menfolk safe while at sea. Many stage actors have even been known to bring black cats backstage with them, thinking they would ensure a winning performance.
- 18th-century pirates believed that if a black cat came onboard but then left the ship, the vessel was doomed to sink on its next voyage.
- Legend has it, that King Charles I of England had a black cat. On the day the cat died the king proclaimed, “Alas, my luck has run out.” The next day, he was arrested for treason and eventually was beheaded. (hmmm…)
- In England, Scotland and Australia today, a black cat crossing your path is thought to be lucky.
- In Asia and the U.K., black cats are considered to be lucky! • Scottish lure believes that a strange black cat on a porch brings prosperity to the owner.
- In most parts of the world, it is thought that a black cat walking towards you is a certainty of good luck coming your way.
And did you know:
- Black Cats Are Better Hunters. Since cats do most of their hunting at night, their black coat gives them an advantage over other cats.
- According to research, it’s very likely that cats with black fur have a higher resiliency against illness and are more resistant to diseases like Feline HIV.
- If your black cat spends too much time in the sun, its fur can begin to turn a reddish dark brown. This is known as “rusting.” This is only temporary–once the cat’s melanin levels return to the normal state, so will its fur color!
- Due to genes, male cats are more likely to be black than females.
What’s the truth about these cats? The truth is they make wonderful pets. They’re no more lucky or unlucky than any other color cat. Over the years, I have been fortunate to have been the guardian of several black cats and each one has brought love and joy to my life. In memory of Levi, Raindrop, Gretel, Bally and Willow- I say it’s time to put aside all the negative connotations, raise a glass and celebrate all the marvelous ebony creatures!!
Article published by Katie Tontala, CFMT