The Dual Nature of Black Cats [A Tale of Superstition and Folklore]

Unlucky number 13, looming ladders, and of course, the notorious black cats – these are the three superstitions with a stubborn grip on our culture.

And here's something you've likely heard before. If a black cat crosses your path, you're supposedly in for a dose of bad luck.

But hold on a second – is it time to start dreading every encounter with these midnight creatures? Not so fast!

You see, superstitions, as it turns out, are not universal. They differ greatly across various cultures. Want a surprise?

Across the globe, the black cat isn't just another house pet – it's a harbinger of good fortune, a prized jewel in the family!

So, who's to say? The next black cat you encounter might not just bring bad luck. You could be on the brink of a lucky streak!

Black cat with creepy look

Black Cats As Symbols Of Prosperity And Abundance

Bast and the Egyptians: An Ancient Affinity for Black Cats

In the realm of history, the black cat has quite a colorful past. It all started in Ancient Egypt, where the revered black cat of Oagans - BAST, the Egyptian goddess of the Twenty-Second Dynasty, was the official deity of Egypt.

Many courted her favors, by procuring black cats into their households; believing that she would become part of that cat in spirit, and grace the home with riches and prosperity.

Charles I and His Beloved Black Cat: A Royal Misfortune

Here's another historical tidbit: In the 1600s, Charles I of England cherished his black cat.

He kept it safe and cared for until it fell ill and died. After losing his beloved pet, he famously exclaimed, "Alas my luck is gone." And what happened next was spine-chilling.

The next day, he was arrested and charged with high treason. Ultimately he was put to his death. Talk about a sudden turn of events!

Sumatran Rain Rituals: A Peculiar Tradition

In Sumatra, when the drought is long and rain is needed, a black cat is found and thrown into the river. The village folk line the bank, forcing the cat to swim until almost exhausted.

black cat near the river

Once the cat is exhausted they allow the cat to get out of the water. The women of the village then chase the black cat while throwing water on the cat and themselves.

This is supposed to bring rain. Although this tradition might bring good luck to the village, pity the poor cat that has the bad luck of being chosen for this dubious duty!

Yorkshire Fishermen and Their Furry Talismans

In the Yorkshires, a black cat was said to bring the fishermen home safely from the seas.

During the most prominent part of the fishing industry in this village, black kittens were often catnapped and sold to the highest bidder (usually the wives of the fishermen) by racketeers trying to cash in on the popular superstition.

European Beliefs: Black Cats as Symbols of Blessings

In parts of Europe, if a black cat crosses your path, you are considered to have good fortune. If a black cat walks into your house or home, you are truly blessed.

Suspicion and Superstition: The Dark History of Black Cats

But not all tales of black cats are filled with fortune. Take, for instance, the United States.

Here, the term Black Cat was used by the fishermen and sailors of Michigan’s Lake Superior for a boat that was believed to have a spell cast upon it and therefore, never will carry a full crew.

black cat with haunches up

When the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock, they brought with them a devout faith in the Bible. They also brought a deepening suspicion of anything deemed of the devil.

Comprised of Englanders and Europeans, these pilgrims were a deeply suspicious group. They viewed the black cat as a companion or familiar to witches.

Anyone caught with a black cat would be severely punished or even killed. They viewed the black cat as part demon and part sorcery.

When the Christians gained a foothold in America they also propelled this myth forward, during a time when witches were coming into fruition in America.

Sharing a sisterhood with witches in England, they were rumored to use black cats as an integral part of their craft.

Black cats were suddenly cast in a bad light as many black cats were sought after and killed.

If a farmer believed his land had a spell cast upon it, the only way to break that spell was to shoot a black cat with a silver bullet.

Black Cats And Halloween: A Spooky Association

You might be wondering – what's Halloween got to do with black cats? Well, the association is strong.

When asked about their thoughts on "black cat," many non-cat owners voiced words like 'bad luck,' 'evil,' 'spooky,' and 'Halloween'. You see, superstitions can be pretty persistent!

black cat with orange halloween pumpkin

So you can see that superstition lives on even today.

Here's a Halloween fact that might leave you wide-eyed: Black cats are rumored to be especially vulnerable to people with ill intentions on All Hallow’s Eve.

Even some cat shelters in the United States will not adopt black cats prior to Halloween and a few weeks after.

On the night when kids are cavorting in brightly colored costumes and gathering candy with their peers, it is also a night when coven rituals are performed and witches gather after the trick-er-treaters have long gone home.

Fueling this vision of the black cat being an evil symbol, is the advertising push for Halloween.

Posters and cards with witches in flight, a black cat perched on her broom, a full moon showing, and a black cat in silhouette arched back spitting into the night, or a witch stirring her cauldron with a black cat perched nearby does little to dispel this myth.


Silhouettes of trees, and a cat with the full moon

All are familiar scenes we have grown up with. We bake black cat cookies and deck our kids out in witch hats with black cats on the peak, and on the cloak.

The Beauty Of Black Cats: Changing Perceptions

When we asked our cat forum members what came to mind when they heard "black cat," their responses were filled with words like mysterious, alluring, beautiful, playful, elegant, and gorgeous.

As times change, so do perceptions. These days, the 'sacrificial animals' of All Hallow's Eve aren't black cats but animals in a farmer's field. People are becoming more aware of protecting these sleek creatures during the holiday season.

These days, black cats are safer during this holiday season, as more people prioritize their protection.

However, Halloween can still be a scary time for any cat, especially with kids in costumes going door to door. To ensure their safety and well-being, it's best to keep your cat indoors and in a secure room.

And if you're lucky enough to have a black cat, you know that luck has nothing to do with it.

There's nothing more enchanting than a sleek and graceful black cat making its way toward you, head-bumping your leg, claiming you as their own, and curling up on your lap, purring to sleep. It's a stroke of pure fortune.

Breaking Adoption Barriers: Supporting And Promoting Black Cat Adoption

Black cats face unique challenges when it comes to adoption. Superstitions and misconceptions often leave them overlooked and less likely to find forever homes. However, we can make a difference and change this narrative.

It's disheartening to know that black cats are often passed over for adoption due to unfounded superstitions and misconceptions.

The belief that they bring bad luck or are associated with witchcraft is deeply ingrained in society. This unfortunate reality leaves these beautiful felines waiting longer for someone to see their true worth.

Supporting Black Cat Adoption: How You Can Help

Fortunately, there are ways we can address the adoption challenges faced by black cats and give them the loving homes they deserve. Here are some actionable steps you can take:

  1. Educate Others: Spread awareness about the misconceptions surrounding black cats. Share information debunking the myths and emphasizing their loving nature, unique personalities, and charm. Help others understand that black cats are just as deserving of a loving home as any other cat.
  2. Foster a Positive Image: Showcase the beauty and positive qualities of black cats through photographs, stories, and social media. Highlight their unique features and personalities, capturing the hearts of potential adopters.
  3. Volunteer at Shelters: Offer your time and skills to local animal shelters or rescue organizations that care for black cats. Assist with their adoption events, contribute to their social media campaigns, or provide support in any way you can. Your involvement can make a significant impact on finding these cats their forever homes.
  4. Spread the Word: Utilize your network and social media platforms to promote black cat adoption. Share adoption profiles, success stories, and heartwarming images of black cats in need of a loving family. Encourage others to consider adopting a black cat and join in the mission to break the adoption barriers they face.
  5. Support Black Cat Adoption Events: Attend or organize adoption events specifically focused on black cats. Collaborate with local shelters, rescues, and community groups to create a welcoming environment where potential adopters can meet and interact with these adorable felines.

By actively addressing the adoption challenges faced by black cats, we can help change their fate and find them the loving homes they deserve. Together, let's challenge superstitions and misconceptions, promoting the adoption of black cats and celebrating their unique beauty.

Unveiling the Truth: Share, Educate, and Transform Perceptions of Black Cats

As we reach the conclusion of our journey through the intriguing world of black cats, it's clear that these mysterious creatures have been misunderstood, marred by superstitions and cultural biases.

From their ancient history steeped in reverence to their later demonization, and finally, to the present-day efforts to rewrite their narrative - the tale of black cats is as fascinating as it is diverse.

We've busted myths, unveiled the truth, and celebrated the beauty of these enchanting felines. Despite the cultural differences, one fact stands undebatable - black cats are, simply put, extraordinary creatures that deserve our respect, love, and protection.

However, the transformation in perception towards black cats isn't a one-person job. It's a collective responsibility, and it begins with you.

How can you be a part of this change?

Start by sharing this enlightening journey of black cats with others. Help shatter stereotypes, debunk myths, and usher in an era of understanding and appreciation for these sleek creatures.

Every shared post, every pinned image, every informed conversation – it all contributes to shifting the narrative surrounding black cats.


Comments? Leave them using the comment section below. Questions? Please use the cat forums for those!

Read more:

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14 comments on “The Dual Nature of Black Cats [A Tale of Superstition and Folklore]

3black1calico January 2, 2017
When searching for a cat, I came across a pet store that had just got three kittens that were found under a woodpile in the country.  No mother cat.  They were no more than 3 weeks old and were not eating from a bowl.  I only wanted one cat, but I could take just one and thought I would get them healthy and give a couple away.  It was fun to bottle feed them and in the beginning weeks I didn't get a lot of sleep.  They needed to be fed every 2 to three hours.  Needless to say we bonded and have been with me 15 years, Eddie, Lucy and Victor.  Two short hair and one long hair. They have been such a joy!  I love them dearly.   The only time they are not happy with me is Halloween.  I will not let them go out for fear of what may happen to them. 
34tanya November 3, 2016
I saved a pitch black kitten from being run over from living outside an always running across the street.ive had her for over a year an just love her to death but I love black cats their my favorite.she likes to stand up on two feet so I called her bear.shes beautiful an friendly to me but still wild around others
rasalghul October 10, 2016
I purposely looked for a black cat when I adopted Ras.  Black cats are the most beautiful and elegant in my eyes.  :)
magiksgirl May 4, 2015
I always wanted a black cat. I must admit it was because of all the Halloween advertising that I saw them more often and they piqued my curiosity. I ended up liking them because they look so cool and mysterious.   When Gato Grin had a litter, my boyfriend said he wanted a black kitten and a girl I knew also wanted one. I hoped she had a third black kitten for me. She had 2 tuxedos, a black-ish (smoke) and a gray one.   My boyfriend ended up falling in love with Grey (the gray one) and the girl moved so she couldn't take a kitten. I love them all the same. Though I must say that the smoke kitten has a stranger personality than the others: he keeps to himself, is more wary and doesn't like to get handled as much, but in the end he's just as nice and well mannered as the others.   Pets are friends whichever color they may be.
desikat April 25, 2015
i rescued a black cat on halloween night in 2001.  she was distressed, screaming and hunkering down on the pavement in a drugstore parking lot.  there was no way i would leave a black cat like that on halloween!!  she is my kc-kitty, and she still sleeps beside my head every night. bless her heart!
helsic October 30, 2014
I have a black kitten and is the most well behave cat I had ever have. He is gently, sweet and very obedient, I already feel lucky having him! I rescued him when he was 2 weeks old, I had raised him since then, he's now 4 months old. Thanks for this article!
roguethecat October 25, 2014
Oberon walked into my home last Halloween... he insisted, that is, and has been my living decoration ever since. More rumors I came across concerning black cats is that they are incredibly sweet, more lap sitters than trouble brewers, and it's all true for Oberon.
tinagirl March 2, 2014
Hi we just adopted 3 18 month old identical black triplets.... they just came home yesterday and already, even though they are hiding right now, we know we made the right choice by not letting them get seperated... I know there are supersticions out there, but thats what they are, just supersticions.... i am one lucky kitty mom!!!!! kindest regards, tinagirl.
lbailey October 26, 2013
Thanks Jasei, yes this cat, Lucy, was amazing... I would not be ready to get another cat yet, need to still process losing this beauty.. the void is just now settling in. I loved this gorgeous black cat, and her personality was outstanding. Clarence, I'm sorry for the loss of Midge, it is awful when they are taken away from you, like no closure... my cat was taken to a shelter at the very end.. I chickened out on the euthanasia appointment I had for kitty, and had her outside in the sun wondering what to do next, and when I went out to retrieve her, she was gone, it took a while to figure out what happened to her, still trying to map out her last minutes. It hurts a lot when we don't get closure, like you mentioned how you have so many scenarios in your mind... so tough, I really hope you keep investigating until you can get some clues or more solid ideas what happened. I Love Black Cats!! ...and others too!
jasei santiz October 23, 2013
@lbailey im sry to hear about your cat, my condolences i remember when i lost my Rex, i was depressed for so ling i loved that cat and i can only imagine how you feel after having him for so long  
jasei santiz October 23, 2013
@clarence64 im so sry to hear bout Midge I hope he comes back soon i lost a cat like that a looong loong time ago my first cat, before i got my black cat Rex, now with my cat Cheetos hes a completely an indoor cat, but again i hope he gets back home safe 
clarence64 October 22, 2013
I have two black cats and a tabby/white, they were all stray cats.I made many enquirys when they turned up, as i know how heartbreaking it is if they go missing. My eldest cat has now been missing for 5 days, his name is midge, black with golden eyes. He is a very timid cat,and is very choosy about humans, he likes myself and most of my female friends. He does not like male humans much but recently had got affectionate towards my husband. We moved house in March 2011 to the other end of town, midge managed to find his way out of the  temporary cat enclosure, and went back to his original territory. I went back every day and called him, and fed him,eventually i managed to catch him and bought him back, kept him in for 5 weeks, and he has stayed here until now. it is just the not knowing thinking all sorts of scenarios. I am praying for Midge to come back home . We all miss you Midge
lbailey October 14, 2013
I just lost my black cat a month ago... I felt lucky to have her from 11-15 years old. She was affable, loved people, had a personality I thought would be good for most humans... she was an amazing creature, I told her all the time. She talked so much, greeted me when I came home, went on road trips with me, I think people are so stupid to create these mass states of mind which cause harm for other creatures on the earth.
jasei santiz October 7, 2013
i had a black cat for yrs his name was Rex.. he was the most lovable, smart, caring, and playful cat i had met until i got my ginger kitty, but i never believed any of the black cat non sense i had one as a pet theyre awesome! great article 

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