With the approach of Halloween, it seems like a good time to look at some of the myths, legends and superstitions about black cats. It has been my experience that solid black kitties are sweet and especially affectionate animals, but the folklore going back to the Middle Ages suggests otherwise in some cases. At the very least, those myths tend to direct people toward cats of other colors in shelters.
For hundreds of years, cats starred in superstitions and legends. They were thought to be the familiars (or assistants) of witches in the Middle Ages, and some even suggested that black cats were actually witches in disguise. We all know the superstitions about black cats bringing bad luck; i.e., “Don’t let a black cat cross in front of you or you’ll have so many years of bad luck.” Every country has its own myths and stories about black felines, whether good or bad.
In Scottish folklore, a stray black cat on your porch signals prosperity for the owner. In 16th Century Italy, people believed that if a person were sick, he would die if a black cat lay on his bed. In England and Japan, black cats mean good luck is on the way. Germans believe the opposite. In China, many think that black cats bring famine and poverty.
Because cats are nocturnal, we often associate them with witches and Halloween. During the Middle Ages, witches were believed to keep black cats as “familiars,” or demons. Black cats were treated badly by people who feared them. Today in the United States, there are still those who will mistreat black kitties and shelters often won’t adopt out black cats around Halloween.
I don’t want to debunk anyone’s superstitious beliefs but truly, black cats are just like any other color feline. It’s a shame that some believe they are evil or subjects of the devil. But since there is such evil in our world, it’s very important to be especially careful around Halloween. If you own a black cat, please don’t let him outside, ever! He could become part of a satanic ritual and abused or killed.