by Suzy U. Scamper
My friends and I are not bad luck! We do not attract the nasty things that go on in your life! My human family are not witches or the devil!
This superstition is most prevalent in western civilization – in the United States. Personally I blame the pilgrims. They came here with the belief that some women were witches and they used black cats to do their bidding. “Tell me, have you ever known a cat to do what any human wants them to?”
The belief that Black Cats are Bad Luck
To be honest the belief that black cats are bad luck can be traced back to very early times. There is the story in Greek mythology about Hercules. He was the son of Alcmene and Zeus, the King of the Gods. Zeus’ wife, Hera, found out about his upcoming birth and tried to prevent it. Hera was tricked by a servant to stop her plan to prevent Hercules birth. It is believed that Hera turned the servant into a black cat and sent to serve Heeate, the goddess of death and witchcraft. You did not mess with the gods so from that point on black cats were bad.
In the Middle Ages, 1233 AD to be exact, Pope Gregory XI wrote a document “Vox in Rama” concerning worship of the devil. It was claimed that black cats were the incarnation of the devil so killing of them was encouraged.
People believed that the bubonic plaque was the result of witchcraft and so they believed killing the familiar of the witches, black cats, would take care of the disease. When they did that the rat population exploded and consequently the plaque got worse. Still blaming us!
Do I look like a pirate? One eye? Well, pirates of the 18th century had a complicated belief of bad and good luck concerning black cats. If a black cat walked toward them it was bad luck, the cat walked away from them it was good luck, and if a cat walked onto the ship and walked off again the ship was doomed. It was going to sink.
Black Cats are Good Luck
Have you seen images of the Egyptian goddess, Bastet? Take a look at this picture.
Elegant, right? She became a prominent figure in the twenty-second dynasty. It was believed that a black cat became part of the goddess’ spirit and it would bring riches and prosperity to the home. I’m sure that my black cat friends and I have brought riches and prosperity to our home. We are writing this blog after all. Some of us aren’t black, but we won’t hold that against them. In Egypt black cats were so revered that if they were killed, even accidentally, the punishment was death!
Part of my human family heritage is Norweigan. So, I was happy to learn that the Norweigen goddess, Freyja, loved black cats. She even had a team of them to pull her chariot. This goddess was associated with magic, beauty, and love. That describes me and my friends quite well, thank-you very much!
Part of our cat family many, many years ago was a tough little black cat called Blacky. Original, I know, but as it turns out quite appropriate. He also had a distinctive white smudge on his chest. This is the description of Sith, a black cat that roamed the Scottish Highlands. It was believed he was either a fairy or a witch that could transform nine times. Take a look at me, would you say we might be related? My white spot on my chest is not as predominant, but it is there!
In the early 20th century a black cat was considered good luck in connection to football. So the Panthers must be a good luck team! They used black cats in cartoons as the result of a black kitten being kept in a pocket during a game and the team was successful that day. “Go Black Cats”!
Reasons to Own a Black Cat
Black cats are very beautiful. All cats are beautiful, I agree, but black has many different reflections. We had our Velvet for a long time. She was totally black with dark eyes. She had longer hair that was very soft and silky and shiny. Oscar and I have shorter, courser hair. It is not as shiny as some, but definitely soft. Oscar has dark eyes as well. Did you notice mine is golden? The other one was the same color!
At pawedin.com I laughed when I read one of their reasons for having a black cat and had to share it with you — black cat hair doesn’t show up on your clothes (if you are into black clothing that is). Everything else shows up on black, doesn’t it?
Also from pawedin.com they thought if you had a multi-cat household and they were all black you couldn’t count how many cats you had. Or, other judgmental people can’t count how many cats in your household! Go Black Cats!
Black cats are healthier. The strongest and smartest have survived through the ages.
Save Black Cats
Because of these silly superstitions black cats continue to be at risk. People can be cruel and for many reasons will try to harm a black cat at Halloween or other times of the year. I understand that many pet adoption places will suspend adoption of black cats at this time of year to protect them.
There have been a few wonderful black cats that have been a part of our household through the years.
We kindly remember Sophie, Velvet and a few we helped but didn’t have names. Keep our black cats safe at all times of the year.