Black Cats

Picture of the world's smallest man 1956 with his black cat
Picture of the world’s smallest man 1956 with his black cat
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

They are evil, the devil, witches etc. – NO…Due I am afraid to man’s lack of insightful thinking over many centuries there is a long and unfortunate history of black cats being associated with, it seems, pretty well any kind of evil, badness, unhappiness, you name it, it’s the cat’s fault. Cats with black coats though are also associated with good luck demonstrating the superstitious nature of the human race.

Here’s some examples (there are many more):

  • association with witchcraft and evil – “witches familiars” meaning companions (early Christianity and middle age Britain and I presume other countries)
  • comparison with serpents (Hebrew folklore)
  • associations with the “beast” the devil (Yehovah witnesses). Cats generally are also associated in this way
  • back luck when they cross your path in USA (but see below), India, Romania (Moldovia) and Spain for example (still the case world wide it seems)
  • association with witches (“the Church”)
  • associations with anarchy (anarchist symbol)
  • representing the idea of sabotage – linking in with the commonly held belief that the it brings bad luck (Ralph Chaplin International Workers of the World IWW)
  • to dream of this cat indicates that you are frightened to use your psychic ability
  • if someone was sick in Italy in the 16th century and a it lay on the sick persons bed the person would die
  • it walks away from you means bad luck
  • removing a white hair from one means bad luck
  • love this one – driving along and it crosses your path you mark a cross on windscreen with felt tip pen and turn your hat (if wearing one) around – then you crash and get bad luck while you are trying to avoid the bad luck ๐Ÿ™‚
  • belief that they are human witches transformed into cats or that the cat is a witch. This lives on in Western society during Halloween when the cat that is by chance black is used as an icon
  • in the USA there is a firework manufacturer or supplier cat Black Cat Fireworks (I’ve put this under bad luck as fireworks are noisy and dangerous)
  • Apparently these fireworks are one of the best you can buy.

BUT they are also associated with good luck:

  • in China apparently they symbolize good luck
  • if one comes into your house that means good luck in some parts of the world
  • in UK if they cross your path it means good luck apparently
  • this is classic superstition: in Yorkshire, UK it is perhaps lucky to own a one but bad luck if one crosses your path
  • to dream of one is lucky but see above
  • in the USA it means good luck if a white cat crosses your path
  • a cat that is black and which you don’t know on your porch means good luck (old Scotland)
  • one walking towards you means good luck
  • white hair on one means good luck

THE BAD OUTWEIGHS THE GOOD LUCK SO I DECLARE THAT HUMANS THINK THEY ARE BAD LUCK….(conclusion – humans are a bit superstitious)

Witchcraft

The black cat’s association with witchcraft is perhaps the most noted. This seems to have derived from the color black making the cat unseen in dark lighting and thereby be able to support the witch. Also cat generally are nocturnal supporting the concept of doing evil under cover of darkness. Cats (including black cats) were tortured and burnt in the middle ages when witchcraft was believed (it still is but to a much lesser extent). Modern witches keep them as companions.

Fireworks

Black cat fireworks sign
Ironic that in America Black Cat Fireworks are a major supplier. Photo by Bill Rogers (Flickr) creative commons.

Black Cat Fireworks are popular. Fireworks are associated with Halloween and firecrackers ward off evil spirits. There is an association between cats that are black, fireworks and evil spirits – the myth lives on…

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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