Myth Busting: Black Cat Superstitions

It’s likely that you’ve encountered the age old superstition that a black cat brings about bad luck, but very few people know that the same cats are widely associated with good luck too…

So, why are there so many superstitions surrounding black cats?

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Origins

Black cats have been involved in superstitions and folklore for centuries and, throughout the middle ages, cats were also associated with witches. Black cats were once thought to be linked to Satan, hence their sometimes bad reputation today.

Throughout the 14th century, cats were purposefully killed due to the beliefs people held about the animals, and little regard was given to their natural hunting abilities. Ultimately, cats could have potentially helped minimise the number of deaths caused by the Great Plague, which was caused by fleas found on rodents.

Common beliefs across Europe during the middle ages included:

  • Witches transformed into black cats during the night and after death
  • Black cats were disciples of witches and communicated with them when roaming at night
  • Cats were family members of witches and actively helped with witchcraft

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What About Black Cats And Good Luck?

Due perhaps to the decline of religious influence over society, the shift in black cat superstitions has been quite drastic. Black felines today are commonly associated with good luck across the world.

A few contemporary superstitions about black cats include:

  • In Scotland, a black cat that appears on your doorstep is regarded as a sign of prosperity
  • In the Midlands, a black feline gifted as a wedding present is believed to bring good luck to a bride
  • In the south of France, black cats are known as ‘magician cats’ and residents believe that feeding and treating them with respect will bring about good luck
  • Across northern Europe, it is thought that taking in and caring for a black cat will ensure fair weather and safe passage during voyages on the sea
  • Across Asia, owning a black cat is considered a lucky thing
  • In Italy, if you overhear a black cat sneeze it is believed to be good luck

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While superstitions may give people a sense of control over their environment and alleviate anxiety, black cat superstitions really don’t mean much at all. So, the next time you see a black cat think, don’t twice about the true meaning behind its presence! After all, cats remain one of the UK’s most loved pets, which says it all…

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