In the United States, Halloween is a particularly dangerous time for black cats, which means they must be locked away and hidden from those who wish to harm or kill them. Several superstitions still exist today about black cats, making people afraid of them. But why are there still people afraid of black cats?
People are afraid of black cats due to ancient superstitions and mythology that say that black cats bring bad luck. In many myths, black is the color of evil, but these old stories continue to be told to this day. Other cultures revere black cats as they are thought to bring good luck.
It is only in education do people learn to get rid of old myths and superstitions. If you want to educate yourself and your friends about black cats, read on!
Ancient Mythology and Superstitious Origins of Black Cats
The earliest superstition about black cats can be traced to ancient Egypt to around 3,000 BCE. Those in the agricultural trades found that cats were instrumental in keeping the mice and rat population down and kept them as pets to protect their crops. But they revered the black cat over all others because they were thought to have special powers.
During the early days of cat worship in the Egyptian culture, a Roman soldier killed a black cat, and the Egyptians killed the soldier in the street. Thus, it became illegal to kill cats, especially black cats.
Another ancient superstition about black cats can be traced back to Greece. Black cats were often companions to witches. The Greek goddess, Hecate, was said to have turned herself into a cat and become a guide to witches.
By the time black cats became common in most of Europe, they were associated with bad luck. If a black cat crossed your path, it was said that you were being cursed by a witch or some other evil entity. Killing a black cat meant that they would destroy the curse.
While agriculturalists tolerated black cats because of their hunting abilities, if something bad happened like an illness or natural disaster, black cats were blamed for these events.
Black Is the Color of Rebellion and Evil
Throughout history, black has been the color of rebellion or evil. For example, those who follow alternative religions or spiritual practices tend to wear black as a way of rebelling against the system.’ In the Middle Ages, black cats started to be associated with Satan, which is why many Satanists tend to wear black more often, and in youth, it is a color of rebellion.
Some religious sects even refuse to wear black, as it is a satanic color. Other people, however, love wearing black because it makes them feel confident and powerful. Plus, there is a theory that black clothes are slimming and create a powerful profile.
But it also represents power, authority, and mysteriousness, which can create many superstitions and fears when applied to a cat. And since people don’t give up their superstitions easily, these ideas about this color have endured since the ancient days. Black cats are often regarded as unlucky and evil because of these ideas rooted in the middle ages.
Old Superstitions Haven’t Died in the Modern Age
One would think that, since there are more information and scientific knowledge available to the masses, these superstitions would be a distant memory. However, several people still believe that if a black cat walks in front of someone, that person will have a streak of bad luck. This superstition also applies to when you’re in your car. If you happen to see a black cat, you’re supposed to turn around and go in another direction.
People will still engage in rituals where they sacrifice black cats, especially on Halloween. Because this is such a problem, shelters will not adopt black cats during October.
Superstitions such as these have their roots in ancient times, but they are still going strong in the modern age. Many vets and feline advocates are fighting against these stereotypes, however. In the United Kingdom, the RSPCA reports that black cats are the most difficult animal to rehome due to these superstitions, and it is the same in the United States.
And on Halloween, there have been incidents where black cats are the subject of violence from people holding tight to these superstitions of days gone by. People will kill or torture black cats simply because of their fur color.
But black cats have just as much love to give to people as other cats have. These cats could be more loving in some ways than other cats and, according to cat advocates, deserve just as much love as other cats.
Some Cultures Revere Black Cats
Despite the many negative superstitions and rituals, other cultures hold black cats in a sacred place. For example, in Japan, women who have a black cat are more attractive to male suitors and have an easier time finding a lifetime mate.
British sailors used to say that if a black cat boarded your ship and stayed, it was a sign that the voyage would be successful. However, if the cat left right away, it meant that the ship would sink at some point during the journey. Pirates of the same era claimed that if the black cat were walking away from them, they would have a successful journey and pillage tour.
Ancient Egyptians believed black cats were divine and lived with the gods, which would explain their god, Bast. Bast was a god with a black cat head with a human body. If anyone were to do black cat harm, Bast would punish that person severely or kill them. They also believed that the gods lived in all cats, regardless of color or breed.
Black Cats Are Also Thought To Bring Good Luck
English and Scottish legends said that if a black cat sat on someone’s porch, the homeowner would have a streak of good luck. Or if a black cat has one white hair, and it stays on the cat, the cat would bring good luck for an indefinite amount of time.
Unique Facts About Black Cats
Now that you know why some people are afraid of black cats, let’s look at some other facts about black cats that you may not have heard of before. For example, did you know that black cats with a tabby gene can change their color in the sun? Really! Black cats that have an orange tabby gene become a rust color in the sun due to the sun’s rays breaking down their pigments.
Black cats are healthier than other cats because they resist diseases better. They have a genetic mutation that makes their coats black, and it’s this mutation that makes them resistant to certain diseases. Researchers want to study this resistance, as it could help them find cures for cancer and HIV in humans.
Superstitions about black cats have their roots in ancient myths and legends and can be harmful to the cats in question. People set out to kill these creatures because of these dangerous beliefs that have survived to this day. A woman lost her beloved black cat to a neighbor who purposely hit it with their car due to these old beliefs.
However, despite these beliefs and superstitions, several other people have black cats and cannot speak enough about their furry buddies. They say their cats are loving, gentle, and intuitive and that these old beliefs are harmful to cats.
- Wikipedia: Black Cat
- The Honest Kitchen: Why Do People Fear Black Cats?
- Ethos Vet: Where Did Black Cats Get Their Bad Rep?
- Mirror: Why People Are Scared of Black Cats–And Why They’re Locked Inside at Halloween
- The Spruce Pets: 5 Fascinating Facts About Black Cats
- Bourn Creative: Meaning of the Color Black
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.