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Why Are Black Cats Considered Unlucky?
How did black cats become associated with bad luck, and with Halloween traditions?

Every year when people begin putting out their Halloween decorations, and we start dressing our homes for Samhain, inevitably the image of the black cat comes up. It’s usually portrayed with its back arched, claws out, and occasionally wearing a jaunty pointed hat. Local news channels warn us to keep black cats inside on Halloween just in case the local hooligans decide to get up to some nasty hijinks.

But where did the fear of these beautiful animals come from? Anyone who lives with a cat knows how fortunate they are to have a cat in their life — so why are they considered unlucky?

Divine Cats:
The ancient Egyptians honored cats of every color. Cats were mighty and strong, and held sacred. Two of the most amazing goddesses in the Egyptian pantheon were Bast and Sekhmet, worshipped as long ago as 3000 b.c.e. Family cats were adorned with jewelry and fancy collars, and even had pierced ears. If a cat died, the entire family went into mourning, and sent the cat off to the next world with a great ceremony. For thousands of years, the cat held a position of divinity in Egypt.

The Witch’s Familiar:
Around the time of the Middle Ages, the cat became associated with witches and witchcraft. Around the late 1300′s, a group of witches in France were accused of worshipping the Devil in the form of a cat. It may be because of the cat’s nocturnal nature that it became connected to witches — after all, night time was the time they held their meetings, as far as the church was concerned.

Contemporary Cats:
Around the time of World War Two, when the American tradition of Halloween as trick-or-treat time really got underway, cats became a big part of the holiday decoration. This time around, however, they were considered a good luck charm — a black cat at your door would scare away any evil critters that might come a’calling.

Most people are far less superstitious today than they were in the Middle Ages, but the black cat remains part of our late October decor.

Black Cat Folklore and Legends:
Sixteenth-century Italians believed that if a black cat jumped on the bed of an ill person, the person would soon die.

In Colonial America, Scottish immigrants believed that a black cat entering a wake was bad luck, and could indicate the death of a family member.

The Norse goddess Freyja drove a chariot pulled by a pair of black cats.

A Roman solder killed a black cat in Egypt, and was killed by an angry mob of locals.

Appalachian folklore said that if you had a stye on the eyelid, rubbing the tail of a black cat on it would make the stye go away.

If you find a single white hair on your otherwise-black cat, it’s a good omen.

In England’s border countries and southern Scotland, a strange black cat on the front porch brings good fortune.

As an animal totem the black cat is the keeper of secrets, gatekeeper; when black cat crosses your path she is telling you to stay aware, as something very powerful is coming into your life: be ready to recognize it and receive it.

I have a black cat and she is one of the most intelligent animals I have ever had the privilege of living with. Her intelligence, understanding, compassion, and kindness is beyond compare. So those of you that have I lovely black cat know what I’m talking about.

If you have a black cat please make sure you keep them protected on Halloween.

Many blessings,
Cherokee Billie

Comments on: "Why Are Black Cats Considered Unlucky?" (8)

  1. I have three from the shelter and they are wonderful companions>Sadie,Jemma and Max who has only one eye and amazing!I feel blessed!

  2. Rosie Andlauer said:

    I no longer have a black cat but I did. Her name was Sissy (Sister). I got her at 6 weeks old and had her until she was 16 years old when she passed. She was a beautiful, loving, sweet, intelligent girl. I and my family all loved her dearly and considered her a family member. It’s been about 19 years since we lost our beautiful girl, I will never forget her. She was an amazing addition to our family and home.
    Thank you for the lovely post!

    • Dear Rosie: Thank you for sharing your memories about your precious Baby. They definitely are family and just like losing anyone else you never forget them. I’m glad you enjoyed this post. Many blessings, Cherokee Billie

  3. Rudy and I had a 6 -toed Calico back in TX. I did some research and found alot of info about Egyptian’s love affair with cats. I swear I must have been an Egyptian in a past life. I LOVE ALL CATS! ❤ ❤

    • Teresa I know what you mean I often think that I lived in Egyptian
      times as well. It seems to be common for many cats to have six toes. Thank you for your comment. Many blessings, Cherokee Billie

  4. My neighbours have a pitch black cat who is very old now, but such a beauty. She always comes in, to the displeasure of my kitty, to say hello to me. I live in a very superstitious country where people and animals are still stoned or hacked to death for being accused of being a witch. I have to keep a constant eye on all the cats, especially the black one. I can’t tell you how many times I have caught people throwing stones at her.

    • It’s a shame that people have to take out aggression on others. I really cannot tolerate animal abuse and that occurs in every country. I’m glad that you take the responsibility to Look out for the cats in your area. I’m sure that they know it is you that helps. Cats are so psychic and such beautiful creatures. Thank you for the good that you are doing for these precious souls. As always I appreciate your comment. Many blessings, Cherokee Billie

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