Black cats have been subject of myths and superstitions for centuries and not always associated with bad luck. In Ancient Egypt, cats were worshiped and treated as royalty – killing a cat was even a capital offense. But in the Middle Ages, a deeply religious era, Christianity wanted to get rid of all traces of other religions and cats suffered from it.
Anything Christians wouldn’t understand was considered witchcraft and many old ladies thought to be witches, were burned with the cats they cared for. It was believed they could transform into black cats or that cats were their familiars – why else would they care for them?
Since black cats were symbols of evil omens, one crossing your path had to mean bad luck and most European countries kept that superstition. This idea arrived to the New World with the first settlers. The pilgrims were devout Christians and anything believed to be associated with evil they hunted down.
Not only in Europe, but in the United States as well, they hunted and killed whoever they believed as witches. Many black cats were killed with them. A lot of ignorance and intolerance towards different beliefs led to this and sadly, black cats still today suffer from it.
With the coming of Halloween, black cats are most at risk. Many shelters refuse to adopt out black cats for fear they will be harmed or used as props for customs and then abandoned.
READ MORE: 10 COMMON CAT MYTHS THAT ARE TOTALLY WRONG
There are many superstitions involving black cats as bad omens. Probably the most known one is the one of a black cat crossing your path. The curious thing about this one is that it has a lot of variations. In United Kingdom and Japan instead of being bad luck, it is good luck. In Germany it is a bad omen if the black cat crosses your path from right to left but it’s a good omen if it crosses from left to right. In Turkey, the bad luck can be reversed if at the moment you hold a part of your hair.
Hopefully one day people will realize that when a black cat crosses your path, it simply means the cat is going somewhere.
Until that day comes, we can see superstitions as tales and we can choose not to believe in them. After all, black cats have also been part of superstitions involving good luck. Here we give you 10 of those to celebrate black cats as the wonderful creatures they are. If you own or are owned by a black cat, you are truly lucky.