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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Have you ever wondered about the origins of cat superstitions? In this post we look at what it means if a black cat crosses your path.

Black cats have long been associated with superstition.

Worshipped by the Egyptians and adored by the Romans, ancient beliefs were that all cats (including black ones) were to be worshipped and to kill one was considered a capital crime.

But by the 17th century cats were associated with witchcraft and considered evil. In witch trials, ownership of a cat was taken as evidence of witchcraft. Even today, in the United States, Belgium and Spain black cats are considered very unlucky – and a costumed witch during Halloween celebrations will often be accompanied by a black cat.

Black cat with white chest sitting on carpet

Photo by Jason Howie via flickr / Creative Commons

In Britain the opposite is true and the association has long since changed to one of good fortune. To meet a black cat is considered good luck, especially if it runs across the path of the observer. There are some variants of this belief, such as that in Yorkshire, where it is lucky to own a black cat, but not to meet them. In other areas it’s said that a black cat as a wedding present is thought to bring good luck to the bride!

For some reason, which could be linked to superstition, black and black-and-white cats in the care of Cats Protection are often harder to home.

Gemma Smith, Cats Protection’s Digital Communications Officer says “Black and black-and-white cats make up around half of all the cats in our care – and sadly they wait much longer to find their forever home than the average cat”.

That’s why we’re urging our supporters to share their tales of ebony cat ownership to show that a black cat is for life, not just for Halloween.

If you’d like to consider homing a black cat, use our Find-a-cat search.

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