Every year around Halloween people suddenly decide that getting a getting a black cat is a good idea. But what about the rest of the year? Why do we hang onto myths that black cats are scary or cursed in some way? Black cats can make for a wonderful addition to any family, so in the name of Halloween, fall, and all things cats, we’re shedding some light on some ridiculous black cat myths. It’s time for some black cat appreciation; not only this month but every month.
The most common black cat myth in the U.S. is that black cats are “unlucky.” You see, during the Middle Ages people assumed that single women who fed stray cats were participating in witchcraft and that the cats were their “familiars,” or companions in black magic arts. This belief led to a massive eradication of black (and other colored) cats and gave rise to witch burnings, as well. Some have speculated that by getting rid of mass amounts of cats, the plague was able to spread easier due to rat’s natural predators, cats, being taken mostly out of the equation. When cat populations soared plague outbreaks decreased, when they lessened, outbreaks grew. While today many people feed stray cats or give a welcomed pet to a lonely kitty, superstition still lingers.
Due to historical paintings and texts depicting the poor treatment of black cats the themes eventually wove their way into our modern culture. In movies, black cats are a sign of danger, or a black cat is used to hiss at an intruder as he passes by their fence post. When was the last time you saw a black cat portrayed as just a friendly lap kitty in a TV show or movie? The last case we can think of is Sabrina the Teenage Witch. And even though Salem was a nice black kitty on the show, he still lived with a household of witches.
The superstitions surrounding black cats span father than just the U.S. though. Great Britain, Russia, and Japan all regard black cats as bringing luck, especially if one crosses your path. But, in Ireland, it’s believed that if a black cat crosses your path in the moonlight, you will die in an epidemic. In Germany, it was said that if a black cat crosses your path from right to left it brings bad luck, but if it crosses from left to right, the luck will be good. And lastly, pirates took the whole black cat bad luck concept to a whole new level. For pirates, if a black cat walks toward you it is good, but if it walks away from you, your luck will be bad. Again, these beliefs have lost most of their standing in today’s world, but the distrust remains.
Reasons To Adopt a Black Cat
- Making a pet-inclusive Halloween costume will be easy
- Black is very slimming. Thus holding a black cat makes you look slim
- You’ll never lose your black cat in the snow
- They’re less work than their larger black feline cousins, the panther
- You won’t be able to spot their fur on all your black leggings
- They are the least likely to be adopted from the shelter
Reasons To Adopt Any Cat
Ok, we’ve had our fun. But seriously, there’s no reason not to adopt a black cat. Adopting a black cat is just like adopting any other colored cat. Here are some of the real benefits that you can receive from bringing home a black cat.
- You’ll make a huge change in that cat’s life
- Lower your risk of a heart attack
- Help prevent asthma in children
- Reduce your blood pressure
- Lower cholesterol
- And gain a friend for life
Let’s Get With The Times
So what’s the deal? Why are we still hanging on to superstitions from the Middle Ages? It’s time to cut black cats some slack and give them the same love that any other cat would receive. If you want to adopt a black cat you may have to wait until after Halloween; some shelters won’t allow for black cats to be adopted around the holiday to keep people from adopting them for unethical reasons. But we encourage you to consider adopting a black cat year-round, winter, spring, summer, or fall. You could make a huge difference in the life of a black cat by giving them a chance the next time you go to your local shelter.