Myths about Black Cats

Black cats are surrounded by myths and mystery.  Almost all cultures have some kind of superstition about black cats, some are positive and some are negative but there’s always some kind of myth about them.  

Supposedly witches kept black cats as familiars.  A familiar is a sort of companion to a witch but not only that, has powers of its own.  This used to be a tip-off to the community.  If a woman owned a black cat, she was highly suspected of being a witch. And the community might either shun or even harm her just  because she owned a black cat. 

This association gave black cats a bad name in the Christian realm. Christians believed a witch could morph into another being, that of a black cat, so many black cats were killed along with their owners.  But Wiccans and Pagans believed they were more like guardian angels or helpful spirits.  

Another myth is if a black cat crosses your path, you’re in big trouble because something bad will happen to you.  This probably came about because of the many symbolic beliefs of Christians.  Because they believed black cats were demonic, they surely didn’t want one coming close to them.

The mysteries about black cats are still with us to this day.  In some areas, shelters will not let anyone adopt a black cat on or near Halloween, fearing they’ll be used in some kind of sacrifice.  Some people still believe a black cat is bad luck and evil.  

Ancient Egyptians cherished black cats, though.  If you killed one, they’d kill you.  They even mummified black cats, as they did royalty.  The Egyptian Goddess Bast is a black cat and people during that time people  thought if you owned one, you would be in favor with Bast which would bring you good fortune in life.

Sailors and fisherman have some interesting superstitions about black cats, too.  The wives of sailors and fisherman sometimes kept a black cat because they believe they kept danger and bad luck away when their husbands were at sea.  A sailor might also believe that if you throw a black cat overboard there will be rough seas ahead.

In Scotland, if you find a black cat on your property, it means good luck.  Stroke the cat three times, say something nice to it and you’ll probably have even better luck.  

If you’ve ever known or owned a black cat, you know that they’re usually gorgeous and like all cats, they have that air about them that says, I am superior to all of you.  Do they cause bad luck?  Probably not. Do they cause good luck?  Probably not.  But the myths are interesting considering some folks are still superstitious about black cats.