Why Are Black Cats Considered Bad Luck? BY KATE ERBLAND

ThinkStock
THINKSTOCK

Feline friends and fans know there is nothing to fear from the world’s most cuddly creatures (sorry, red pandas, corgi puppies, and fluffy bunnies, this is a cat’s world), but the persistence of the pesky belief that black cats are somehow bad luck has endured for centuries. Sure, back during the heyday of Egyptian rule (around 3000 BC), all cats were notoriously honored and worshipped—killing one was even a capital crime—but the rise of good, old-fashioned witchcraft in Europe put the kibosh on any trace of goodwill towards the inkiest of felines, and the all-black brethren are still trying to distance themselves from the bad press of a witchcraft affiliation.

Black cats pop up frighteningly frequently in all sorts of culturally based bits of folklore, and though much of their mythos is actually of the positive variety, Western tradition has so maligned the critters that black cats as bad luck have become something of a given in various circles (at least, that’s what it looks like once Halloween decorations start popping up, “scaredy cats” and all).

The Middle Ages

It seems that the association between bad luck and black cats dates all the way back to the middle of the fourteenth century. It’s not known exactly how and why cats became associated with the Devil in the Middle Ages, but the belief was so persistent that they were all but exterminated during the Black Death pandemic around 1348 CE. (Pause to cry.) Ironically, killing off the cats only worsened the plague, which was often spread via rodents, which all those dearly departed cats could have helped kill. Oopsie!

Scottish Folklore

Scottish folklore includes a fairy known as the Cat Sith, a giant black cat (with a small white spot on his chest) who was believed to have the ability to steal a dead person’s soul before the gods could claim it. That belief led to the creation of night-and-day watches called the “Late Wake” to guard bodies just before burial. The Scottish also employed such tried and true methods as “using catnip” and “jumping around a lot” to scare off potential Cat Sith soul-stealers. (Some things never change, even when you’re dealing with possibly fairy-infused felines.)

The Age of Witchcraft

Blame black magic. As chatter about nefarious witchcraft began to spread around Europe in the sixteenth century, cats (particularly black ones) found themselves tangled up in the hunt, simply because many presumed witches had taken in alley cats as companions. Somehow, the concept of “companion” turned into “familiar,” and the belief that witches could turn themselves into their (typically black) cat companions became

Power of PIES

Welcome to the Power of PIES. I apologize to those coming to this site looking for dessert : ) Instead, the PIES represented here is the powerful combination of Prayer, Imagination, Emotion, and Starting now. Read on, and I promise you will be impacted in a positive way. After all, life is sweet. Enjoy it!

Craftin' Outlaws

Alternative Craft Fair in Columbus, Ohio | Est. 2005 | UPDATE: SPRING DATE POSTPONED | Shop our Virtual Marketplace

Radical Discipleship

A Joint Project of Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries and Word & World

Blue House Organics

Organic best veggies from Pemberton BC, Farm Stay to enjoy farming, Pemberton Adventures and Whistler and a Venue for Events

Scrapbook & Cards Today magazine

Scrapbook & Cards Today, Internationally Read Papercrafting Magazine

Home of the Poetic One

The Home of OnePoeticGamer's Poetry Page/Blog

Lucid Daydreaming Blog

Luke T. Campbell's Hiccups of Genius

Making The Effort...

Making the effort to live healthy, to cook and enjoy food, and to see the beauty around me.

JRExpanded.com

A site highlighting top ideas, thoughts, and questions from the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

FESTIVAL for FAMILY

Family Writing & Film Festival. A festival showcasing the best of family and kids stories from around the world.

Daydreaming as a profession

Just writing some poems. No pics, no GIFs, no vids. Keeping it simple.

Be yourself unapologetically

Pouring my thoughts unfiltered!

Teeny Thoughts

'I wish I wrote the way I thought'

The Desert Path

The Dusty Ramblings of a Desert Pagan

Isiopolis

A votive Work in honor of the Goddess Isis

Pagan Poetess - Amy Sophiamehr

Writer, Art Photographer, Bookworm

Tarot Daily

Daily Tarot Reading reblogs and more