In today’s generation, virtually anyone who is educated in science will know that a cat is just a cat – it is just a type of animal that lives together with humans in society.
However, this does not stop us from celebrating certain long-lasting festivals or learning about the legends and myths of the past, which do include certain views on black cats. Most are negative, which is why there are still people who dislike black cats, especially for those who are of the older generation or are extremely superstitious.
This does not mean that black cats are all bad and no good though. There are still a few positive views around the world, just that they are not as widespread as the negative ones.
Black Cats In Egypt
The history of cats can be traced back all the way to Ancient Egypt, around 3,400 BC or so. In Ancient Egypt, it was believed that the Cat Goddess Bast sent cats to help the ancient Egyptians, who faced serious vermin problems with their food. The existence of cats had greatly relieved them of their problems.
In those years, it was against the law to kill a cat, and since Bast was depicted as a black cat (sometimes as a cat-head goddess) ornamented with gold jewelry around the neck and ears, black cats were especially sacred to the ancient Egyptians.
It was an Egyptian tradition that people were mummified before being buried. Cats were the only animals which were given the same treatment. When a cat which belonged to a family died, it will be mummified, buried in the tomb as the rest of the family members, and the family would mourn the passing of it.
So Why Are Black Cats Portrayed Negatively Now?
To answer this question, we will have to delve into the topic of religion. During the times when most of the native Americans were Pagans (believing in the existence of magic and the importance of nature and balance), cats were part of their families. Since females during those times were housewives, they spent long periods of time with the cats at home and had a stronger bond with them.
When the early Pilgrims came and brought with them the Christian Bible, this was when things turned downhill. Devout Christian believers firmly believed that their God is the one true God and any other beliefs were considered worshipping the devil Satan. Pagans were of no exception. When the Christians tried to spread their faith but the Pagans refused to convert, the Christians believed that it must be the devil’s doing.
With the prevalence of cats, they hypothesized that Pagans were devil-worshippers and their cats were their familiars who carried out their biddings. This led to the witch hunts (the Salem Witch Trials were one of the most well-known incidents) and the mass killing of cats. Black cats were especially targeted as black was associated with Satan and death in Christianity.
The mass killing of deaths lead to an increase in rat population – common sense for us now, but not for those who lived in the past – and hence there was a spike in illnesses and diseases. These were attributed to revenge being extracted by the devil-worshippers (Pagans) and their familiars, which further spiraled things out of hand.
Black Cats In The World Today
Even though people do still associate black cats with bad luck, they are no longer as feared now as compared to the Middle Ages. Persecution on black cats had stopped officially, but not animal abuse and cat killings, unfortunately. Nevertheless, there are Christian families who do accept and own black cats as their family pet, though, which is a great improvement from previous times.
In fact, there are official ‘Black Cat Days’ around the world today. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, October 27 is the ‘Black Cat Day’, while in the United States, August 17 is the ‘Black Cat Appreciation Day’. To protect black cats, some shelters have even limited the adoption of black cats or screening prospective adopters much more carefully around the Halloween period as they did not want these cats to be ‘used’ (toyed with, used as living decoration, or even being mutilated and killed as an act of sacrifice) only during the festival period and getting abandoned soon after that (this applies to rabbits during Easter as well).
As for modern Pagans, cats (especially black ones) are still one of the first animals that they will consider when it comes to getting a familiar for themselves. However, they believe that animals deserve to be treated equally well and will welcome any other animals as familiars, especially if it seems to be a fated match.
Other Good Associations With Black Cats
In Japan, black cats are believed to bring good luck, wealth, and prosperity into the family. They can also deter demons and evil energy from staying around the area that they live in. The sight of one, especially one crossing the path, will mean good luck for the rest of the day.
People who believe in Feng Shui believe that black cats hold very strong powers of good when they are healthy and loved. This is why they will suggest having a black cat in the house to guard the home, or if it is not possible, having a black cat figurine facing to the north can take the place of a real black cat.
Scientifically, researchers at the National Institute of Health had discovered that black cats may actually contribute positively to medical research. This is because of a discovery that showed that cats with black coats may have certain genes that offer certain disease resistances (such as HIV and Alzheimer’s). As such, doing research on black cats can allow medical researchers the probability of learning how to prevent such diseases instead of inventing and implementing a cure after contacting the illness.
I am curious – what are your thoughts on black cats?
If you have any questions that you want to ask, anything you wish to clarify, or simply want to express your thoughts and feelings, feel free to leave a comment!