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Black cats: Unlucky?

 by danielle on 03 May 2014 |
1 Comment(s)

Black cats have long been believed to have the power to control human destiny.  
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In Western culture, black cats are often thought to bring bad luck to those who see them and their owners. The belief largely stems from their association with witchcraft during the Middle Ages. Sorcerers and witches were expected to have an animal familiar, a demonic spirit who helped them with wicked deeds. These familiars usually took the form of owls, toads or cats – especially black ones. Black cats might have even been witches in disguise themselves, the women supposedly possessing the power to transform into black animals.  

 

The Pilgrims who settled America brought with them to the New World the belief of the black cat’s capacity to bring about calamity. Anyone caught keeping a black cat as a pet was severely punished in early towns for fear its presence would jeopardise the fate of the entire community. Due to its wicked connotations, the black cat became a popular Halloween decoration and costume, and continues as one of the foremost symbols of the holiday. 
 

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Yet black cats were not always thought to bring misfortune in the Western world. Whilst a cat crossing your path was usually a sure omen death and suffering would befall your family, in Germany it hinged on the direction the cat went. From right to left, and you were in for a bad spell. From left to right however, you were sure to have happiness in store.   

 

Sailors would seldom leave port without a cat on board. Not only were they useful for ridding the ship of mice, which were apt to chew through ropes and bring disease, they were thought to ensure the ship would return safely home. Whilst any cat would bring luck, the black cat, at sea, was the luckiest of all. Sometimes fisherman’s wives would keep black cats whilst waiting for their husbands to return, hoping the good luck of their companion would carry over to him on his journeys.  

 

King Charles I owned a black cat considered so vital to his good fortune he had it permanently guarded for fear of its loss. The story goes it died the day before Oliver Cromwell rose to power and he was dethroned and beheaded – which certainly was an unlucky turn of events. 

 

In Eastern cultures, black cats have almost always been considered harbingers of good fortune. In Japan, it is believed a lady who shares her home with a black cat is destined to have many suitors.  
 


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Whatever the folklore of the past, owners of black cats today know they make wonderful companions and they are lucky to have them. 

 

 

Comment(s)1

jaidyn  - Comment
jaidyn 02 May 2017Reply
I have a black cat and its the best cat i have ever met so i do not belive black cats are unlucky

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