Oct. 27 was Black Cat Day. Is there any coincidence that it is two days before Halloween? I think not!
I was just reading about the stigma and superstition behind the black cat and, frankly, it’s just plain silly. Yet there are those who will turn around if a black cat crosses their path… probably the same person who won’t walk under a ladder… or who freak-out when they break a mirror fearing the next 7 years of their life. The whole black cat thing, and the superstition that surrounds it, is unfounded. How did it all get started?
The History of the Cat
Throughout history, the cat persona has been “blemished”. Once worshiped by the ancient Egyptians… because of their ability to catch vermin (seriously)… and the belief that cats were manifestations of their goddess, Bast… which somehow associated them with magic… then became associated with witchcraft, and… Are you following this? Me neither. Unfortunately, the bad history and notoriety of the cat, particularly the black cat, has outlived any positive history they may have enjoyed, and has no-doubt remained a more universal ideology.
Black Cats and Witches
At some point, the black cat became intrinsically linked to witches and witchcraft, and I have not read one plausible explanation as to why. Some believe a black cat’s ability to be “invisible” in the dark made them perfect companions for witches. Let’s face it… the glowing golden eyes in the night when the body isn’t visible is certainly kind-of creepy and “witch-like”! I guess in the same way witches are supposedly able to sneak around in the dark, a black cat is able to do the same. Perfect association.
Likewise, much of this nonsense stems from the fact that cats are nocturnal. Like your mom always said… nothing good ever happens after midnight. The fact that cats roam at night naturally associates them with evil believed to be present in darkness. Mmmmmwwwahahah! (that’s an evil laugh, by the way) That, coupled with the cat’s aloof, mysterious nature, has no doubt been the cause of a stigma attached to one of our most favorite domesticated pets.
Adopting a Black Cat
It is regrettable, but most likely based on these beliefs, a black cat is often overlooked by people who are wanting to adopt a feline. In fact, black pets in general are least likely to be adopted than their lighter counterparts. This fact has necessitated the development of rescue organizations throughout the United States that are devoted solely to the adoption of black cats. As I look through the cats available for adoption at the Richmond SPCA, I see some absolutely GORGEOUS black cats, as well as many others. And just look at these beauties from the Henrico Humane Society! There are so many wonderful local rescues with your perfect black cat just waiting to bring good luck into your home!
So if you’re reading this blog to find concrete answers to black cat mythology, I am sorry to disappoint. What we do know is that these sleek, strikingly beautiful creatures are no different than any other loving, gentle cat. Guests, Reggie and Ashes, pictured above are perfect examples… we love them dearly.