Myths and superstitions surround just about every facet of cultures across the world.
Spilling salt can cause bad luck, rainbows and butterflies are good luck, and a black cat crossing your path is a sure sign of impending doom. If you happen to break a mirror while walking under a ladder when you see said cat, you are a goner for sure.
So what is the truth about black cats? Are they truly the bringers of bad luck, or did they simply irritate the wrong medicine woman at the wrong time?
Here are seven common myths about black cats, and the truth behind the tales.
The myths surrounding black cats goes all the back to the time of Greek mythology. There is a myth surrounding the birth of Hercules.
Hercules was the son of Princess Alcmene and Zeus, the King of the Gods. Zeus’ wife, Hera was infuriated by the pregnancy and made a vow to prevent baby Hercules from being born. However, before her plan could be carried out one of Alcmene’s servants tricked Hera and thwarted her plan.
In retaliation, Hera changed this servant into a black cat and sent her to serve Hecate, the goddess of death and witchcraft.
While many people see the servant in this story as a hero, and Hera as the antagonist— it didn’t matter to the people of ancient Greece.
To them, the Gods were not to be messed with, and if the servant had been sent to live with Hecate, she was evil. Thus, to the Greeks, all black cats could potentially be the servant.
In the middle ages, Pope Gregory XI published the document “Vox in Rama.” This document was released in 1233 and dealt with the topic of devil worship.
In it, the Pope claimed that black cats were the incarnations of Satan and because of this claim, people began killing black cats on sight.
When Christianity was in its infancy, many of their customs and holidays were created in an effort to end paganism and eradicate other religions.
Many pagans had a great respect for the moon, and spent time admiring it and performing rituals in its light. Since cats are notoriously nocturnal they soon became associated with paganism and witchcraft and the church began persecuting all three.
During the times of the great witch hunts, black cats were believed to be a witches familiar, and they would aid witches with their spells and potions. In the movie “Hocus Pocus,” Zachary Binks is turned into a black cat by the evil Sanderson sisters and his parents push him away because they believe he is evil.
To this day, black cats are associated with witches, Halloween, and bad luck, but many believe they bring good luck as well.
Not all myths surrounding black cats are bad.
In ancient Egypt, the goddesses Bast and Sekhmet were cats and they were worshiped and adored by everyone. While the goddesses themselves weren’t black, it was because of them that all cats were highly revered in Egypt, and the killing of any cat, even black cats was punishable by death.
Many Egyptians believed that owning a black cat would bring them the favor of Bast.
The Norse goddess Freyja is a memorable lover of black cats and her chariot was even pulled by a group of them. Though it is notable to mention that Freyja was the much loved goddess of love, beauty, and magic.
6. The Cat Sith
This Scottish entity is a fairy black cat with a white spot on his chest that haunts the Scottish Highlands. Some versions of the story suggest that the Cat Sith was not a fairy, but instead a witch that was able to transform into a cat nine times.
7. Bad Luck
In today’s culture, a black cat walking in your path can be a sign of misfortune coming your way. While many people have realized this myth has no merit, many others are still hesitant when they see a black cat in the streets.
Reasons You Should Have One:
Black cats are stunning creatures. Their sleek fur makes them look like mini jaguars and the sight of one sunning themselves on a windowsill is enough to make even a superstitious person catch their breath.
If you are worried about shedding a black cat could be your best friend. Black goes with everything, and if you wear a lot of black no one will even be able to see the fur on your clothes. They will also match all the decor in your house.
3. They Match
If you want to be a major cat lady, but your spouse or landlord won’t let you consider adopting only black cats. They will look similar enough to fool even the most suspicious of visitors, and as long as they aren’t all in the same place at once no one will ever know.
4. Save a Life
Black cats have a harder time getting adopted than other cats, so if you adopt one you are not only saving a life, but you are also fighting a stigma. While many people have moved past the superstition involved with black cats, some still find their coloration boring and prefer to adopt cats of other colors.
Black cats make the perfect accessory for Halloween. Forget decorating for Halloween, thanks to the myths and superstitions of the past all you need to decorate this year is your cat in the window. Want to be a witch for halloween? You already have the perfect familiar at home waiting for you.
Research has shown that black cats actually tend to live longer and be healthier than cats of other colors. Whether this is from the killings in their past eradicating the weaker more sickly cats, or purely from genetic luck I don’t know, but if you want a cat that will live a long time a black cat could be perfect for you.
No matter what your beliefs black cats are just as loving and beautiful as other colors of cats. When looking for a cat to add to your family try to focus more on the individual cat’s personality instead of it’s looks or coat color.
BONUS: Black cats aren’t the only ones that get a bad rep’, dogs do, too.