Black Cats – Myths, Legacies, and History

October 17, 2022


There is no better time to address the myths, legacies, and history of the black cats, then right now, with Halloween approaching. The black cat has always been a symbol of Halloween with an arched back and sparkling eyes. You see these pictures and yard signs everywhere plus on cards for Halloween celebration parties.

But why is this so and what meaning does it have? Black cats became a superstitious symbol as early as the 13th century as they were associated with sorcery and witchcraft by the Catholic Church at that point. Since witches were considered elusive and suspicious, cats by their very nature can also be elusive.

The black cat of all cats blends into the darkness, and many times their presence is only felt when the yellowish and greenish eyes show. Folk tales appeared about black cats after this period, and although witches or those that practice “Wicca” has shed a bad reputation, it has not been the same for the black cat.

Why the Black Cat Myth Lives On

Wicca is now considered an alternate religion based upon natural elements of the earth, the spirit within each individual, and of course, holistic practices that many can still fear. However, it has become more mainstream and accepted.

Black cats do not make most individuals fearful now, but many still are leery of a black cat as a means of bringing bad luck and of course, evil spirits to bear. The media has a lot to do with this as let’s face it, it IS only the color of fur!

Halloween is a fun time now, rather than a fearful time, and the black cat myth is just part of the playfulness of this holiday. The black cat is now an embedded symbol in this holiday.

A New Legacy for Black Cats

Although black cats do bring out fear and negative superstitions in some, for the most part now, in the last decade, black cats are seen as good energy, not bad energy entities. There are two holidays now, Black Cat Appreciation Day on August 17 and National Black Cat Day on August 27th. Just as the practice of Wicca has become commonplace, the beauty and the actual history of the black cat have set them apart as good omens, rather than bad for many cat fanciers worldwide.

While these are not “on the books” holidays they are celebrated by black cat fanciers as the black cat does have a panther-like appearance and is very attractive to many individuals.

Sadly enough though, black cats and black dogs are the colors least likely to be adopted at a shelter or rescue. They simply blend in too well and individuals tend to look for fancier-looking colors when adopting animals. This trend is changing though now in certain areas and there is an upswing in black cat adoptions.

Actual History of Black Cats

While many theories exist about the black cat and its origins, cats in and of themselves were revered in Ancient Egypt. Almost 13,000 years ago, cats in Egypt were the pet of choice and associated with a goddess of that time.

While dogs were kept by Egyptians for protection, cats were seen as mystical and magical with the ability to turn bad luck into good. Cats were so revered that the reality became mummification of cats when they passed.

Walls were adorned with pictures of cats and statutes erected in their honor in Egypt. The Egyptian Mau was especially venerated as cats protected Pharaohs from snakes. The Egyptian Mau has increased agility and it also possesses a spotted coat so blends into any background easily. It is still a popular breed today throughout the world. Black cats were of course, also popular as these are not noticeable at night. The Egyptians adored all cats, however, and any museum of Egyptian History generally shows the number of statues, amulets, and bronze works that Egyptians invested in for their cats.

Black Cat History

FAQs on Black Cats

  • All my friends say my black cats are bad luck. Should I believe this?

No. Read above as this is only a myth going back tens of thousands of years and has no roots in actual historical facts. The facts are that black cats only seek love and attention like any other cat.

  • Do black cats need a special diet and care?

    No. They eat, drink and sleep like other cats, but they do require brushing. Because they are black, the white dander can show up easily on their fur, so good brushing helps remove that or they can look “yucky” to others.

    • Do black cats shed a lot?

    All cats shed at least a bit. Black is a coat color and there can be short hair and long hair breeds. If seeking less shedding, Bombay cats, which even have black whiskers, and are of medium size, shed the least of all cat breeds, except for the hairless Sphynx!

    Looking for any cat, or dog for that matter that doesn’t shed at all is impossible as new hairs replace old ones, just as human hair does.


Summary on Black Cats—Myths, Legacies, and History

No matter what color cat you choose to own as a part of your family, go by personality, and not color. All cats have different personalities and this should be the only reason for getting a cat.

If a cat’s personality suits you and your family, then bring the cat into the family. Forget all the myths about black cats, as folklore will always exist. Fitting into a family will make you and the cat happy, nothing more, nothing less.

After all, beauty is only skin deep!

If you enjoyed this article, check out our other ones on the CoolCatsCatSitting blog section of our website.

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