Paws And Prejudice: 30+Black Cat Myths Around The Globe
No other cat’s reputation is more tainted than the black cat. These kitties have jet-black fur and yellow eyes that look like they are glowing, and this specific appearance has a lot to do with their notoriety.
While some people think they’re just as cute as any other cat, others get creeped out once they spot one. Things get even worse if it happens to cross their path! From being witch familiars to the chosen pets of goddesses, one thing is for sure: black cats play a significant role in history, mystery, and folklore.
As such, we’ve clawed our way through the internet to find some of the most intriguing myths about black cats. Some of them are shocking as they are strange! One thing is for sure, though. Black cats were here before, and they’re here to stay. Here are 35 black cat myths that explain their fame/infamy.
Witches and black cats
There are numerous stories about witches both in pop culture and literature. Despite their origin, they usually have so many similarities. One of the most common ones is black cats being featured as the pet of choice for witches. It’s so common that most of us don’t bother to find out why.
Black cats have long been associated with witches, and they’re often considered to be connected to the devil. In some cases, it’s also believed that they are gifts from the devil to witches. Some people are even convinced that black cats are demons that feed on the blood of the witch!
Association with Bastet
Bastet is an Egyptian goddess and the daughter of the sun god, Ra. She is often depicted in the form of a black cat. Bastet was worshipped for many things since she is the goddess of protection, pleasure, fertility, and, unsurprisingly, cats!
Black cats, especially, are associated with this Egyptian goddess. But this is not necessarily a bad thing because black cats in ancient Egypt weren’t associated with evil. Instead, they were seen as a good omen, and people would keep them in their homes for good health and fertility.
Don’t let them come near sick people
It won’t come as much of a surprise to you, but unlike in Egypt, black cats weren’t really seen as signs of good luck in 16th-century Italy. As a result, people typically avoided them as everything they did was seen as a bad omen.
For instance, it was considered a bad omen if a black cat sat on an ill person’s bed. You see where we’re going with this, right? Apparently, if one of these kitties found its way to the bed of somebody sick, it was a sign that the person would die soon. Yikes!
Hello ladies! You’ll love this one. As puzzling as that may sound, this is actually a pretty famous myth. At least in Japan. The people of this East Asian nation believe that black cats (and all other cats) symbolize good luck, contrary to other mainstream myths!
So, they are seen as a source of good luck for single women. If you are a single woman living in Japan, and you have a black cat or even encounter it somehow, it’s considered a good omen. Maybe it’s time we all reconsidered where we stand on these cuties!
Black cats are often seen as a bad omen, but as we’ve seen, that’s not the case everywhere in the world. There are places like the aforementioned Japan where they are believed to bring good luck and prosperity. Scotland is another country that shares similar beliefs.
In Scotland, it’s believed that if a stray black cat stumbles upon your home, it’s a good omen. At this rate, we are seriously considering putting some cat food on the front porch to attract luck and fortune from now on!
Relaxing on the porch
Surprisingly, we found so much more information than we had anticipated about black cats being good omens. To be honest, we didn’t think there would be so many positive myths associated with black cats! This next myth comes from Ireland.
Like in Scotland, the people of the Emerald Isle believe that if a black cat sits on your porch, it’s a sign of good luck. Seeing as the two nations are close to each other, it isn’t surprising that they share some beliefs.
Ability to sink ships
While black cats choosing to enter your house or sit on your porch could be a good omen, not everyone shares those views. Yes, we’re back to myths that paint these felines as recipes for disaster. For instance, there’s one that claims that a black cat could sink a ship.
A black cat on a ship is a bad omen; almost like a warning that you’re about to be doomed. Many people also believed that if a black cat walked onto a ship and then jumped off, it was about to sink. Well, we’d be freaked by that, too, because cats typically hate water.
Ability to sink ships, but not their own
The previous myth is a pretty famous one, but it only applies if the black cat steps on a ship and then gets off. Contrary to that, a black cat that lives on a ship isn’t considered a bad omen. In fact, it’s seen as a sign of luck!
Letting a black cat live on your ship has many practical benefits. They help keep rodents and other pests away, and since those creatures carry diseases, these cats are actually protecting you! Let’s also not discount that these kitties are fantastic pets and great company.
The most famous myth
This one is probably the most popular myth floating around about black cats. We are pretty sure that most of you have heard this at least once in your lives. If a black cat crosses your path, it’s a sign of bad luck!
It’s common in America, Europe, and some parts of Asia. During the Black Death, it was believed that if this cat crossed your path, you might die of the plague soon. Seeing as this was one of the worst times in history, it’s no wonder the myth has survived so long.
The most famous myth, with a twist
As we mentioned before, this myth was and still is quite well-known around the world. We mentioned America as one of the places where the myth is rampant, but there’s a twist to it. Back in the day, people living in the Appalachian Mountains believed the same thing.
But they also believed that if a person drew three “Xs” in the air before the cat crossed their path, they could stop the bad luck that was supposedly coming their way. Now you have an antidote for when you’re faced with this unfortunate fate.
The most famous myth, with another twist
Well, there’s another twist to the whole “black cat crossing the road” myth. It’s not that well known as it’s only one country where people think this way. We are talking about Germany. Let’s just say that the black cats there really need to stick to one side of the road!
In this European country, there’s a different approach to determining if a black cat crossing your path is good luck or bad luck. If the cat crosses your path from right to left, then you’re doomed. But if it crosses from left to right, you’re in the clear!
Things would have really been amazing if this one was a fact and not a myth. But black cats predicting the weather is just that. A myth. We know you are probably aware of the saying, “It’s raining cats and dogs.”
In Norse mythology, it was believed that witches rode their brooms during storms. You might have also seen similar things in movies. Anyway, since witches always had cats, this was seen as a sign of heavy rain. Additionally, in Wales, there’s a myth that a black cat washing its ears is a sign of rain.
Do you have a stye on your eyelid? Have you ever had one before? Allow us to enlighten you about a myth regarding styes on eyelids. In most cases, these things disappear by themselves in a few days. If not, there are always antibiotics.
A prescription from the doctor will clear things up in a week or a few days. But there is also an alternative way to treat it. There’s an Appalachian myth that claims that rubbing a black cat’s tail on the stye will help alleviate your pain. So what do you say? Doc or cat?
As if black cats weren’t enough, there’s something called the devil cat. Have you ever heard of the Clach Tagniarn nan Cat? It’s in Scotland, and its name basically translates to The Stone of the Devil Cat. That’s a pretty intense name.
According to Scottish folklore, a clowder of wild black cats would appear every Halloween. Their purpose was to welcome and worship the Devil Cat, which was, of course, black and massive. However, we’re not sure where exactly they congregated. It’s certainly not a place you’d find us, though!
Sleeping on the north side of the house
After that creepy entry, we felt that we deserved a change of pace. As we mentioned, black cats aren’t considered terrible or unlucky in certain parts of the world. For instance, they are seen as a good omen in China. There are many positive myths surrounding them in Chinese culture.
Some of the locals believe that a cat sleeping on the north side of the house will ward off evil. See, they are not all bad! Sometimes, they bring good luck, and other times, they are said to shield you and your house from evil stuff!
Normal skin problems
Black cats sport an amazing coat of black fur, but even they get skin problems. For instance, the coat of a black cat can be bleached by the sun. If you have ever seen a black cat with red highlights in its hair, then the cat was probably out in the sun for too long.
This one is more of a fact than it is a myth. Also, black cats aren’t the only animals with skin problems caused by the sun. The same thing happens to almost every other animal with a black coat, like dogs and horses.
Black cats are considered pets of witches, and you know that there are myths and explanations for why that is. But allow us to add a little something that revolves around that particular myth. Black cats are said to be a witch’s alter ego, according to Hungarian folklore.
Also, there is something called the Encyclopedia of Witchcraft. According to this book, some myths claim that you can’t even tell the two apart! Witches were also believed to disguise themselves as cats when they wanted to perform spells covertly.
100% black cat
The thing about cats is that many of them can give birth to a black kitten. So, they will technically be black cats at first. But the Bombay is the only cat breed that’s completely black in color. With all the black cats we see everywhere, it’s surprising, right?
It’s not a natural breed. Rather, it is a short-haired cat that was created by breeding American shorthair cats and sable Burmese cats. The aim was to create a breed that looked like a small panther. Well, they did succeed in that.
White hair on black cats
Unlike how it is on humans, a black cat getting white hair doesn’t mean that the cat is getting old. There can be white hair even on a young black cat. It is also certainly not an indication of illness.
That said, if you observe the same signs with your cat, it wouldn’t hurt to get it checked out. On that note, some cultures believe that each black cat has a single white hair strand, and if you pull it out without a scratch from the cat, you’ll have a happy marriage!
The beckoning cat
Earlier, we talked about how the Japanese think that all cats, including black cats, bring good luck. Also, Japan’s famous “beckoning cat,” who goes by the name of Maneki Neko, is often a black cat. These guys are certainly pro-black cats!
The myth is that not only are these cats considered to be welcoming, but they also bring good luck. Additionally, they are believed to ward off evil. So, getting one of these for yourselves might actually be beneficial for you!
More black cat breeds
Earlier, we discussed the Bombay breed being the only cat breed that’s exclusively all-black. But other than that, there are 21 more breeds that have been recognized by the Cat Fancier Association to also be mainly black. But does that mean that all of them are associated with myths?
The Bombay breed is the only all-black cat breed, but these breeds come really close. They include the Norwegian Forest Cat, Persian, Sphynx, and Turkish Angora, and the American and Japanese Bobtail. And yes, they all fit under the umbrella of black cat myths.
If you know anything about theatre, you know that it is home to numerous superstitions. And, as you would expect, many of these include black cats. For instance, the “break a leg” expression is pretty famous in the entertainment world.
Although having a black cat at a theater is a sign of good luck, that’s not the whole story. It’s only good luck until it runs across the stage. If it does, then too bad! Also, kicking a black cat isn’t only a terrible thing to do, but it means that evil will follow you.
Don’t be surprised if this one is rather strange. In England, it was believed that gifting a black cat to a bride at their wedding would bring good luck to the new couple. We hope all those couples who believed this ended up happy and healthy.
Also, the newlyweds will always have a cute furry friend to keep them company, and there’ll be fewer rodents in the house! Honestly, if it was this easy to have a happy marriage, every home would have a black cat, and their bad wrap would end instantaneously!
Let’s talk about the eye color of a black cat. It’s certainly a pretty interesting thing. If you’ve ever been around one, you can admit that it’s hard not to stare into their piercing eyes. These guys look pretty scary when you see their glowing eyes in the dark.
The fact is that most black cats have yellow eyes. But you’d be surprised to know that many black cats also have green eyes. Black cats have yellow eyes because of excessive melanin, which is also the reason behind their robust black coat.
Sign of wealth
Black cats are a symbol of many things. They are signs of bad luck, good luck, health, prosperity, and many other things. They are also believed to protect people from evil. However, did you know that black cats are considered a sign of luck in southern parts of France?
The myth in Southern France is that if you treat a black cat with respect, you’ll get repaid with a lot of wealth! That’s why many people give these cats the first bite of their meals and a nice and comfy sleeping place.
Finding treasure at a crossroads
According to a French Folktale, if you place a black cat at a crossroads, well, to be more precise, where five roads meet, then they could find treasure. That’s exciting, but we don’t think a crossroads where five roads meet is something you can come by easily.
In fact, we think that finding the treasure would be easier than finding a crossroads where five roads meet and then placing a black cat on it! But that’s today. Maybe that was not the case back in the day.
If a cat in a theater is a sign of good luck, then casting a black cat for a movie or a show makes a lot of sense! You never know. Maybe that’s what could make the film become a box-office success!
Hollywood, for one, loves working with black cats, considering the number of popular black cats from TV shows and movies like The Simpsons, Hocus Pocus, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and many more. Many of these shows and movies are cult classics. See where we’re going with this?
How many of you are aware of black cats having their own holidays? Not many, right? This one isn’t even a myth! It’s a fact. And a really cool one at that! Irrespective of whether they’re good omens or bad ones, they have their own day.
No, they are not the most popular cats worldwide, but they are still appreciated. For instance, the 17th of August is Black Cat Appreciation Day in the USA. Similarly, the 27th of October is National Black Cat Day in England, and October is Black Cat Awareness Month! These guys aren’t doing too bad in life!
Are you scared?
Chances are you’ve probably heard this myth as well, considering that it’s almost as famous as the one about black cats crossing roads and causing bad luck. If a black cat finds its way into your dreams, that signifies fear.
Unlike other myths, this one doesn’t really mean that it’s evil or it’s a sign of bad luck or anything, but it means that you’re scared and need to face your fears. A black cat attacking you in your dream also means the same thing.
Leave some milk for them
Have you ever heard of Freya? She’s a Norse goddess who is associated with war, love, beauty, and fertility, among many other things. If you read more about her, you’ll notice that she’s often displayed driving a chariot pulled by massive black cats.
There is a saying about this as well. It’s good to leave milk out for black cats during the harvest season. They’re believed to be Freya’s black cats, and if you leave a bowl of milk for them, they’ll bless you.
Pirates and black cats
Well, we couldn’t really leave them out of this one. Get ready for a black cat myth that was quite famous in the world of pirates. Back in the 18th century, pirates had mixed opinions about black cats. Sometimes they were holy, and sometimes evil.
Allow us to provide some backstory for you. For instance, a black cat coming toward a person straight on is a sign of bad luck. Similarly, a black cat walking away from a person was considered to be a sign of good luck.
There is no exact ratio here. It’s just quantization, so hear us out. It is more likely for a male cat to be black than a female cat. This one is technically not a myth, although we wouldn’t be surprised if there are ‘side’ explanations for this one.
The reason a male cat is more likely to be black than a female black cat is genetic. The hair color of a cat is determined by the X chromosome. Therefore, while a male needs only one allele for black hair, a female needs two. Got really scientific in no time, right?
Salt and Pepper
John Lennon was a legend. He was one of the best singer-songwriters to ever exist, and of course, he was in the Beatles. Anyways, apart from being a legend, John Lennon was also a big-time cat person and believed in their powers.
He owned a pair of black and white cats, and since you read the title, you probably guessed their names as well! But you’d be wrong because John had a wicked sense of humor. He named the black one Salt and the white one Pepper!
Take good care of them
Well, you shouldn’t only take good care of black cats because of this myth. You should generally take good care of them because all cats deserve love. Sadly, black cats have the lowest adoption rates in the USA. This just makes us sad.
Anyways, this belief is from the Northern parts of Europe. Back in the day, it was believed that if you took in or adopted a black cat and cared for it, the black cat would ensure safe weather and passage for sea voyages.
In Italy, it’s believed that if a person sees a black cat sneeze in front of them, it is a good omen. It means that the person is in for a streak of good luck! That said, we think it’s relatively rare to find yourself in this situation unless you’ve adopted a black cat.
If you haven’t adopted one, then roaming the streets just to find a black cat seems like a huge task. After finding it, you then have to wait for it to sneeze, which seems like an impossible task! Anyways, if it brings one good luck, why not?