Cat rulers of Egypt
In Ancient Egypt, things were still looking up for black cats. They were worshipped, just like their more colorful buddies. The Ancient Egyptian god of cats, called Bastet, was often portrayed as a woman with the head of a black cat, so our black felines had nothing to fear.
The mythical Cat Sìth
In Celtic mythology however, a legend existed about a creature called the Cat Sìth. The Cat Sìth was said to resemble a large black cat with a white spot on its chest. Legend has it that the Cat Sìth could steal a person’s soul before the gods could claim it, by passing over a corpse before the burial. Therefore, watches were organized to keep the mythical creature away from the corpses.
Black cats and witches
In the Middle Ages in Europe, black cats were often associated with witches. In the 1560s in Lincolnshire, England, on a moonless night a father and son were traveling when a black cat crossed their path. They pelted the cat with rocks, until the poor animal fled into the home of a woman who at the time was being accused of being a witch. The next day, the father and son saw the woman who lived in the house. She was limping and bruised, so they assumed witches could turn into black cats at night to roam around unobserved. This belief spread to the USA with the first settlers and was held firmly during the Salem witch trials.
Even today many people think black cats bring bad luck. Around Halloween for example, black cats are portrayed on all sorts of decorative items, often accompanied by witches.
How about good luck?
Luckily, there are some places in the world where black cats are considered good luck. In Scotland for example, a strange black cat arriving at your home is believed to bring prosperity. In the rest of Britain, a black cat crossing your path is considered good luck. The same goes for Japan.
Adopt a black cat
Unfortunately, black cats are still less likely to be adopted from a shelter than their more colorful buddies. So next time you adopt a new furry friend, please consider giving a black cat a forever home.