It’s definitely October as the leaves are turning colors and falling to the ground to be swept up into piles…for jumping in of course! October is also International Black Cat Awareness Month. A time when we celebrate these wonderful animals and raise awareness to break the superstitions that have plagued them for centuries.
The history of black cats
Many cultures have documented their history related to black cats. And it’s interesting to note that sometimes the cats are perceived as good luck, and other times not so much:
- In Scotland they believe that a strange black cat’s arrival to the home signifies prosperity.
- In the ancient Celtic mythology, a fairy known as the Cat Sìth takes the form of a black cat.
- If you travel to Japan or the U.K. black cats are considered good luck. They even believe that a lady who owns a black cat will have many suitors.
- Unfortunately in more Western history and cultures, black cats have typically been looked upon as a symbol of evil omens often associated with witches.
- In Europe if a black cat crosses your path it’s considered bad luck.
- Black cats & the Pilgrims
In the history of the United States, black cats have been persecuted since the time of the Pilgrims which is ironic given their good luck stature in the U.K. The Pilgrims were the ones that associated black cats to witches which helped perpetuate even to this day, the idea of black cats at Halloween. The Pilgrims were so suspicious that anyone caught with a black cat would be severely punished or even killed. They viewed the black cat as part demon and part sorcery which in turn led people to kill black cats.
Black cats in animal shelters
All of these superstitions and associations with Halloween and witches have been a constant problem for black cats. Studies have even shown that black cats have lower odds of adoption in animal shelters compared to other colors. Many animal shelters will not adopt black cats out around Halloween given the continuing superstitions and satanic tendencies of some around these celebrations.
Celebrating black cats
October 27 was originally designated ‘Black Cat Day’ by the Cats Protection organization in the U.K. to celebrate the virtues of black cats and to encourage people to adopt unwanted black cat. It has since grown to be celebrated as a month to bring awareness to the plight of black cats and to encourage people to consider them for adoption
We at the ARPA celebrate black cats. After all, our founder has 3 of them in addition to black dogs!
Black cats are not always considered a bad omen in Europe when it crosses your path, only if it crosses your path from left to right. If it crosses your path from right to left it means good luck. The saying rhymes in German and it’s hard to translate in to English.