As Halloween approaches, and you plan for trick or treaters to visit your home, you may be thinking about getting more candy. It might be to replace the candy that you had already purchased for trick or treaters but ended up eating yourself. You may be frantically thinking that you need to make a costume for your child because Halloween is almost here. You may be thinking about many different things—but not really thinking as much about black cats—even if you own one.
Black cats are often associated with Halloween. What color cat does a witch have? You really never see one with a gray tabby—they are typically black.
There are more male black cats than female black cats. As a result of their genetics, black cats also typically have beautiful yellow/golden eyes.
Black cats have a very long history in folklore—some of which lends itself to Halloween. However, some of the folklore regarding black cats may be different from what you think.
You may know that the ancient Egyptians worshipped all cats and black cats. They felt they embodied gods. Cats were also revered because they kept their food stores safe from mice and rats. In ancient Egypt, the penalty for accidentally killing a cat was death.
Meanwhile, Scottish folklore indicates that a black cat’s arrival to a home indicates prosperity. Black cats are considered good luck in most of Britain and Japan.
In some countries, like the United Kingdom, a black cat crossing your path is considered good luck. I remember my Scottish grandfather telling me that it was good luck if a black cat crossed your path going from left to right—but bad luck if it was going from right to left. That superstition regarding the direction the cat is walking is also held in Germany. I wonder what it would mean if a black cat is pacing back and forth?
In most of Europe, a black cat is a symbol of bad luck. In the middle ages it was believed that witches could disguise themselves as black cats. As a result, black cats were considered to be feared in much the same way as witches. Black cats were also associated with death in much the same way a raven would be—as a bad omen. As a result, black cats were persecuted in Europe and mass killings of black cats took place. They were persecuted along the same lines as people suspected of witchcraft.
This same problem of persecution took place in America, particularly in the 1600’s when there were witch trials.
If you are fortunate enough to own a black cat, you know that all those superstitions are wrong—except maybe the positive ones.
For much of my life I have had a black cat. Sadly, my black cat, Ringo, passed away in 2019. He was very unique. He enjoyed fetching (he would initiate it) and would sometimes collect his cat toys and put them all in one spot. I suspect that he was working on communicating with aliens and that his death may have just been that his alien transport body had become exhausted.
Another bit of black cat trivia, Black Cat Appreciation Day is August 17th. The day was created by the artist, Wayne H. Morris, who creates artwork with cats (mostly black cats). The date was chosen to honor his sister, June, who had passed away at the young age of 33—just two months after her black cat Sinbad had died at the age of 20.
With Halloween approaching, there is some concern that people are more prone to abusing black cats on and around Halloween. If possible, I recommend keeping your black cat inside your home during this time. I would always keep my black cats inside on Halloween just to be safe—and to provide a warm greeting in the home to trick or treaters.
Perhaps you need a bigger home so you can have more cats (black or otherwise)
Have a happy and safe Halloween!