If you are one of those people who hate black cats due to some superstition or belief, let us open your eyes. There is a cure for your condition, and it is called knowledge. And since learning takes up no space, you will still have the same “hardware” capacity by the time you finish reading this post.
Let’s stop kidding; what we want is to stick it up for black cats. Cats that are the least adopted and therefore, the most culled. We want to show you how these little animals have been prosecuted and killed across history due to religious beliefs and fanaticism simply about their color.
But wait a minute! That story rings the bell, doesn’t it?
Humankind’s history is filled with similar episodes: “Black race” slavery; America’s “discovery” with its consequent annihilation or conversion of the indigenous peoples; the prosecution, concentration and murder of the “Jewish race”… We guess you get an idea of how “human” we have been lately.
History has always, or nearly always, been written by the victors. And while it is true that time ends up putting everyone if their place, the reality with black cats is that there is still some reticence in spite of the years.
This is the reason why we want to explain the real history of these cats and, since we are at it, give you 10+1 reasons to say “yes I do” to a black cat.
Cats in Ancient Egypt
But first things first. Let’s trace back to Ancient Egyptian times to discover that cats were considered messengers of good news and venerated as gods. As the Goddess Bastet to be exact, which was half cat half woman.
They have so praised that it was custom to see the rulers of the period with a kitten for the companion. When a cat would pass, its owners felt as if they were losing a child. It’s not strange to find out that they were mummified and buried next to live mice. Veneration was such that killing a cat was punishable by death.
It’s incredible “supernatural powers” that help them the land of their feet when jumping from the heights and their agility and skill to gracefully get away from tricky situations led the Egyptians to think they had seven lives and to consider them as magical and holy beings.
No matter whether the cats were black, white or colored, every cat was a divinity in the eyes of man.
Cats as inoculation against the Black Rat
Centuries went by, and the Middle Ages arrived with the Crusades. The Church wanted to reestablish Christian control over the Holy Land, and it ended up bringing the feared Black Rat in their ships.
This Black rat spread like wildfire, eating up entire harvests at the same time that it supported the transmission of diseases such as the Black Death, the Rabies, and the Yellow Fever.
What did humanity do then?
They resorted to cats to keep the rats at bay. Since they are such great predators, the number of mice decreased and harvests were spared from being devoured by birds and rodents. This led to increasing numbers of cats per capita and turned the cat into a pet across the Western World.
We could say the cat became humankind’s protector par excellence.
Black cats are for witches
The Church came back and decided to create an institution to prosecute heresy, homosexuality and, in general, anything that didn’t bear the “Catholic” stamp at praying time. It gave this new system the name of Inquisition and added the title of “Holy.” Holy cow! –we would say now.
Back then, it was normal to share the home with one or several cats. What happened was that many people, especially women, preferred to live with them rather than having a family. Everything totally normal.
The thing is that this independence was at odds with the Church’s ideas about family, which, together with the “supernatural powers” cats were thought to possess and their special bond with women, it didn’t take long for them to classify these women as witches and their cats as the very same Devil.
One of the myths that circulated at that time affirmed that witches turned into cats at night, specifically into black cats, since they can hide better in the shadows. Many paranormal stories existed that fueled this belief and that were passed on from one generation to the next.
Women and their cats were burned at stake by the thousands. They started burning black cats, thinking they were Satan’s reincarnation, and then they went on to kill any little animal that could “meow.” Being accused by a single person was all it took for the “Holy” Inquisition to interrogate, torture and turn one into ashes.
Current studies confirm that cats nearly faced extinction at that time. Of course, there wasn’t a single black cat left. It also has been proven that more than a million women were burnt alive by the Church over a 400-year period.
And the Black Death arrived
Although the Black Death had already turned up long ago, it wasn’t until this time that it made its triumphal entrance. So many cats got killed that the number of rodents, especially of Black Rats, increased, which led to the rapid dissemination of certain diseases.
One of them was the feared Black Death or Bubonic Plague, which we know was transmitted by the fleas those very rats were carrying. When mice died, insects were forced to find a new home, and this is where humans got their “stellar role.”
Twenty-five million people died in Europe victim of the Plague. The “Holy” Inquisition’s extermination of the cat population gave us a glimpse of what happens when we bust a ring in the food chain, and we pretend to survive it. Nature is wise and sooner or later it ends up putting everyone in the place they deserve.
Thanks to this, people started to believe in cats again, and they returned to our homes. But the truth is that black cats never got rid of their bad reputation.
Black cats today
With the years, the stories about black cats and witchcraft have been shaped into legends. It’s no wonder we still have parties such as Halloween where witches are always linked to black cats.
It is at this festive time when shelters must be most cautious with black cat adoptions because a good number of these foster parents are only seeking to abuse or sacrifice the animal.
There are also multiple TV shows where black cats are considered as something wicked, and its image is related to the esoteric and mysterious.
And what can we say about those cults where black magic is still practiced and where black cats are used in ceremonies.
If we performed a survey to find out the names that owners give to their black cats, we would confirm that most are color-based. It’s small wonder that we find names such as Black, Shadow, Ebony, Salem, Midnight, Fog, Wizard,… Very dark names that perhaps remind us of a not-so-pleasant past.
And indeed, we couldn’t miss here the biggest superstition still alive today: crossing paths with a black cat brings bad luck. Well, your cat would probably think the same were it to cross paths with certain “humans.”
10+1 reasons to say “Yes, I do” to a black cat
Fortunately, most people are more open-minded nowadays and understand that a black cat is just like any other cat and that it may even bring “benefits” that other cats don’t possess. We leave a list here with some of them:
- It’s like having a miniature panther at home.
- In Scotland, they hold the belief that having one at home brings good luck and if we find a black cat in our doorway, it is a sign of prosperity.
- In Italy, if a cat sneezes close by is considered good luck.
- Japanese think they bring positive things and they even recommend them to young women to find a partner.
- There exists the belief that touching a black cat brings good luck in gambling.
- Normally, they are lively, playful and caring cats.
- Some people think that if a black cat comes to you from the front, it will give you good luck.
- Crossing paths with one is considered good luck for life in England.
- If a black cat crosses your path on your way to marry at the church, it means a prosperous marriage.
- In Germany, if a black cat crosses from left to right, it is considered a sign of good luck.
- These are the cats that have suffered our ignorance and fear the most. Let’s give them a chance they deserve.
Neither evil, nor cursed, nor wizards or sorcerers, black cats are simply natural cats that deserve our love and respect. Let’s put an end to mistaken traditions and beliefs that do nothing but fueling the flames and lead to increasing culling each year.
Let’s put a black cat in our lives, and luck will be on our side for sure. Do you dare?