Outdated Suspicions: Let’s Debunk Myths & Create Safe Havens for All Black Cats

It’s odd that there’s a certain time of year that threatens the safety and well being of a very specific animal. All cats deserve the comfort and peace of their very homes, but during the days before and after Halloween, black cats need extra special protection.

 Why is this, exactly? 

The prejudice and fear people have is somehow triggered by black cats, and we aim to stop the negative perception – for all the months of the year.

History and Symbology

Suspicions surrounding blacks cats began long ago. Despite being worshipped in ancient Egypt, human perceptions shifted over time. They were thought to be the familiars of witches, meaning that dangerous witches could transform themselves into cats. People were convinced that the Devil could take the form of a black cat, a notion that dispelled any admiration or affection for dark-furred felines. 

Bad Omens

Perhaps as a result of their quiet, stealthy natures and misunderstood behaviors, cats became the subject of high scrutiny and judgement. Lore from Europe in the middle ages paints a terrible picture of large-scale killing of black cats. 

On Trial

The Pilgrims were a devout group of people, and the practice of witchcraft stood in direct opposition to their strong beliefs. Anyone that contradicted their faith was, in effect, punished or killed. The subsequent Salem Witch Trials infamously reinforced the perceived partnership between witches and black cats, and many were burned at the stake together. Unfortunately, the view of black cats was upheld in many decades to come, as evidenced by these common sentiments:

  • When a black cat crosses your path you will experience very bad luck
  • Bad fortune will rain down on you if you meet a black cat at twilight
  • Black cats could bring terrible illness if dreamed about on Christmas
  • If a black cat sits on the bed of a sick person they will bring death
  • If a black cat is seen on a gravestone, the spirit of the deceased is wandering

Good Luck and Fortune

Luckily, black cats were embraced and celebrated in other cultures around the world (and remain in high opinion today).

Throughout the United Kingdom and France, black cats were symbols of posterity and good luck. Norwegian sailors brought black cats on board to ensure good weather on the high seas. In Japan, and throughout Asia, blacks cats were good luck symbols. In Italy, it was good luck to hear a black cat sneeze. 

Black Cats and Halloween

There will probably always be Halloween decorations that feature black cats. But unlike other seasonal mainstays like ghosts, zombies, and vampires, black cats are in real danger of being captured, abused, or worse. 

All pets should be carefully considered on and around Halloween, but it’s best to keep black cats indoors a few days before and after Halloween.  Keep them comfortable in a room away from the front door, and reward them with extra play time and cuddles.

If you have further questions about blacks cats, or have an interest in adopting one of these special felines, please let us know. From all of us at Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates, have a safe and happy Halloween.