Thursday, October 25, 2012

What Is It About Black Cats? 13 Superstitions & One Real Life Encounter

A kitten who could be adopted from the Wisconsin Humane Society.She looks like my first cat. 

            
            My first cat was black except for a tiny dab of white under her chin. She was petite, graceful and tolerant of me, a first-time pet owner, and my son, a toddler at the time. She taught me the ropes: what kind of food she liked, when her litter needed changing, the proper way to pet her when she wanted affection.
            But perhaps my cat loved the outside world and the hunt even more than me.  Or perhaps she considered my cat training complete because a little over a year after she and I had adopted one another, she left the house and never returned.
            Her hunting was something we could never agree about. I wanted her to adjust to living indoors. She refused to be penned inside and would lurk by the door, looking for the opportunity to escape. Abetted by my toddler, she regularly got out and, until her last expedition, she’d always come back.
            Off and on, we looked for her for months, leaving posters around the neighborhood and visiting cat shelters. Always we found ourselves describing her yellow eyes and ebony coat. People often would share their black cat experiences with us. Some said black cats were the best hunters. Others told us about their pets and still others, the more scholarly of our friends, gave us a mini history lesson, which went something like this:
            In the Middle Ages, black cats were rumored to be witches’ familiars or sometimes even evolving into the shape of the witch herself. Many people attributed a mystical and perhaps an evil nature to the felines. Even today, they’re sometimes associated with magic and eeriness. Around Halloween, black cats take their place center stage along with pumpkins, witches and other holiday decorations.
            We never found our missing cat. I like to believe she might have returned to the family that initially raised her.
            Since then, we’ve had a number of cats and all have lived out their lives with us. All have been indoor felines and no others have been black. Probably that's because we try to pick our cats by personality rather than color, but I don’t think there’s any other color in cats that inspires so many varied reactions.
            In memory of Mimi, my wandering first cat, here are 13 superstitions.


  1. In Italy, some people believe that if a black cat curls up on the bed of a sick person, that person will soon die.
  2. In other locales, people are warned not to chase a black cat from their house because doing so brings ruin on the home.
  3. Some Chinese say that black cats are harbingers of poverty and famine.
  4. There are lots of superstitions about a black cat walking. In some places, they believe that if a dark cat comes toward you, so will good fortune, but if it heads away from you, it will take your prosperity with it.
  5. It’s said, in the United States and Great Britain, that if a black cat crosses your path, you're destined to have bad luck.
  6. But black cats don’t always foretell trouble.  Some cultures believe that petting one of the ebony beauties leads to health and prosperity.
  7. In Germany, you have to pay attention to the direction in which the cat crosses your path. If it comes from the right, your luck will be BAD. But if it comes from the left, plan on GOOD FORTUNE.
  8. Rumor has it, if you’re in Latvia and you find black kittens in your silo, you can anticipate an abundant harvest.
  9. In Scottish lore, riches will come your way if a black cat sits on your porch.
  10. Some cultures believe that black cats can heal. One belief is that pressing a black cat’s tail to your eye cures conditions ranging from a simple sty to blindness.
  11. Another superstition is that if you can find and remove a white hair from an ebony cat without getting scratched, you’ll be blessed with a happy marriage.
  12. Many a fisherman’s wife kept a black cat because she believed it would ensure her husband returning safely from the sea.
  13. To be given a black cat is supposedly good luck.
            In my case, getting my first cat was good fortune indeed. She taught me how to live with a furry friend and how wonderful its pleasures and purrs could be.
            What do you think about black cats? Are they lucky for you? Or something you avoid? Please share.                                                

Sources


A Dictionary of Superstitions, Iona Archibald, Opie – Moira Tatem~Oxford University Press ~ 2005





27 comments:

  1. Frankly, if you can do number eleven, you're a miracle worker of the first order! LOL!

    Happy TT!

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    1. Yeah, I don't think I'd ever try to yank a hair off a cat. It's one of those impossible feats I'm betting.

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  2. Love this blog! Wonderful TT list! I miss my black kitty, R.I.P. "Catastrophe"

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    1. I feel for you. It's hard to lose a pet.

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  3. The first cat in our family who was "all mine" was black. I named him Midnight Star - at the age of six, I thought it was the most beautiful name ever, and terribly original, lol. He liked wading in bathtub water and eating pizza. We inherited a black cat from my older brother, her name was Asphalt. She loved cantalope. She also liked my future husband, and her stamp of approval helped my mom accept him too. Thanks for some fun and fond memories of the black cats in my life.

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    1. I think both names Midnight Star and Asphalt are cool for black cats. I had a cat who liked cantaloupe too. Thanks for reminding me and thanks for visiting.

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  4. I didn't realize there were superstitions involving good luck and black cats. We used to own a couple of them. They were always crossing our paths. :)

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    1. Yeah. I thought about how many times Mimi crossed my path and decided it was a good thing I didn't put a lot of stock into black cat=bad fortune beliefs. She was a great cat.

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  5. When I was growing up we had a black cat named Trouble. My mom named her because she claimed the kitten would bring us nothing but trouble. (She had a new baby, two grade school children and two adult cats already.) She eventually became a beloved member of our household, but always and still called Trouble.

    I like #12 best. Very romantic, I think. A woman and her cat waiting for their sailor to return from the sea.

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    1. Trouble? That's a great name.

      I like number #12 too. There's something about waiting and being reunited that just seems so romantic to me.

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  6. That's a lot of black cat 'superstitions'. Hopefully, only the good ones panned out. Enjoy your day.

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    1. Thanks I am Harriet. Good idea--I'm with you.

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  7. I love cats of every color, but there's something about black cats. We've had two two of them. Talon was our first. He loved my husband to bits. Even though my husband never came home at the same time, Talon knew when he was coming. About ten minutes before hubs got home, Talon would go sit by the back door and wait for him - even days he came home sick. It was uncanny. He was also very protective of our firstborn son. He'd growl at anyone who came to see the baby, sleep under his cradle and lay next to him on the floor or couch.

    After Talon died, we found a black kitten wandering in traffic who grew up to look almost exactly like Talon - it was eery. His name was Rowan. He was so gentle and loving. Unfortunately, he passed away last winter at the age of 15. But black cats will always be lucky for our family.

    I'm so sorry Mimi didn't return, but she sounds like she was a wonderful companion while she was with you. :)

    Sheesh...I'm sorry - this is a huge comment! o.O

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    1. Yeah, there are just some cats that are special, almost magical like your Talon. I feel really fortunate to have a few like that.

      And by the way, I appreciate your comment--it's great. Thanks for spending some time in the diner and sharing with me.

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  8. My black cat story has more to do with ghosts, I suppose. In my family, after someone dies, a black cat shows up, stays for a year, and then disappears. It is weird. It has happened three times.

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  9. Wow, your black cat story does sound like a ghost story. There are happenings that just can't be explained. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. It's a FACT: given the same preparation and stewing time, black cats are far more tender than any other color. Calicoes are salty.

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    1. Ron,
      I'll just have to take your word on that.

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  11. It's a very cute kitty. My mom is so superstitious that she'd go out of her way to avoid a black cat.

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  12. Yeah, I think the kitten's adorable too. I like black cats and consider myself fortunate when I see them.

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  13. Thanks so much for joining us at Thursday's Children this week! I am also partial to feline familiars. I got my first cat when I was 10 years old, a Himalayan whom I named Madame Butterfly––I was going through a Puccini phase. Unfortunately, Butterfly turned out to be a boy. So we shortened it to "Fly." I blame his moody personality on the fact that I unintentionally transgendered him ;-) But I loved him all the same!

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    1. Grin. You're welcome. I think the name "Fly" might really suit some cats.

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  14. I have been curious about about the black cat and also about its (and other cats) nine lives.

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    1. Colleen,
      I am too. I love the notion of nine lives. I want to do a post on it some day.

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  15. Put me down for the "black cats lucky" column. I've never had a fully black cat (my baby Elsie is a cow patterned cat, and I once had a black cat with white sox and a white nose named Spooky), but my best friend had one for years, and she was not only beautiful, she was smart as a whip. I love all cats -- like people, color is just pigmentation!

    Thank you for sharing all the cool trivia. I adore learning more about cat lore! And the kitten at the time is so adorable it's just not right. I hope s/he gets a wonderful home.

    Heather

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    1. Heather,
      I'm with you. My black cat was lucky for me and I hope the kitten finds a great home, too. I bet she will.

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  16. I took a picture of a black cat today!

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