Did you know that October is Black Cat Awareness Month? This initiative aims to bring attention to the low adoption rate of dark-furred felines due to false beliefs and superstitions associated with them.
It’s important to know that from 2800 BC until the Middle Ages, cats of all breeds were considered royalty and even magical creatures. They were adorned with jewels and well-fed. Even after death, some cats were mummified. For injuring or killing a cat, there were severe consequences...including the death penalty!
So where do these negative beliefs about black cats come from?
Black cats and Greek mythology
According to Greek mythology, Hera, the wife of Zeus, once punished Galinthias, one of her servants, by turning him into a black cat. Since Galinthias became the assistant of Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft, black cats have had particular symbolic implications in many civilizations.
Black cats were associated with witches
During the Middle Ages, stray cats were often taken in by single women who were then accused of witchcraft. It was quite common for homeless cats to be black. People believed that these felines were reincarnated witches or assistants in their evil activities.
The idea that cats have nine lives also has to do with the belief that a witch can turn into a black cat up to nine times.
Black cats bring bad luck
Black cats are also associated with bad luck and even death. This affiliation is thought to originate from medieval times, when creatures with dark feathers or fur, such as crows and ravens, were a premonition of looming misfortune.
Apparently in the old days, a black cat crossing your path in the moonlight was considered a warning of a pandemic (anyone come across one in early 2020?). In Italy, a black cat on a sick person's bed was a sign of death. Fortunately, these are just superstitions!
In many cultures, black cats are a symbol of good fortune and prosperity. In the past, sailors and fishermen considered them to be their sailing companions and a symbol of good luck. Since black cats often wandered, they also took advantage of the opportunity to bring them on board to scare away vermin and rodents. They even believed that these little black furry creatures could predict the weather!
Regardless of the myths and beliefs about black cats, don't limit yourselves to celebrating them only in October, but rather all year long! It’s important to raise awareness among your family and friends so that black cats are adopted and loved just like any other fur color. 🖤