How Black Cats Became a Symbol for Halloween
We love black cats! The black cat is one of the biggest symbols of Halloween and one of the biggest sources of superstition. Let’s look at the history of that superstition and some of the spooky stories that make black cats so special.
During Medieval times, in France and Spain, they thought black cats were bad luck and cursed any person who came near them. They also associated them as being the pets, or “familiars” of witches. Ever watch Sabrina the Teenage Witch? Her cat, Salem (named after the Salem witch trials) is a black cat.
In Germany, they thought that a cat crossing their path from left to right would curse them. ….I guess it was not a curse if the cat crossed their path from right to left.
In the UK, black cats were thought to bring affluence to the house they live in. So they were very desirable pets.
In Japan, they were thought to bring good luck.
In Ancient Egypt, black cats were worshipped as sacred and thought to be connected to the gods.
In the US, the pilgrim’s associated black cats with witchcraft and they hated anything to do with witchcraft. Because of this they actively went after black cats to burn them on a pyre. This legacy has persisted with the use of black cat imagery being used in Halloween decoration as an attempt to be frightful.
The Sad Reality
Unfortunately, the superstition surrounding black cats has made it hard on them around Halloween. There is a dramatic increase in violence against black cats at this time of year. Adoption of black cats drops off dramatically as well. Some shelters refuse to allow black cat adoptions during this time of year because people will use them as live decorations and then abandon them.
If you see a black cat cross your path, try to be a little extra nice to them. Black cats are beuaiful wonderful pets that bring happiness to our lives.