Black cats have been considered unlucky since centuries, but is there any truth in it? Are black cats unlucky as many believe them to be?
We have all grown up watching horror movies and listening to late night horror stories and though they had been different in many ways, one common element had been the same, and continues to remain so in present times – Cats! Yes, the mysterious and ominous ‘black cats’ that have been bringing bad luck to the world since time immemorial. You can’t deny waiting for another person to walk ahead on the road you were just zipping along, only because a black cat crossed your path, leaving you in dreadful thoughts. Can you deny that? Well, we can’t! So, are black cats unlucky in reality or is it just another superstition?
told by our Everyone knows that when a black cat crosses your path bad luck is sure to follow, but have you ever wondered how black cats got their dark reputation? Is it simply due to the color of their coat, or something more sinister?
Black cats as the devil’s messengers or the devil himself
Black cats were looked upon as messengers of the devil and to be more precise the devil himself, owing to the religious take on them. In those days, religion had the power to influence things more than it has now. So, somewhere around 1233 AD, Pope Gregory IX is said to have passed on a message to all Christians that black cats were an incarnation of the Devil and what followed was a mass execution of black cats by the then Christian community. During such time, black cats were captured and burnt alive. This had led to near extinction of black cats and cats on a whole.
Black cats and witches: The evil connection
The drive against black cats continued over to another level in the following centuries with a new belief gaining control of the religious – Witches and cats were linked in more ways than known! A new superstition came into existence that claimed that black cats were witches in disguise and hence, both the black cat and the witches were the servants or mediums of evil. The growing superstition led to the dark centuries of the witch hunt, wherein many were accused of witchcraft and those proven guilty were burnt at the stakes. During that time, a black cat was not a pet that people could keep as it led to the accusation of practicing witchcraft, or worse being a witch.
Black cats and the superstitions in India
To be frank, most of the superstitions surrounding black cats, especially the one that asserts that if a black cat crosses your path than you should wait for somebody else to cross it first, came in from Europe, mostly from the British and the Portuguese ruler. Over the years the black cat superstition gained roots in our society and became an integral part of the superstitious clans of India. Here, they pitched in their own beliefs and assertions about how the black cat and cats in general were links that connected ghosts with the living and many such stories.
Black cats superstitions in the present world
The superstition continues till today though not in a fanatic way of the yesteryears. There are no black cat or witch hunts, but the mindset of the old generation has not changed much. They may not burn a cat or a woman or man for keeping a black cat, but would avoid being around one or keeping one as a pet themselves. Even today, people continue to stop when a black cat crosses their path. We do it too. Not because we believe in it but because the thought has been hardwired into us since our childhood and all such thoughts influence your actions for a lifetime, even if on a much lower level.
Also read: Why cats are more manageable than dogs
Black cats and their absurd evil connections
Over the past centuries black cats have been linked to anything and everything, from being called messengers of satan or an incarnation of satan himself, being looked upon as helpers and evil pets of witches or the witches themselves in disguise, mediums of the otherworld and ghosts and many other things. Every country around the world has some evil legend about black cats going around since generations.
So, is it all black for Black Cats?
Well, you will be surprised to learn that there are some countries around the world where a black cat is not looked upon as an evil animal or a bringer of bad omen. On the contrary, they are being considered good luck.
In Scotland, black cats are associated with prosperity and one coming to your house is a good sign. In Asian culture too, especially Japan, black cats have been considered lucky and their association with humans was believed to bring good fortune. Hence many people in Japan owned black cats for reasons like bringing the right suitors or young women.
In some regions like the English Midlands, a black cat was considered the most prosperous wedding gift, as it was believed to bring good fortune and happiness to the married couple.
Many such beliefs ensured that black cats were not wiped off completely from existence.
So, are black cats unlucky?
Yes, if anything, black cats are unlucky for their own kind for being subjected to such human absurdity since ages. They are nothing but victims of superstitions spread by humans for things they feared or couldn’t understand.
On a funny note – I have seen black cats stop and take a different route in cases where people crossed their paths. In their case, they have a valid reason to do!