Author: Chris O’Neil, Founder, Catology – Cat Behaviour Solutions

Whether you’re superstitious or not, everyone knows the one about black cats being unlucky.  In fact, some studies show that the belief is so strong that it affects adoption rates (though slightly)!

However, depending on the culture, many think that black cats are actually omens of good luck (this is the camp I’m in!).

Let’s unpack some of the superstitions, myths and facts around black cats, and I’ll show you, without a shadow of a doubt, that black cats are amazing!

 

Superstition: Black Cats Are Bad Luck

Based on my google research, there are a few origins to the “black cats are bad luck” superstition.

During the Middle Ages, black cats were mostly associated with witches, witchcraft and black magic.  The different theories were that the black cats were actually witches, demons, or spies for the witches in disguise.  In fact, and very sadly, the black cats of the witches were killed along with their owners during the Salem witch trials in the 17th century.

Another theory is that during Medieval times, black animals (including crows) were considered to be messengers of death.  This seems to have evolved into the current day superstitions about black cats crossing your path being bad luck (conversely, a white cat crossing your path being considered good luck).

 

Fact (or at least I think so!): Black Cats Are GOOD Luck

The “truth” that I subscribe to is that black cats are good luck!  Obviously, my own anecdotal evidence (I love black cats – I’m even the proud guardian of one named “Max”!) and personal beliefs are as good as robust scientific studies on the subject, so let’s just say the science is settled on this.  Black Cats = good luck.

Here’s some cool cultural facts on this (according to Google):

  • Black cats were held in the highest esteem in Egypt
  • In Asia and the UK, owning a black cat means a lucky life
  • Gifting a bride a black cat in parts of England ensured a successful marriage
  • European sailors will have a safe journey with a black cat aboard
  • In France, seeing a black cat means something great is about to happen

Amazing right?  I mean, who wouldn’t want to own a black cat!

Unfortunately some studies show that the superstitions do slightly reduce the adoption rates and increase the euthanasia rates of black cats compared to other colors.  This is a real shame considering the wonderful (and extremely lucky) creatures they are.

So I leave you with this advice.  When you are looking for a cat for your next guardianship journey, perhaps a black one should be on the top of your list.  Apart from the obvious introduction of good luck into your life, you can feel good in the fact that you’ve adopted someone who had lower odds of being adopted.

Black cats rule.