Weird Superstitions About Cats From Around the World
We all know that black cats are a popular symbol for Halloween and that they have (a completely unfair) reputation for being unlucky, but are you familiar with the origins of these superstitions?
Cats may have a bad rap in some cultures, but not all superstitions around them are negative! You’ll be relieved to learn that in many places, cats have long been associated with prosperity, luck, and more!
Read on to learn some strange superstitions about cats from around the world.
Cats are associated with witches
One of the most common superstitions about cats is that they are the companions of witches. This idea was prevalent in medieval folklore, but it may have started earlier.
In Greek mythology, the goddess Hera used witchcraft to turn someone into a cat as a form of punishment, so this may have fed into the negative association of felines and magic.
This idea became so prolific during the era of witch trials that simply owning a cat was considered proof enough to condemn someone as a witch. Some people even thought that witches could turn into black cats as a form of disguise.
Even though these associations may not be taken seriously anymore, there’s no denying that black cats are still culturally linked to witches, Halloween, and the occult, even if only for fun. These perpetuating superstitions are likely why black cats have the lowest adoption rates of any coat colour.
Black cats are unlucky
Their affiliation with witches and the occult is probably partly to blame for the superstition that cats are unlucky, but this idea appears in folklore from many cultures.
In western culture, a black cat crossing your path was considered a bad omen because of a cat’s perceived connection with witches and black magic. If the cat crossed your path, it was seen as having encountered a witch who was up to no good.
In Italy, a black cat was considered a symbol of bad luck to come.
In Celtic culture, a black cat with a white spot on its chest, known as cat-sithe, was believed to steal souls from corpses before the gods could claim them. Cat-sithe was also believed to curse dairy cows, preventing them from producing milk if farmers failed to leave a full saucer out for him.
Cats are lucky
As often as cats have been depicted as unlucky, they’ve also been seen as a positive omen in cultures worldwide.
· In France, black cats with one or more white hairs are considered lucky.
· Seeing a black cat on your porch in Scotland means you are lucky.
· Over in Italy, hearing a cat sneeze is a symbol of good luck.
· Polydactyl cats are considered lucky in several places around the world, including Wales, the UK, and North America.
Cats bring protection and good fortune
In Ancient Egypt, people prayed to the cat deity Bastet, who was seen as a protector. Because of Bastet, domestic cats became popular and were seen as her living incarnation. Cats were commonly featured in art and jewelry design because they were so highly revered.
Japanese folklore also reveres cats and sees them as offering protection and luck. We’ve all seen the “beckoning cat” figurines with their raised paw. These are often placed in the doorways of businesses to welcome visitors and symbolize protection.
The Bottom Line
Cats certainly have a varied reputation throughout the world, but as cat lovers, we tend to think they’re awesome all around. Which one of these superstitions do you think is most applicable to your cat? Are they a symbol of luck? Or perhaps good fortune? Let us know in the comments!