Last Updated on July 2, 2021 by Fumipets
Whether you are a cat owner or not, we can all agree that there is no other domesticated animal that has had as much negative reputation like black cats have.
While black cats are often linked with Halloween, witches, and ill luck, there is much more to these furry balls than just the scary things that they are associated with.
Read on to learn about the history of black cats, including how they became Halloween symbols, how they are seen as a sign of good fortune in certain cultures, and how their DNA may one day be used to help prevent certain human illnesses.
1. The Background of Black Cats and Witches
Black cats are iconic Halloween symbols—and, strangely enough, the number one costume option for both elementary-aged children and women in their first year of college—but do you know how they earned such a scary reputation?
Black cats began to be linked with Satan, witches, and the practise of witchcraft in the Middle Ages; some people even went so far as to think that black cats were accomplices to witches or even witches who had assumed another shape. This widespread belief led in the horrifying mass slaughter of black cats, as well as the deaths of their owners in certain instances.
Aside from the fact that black cats continue to symbolise everything spooky, the dread of black cats continues to have some effect today. Many animal shelters will not put black cats in homes during the month of October out of concern that they would be used as a sacrifice animal.
2. Black Cats Can Help Your Love Life
Forget about the clichéd image of the cat woman who is eternally alone. Many people across the globe think that black cats may really help you with your love life.
In Japan, for example, it is thought that unmarried ladies who possess black cats would attract more suitors than other women. In the English Midlands of Great Britain, a black cat is the perfect wedding present, since cats are thought to bring good luck and happiness to the bride and her family.
3. Black Cats Can Bring You Good fortune
Not only can black cats enhance your love life, but they can also increase your good fortune and help you with your money as well. Historically, sailors took cats onboard ships to kill mice—and, presumably, to provide companionship—but British seamen thought that bringing a black cat aboard would bring the ship good luck and guarantee a safe return home after a long journey.
For pirates, though, things were a bit more complex. According to their beliefs, seeing a black cat coming toward you meant ill luck, seeing a black cat walking away from you meant good luck, seeing a cat leap on board a ship meant the ship was going to sink.
For those who are not involved in the maritime industry, a black cat appearing on your doorstep indicates wealth (a notion that is widespread in Scotland), and a black cat crossing your path signals good luck (in England and Ireland).
4. Black cats have the ability to resist disease.
Genetic abnormalities that lead cats to have black coats, according to National Institutes of Health researchers, may confer some protection against illnesses on the cats that have them. As it turns out, the mutations have an effect on the same genes that confer human HIV resistance.
Cats are excellent models for researching human illness since they may suffer from many of the same ailments as humans, such as cancer, HIV, and Alzheimer’s disease, to mention a few examples. Researchers may be able to learn more about how cats have evolved to fight illness, and this knowledge may one day help them understand how to avoid disease in people.
5. Black cats may change their colour.
It is possible for your black cat to develop rusty brown hair if he has the tabby stripe gene and enjoys spending his days lazing in the sun. Why? The sun’s rays cause the pigment in their fur to break away, revealing the underlying tabby stripes underneath.