For centuries, black cats have been associated with superstition and folklore. Historically, in the UK and United States, black cats were believed to be evil and associated with witchcraft. In China, a black cat was a sign of hard times and poverty, and in Europe if a black cat jumped on a sick bed it was a sure sign that death was near.
Many of these superstitions about black cats continue to exist today, and for this reason black cats often have the lowest rates of adoption at rescue organisations.
Black cats aren’t only associated with bad luck and evil though, in some cultures they are celebrated and seen as a sign of good luck.
Black Cats Bring Good Luck
You may remember being told that it is bad luck to have a black cat cross your path. Whilst this superstition remains true is the United States and parts of Europe, in other countries (such as the UK, Japan and Australia) it’s the opposite and a black cat is a sign of good fortune and good luck.
It is believed to be a sign of good luck and future prosperity if a black cat enters your house, if a dark and mysterious black cat meets you at your front door, or if you stroke a black cat three times. And if you dream about a black cat, it is a sure sign that good luck is coming.
Pirates and Sailors
In the 19th century sailors kept black cats on ships as they believed it would bring them luck. Fisherman’s wives kept black cats while their husbands went away to sea, believing that this would ensure their husbands safe return.
Pirates thought that if a black cat was walking in their direction, it was a sign of the bad luck that was to come. However, if a black cat was walking away from a pirate, it was seen as a symbol of good luck. If a black cat walked onto a pirate ship and then walked off it again the ship was doomed and likely to sink on its next voyage.
Romance and Weddings
In Japan, a black cat is thought to improve your love life. Superstition says that a woman with a black cat can expect to have many suitors, which means many a man keen to marry them.
It is also believed that a bride will have a happy married life if a black cat sneezes near her on her wedding day.
Black cats are often given as wedding presents to bring the newly wedded couple good luck, often in the form of ornamental black cats purchased as wedding gifts, rather than a living black cat.
I have personally had the good fortune to know two beautiful black cats, who crossed my path multiple times each day and brought nothing but joy and happiness.
Are you superstitious about black cats bringing bad luck? How do you react to a black cat crossing your path? Have you adopted a black cat? Please share your stories and superstitions about black cats.