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With Halloween around the corner it seems like a good idea to have a look at black cats. I don’t want to dwell on the negative, but throughout history black cats have gotten a pretty bad rep, especially with their alleged association with witchcraft. Unfortunately, it’s the ignorance and superstitions of humans but black cats are paying the price. During my time kitty sitting I have had many black cats in my care – overall they’ve been affectionate, loving, well-behaved kitties and yes, they all have different personalities just like any other cats. They do well as an “only child” and get on well with “cat siblings”, some are super playful and other are super aloof. And many, many, many a black cat has crossed my path and I can’t say it’s brought me bad luck … well, no worse than what I’m used to!

The sad truth, however, is that black cats are often the last to get adopted at the shelter – watching siblings and friends going to their forever homes while they get left behind. The conundrum is that while black cats tend not to be chosen some shelters put a hold on allowing black cats being adopted during the month of October in fear for their safety.

So if you are ready to adopt a kitty consider a black cat and bring some luck into your life!

In Ancient Egypt cats were worshipped and treated as royalty (a fact cats will never let us forget) and they personified the goddess Bast, who was believed to bring good fortune. Cats were so revered that it was a capital offence to kill one.

In the 18th and 19th centuries in Northern Europe fishermen’s wives would seek out black cats because it was believed to ensure her husband’s safe return home. Black cats were also favoured as shipboard cats, thought to bring plentiful catches and calm voyages. These beliefs ran so deep that black cats came to cost so much that they became unaffordable for the average sailor.

Black cats are reputed to be able to lead the way to buried treasure … and not just pirate treasure but anything hidden away underground. How? French peasants believed that if a black cat was released at a five-road crossroad that black cat would lead them to buried treasure. Cats do have a good sense of “home”, so at the very least they would lead them away from the five-road intersection in the right direction.

In France black cats have also been called “matagot” (magician cats or money cats) – give them a nice bed to sleep in and the first bite of your dinner they will reward you with wealth and good fortune.

Staying on the subject of good fortune … Norse mythology tells the story of Freya, the goddess of love, fertility and beauty who rode on a chariot pulled by two black cats. Farmers would leave saucers of milk in their fields for the cats hoping to curry favour with Freya who would then bless them with a good harvest.

Black cats bless marriages according to an old English superstition so a gift of a black cat was often given to a bride. Newlyweds with a black cat in their home can look forward to a long and happy life together with the added bonus of the black cat warding off evil. Cats have often been associated with motherhood, love and fertility and in many cultures black is the colour of protection.

Black cat, cross my path

Good fortune bring to home and hearth

When I am away from home

Bring me luck wherever I roam

Old English Charm

Not getting married but hoping to? In Japan and Great Britain they would advise you to get a black cat asap because they are reputed to bring suitors to your doorstep.

Whenever the cat of the house is black

The lasses of lovers will have no lack

English Proverb

Black cats are good Feng Shui. Black cats possess strong powers of good and are drawn to harmony so a happy cat is a sign of a happy harmonious home. If you keep your black cat happy and safe it will keep you happy and safe in return. Can’t have a black cat? A black cat figurine placed facing north will help keep the energy good and the bad spirits away.

Not convinced yet? Here's a few more tidbits ...

The ancient Celts believed black cats to be reincarnated beings who could foretell the future.

Many cultures consider black cats to be mystical creatures which are really fairies in disguise.

Actors and playwrights consider it very good luck for the success of a play if a black cat appears in the audience.

So, the next time a black cat crosses your path - pet it!

Black cats steal hearts NOT souls.

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