Black Cats – 10 Superstitions Around Them

Some cultures believe that ebony felines bring bad luck, but did you know that there exists a belief that when a lady owns a black cat, luck in love and marriage is believed to increase?

Thirty years ago, a lot of people in the US and Europe would associate inky kitties with witchcraft, misfortune, and other superstitions. 

Today, thanks to the internet, we now know not everyone thinks so and there are even various beliefs around these frisky ebony felines:

cat jumping

Black Cats Bring Fortune and Protect from Evil Spirits

Many cultures believe that a black cat with green eyes (other cultures believe in gold eyes instead of green) is said to attract and protect prosperity. The Japanese, for example, believe in the Maneki Neko, or the beckoning cat, which is either white or black.

White cats are said to bring luck and fortune, but the black cats go beyond this – they drive away demons, negative energy, and – surprisingly – stalkers (stalkers are, in a way, like evil spirits – they tend to bug you until you break down).

An old English charm once goes like this:

Black cat, cross my path 
Good fortune bring to home and hearth
When I am away from home
Bring me luck wherever I roam

Some English believe that keeping a black cat keeps all the good things intact. A popular tale about this is that of King Charles. The monarch once kept a black cat, giving it all the care and privilege. When his furry friend died, he lamented the loss of his luck and on the next day, true to his belief, the poor monarch was arrested for treason.

On a lighter note, the Scots have a superstition that the arrival of a black cat to a home could mean prosperity. Across the English Channel, the Southern French believe that giving due and proper respect to a black feline – which they call matagot or magician cats – brings good luck.

Some adventurous farmers would put black cats in intersections, for these ebony kitties are said to lead their hoomans to treasure.

To Dream of a Black Cat is Lucky

Ancient cultures associate Black cats with power, independence, and intuition. Today, some people have carried on this belief. To them, dreaming of a black cat is considered lucky.

It is said that if you see an inky cat in your dreams, it means that you are to follow your intuition. When you are awake, it is possible that you have been too harassed by negative circumstances or bound by negative relationships with toxic people about you. The black little kitty in you is telling you to remove all those negative energies.

female cute cat

Owning a Black Cat Brings Wedding Bliss

Ancient Egyptians worship the goddess Bastet, the goddess of love and fertility – a cat goddess with the body of a human and the head of a black domestic cat.

In contemporary times, some English folk believe that a single woman owning a black cat will gain many suitors.

Black felines are said to bless marriages as well. So if your friend was given a black cat as a gift on her wedding day, do not panic – rejoice instead, for a bride given such a cute ebony kitty is said to live happily ever after.

A Black Cat Among Spectators Brings Good Performance

For theater actors, ebony feline among the audience is a sign of incoming fortune. There have been several stories of acting troupes who, after having the black cat passing through the audience side, found their show attendance and earnings to increase.

There is also a story of a theater actor, who, while outside the theater having his R and R, encountered a black cat before getting into an accident. He was hospitalized, but rather than feeling bad about the incident he said he was lucky enough to be alive – he owes it to the kitty he encountered and delayed his crossing the street, which saved his life.

Black Cats Protect Sailors and Ships from Dangers of the Sea

Some sailors believe that black cats can grant safe travel. Wives of seafarers and fishermen keep these dark felines in the hopes of their husbands’ safe returns. There was even a time that it became such a fad that buying black cats was so expensive.

Ships also keep these kitties to control mice population. Among sailors and pirates, however, is a belief that a black cat that walks onto a ship and then gets off would mean that the ship is bound to sink on the next journey.

Some sailors believe that these inky felines have the ability to give or take your fortune. A black cat walking towards you brings good luck; but if they turn and walk away from you this means they are taking your good fortune away.

A Black Cat on the Barn and Silo Brings Good Harvest

Norse tribes worship Freyja, the goddess of fertility who rides on a chariot drawn by two black cats. Because of this, whenever they wish to pray for good yield, they include bowls of milk in their fields as part of their offering to her.

Slav farmers believe in Ovinnik, the barking black cat spirit. Ovinnik is said to be fickle – one moment he protects farm animals in barns from evil spirits, and in another time he can be malevolent enough to burn threshing barns.

To pacify this mischievous inky feline, the farmers would leave offerings of either a rooster or a bowl of blini or Russian pancakes, to make sure the kitty is contented.

Latvian farmers, on the other hand, dance with joy if they see black cats in their grain silos, for these ebony felines are the spirit of Rungis, their god of harvest.

Giving A Saucer of Milk to a Black Cat on Samhain Gives Blessings to a House

You have probably heard of Darth Vader, Darth Maul, and all the other siths in Star Wars. But unless you are English, Irish or Scot you probably have not heard of the Cat Sith.

The first time you probably heard about this, you can imagine a little ball of black fluff with yellow, all dressed in black hooded robes and wielding a lightsaber.

The Cat Sith, however, is no energy sword-wielding little alien – the word “sith” comes from the term sidhe, an Irish term for “mound”, implying someone who lives in the shadows or the dark.

According to English superstition, any household that leaves a saucer of milk outside the house for the Cat Sith on Samhain – a festival that marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “dark season” – the Cat Sith blesses that house.

If a house forgets, neglects, or refuses to leave any milk for the Cat Sith, that house will be cursed to receive no milk from their cows.

Black Cats Carry Off Souls of the Dead

Highland Scots are wary of the Cat Sith. This black kitty is said to steal souls before burial. Because of this, Scots hold events like leaping and wrestling, riddles, catnip, and music to keep the ebony kitty away. The Scots also do not light any fires anywhere near their dead – the heat generated by these fires are said to attract the Cat Sith.

Similarly, people in Germany and Italy are wary of black felines whenever there is a sick person in the household. This is because of the belief that death is just around the corner for anybody who’s sick when an ebony cat jumps on or sits on top of him/her.

Additionally, it is considered a bad omen for an inky puss to cross or be among those who are on their way to burying their dead. Having a black cat in attendance means another death in the family (sounds like a good plot for a new horror movie).

Black Cats are Related to Witches

Your black kitty will have it really tough in Italy. This is because aside from the belief that they steal souls, black cats are said to be signs of evil, as well as witchcraft.

The connection between the black cats and witchcraft can be traced back to the old religions like those of the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Norse. These religions worship goddesses connected with magic and mystery.

An example of which is Hecate, the Greek goddess of magic, shadows, crossroads, and mystery. Followers of these goddesses also tend to dabble in magic.

Ancient Celts, aside from belief in witchcraft, also have a superstition that black cats are individuals who are able to foretell the future due to having been reincarnated.

When Christianity became popular among these cultures and the inquisition and witch hunts became rampant, the belief of black cats to be bringers of doom became popular. Today, this effect of the witch hunts continues to persist.

An old belief that may still linger among some European countries and the Americas is that black kitties are said to be familiars of witches, if not the witches themselves. Old women who own black cats are suspected to be witches.

In England, there is a belief that these ebony felines are witches who transformed into cats the ninth time and could no longer regain their human forms.

Your Luck May Change Depending On the Direction You Encounter A Black Cat

In Germany, if the cat crosses from left to right favorable times are just around the corner, but the opposite also gives ill omen. In England, however, a black cat crossing paths with you means good luck.

The Russians share the same belief, but they have a counter-charm for it – if you see a black cat cross your path, all you need to do is either turn around or change your path’s direction; or just hold a button on your shirt.

Miranda LaSala
Miranda LaSala

My destination ever since I was born was to be a cat person. When I had the chance, I took the course on Veterinary Tech from Pima Medical Institute, Seattle. For the last 5 years, I've worked as a kennel assistant, veterinary nurse, and a surgical nurse.

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