Witch Trials And Familiars
The Churchs official condemnation of black cats led to their association with another one of the most prevalent Halloween symbols: the witch. In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII declared that the cat was the devils favorite animal and idol of all witches.
A cats very natureindependent, indifferent, and often nocturnallent itself toward the belief that felines were actually witches familiars, or supernatural entities that assisted or acted as a vessel for the witch. Numerous recorded witch trials from the 16th and 17th centuries provide witness statements about cats doing the bidding of and consorting with the woman who was standing accused of witchcraft.
They Are Also Associated With Good Luck
Thankfully, superstitions can go both ways and black cats also have positive associations depending on the country. For example:
- In Europe Sailors would have a black cat on board to bring them good luck, and their wives would keep a black cat with them to influence their safe returns
- In Egypt They symbolise fertility and protection from disease
- In the UK Owning a black cat brings you luck
- In Japan They help you finding love and frighten away demons, evil energy, and stalkers
- In Scotland Its good luck to see a black cat on your doorstep
Who Is The Most Famous Black Cat
Black cats have featured in horror movies, television shows, and comic books since the early to mid-1900s.
Some of the earliest black cat horror movies include; The Black Cat 1934, Tales of Terror 1962, and The Legend of Hell House 1973.
But one of the most famous black cat characters is Salem Saberhagen from Sabrina the Teenage Witch series.
The story of Salem is that he went against the head witch in a fictional town in America, and as a result, was sentenced by the witches council to living life as a cat for 100 years.
He first appeared in a comic book in 1962, but as his character developed over the years he became famous for being Sabrinas sidekick.
This is just one example of many fictional black cats that live alongside witches.
These stories have played a huge part in creating this idea that black cats are mystical creatures.
For hundreds of years, black cats have become associated with mystery and suspicion.
Their stories of being witches sidekicks and having the ability to curse those who cross their path stem from myths across the globe.
Popular culture has played on these ideas and as a result, has cemented the black cat into being an icon of Halloween.
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Black Cats And Halloween: The Myths The Facts The Dangers
At some point in time, the image of a black cat, hackles raised and eyes glowing, has become intimately associated with the Halloween holiday. They certainly add an aura of mystique to the season, but why black cats? Read on to learn more about how black cats and Halloween have come to be associated and separate the facts from the spooky speculation.
Black Cats Are Adopted At The Same Rate As Cats Of Other Colors
True: Contrary to popular opinion fueled by bogus reports online, black cats are actually adopted more often than other colored cats. It is likely due to a matter of genetics. Black cats may make up a larger portion of the overall shelter populations since the gene responsible for black coat color is dominant, says Dr. Pletz. The ASPCAs Comprehensive Animal Risk Database, which includes information on about 300,000 dogs and cats, shows that black cats represented 31 percent of feline adoptions; next in line was gray and brown , says Dr. Pletz. Youll purr over these before and after cat adoption photos of cats that found forever homes.
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Legends Regarding The Black Cat
There are many strange superstitions related to the black cat.
In the 16th century, Italians thought that if you are sick and a black cat leaped onto your bed, you were likely to die soon.
In Colonial America, many Scottish immigrants was of the belief that when a black cat enters a wake, it is bad luck. It might mean the impending death of a close family member.
When a black cat was killed by a Roman soldier in Egypt, the soldier was lynched by the mob.
As per Appalachian folklore, if you suffered from a stye on your eyelid, it can go away by rubbing a black cats tail on it.
The South of Scotland and the border countries of England considered a black cat on your front porch as lucky.
Black cats are defenders of secrets. So, when black cats cross your path, it wants to tell you that something great is coming your way. Be prepared to receive it.
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Celtic Mythology And Cat Sths
The most direct connection;between cats and Halloween came from the idea of Cat Sìths and the Samhain holiday.
Cat Sìths are fairy creatures in Celtic myth that look like large black cats with a white spot on their chests. According to legend, they haunt the Scottish highlands and sometimes steal souls.
The Samhain is a Gaelic festival that takes place between sunset on October 31 and sunset on November 1. It marks the end of harvest season and the beginning of winter.
According to mythology, a Cat Sìth will bless any house that leaves out a saucer of milk on the Samhain. However, houses that dont will be cursed.
Over time the Samhain holiday merged with All Saints Day to create what we now celebrate as Halloween. The association of cats with the Samhain likely also carried over into Halloween.
Its important to note that, because of the myths of cats and Halloween, many cats particularly black cats may be in danger on Halloween night. Unfortunately, black cats are sometimes targeted for abuse. If you have a black kitty at home, take extra care to keep them safe.
Do you think of cats during Halloween? Do you think any other myths or legends helped make our connection between felines and this holiday? Then let us know in the comments below!
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Do Black Cats Have Powers
Initially, the Black Cat had no superhuman abilities. Later, a test induced by the Kingpin gave her the psionic ability to affect probability fields; essentially, she could produce bad luck for her enemies. Her bad luck powers were eventually restored by Doc Tramma through the use of cybernetics.
Black Cats Are Devilish
Not true: Talk about being at the wrong place at the wrong time. The black cats unfortunate bad rap dates as far back as the Dark Ages, when witchcraft and witchhunts were commonplace. Black cats, who were most often pets of older women living alone, got thrown into the myth and dubbed the demonic companions of witches and accomplices in witchcraft. Other tales continued for years that Satan turned into a cat while socializing with witches. From then on, the myth was perpetuatedin stories, movies, and Halloween decor of the image of an older woman dressed as a witch stirring potions in a boiling cauldron with a black cat perched nearby. Speaking of Halloween, heres what Halloween could look like this year.
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Why Do We Associate Black Cats With Halloween
Black cats have long been considered a symbol of bad luck and have always held a prominent place in Halloween folklore.
Who amongst us doesnt know someone who has dressed up as a cat on October 31st?;
To be fair, its a good costume idea because with their strong ties to superstitions and witches, cats are probably the most recognisable animal symbol of this spooky time of year.
It all started with a Middle Age legend that said the devil gifted black cats to witches to act as their servants.
As well as that, many people believed that witches could re-incarnate into black cats after death.
In more recent times, Salem the Cat was our favourite character on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.
And who could forget Professor McGonagalls epic transformation from black cat into stern teacher in that first Harry Potter film?
Origins Of Black Cat Superstitions
Cats were domesticated over 10,000 years ago in the Middle East, and later became the center of Egyptian worship! Cats were worshipped by the Egyptians and honored with jewels and other treasures because of their
- Hunting abilities against snakes and other vermin
For a few hundred years, black cats have become a kind of superstition. Some superstitions are bad, and some are good. In the spirit of Halloween, we ask, why have black cats become associated in peoples minds with witches, bad luck and evil spirits?
Superstitions around black cats have lasted over hundreds of years! Unfortunately, many black cats are given up to humane societies. As silly as it may seem, sometimes these beautiful animals are relinquished based upon these silly superstitions!
If you own a black cat, never fear! Some people find the presence of a black cat to be a positive superstition, too. Read on!
- In Britain, wives of fishermen believe that their husbands will return safely if a black cat is kept in the house.
- A black cat in the audience on opening night foretells a successful play.
- According to local superstition in the south of France, black cats bring good luck to owners who feed them well and treat them with respect.
- English sailors believed that keeping black cats happy would ensure fair weather when they went to sea.
- To cure a stye on the eyelid, rub it with the tail of a black cat.
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History Of Black Cats And Halloween
Prior to the Middle Ages, black cats werent seen a sign of witchcraft and dark magic. In Ancient Egypt, cats were venerated and became domesticated animals. The ability of cats to hunt rodents and protect stores of grains further ingratiated felines with the Egyptians.
As cats became domesticated, they spread into Europe. Cats were believed to have been brought by Greek and Phoenician traders into Europe about 3,000 years ago. With the arrival of cats came superstitions, both good and bad, about felines.
It wasnt until the Middle Ages when the practice of fearing cats, especially black cats was started. On the eve of November 1, known as the Samhain, the Celts believed the veil between this world and the Otherworld was thin and spirits could pass into the world.
Samhain celebrated the end of the summer harvest and the midpoint between the ;autumn equinox and the;winter solstice. Celts believed the change in seasons brought about conditions that allowed spirits to pass in their world. To appease these spirits, cats and other animals were sacrificed.
Cat Sìth, a fairy creature from Celtic mythology was believed to visit households around the Samhain. Described as a large black cat with a white spot on its chest, Cat Sith would curse houses that didnt leave out a saucer of milk with cows whose milk had run dry.
This precursor to Halloween was the start of associating cats with October 31.
How Did Black Cats Become Associated With Witches
Harbingers of bad luck In the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church declared that cats were friends of the devil. As such, many believed a black cat could be a witch in disguise, a witchs pet sent to keep tabs on humans, or a witchs familiar, a channel enabling witches to speak to the spiritual world.
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Holy Wars And Medieval Inquisition
During the medieval period , the Christian church wanted to stamp out paganism and non-Christian beliefs. Crusades were launched against groups and individual people who the church considered dangerous to its teachings. During this period, people became obsessed with the devil, believing his servants, as well as the devil himself, assumed human and animal forms.
From 1184, the Medieval Inquisition was established by the Catholic Church to suppress heresy . Konrad von Marburg, a German priest, began an inquisition in Mainz and reported he had uncovered a satanic cult that worshipped devils in the form of a demonic man and a diabolical black cat.
In response, Pope Gregory IX established the Papal Inquisition and on June 13, 1233, issued the Vox in Rama to King Henry of Germany. This an official papal bull condemned a German heresy known as Luciferian as devil worship and demanded they use all efforts to stop the practice.
The bull describes the initiation rites of the sect and claimed the initiate was approached by a large toad the size of a dog. Shortly after, an emaciated man would appear, who the initiate would kiss and forget all memory of the Catholic faith. Members of the sect would meet for a meal, which once ended, the sect would arise and the statue of a black cat would come to life, walking backwards with an erect tail. The new initiate would kiss the cat on the buttocks followed by the master of the sect.
The Fairy King Of Cats
While black cats being a symbol of Halloween seems to be a fairly recent commercial evolution, Samhain did have one very special feline guest: Cait Sidhe. Cait Sidhe is known to be a magical, mischievous creature known as a fey or faerie; Cait Sidhe is known as the Faerie King of Cats. Cait Sidhe was said to be a large, all black cat with a single white spot on its chest. On the night of Samhain, if you left a saucer of milk out for the fairy cat, your house would be blessed much like leaving milk and cookies out for Santa Claus! If no milk was left for the mysterious black cat, you would be cursed and all your cows milk would dry up.
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Whats The Connection Between Black Cats & Halloween
If youre like all of us on the PrettyLitter team, you probably think black cats are absolutely adorable.
So where did their ultra-spooky, bad-luck reputation come from?
And why are they so closely associated with Halloween?
Well, were on a mission to save black cats everywhere from the bad rep, so we dove into the history books to find out how black cats became an instantly recognizable symbol for the most creepy night of the year.
Vintage Halloween Postcards Featuring Black Cats
These vintage and public domain postcards feature black cats.
A Thrilling Halloween. , 1910
Halloween Pleasures. Bobbing, bobbing everywhere. Apples in a Tub
A Witch riding a broomstick being pulled by a jack-o-lantern with a black cat
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Are Black Cats Bad Luck
Globally black cats have different meanings and not all are associated with bad luck.
Ancient Egyptians worshipped cats, specifically black cats, and saw them as gods.
In Japan, black cats are seen to be a form of cupid. They believe you are more likely to find love if you have a black cat.
In medieval Germany, it was believed that if a black cat crossed your path from left to right, you would be cursed.
Other myths of what black cats will bring to you include; if a black cat is resting on the bed of an ill person, it will bring them death and if you turn your back to a black cat, you will become cursed.
These myths and superstitions have stuck with us and are the initial building blocks to our mystical associations with black cats.
Samhain: Before Halloween Was Halloween
Perhaps the most direct connection between black cats and contemporary Halloween symbols stems from the Celtic festival Samhain. Samhain takes place between sunset on October 31 and sunset on November 1 to mark the end of harvest season. In the 9th century, the Western Christian Church shifted the date of All Saints Day to November 1. Over time, Samhain and All Saints Day merged to create the modern Halloween.
On Samhain, it was believed that the Cat Sìtha Celtic fairy creature that was said to resemble a large black cat with a white spot on its chestwould bless any house that left a saucer of milk out for it to drink. Likewise, the Cat Sìth cursed those houses that did not leave out a saucer of milk. The association of cats with Samhain likely also carried over into Halloween.
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Why Do We Display Black Cats At Halloween
On every year we decorate our homes with spooky decorations and black cats are used as part of these.
This is mostly because of their superstitious reputation.
As Halloween is known for its window to the dead, in more recent years many people have started to decorate their homes with anything associated with witchcraft and superstition.
The idea was that by displaying spooky elements, it will scare off any bad souls that might be passing.
It is thought that displaying a black cat will offer protection to the household.
This was how black cats became a symbol of Halloween.
Why Are Black Cats Associated With Witchcraft
Across medieval Europe, black cats were associated with superstition and bad luck.
This association led them to be the perfect sidekick to any witch who wants to curse you.
It was also believed that witches would transform into black cats, much like vampires become bats.
In the US, the association with black cats started with the Puritan Pilgrims from the Plymouth colony.
The puritans distrusted anything related to sorcery and witchcraft and brought these ideas over to the US.
It became a tradition to burn a black cat on Shrove Tuesday, to ensure you will not have any house fires that year.
In the US many shelters will not put black cats up for adoption as they are worried that people may obtain them solely for Halloween.
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