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Why black cats get a bad rap

Updated on May 29, 2015

A beautiful species

We wanted another cat because one of our cats was getting old and our other cat was in the need of a playmate because he was only four and still liked to play and my female, well she wanted to spend her days laying around and not being annoyed.

I have always adopted my cats from a shelter and Pet Smart started a cat adoption program from our local animal shelter. I would always visit them when I went in to the store but they were all older cats and I really wanted a kitten.

On a nice Saturday morning I went to visit the cats and there was a litter of six little black kittens. They were four months old. One little girl came up to the door of the cage and began meowing and rubbing up and down on the door. I asked the sales associate if I could hold her and it was love at first sight. My little Sia was going home with me.

About a week later we got a call from the animal shelter thanking us for adopting Sia because most likely her siblings would be put to sleep in a few weeks if no one adopted them. I asked them why.

Black cats get a bad rap because people are superstitious that they are evil. The assumption of black cats with witches became the downfall of these beautiful animals. As far back as 3000 bc cats were considered gold and if one was killed it was considered capitol punishment.

When the Salem witch hunts began so did the theory that witches would turn themselves in to black cats and roam the streets, thus causing death to them.

Well unlike popular belief, if I could have taken them all home that day, I would have because our little black kitten has been nothing but joy since she entered our home. She is no different than any other cat.

I think there are more things to be feared in this world then a black cat. So many animals homeless. If you do adopt please make sure you go to a shelter and make sure your animal is spay or neutured.

I got a lifetime of love for twenty dollars at pet smart. I would say that is a great deal for a lucky little girl.

Old folklore gave black cats a bad rap

It seems that the association between bad luck and black cats dates all the way back to the middle of the fourteenth century. It’s not known exactly how and why cats became associated with the Devil in the Middle Ages, but the belief was so persistent that they were all but exterminated during the Black Death pandemic around 1348 CE. (Pause to cry.) Ironically, killing off the cats only worsened the plague, which was often spread via rodents, which all those dearly departed cats could have helped kill.

Blame black magic. As chatter about nefarious witchcraft began to spread around Europe in the sixteenth century, cats (particularly black ones) found themselves tangled up in the hunt, simply because many presumed witches had taken in alley cats as companions. Somehow, the concept of “companion” turned into “familiar,” and the belief that witches could turn themselves into their (typically black) cat companions became a persistent one, even carrying over to America, where it was an indelible part of the Salem Witch Trials.

It didn’t help matters that the Puritan pilgrims who helped populate Salem, Massachusetts were devout Bible believers, and the combination of a major fear of anything Devil-related (dating back to the Middle Ages) and the lingering belief that black cats were a classic part of witch lifestyles was a lethal one. (Kate Erbland 2004)

Black cats are love

I have never truly seen a mean black cat. Any cat can be mean if put in that situation. People need to stop associating these beautiful cats with negative meaning. They are love, they are peace and more over they make great pets.

In any shelter black cats and black dogs are the last to get adopted and the first to get euthanized.

Help stop this terrible feeling over black cats and adopt a black cat today.

Adopt don't shop

If you ever want the sweetest cat in the world, adopt a black cat. My girl Sia is the most docile cat I could ever have. She is sweet and lovable and has never hissed or fought with any of my other cats. Don't let superstitions drive you away from these precious babies.


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    • Author Cheryl profile image

      Cheryl A Whitsett 3 years ago from Jacksonville, Fl

      I whole heartedly agree with you on all things. I have a black cat and she is the best of all four that I own. She is the sweetest girl ever and I could have a million of her.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      I only recently heard about this craziness about black dogs and cats. Who would have thought in such a modern world as ours that superstition would live on as strong as ever?

      I love black cats. Before I became allergic to cats (and all animals) I had black cats. If I could have a cat I would still have one that is all black like the ones you have pictured here. Your photos are superb.

      The main difference between black cats and cats of other colors? They are black, and that is the main and only difference. I have experienced and observed more evil among humans than a ton of black cats could possibly contain.

      It is sad too, that the misinterpretation of the Bible, is making Christianity almost as rare as black cats. It makes more sense to judge people's words and actions by the Bible than it does to judge the Bible by people's words and actions.

      Just because someone calls themselves a Christian doesn't make it so. If I told you I was a Buick Electra would you believe me and accept it and then judge all Buick Electras by my performance? What if I said I was a teddybear? Would you then ban all children from even knowing about teddybears because I didn't meet your expectations? Just labeling oneself doesn't make it so and it is very wrong to judge Christianity by the many different people who label themselves as Christians.

      I'm writing these things because you said near the end of this article that the Puritans, from whom I descend, are in part to blame for the bad rap black cats get because of their strong Bible beliefs and their connecting those beliefs to anything they remotely considered evil.

      There is a difference between what the Bible says, if anything, about black cats, and how people, many of whom lack comprehension skills from my observation, choose to interpret the Bible. Lay the blame for these superstitions where it belongs, with superstitious (ignorant) people, not with the Bible.

      Very much appreciate your shining a light on this issue. People need to be aware and understand that the idea that a cat is evil because of it's color, or because other characteristics that humans have assigned and are not necessarily accurate, is so ridiculous there are no words for it.

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 5 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      I'm so glad that little Sia got a lovely Mum and home to go to when you saw her that day. Sometimes I just can't believe how dumb people are, believing that black cats are evil or whatever! It's not possible for any animal to be evil, that's a human failing put onto innocent animals as a scapegoat.

      I really hope the other ones do get a home as well, but thankfully at least one little one will have a wonderful life!

    • DearBandit profile image

      DearBandit 5 years ago

      Author Cheryl

      It is sad but so true about black cats not getting adopted. It is also hard for black and white cats to get adopted as well. I was looking to adopt a kitten, and it was more like a mission, because there were a lot of older cats, and as much as I would have love to taken one home with me an older cat, I need to get a kitten for my other cat to play with.

      Anyway, I finally got my little kitten, and I asked about my kitten's brother and sister, and she said it’s hard to find adoption parents for them because they are black kittens and no one wants a black cat because of the superstitions. Then she said told me that, in October or even on Halloween, people start looking for black cats up for adoption, and that a lot of shelters do not let black cats to get adopted during the month of October because of animal cruelty, and people using the poor animal for sacrificing. There is even a web site, that is just for black cats

      And the second cat that is hard to get adopted is black and white, because they are still black cats just with white on them….crazy stuff!

      Anyway injoy your new baby!