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The Cat Familiar

Updated on November 19, 2014
VladimirCat profile image

Vladimir is a former champion ratter (retired). His hobbies are bushwalking, birdwatching and nature studies

Black Cat with Woman. Familiar?
Black Cat with Woman. Familiar? | Source

Once I would have been seen as a Familiar

People once thought cats were "familiars", nasty, supernatural, evil entities who helped witches to make magic. Especially cats like me, black. I don't why black cats were viewed as worse than tabbies.

Fortunately not much of that medieval ignorance is around nowadays but there are always pockets of superstition and bigotry in out of the way places.

Halloween is a frightening time though. A lot of black cats are in trouble, persecuted, harmed and most animal shelters won't allow you to adopt a black cat at this time of year.

But let me tell you about Cat Familiars.

Just what Is a Familiar?

A Familiar is said to be a sort of shape-shifting minor demon with magic powers.

A Familiar was a servant to a witch, and helped in the magic spells and mumbo jumbo that people thought witches and wizards got up to.

Familiars featured prominently in the many witch trials of the 16th and 17th centuries and at one stage the mere possession of a black cat (or of an unusual pet like a frog, lizard or rat), was sufficient cause for investigation as a witch.

The stereotypical Familiar in Western culture is the black cat.

Ask a Witch: "What is a 'Familiar'?"

Modern, but still Medieval

"Examine the colors, character and behaviors of your Cat. Everything about it will reflect in your own life. When a Cat becomes predominant in your life, magic and mystery come alive."

Really? Do people believe what they write?

This is just the same as believing that I'm a Familiar and the woman who feeds me is a witch..

The Enchanted Cat

The Enchanted Cat: Feline Fascinations, Spells and Magick
The Enchanted Cat: Feline Fascinations, Spells and Magick

A delightful exploration of cat history and the significance and value of cats plus charms and rituals from folklore


Black Cats and Superstition

Superstitions centering around the black cat are some of the most well-known and popular superstitions today.

Are we Bringers of Good Fortune or Harbingers of Doom?

It depends where you live in the world.

In Britain and Japan, having a black cat cross your path, is considered good luck.

If you live in the USA or some European countries, it's bad luck.

Are you familiar with Familiars?

Did you know about Familiars?

See results

© 2011 Vladimir

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    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 4 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      My Bubba was a black cat who lived with me 15 years and passed away at age 25. Now I have adopted two more black kitties. One has short hair and one medium hair. Black cats are wonderful!

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 5 years ago

      I had a beautiful little black cat named Merlin. She would have liked you. Stay safe on Halloween.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 6 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Do you know that black cats get adopted least? People tend to go for more colorful cats first.

    • ellagis profile image

      ellagis 6 years ago

      Ive lived with a lovely black cat for 14 years!!! I love all kind of cats, especially the black ones ;)

    • SaltyMac profile image

      SaltyMac 6 years ago

      Thanks for this educational piece! Love your posts!

    • daoine lm profile image

      daoine lm 6 years ago

      I love black cats. Especially black cats called Vladi.

    • profile image

      grannysage 6 years ago

      Vladi, I have to disagree with the guy in the video. Witches do have familiars. Wiccan author Raven Grimassi describes different types of familiars; physical, astral, and spiritual. He states, "In some cultures this is called a power animal or animal guide. Such an entity can be used as a doorway or link connecting to the higher animal spirit or nature." (The Witch's Familiar: Spiritual Partnership for Successful Magic)