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The Lore of the Black Cat

Updated on October 15, 2013

Black Cat Lore

Black cats have lived alongside humans for thousands of years, and been labelled with all sorts of superstitious beliefs.

My cat Zora was the light of my life. I made this lens partly in memory of her.

This lens explores folklore and superstitions associated with the black cat, and features wicked black cat Halloween decorations.

Black Cat Superstitions

Superstitions and Folklore Associated with Black Cats

In Europe, the black cat has come to be associated with witches, evil and superstition. They were considered to be witches' familiars and were frequently burned during the witch trials. Ownership of, or even contact with, a black cat could cause someone to be accused of using witchcraft.

This may have been because cats are nocturnal creatures. Black cats cannot be seen in the dark until they emerge from the shadows, leading some people to associate them with magic.

Like all cats, black cats have extraordinary hearing and sense of smell and can see in the dark, and tend to land on their feet and to walk silently. These qualities, which make cats superior hunters and killers, probably led the superstitious to think they had supernatural powers. Seeing those glowing eyes suddenly appear in the night could startle and obviously frightened some people. If a witch kept a cat, it was believed that the animal would enhance her powers. Some said the cat would help its owner to communicate with the devil. It was also believed that witches themselves sometimes turned into cats.

These kinds of superstitions have meant that black cats are often associated with Halloween, and feature in Halloween decorations and costumes.

black cat with full moon
black cat with full moon

A Question of Geography

Do Black Cats Bring Good Luck Or Bad Luck?

Some superstitions, notably in the United States, hold that it is bad luck for a black cat to cross your path. In Britain, on the other hand, it is considered to be good luck.

Having a black cat enter your home was considered to be either good luck or bad luck, a blessing or a curse. The same was said about touching or stroking a black cat. It's all a question of geography, and interpretation.

Black Cat Halloween Decorations

Use these spooky black cat Halloween decorations to decorate your home or your Halloween party.

Do You Own a Black Cat?

Do you own one or more black cats?

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black cat
black cat

Black Cats

Living with a Black Cat

Domestic cats retain all of their wild characteristics, which is why it is so easy for them to become feral. If you live with a black cat, you know that they are like other domestic cats - beautiful, graceful, elegant and playful. If you love them, they will love you back.

Your cat will want to snuggle up to you or curl up on your feet and purr. She will bless your home. But they are also fearsome killers. They will attack anything that moves. Your cat may look cute and cuddly, but when she yawns, you will see her fangs!

Black cats have carried the fears and suspicions of human beings for many hundreds of years. Maybe because, being black, they could not be seen in the dark - apart from their glowing eyes.

Are Black Cats Good Luck or Bad Luck?

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Bast, Ancient Egyptian Black Cat Goddess
Bast, Ancient Egyptian Black Cat Goddess

Black Cats in Ancient Egypt

In Ancient Egypt, Cats Were Worshipped, Sacrified and Mummified

In ancient Egypt, black cats were worshipped in the form of Bast (also known as Bastet), a beautiful, elegant creature. Statues of Bast were often decorated with earrings or other jewellery.

People loved their cats of all colors and mummified them when they died. Cats were allowed to roam freely within the temples, and kittens were frequently sacrified to the goddess. Mummified kittens still survive to this day.

Cats were considered to bring fertility and, in paintings, were frequently depicted sitting under the chair of the woman of the family, blessing her with fertility.

Bast was a mother goddess. She was fiercely protective of her devotees and, like all mothers, she knew and understood your deepest secrets. She forced you to confront your shadow - the part of you you would prefer to forget. So although she was not easy or fun to be around, her presence was a blessing.

Egyptian Goddess Bast Figurine

Small Egyptian Bast the Cat Goddess Figurine
Small Egyptian Bast the Cat Goddess Figurine

In ancient Egypt, the goddess Bast (also known as Bastet) was depicted as a black cat. This figurine of the ancient Egyptian goddess Bast will bless your home.

 

Black Cat Housewares - More Black Cat Decorations for Your Home

You can use these black cat housewares to decorate your home at Halloween - or anytime.

Halloween Party Ideas for Cat-Lovers

Halloween Costumes, Cat Costumes, Halloween Masks

If you love big or small cats, you will enjoy these Halloween cat costumes, lion and tiger costumes, and so will your kids.

Halloween Cat Costumes and Animal Costumes
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The Lion King
The Lion King

The Lion King Halloween Party Ideas

Halloween Party Ideas, Costumes and More

If you are inspired by big cats, check out The Lion King Halloween Costumes. We have costumes, party invitations, DVDs and more.

Lion King Halloween Costumes
The Lion King is a traditional African story which was set to music by Elton John. Your children can dress up in costumes as characters from The Lion King f...

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