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Black Cats - Unlucky or Lucky? A look at the superstitions behind black cats and the possible reasons behind black cat day

By Kirstie Gregory, Oct 27 2016 05:32PM

Today is National Black Cat day. As the name suggests it is a day to celebrate black cats. It is promoted by animal charities to help the plight of homeless black cats.

Cats Protection have reported that black cats take 22% longer to find their forever home. Black cats make up 45% of cats coming into the charity for rehoming. In 2014 the RSPCA said that 70% of the cats in their shelters were black or black and white. Why? You might ask.

It seems strange in modern times that superstitions surrounding black cats are preventing them from being rehomed but it is possible. Superstitions surrounding black cats began around 1233 when Pope Gregory IX released his Vox in Rama. In it cats especially black cats were linked to Satan. For 300 years after that millions of cats were tortured and killed alongside their (mostly female) owners who were accused of witchcraft.

Cats Protection have suggested that it could be more due to aesthetics. Black Cats make up a large part of the domestic cat population in the UK. This means that when a potential adopter goes to meet the cats in a shelter most of them will be black or black and white . If amongst them there is a rarer colour like a silver tabby or a calico cat then the prospective new owner will be drawn to them visually.

It is a shame because this means that due to the sheer number of black cats in shelters if less people adopt black cats then less people adopt cats in general.

When I was born my parents had two black and white cats. They were named Kimmy and Bimbo (you'll have to ask my parents why they chose those names!) They were completely different characters. Bimbo was aloof and was definately my dad's cat. She adored my dad. It would always be my dad she would greet with a chirrup if we all came home as a family. Kimmy was very maternal and soppy. Apparently if I or my sister were outside my house in our prams and a dog came near she would hiss at it. She wasn't frightened of dogs one bit. She was a prolific hunter . She once brought home a grass snake much to my mother's terror! She also liked to lick people's bare feet! They were both beautiful girls.

When I was in rented accomodation and unable to have my own pet we had a neighbours cat who would frequent our garden. He was black, fluffy and gorgeous. He was deaf and used to 'announce' his arrival in our garden with a noise that could be mistaken for him being in pain. he was one of the most soppy cats I have ever met. He loved to be picked up, kneading the air and purring every time I did so. Woe betide any othe cat who ventured into our garden though. He had claimed it as his territory! I love black cats. I can't see why anyone wouldn't want to take one of these mini panthers home!

In some parts of the world black cats have been seen as good luck. In celtic mythology there is a cat known as the Cat Sith who takes the form of a black cat. In Scotland some people believe that the arrival of an unknown black cat in the home signifies prosperity. When sailors chose their ships cat they usually preferred black cats believing them to bring good luck. Fishermens wives often had black cats in the hope that it would ensure their husbands safe return. The ancient Egyptians believed that owning a black cat would please the cat goddess Bastet. Charles I believed that the death of his black cat signified the end of his luck. The next day he was arrested and charged with high treason!

So if you are a superstitious person or not these lovely creatures make a great addition to a family. If you are thinking of bringing a feline home in the near future why not pop down to your nearest animal shelter and meet some of the many black cats there.

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