Have you ever heard the myth that black cats bring bad luck? Of course, you have. If you already own a black cat, you are bound to have received a few questioning glances from other people. After all, why would a person keep a symbol of bad luck as their pet? However, we are here to bust these myths about black cats for you and show you the lack of scientific data behind them.
Black cats have been the subject of folk stories and myths. Every culture seems to have developed its own stories regarding black cats and the bad luck they supposedly bring. Allegedly, Zeus’s wife Hera turned a servant who displeased her into a black cat as punishment. In some Welsh myths, the monster Cath Palug originated from a black cat. Once you delve into the history of black cats, you will find that there is not a single reliable source that tells you why black cats are bad luck.
Superstitions or myths have no one specific definition. However, according to most psychologists, superstition can be defined as people drawing connections between two completely non-concurrent events. For example, the fact that a black cat crosses your path can be Event 1. The fact that you go through an unpleasant experience later in the day is Event 2. If you draw a connection between these events, you have a superstition.
When it is stated this way, you can see how irrational the whole situation is. Black cats cannot impact your life. They cannot physically control your life and cannot alter its events. It is just that someone somewhere started this rumor that black cats could bring you bad luck, because of which that belief is there in your subconscious mind. The belief is strengthened anytime a coincidence occurs (i.e., you cross a black cat and then have a bad experience). However, scientifically it is just a coincidence. If you go down the superstitious road, you will start drawing strange links between all sorts of random events. It is, therefore, best to steer clear of this path!
The behavioral aspect
Superstitions can make people behave in irrational ways. When you look at the superstition surrounding black cats, you will find exactly that. Some people will go through a very long route to avoid crossing paths with a black cat. Others may give charity or do some “good deed” to ward off the bad luck allegedly brought on when they saw a black cat. This shows us how powerful our thoughts can be and how strongly they can impact our actions.
In pop culture
In popular culture, black cats have usually been portrayed as negative animals. On Halloween, you will see cute little children dressed as black cats with black clothes and cat ear headbands. In movies, you will often see black cats as the villain’s sidekick or the witch’s pet.
At the same time, this may be fine if it’s only fun and games; we need to make an effort to end these stereotypes about black cats. When childish stories start having a real impact on our feline friends, this is a signal for us to put an end to them!
The other end of the spectrum
Now, we have heard all about black cats being bad luck and negative omens. It’s important to talk about those cultures where black cats are highly respected. In ancient Egypt, black cats had a place of honor because of the similarities they shared with the goddess of fertility and safety from diseases, Bastet. Even today, black cats are seen as a symbol of positivity in many countries.
In Japan, an encounter with a black cat may indicate luck in finding the love of your life. In Scotland, if a pretty little black cat turns up on your doorstep, you are bound to have good luck. In some areas of present-day England, guests will often gift a black cat to new brides to guarantee their happiness in their marital life.
The truth behind it
Well, with all the history and science in front of you, what is the truth? Are black cats really bad luck? Of course, they are not. Once you understand the science behind such superstitions, it is obvious that they are just in your mind. The only truth is that black cats have suffered because of these myths and continue to do. For instance, during the Middle Ages, black cats were notorious for being symbols of witchcraft.
Due to this, they were often burned with the witches during the witch trials. Even today, black cats continue to be treated less favorably. As per the statistics provided by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, black cats are adopted at a consistently lower rate than other cats. This means that irrespective of the help these black cats need, people cannot see beyond the connotations of bad luck they bring.
Should you adopt a black cat?
There is no reason why you should not adopt black cats. Whether a cute little black kitten or a spotted black and white cat, make these majestic black cats your pets. They are just as friendly and playful as any other colored cat. If anything, the lustrous black coat of black cats makes them all the more pretty to look at and gives them an air of elegance that other cats do not have.
With the world moving at electronic speed in the 21st century, there is no reason for you to hang on to centuries-old myths as a cat owner.
We hope we were able to debunk the myths and superstitions surrounding black cats. Now that you know how these irrational beliefs work, there is no reason for you to stick to them. If you are looking to obtain a new cat, go to the shelter near you and find the cat you think needs you the most, even if it is a completely black one!