October has a unique feeling of fall, magic, and all things spooky. It marks the beginning of the long dark days of winter, and many people believe the veil between the spiritual world and the physical world becomes thinner. We celebrate the darkness all over the world and throughout history with events like Halloween, St. Michaelmas, and Dia de Los Muertos. We talk about the dead, the occult, magic, curses, and superstition. And of course, things pertaining to the black cat.
The Curse of the Black Cat
The black cat has many lives and have taken on many stories, both good and bad, throughout history and cultures. Stories that can get blurred between fact and fiction. In Western history, black cats have been looked upon as an evil omens, a spy of the devil, a companion of witches, or shape-shifting into witches themselves. The most infamous of curses is, that if a black cat crosses your path you will have bad luck.
However, many cultures hold black cats in very high regard. Egyptian Goddesses favored them for their grace and elegance. In some cultures fishermen’s wives believed that that a black cat could hold the power to bring their husbands home safe from sea. The Japanese believe a single woman who owns a black cat will attract more suitors. In Great Britain’s English Midlands, a black cat is the ideal wedding gift, as they are meant to bring good luck and happiness to the bride.
Modern Day Black Cats
Sadly, because of their perceived bad luck qualities, black cats have a lower rate of adoption. In America, most shelters suspend adoptions on black cats around Halloween for fear that they will be tortured or be used as “living decorations”. Other times of year some shelters will have “Black Fridays” giving deals on adoption rates for all black animals.
Why should you consider adopting one of these mystical creatures?
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health discovered that the genes that cause cats to have black coats may offer them protection from diseases. In fact, they are the same genes that offer HIV resistance to humans. So besides possibly being healthier and living longer, they are beautiful, mysterious, reverent and powerful, and loving. And as every cat lover knows, love is boundless and blind.