17 Black Cat Superstitions from Different Cultures

Black cat superstitions exist in most parts of the world. Although black cats are considered good luck charm in some cultures, others associate them with demonic powers. Therefore, it is not surprising to see some people back away from their path if a black cat crosses their way.

All these are superstitions that deeply rooted in legends and myths of different cultures across the world. To inform you about some of the black cat superstitions comprehensively, I collected 17 superstitions and myths about black cats from various cultures. 

1. Ruthless pirates of the 18th century were afraid of black cats.

The black cats meant destructive misfortune for them only if black cats walk towards them. Contrarily, if a cat runs away from them, they believed that they would get an abundant fortune in the nearest future.

2. According to Celtic Mythology, black cats bring prosperity to households. 

If you have some knowledge about Celtic culture, then you may know a mythical creature known as Cat Sith. Those creatures are black and have a tiny patch of white on their chest. Another distinction of Cath Sith is that it is known to be as large as dogs.

Although some Celtic people look at Cat Sith as a good luck charm, while others see it as a soul stealer. Supposedly, if a black cat comes closer to a corpse of a dead person, it may more likely steal the soul of that person before the gods could claim it.

3. Early sailors were afraid of sailing on a ship if a black cat jumps on board. 

If a black cat gets on board of a ship, that ship was thought to sink in the next trip. All these superstitions made their way to our generation as well. There are still people in parts of the world, who would not set sail in a sea after seeing a black cat. 

In general, people accept black cats with varying views. As we mentioned, some cultures and societies accept black cats to attract good fortune and prosperity, while others believe black cats are a precursor of unhappiness and misfortune. 

Superstitions depend on geographic locations and times of history. Therefore, superstitions fluctuate as they age and as they travel. They either entirely disappear or they become even more aggressive due to the trends of the time.

4. People especially warry about black cats during Halloween.

Most things seem scary during Halloween. And people stay in high alert during this time and associate most things with evil spirits. 

Unfortunately, some people genuinely believe that black cats relate to witches and evil spirits. For that reason, dark-colored cats more likely to get harmed during Holloween. To protect black cats from harm, some animal shelters stop giving black cats for adaption during October, especially when Holloween is approaching. 

5. People used black cats as a decoration for their rituals throughout history.

It means that black cats joined dark ceremonies not because they want to, but people used them as decorative objects to hold dark rituals. 

All these activities contributed to the appearance of bad associations and superstitions about black cats. In reality, there is no logical evidence that white cats bring more luck than black ones. More importantly, there is no proof that black cars are morally inferior to white ones.

6. In the middle ages, people looked at black cats as servants of witches.

Most scholars believe that the first thing that contributed to the appearance of black cat myths and superstitions is the behavior of cats. Although they do not harm any humans, people give a dubious eye to their night roaming behavior. 

Some cultures believe that witches come out during nighttime and cats accompany them during this time.

7. Not all sailors and pirates were scared off black cats. 

As I mentioned in the earlier facts, some pirates and sailors unwelcomed black furry friends on board, fearing that they will bring some disastrous impacts on the crew during the voyage. 

However, some pirates and sailors purposefully kept black cats on board for two reasons. Firstly, they believed that cats will bring them good luck during the voyage, and secondly, they will protect the ship and its stored goods from unwelcomed guests such as mice and rats.

8. English Puritans brought the black cat superstitions to America.

Superstitions that are based on the idea that black cats bring bad luck moved one geographic location through new settlements. Superstitious groups of early English puritans got rid of black cats and some sacrificed them during the Shrove Tuesdays.  

However, it is important to note that there was no rock-solid evidence for these inhumane treatments. Concisely, no culture will give you evidence that black cats are worse than cats of other colors. For me, it sounds like an illusion came out of a person whose milk got rubbed by a black cat.

9. Ancient Egyptians loved all of the cats, including black ones.

Some sources suggest that ancient Egyptians worshipped cats. Egyptians believed that cats hold divine power, which is believed to be beneficial for humankind.

For instance, Egyptians accepted the feline goddess Bastet as a fierce protector of households. There are several logical reasons for this choice. Because, cats protected houses from venomous snakes, scorpions, and other animals that can potentially harm people.

Additionally, cats protected the household storages from grain-stealing rodents. We all know that grain was a survival lifeline for ancient people.

10. Japanese hold black cats in their homes to attract good luck.

Japanese black cat superstition is entirely favorable towards black cats. Contrary to opponents of black cats, the Japanese accept them into their household to expel evil spirits from their homes and replace them with good luck and abundant wealth.

For instance, in Japanese culture, “Maneki Noto” is considered lucky cats. Japanese keep them in the house to increase their wealth and prosperity.

11. Some legends believe that black can transform themselves into witches nine times. 

If you wondered where the term “nine lives of cats” came from, you need to dive deeper into the mythology about witches. Supposedly, witches are capable of disguising themselves as innocent little black kittens.

12. Seeing a black cat in your dreams is a sign of good luck.

There are so many interpretations of seeing a black cat in dreams. Some of them suggest that black cats in dreams signify the approaching danger, while others interpret it in a good way. In my opinion, the law of attraction will work here. If you see a black cat, interpret it for goodness as some cultures do. 

13. The richest cat in the world is a black cat named Tommaso. 

Yes, Tommaso is the richest cat in the world. A black cat from Italy inherited 13 million dollars from his owner Maria Assunta.

The most interesting part of this story is that Tomasso was once a stray cat who was dwelling on the streets of Italy. But he became the richest among animals thanks to his kind-hearted owner.

14. Bad black cat superstitions originated in twelfth-century when a church likened black cats to companions of devil. 

Churches criminalized treating black cats with love. For example, kissing a black cat or even petting it were seen as acts of heresy. 

In general, churches linked black cats to satanism and witchcraft back in history. All these speculations and negative associations gave a bad reputation to black cats.

15. Indian black cat superstition dictates people not to walk on a path that was crossed by a black cat.

If an Indian sees a black cat, he or she waits for someone else to pass on that road. By doing so, superstitious people supposedly transfer their bad luck to other people. 

If no one is around, they just take a different path to their destination without taking the chance of becoming a victim of an evil charm. 

16.  Some people in Central Asia take seven steps back when they see a black cat cross their path.

According to the legends, those seven steps help a person to avoid a grieve danger waiting for him or her in the future. By taking seven full steps backward, they nullify the unlucky charm imposed by black cats.

17. Finding white hair from a black cat will bring prosperity and happiness.

This ritual is not harmful to black cats. You will gently hold your black cat and pet it hoping to find that luck string of white hair. Even if you can’t find it, it does not mean you are in bad luck. 

Simply, continue petting your cat and hoping your cat will grow old enough to show some white hairs here and there as you take good care of it. Sooner or later you will get lucky.

These were the 17 black cat superstitions that I wanted to share. In conclusion, I want to stress the importance of equal treatment of animals. Due to the superstitions, black cats become victims of violence and ill-treatment in some cultures and societies. In the US, the number of homeless black cats are higher than cats of other colors. Unfortunately, their adaption rate is also a lot lower than other colored cats.

Concisely, black cat superstitions likely to continue unless people change their perceptions and understand that most superstitions are baseless. Most animal rights organizations suggest adapting black cats so they won’t be the victims of illogical superstitions and won’t get to the wrong hands.  

By Arslan Batyrovich

Founder of
Writer, Researcher, Fact-finder, and All-in-one
Loves nature, Likes history, and Adores anything interesting
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