Miss Big Kitty casts a ghostly image,
preparing for Halloween.
Black cats, and the superstitions that surround them, have always amazed me. Thankfully I don’t believe in any of them, because if I did I would be in trouble indeed. Miss Big Kitty is technically not a black cat…she is a black calico…almost all black with a few beautiful orange and white calico markings. And she certainly crosses my path often – very often. We also have a neighbor cat, a gorgeous long-haired solid black cat with golden eyes, that practically lives in my front yard. He or she spooks easily, so also often crosses my path. Black cats do have a certain dark mystery about them, and have been a thing of legend and myth so often that many people have come to believe the stories that surround them.
Do you think it is a bad luck when a black cat crosses your path? In many countries the opposite is true and a black cat passing in front of you is a sign of good fortune! This is the case in Japan, where such an encounter is presumed to bring good luck.
Black Cats and Witchcraft
The Hocus Pocus movie I was watching yesterday had a black cat named Binx. Binx started out as teenage boy who was turned into a cat by three witches, the Sanderson sisters. Many tales of witches during medieval times indicate they had “familiars”. Familiars were creatures that served as a witch’s companion, and were often animals such as a snake, bird, or cat, that helped them with their magic in casting evil spells (or sometimes were people turned into these creatures as punishment). If a person chose to keep a black cat, it could be interpreted that they were a witch or warlock, with unfortunate consequences. Mock trials were often held, the accused found guilty, and witches were hung or burned at the stake, sometimes with their unfortunate feline companion.
As an obvious precaution against people with misguided beliefs, I would certainly keep any black cats (and in fact any cats) indoors during this Halloween season. Might seem overly cautious, but I always say better safe than sorry! Miss Big Kitty will be watching the children ringing the doorbell from our foyer. Perhaps because of all the superstition that surrounds black cats, she does always get extra “ooohs and awwws” on Halloween night!
I always learn something new about the age when witches were burned at the stake… I didn’t know that people got in trouble for having black cats as pets back then. That’s just insane! We don’t get trick-or-treaters here at my house.
Well I don’t think they all got in trouble, but certainly some of them did. Check this out…
“In 1484, Pope Innocent empowered the Inquisition to burn all cats and cat lovers. As a result of the drastic drop in the cat population, the number of rodents increased. Millions of rats carrying fleas infected with bubonic plague spread the Black Death across Europe. When the persecution of cats ended in the late 17th century, they began hunting rats again, and Europeans saw the advantage of having these natural hunters keep their towns’ rodent free.
At her coronation, Elizabeth I had a cat burned in a wicker basket to symbolize the releasing of demons. On one St. John’s Day, for example, there were 24 cats publicly burnt in a kind of festival, with King Charles IX of France (1560-1574), court and people participating”
[quote from http://www.thetudorswiki.com/page/PETS+of+the+Tudors ]
History can be quite interesting. I think I’m glad I didn’t live during that time, though.