Friday, April 13, 2012

Black Cats Are Sometimes Associated With Good Luck

Those of us in North America have all heard the myths - black cats are bad luck, especially if the cat crosses your path. It's believed that these myths came from the days of the witch hunts, when black cats were thought to be associated with the devil and witches. Fortunately for black cats and those who love them, most of us have come out of the Dark Ages and recognize these cats as the cool critters they are. Yes, I know, there are exceptions. Not everybody likes cats, some people have a phobia about them, and black cats tend to have lower adoption rates than their more brightly colored companions. Still, it's no longer socially acceptable (or legal) to hurt them.

Not all myths and folklore associated with black cats casts them in a negative light. In ancient Egypt, the goddess Bast (aka Bastet) was often depicted as a black cat. The Norse goddess Freya was thought to drive a chariot pulled by black cats. In Northern Europe during the 18th and 19th century, sailors often chose black cats as "ship's cats" for good luck, and their wives often kept black cats at home because they believed the cat would help bring the husband back safely. A Scottish myth says that if an unknown black cat shows up on your porch, it means prosperity is coming your way. In Japan, a popular Maneki Neko (lucky beckoning cat) color is black. It's believed that the black cat protects children, and keeps stalkers away from young women. It's also said that a young woman with a black cat as a pet will have many suitors (presumably acceptable suitors rather than stalkers). There's an old folk saying that goes along with this idea - "When the cat of the house is black, the lasses of lovers will have no lack."

Happy Friday the 13th!

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