It would seem that National Black Cat day should be closer to Hallowe’en but cat lovers celebrate the mystique of Chat Noir on August 17th. Black cats have a high association with all kinds of superstitions. In some cultures seeing a black cat is bad luck, other good luck. Let’s celebrate the black with debunking some myths. The association of black cats and witchcraft dates all the way back to Greek mythology, Zeus’s wife Hera once transformed her servant, Galinthias, into a black cat as punishment for impeding the birth of Hercules. Galinthias went on to become an assistant to Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft, and black cats have had unique meanings in various cultures ever since. Many early American settlers believed in witches who could take the form of black cats. This would allow them to sneak around unnoticed as they performed magic spells. It was also believed that a witch could shapeshift into a black cat up to nine times, which may have something to do with the belief that cats have nine lives. In today’s pop culture, black cats are often featured either as witches or alongside witches.
Black cats suffer from this unsubstantiated reputation. Black cats spend longer time at shelters and are the least adopted colour of cat due to the association. During the month of October, some shelters will refuse to adopt out black cats in case they are just to be used for Hallowe’en props.
There’s a lot of silly superstitions out there, but most of the world acknowledges black cats as cute—not creepy.