Posted tagged ‘black cats’

Bad Rap

October 30, 2019

October is always a good time to talk about cats. Maybe, because of their association with Halloween and the superstitions that go along with it, cats through the ages have gotten a bad rap. From the Middle Ages, when they were persecuted and often killed, to modern times when many false notions still exist, cats have had a bad reputation. Especially black cats. Here are some of the incredulous beliefs that have plagued them.

Because of their color, black cats are a sign of death and bad luck, much like ravens and crows.

If a black cat walks toward you, it brings good luck. If it walks away, it takes the luck with them.

If a cat jumps over a grave, the deceased will rise as a vampire.

Possessing a black cat is good luck, coming across one accidentally is bad.

In Indonesia, pouring water on a cat will make it rain (because the cat takes revenge).

If a cat sleeps with all four paws tucked it, bad weather is on the way.

Dreaming of cats means bad luck.

A cat sneezing means money is coming your way. In reality, it might mean your cat is sick, as we discovered this past summer.

Finding any white fur on a black cat means good luck, which probably stems from the belief that if any white fur was found on a black cat thought to belong to a witch, it would be spared.

On the other hand, in Japan, black cats are a symbol of prosperity, and a woman with a cat is thought to attract more suitors.

British sailors thought cats brought good luck and wanted one on their ship to catch the mice.

In Ireland, a black cat on the porch meant good luck.

In ancient Egypt, cats were considered divine and thought to have gods dwelling within them. They were often mummified along with their owners when they died.

In view of all this craziness is it any wonder that mass killings of cats spread across Europe? In an effort to eradicate the bad omens cats were thought to represent, they were destroyed, and as a result, the population of rats with the fleas that carried the Plague exploded. And we all know where that led.

Perhaps this is why even today cats are often considered aloof, not affectionate, and even expendable. Black cats especially still have a stigma, but these notions couldn’t be further from the truth. As the owner of a black cat, I will testify he likes nothing better than to spend his time napping on a lap or simply sitting in a window. He’s never had an evil intention in his life, although he does love to knock things off the table. As for cats not being affectionate, I guess our two never heard about that, because they are as friendly and people-oriented as the dogs. Maybe even more so! Knowing cats can be such great companions, it’s hard to realize shelters everywhere are so full of cats. One shelter in Indiana recently reported having 500 cats in residence. 500! How sad they are still allowed to overpopulate when there are so few forever homes. Spay and neuter is the only solution.

On Halloween, please be aware of your pets’ safety and keep them inside or at least enclosed somewhere. Not everyone has their best interests in mind, and allowing them to roam free is asking for trouble. The true evil lies with someone who might abuse them. Don’t let your pet become a victim.

 

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Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

 

 

Do Cats Get a Bad Rap?

October 29, 2013

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I have always thought that, in this world, cats get a bad rap. While we know that in ancient Egyptian times, cats were worshipped and often mummified and entombed with their owners (killing a cat was a crime) throughout history, cats have often been viewed in a suspicious light.  In the middle ages, they were persecuted as witches along with the women who were believed to possess evil powers. Women who were reclusive and lived on the edges of towns were blamed for any bad thing that happened, and since cats lived with them, they were also punished and exterminated. Due to bigotry and superstition, the cat species was nearly wiped out. This actually ended up working to the detriment of humans. When the cat population declined, the rodent population (that carried the fleas that carried disease) spread and with it the Plague that killed millions of people in Europe. Yet even today, cats are one of the most vilified and abused animals in many countries thanks to the myth of the witch and her “familiar.” Another strike against cats is that some people believe they are responsible for the decline of certain bird species, although many other factors, such as loss of habitat, affect that problem. 

In this country, black cats especially are considered bad luck. (But in Britain, they are good luck, go figure!) Most Halloween decorations include a black cat or two, and at this time of year many shelters will not allow black cats to be adopted, fearful they will become the victim of someone’s cruel prank. The truth of course is that black cats are no more bad luck than any other cat or animal. They make very fine pets and are just as loving as any other cat.

 Maybe it’s their nocturnal nature that also gives cats a mysterious air. They are born predators and have marvelous stalking abilities, and, once they’ve caught their prey, they like to play with them before they deliver the final blow, but they are excellent at controlling the rodent population. (My cats also like to catch bugs; something I rather appreciate.)  Cat fanciers and breeders are devoted to them, and “cat people” still treat their feline pets as spoiled children, but at the same time there are more homeless cats sitting in shelters than we can begin to imagine. Ironically, while cats once faced extinction due to human stupidity, there is now overpopulation due to the same. Allowing them to wander and breed indiscriminately has caused there to be many more cats than there are good homes for them. It’s a sad fact that cats sitting in shelters face euthanasia every day. It’s also a fact that responsibility for curing the cat problem lies with us. Pet cats must be spayed and neutered, no exceptions, and they should also not be allowed to wander about, in spite of their desire to do so. Contrary to common belief that cats need to go outside, the truth is they can live perfectly happy lives inside, and while they may WANT to go out (hey, I want a new car every year) it’s not required for them to be content. But if you do decide to allow them to wander, at the very least, make sure they cannot contribute to the one hundred cats that are probably sitting in your local shelter, waiting for a home that may never come.

As Halloween approaches, plan how you will keep all your pets safe from escaping that night. I’m thinking of putting these two in my office where they can snuggle in my chair and safely watch the outside world, while the neighborhood is trick or treating, and there will be no danger of them getting lost in an often unfriendly world.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

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