• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Black Cats: 6 Myths & Superstitions


Apr 11, 2023
black cat walking on autumn leaves


black cat walking on autumn leaves

When a black cat crosses your path, do you get goosebumps and fear the worst? Many grew up fearing these adorable felines, and some still do. Others find them to bring good luck and fortune. For centuries, people around the world have imagined the best and worst when it comes to black cats.

Read on to learn about some of the most popular myths and superstitions about black cats.


The 6 Myths & Superstitions Around Black Cats

1. Black Cats Are Bad Luck

For centuries black cats have been associated with bad luck in places like the United States and Italy. In America, they have been used for Spooky Halloween displays, associated with witches, evil, and black magic. Many people still quiver if a black cat crosses their path, and Italians cringe if a black cat is lying near an ill person because that means they will die.

That is not the case in all parts of the world, however. Germans believe that if a black cat crosses your path, your luck is determined by the cat’s direction. If the cat is moving to the left, you may not have a good future, but moving to the right makes your future bright.

In Scotland, a black cat on your doorstep is lucky, and in Great Britain, sailors believed they brought luck to their ships. They also presented brides with a black cat for luck on her wedding day.

Black Cat Walking on Road
Image Credit: David Bartus, Pexels

2. Black Cats Predict the Future

Some believe that black cats have a sixth sense or are like fortune tellers and can predict the future. Some will go as far as to say that black cats not only have a sixth sense, but they have the power to control the future. Superstitious believers thought that if a cat found its way onto a ship and left the ship before it departed, the ship was sure to sink before reaching its destination.

The wives of sailors would use black cats to predict the outcome of their husbands’ journeys. A runaway feline was not a good sign for the sailor, but a content cat meant smooth sailing for the ship.

3. Black Cats Have Magical Powers

For some, black cats have magical powers and can bring you love or money. For instance, according to Welsh folklore, expect wealth and success if a black cat arrives at your door.

In Japan, women cherish black cats as they are believed to ward off the obsessive attention of unwanted suitors and evil spirits. Japanese women also believe black cats are like Cupid and can help them find a suitable man.

black british shorthair cat sitting on sofa
Image Credit: PUNV, Shutterstock

4. Black Cats Are Associated With Witches

Long ago, the idea that black cats were associated with witches was taken very seriously.

The association of witches and black cats goes back centuries. It originates from Greek mythology, and the belief continued through the Middle Ages. European belief was that witches gained power from evil spirits and demons and that witches were black cats in disguise or following the orders of witches.

5. Black Cats Are Evil

Black cats being portrayed as evil in modern Halloween décor is fun and playful. However, for centuries, people believed that black cats were evil, and they were passionate about the concept.

In Greek Mythology, the tale of Galanthus was one of the first tales to link black cats and witches.

Black cats were not only pegged as witches but they were also considered evil. In 1233, the “Vox in Rama” declared black cats to be the “incarnation of Satan.”  The official church document caused villagers to believe that black cats were evil and should be hunted and killed.

The Bubonic Plague strengthened this belief and almost caused them to become extinct. Eventually, it was discovered that the decrease in the cat population made the spread of the disease worse since the cats were not killing the rodents-the main transmitters of the disease.

black cat with yellow eyes
Image Credit: Giedriius, Shutterstock

6. Black Cats Are Adopted Less

Contrary to the belief of some pet lovers, black cats are not adopted less than brightly colored and patterned kittens. It is an urban myth that black cats are ignored and left in shelters because they are considered evil or bad luck.

So rest assured that black cats are adored by some, and they do get adopted by black cat lovers—sometimes because of the myth that they may have supernatural powers.



Of the six myths and superstitions listed, was there one you grew up believing? Did seeing a black cat excite you or make your hair stand on end? Even today, depending on where you live, some people believe that black cats can bring you good or bad luck. So, as you think of these myths and legends, remember they are just another curious cat that brings love and joy to the lives of the people that cherish these mysterious creatures.

Featured Image Credit: Daykiney, Shutterstock

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