We hope everyone knows that the superstitions against black cats are completely fictitious, but sometimes it helps to know where the mythology comes from!
Middle Ages (The 14th Century):
We’re unsure as to how, but black cats quickly became associated demons and the devil during this period of time. Many humans hunted black cats out of this irrational fear during the black plague (which didn’t help since the cats would’ve reduced the plague-spreading-rodent population).
Association to Black Magic:
That’s right, our darker colored feline friends became associated with witchcraft roughly in 16th century Europe. Without modern science, many perfectly explicable occurrences were believed to be the result of magic. The vast majority of people believed that one could make a deal with the devil in exchange for healing powers, more fertile livestock, plentiful crops, etc. Since many accused witches cared for stray cats (often times black), it became the belief that black cats were the associates of these witches and the devil. Some people even thought that witches could transform themselves into black cats, causing these poor felines to be hunted down on top of all the human lives lost during the witch trials. These beliefs carried over to the Americas, resulting in the famous Salem Witch Trials.
We wish we could tell those “witch-hunters” that there are about 20 different breeds of cats that are capable of having black fur! That their hair color is just a result of parental genetics—not association with dark magic.
What do you think about this crazy history of our feline friends? Let us know in the comments below!