Happy National Black Cat Day

Black cats are an enduring symbol associated with Halloween. And why wouldn’t they be? They’re nocturnal, difficult to see at night and a little easy to spook — just like we are on Halloween! Today, we love the fun image of the Halloween cat. But that wasn’t always the case.

Our Halloween traditions began as ancient Celtic traditions. In those culutres, black cats were considered lucky and somewhat magical. However, elsewhere in Europe, black cats were believed to be associated misfortune or witchcraft for centuries. The superstition that black cats were unlucky, especially if one crossed your path, originated in Germany.  Sadly, some black cats were burned along with people who were accused of witchcraft. Cats were burned at the stake in France and Belgium. The Puritans who colonized New England also burned black cats on the day before Lent to in the belief it protected their homes. Even Edgar Allan Poe, who was a cat lover himself, perpetuated this notion in his story, “The Black Cat.”

But black cats aren’t unlucky at all. The truth is, black cats are really amazing! One interesting feature about black cats is that they carry a gene that provides them with stronger immunity to disease than other cats. They also have a sweet and playful nature, and become attached to their owners. Many black cats are American Shorthairs. They have soft, dense fur and  tend to be good mousers.

I grew up with a mostly-black and white cat (also known as a Tuxedo cat) and she was the most amazing and intelligent creature. She jumped on the TV (which was next to our apartment door) every evening when she heard my mom’s footsteps, as she came home from work. She would meow and meow until my mom came inside, and then she would continue to meow, almost like she was asking her questions. She didn’t do this to be fed because my sister and I fed her. I think she just really liked my mom! 🙂

Unfortunately, black cats are not adopted at the same rates as other cats. Some shelters will not allow these ebony beauties to be adopted around Halloween because they are sometimes treated as props for parties rather than long-term companions.

If you are looking for a long-term, loving cat companion, consider adopting a black adult cat.

About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a mom, teacher, and blogger. Her blogs include Autumn in Virginia, Cool Yule Blog and You Can't Make This Stuff Up, among others. She is also the creator of "Living Well With Autism," an online resource for caregivers of children, teens, and adults with autism and related special needs.
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