What’s up with “the black cat,” and why is it considered an icon of superstition?
Many equate black cats as a signal of bad luck. They say: don’t let it cross your path, don’t touch one, don’t even look at one. Some say one single black cat is dangerous while a duo or pack of black cats are harmless. Some say the superstition of black cats only apply on Halloween.
Other say that black cats actually signal good luck. However, these are usually “witches” who claim this.
Either way, black cats have a spiritual impact on our culture. All cats are considered to be mystical on some level — common myths claiming they can see ghosts or travel to other dimensions, how they were worshipped in ancient Egypt… However, it is specifically “the black cat” that has the highest notoriety.
Folklore is full of black cat characters. They tend to represent sneaky figures who can shapeshift into witches, demons, and other mythical entities to spy on others.
Cat Sith is a popular character from Celtic mythology. Cat Sith is a fairy who can shapeshift into a black cat, with a white spot on its chest. It is believed that it has the power to steal souls by floating over a corpse before burial. The Scottish have an ancient tradition of using distractions such as toys and catnip to keep a deceased body safe until its buried.
The “Sabot cat” is an anarchist symbol — more specifically, anarcho-syndicalism. The icon is a black cat standing in pounce-mode, feeling threatened and ready to attack. Anarcho-syndicalism is responsible for human labor rights such as shorter workdays (our current 8-hour system.)
How did the black cat end up representing anarchist beliefs? The legend is that while on IWW strike, a black cat walked into the camp looking very sick and skinny. Strikers fed the black cat and it eventually regained its strength. Suddenly, the strike went from poor to positive and the strikers finally received compensation for their demands.
In modern times, black cats are much more accepted, especially within the cat-lover community. However, this ancient superstition continues to threaten our sweet, furry friends. To this day, black cats are commonly bullied by ignorant humans, especially on Halloween night. And at animal shelters, black cats are much less likely to be adopted. These innocent souls are suffering, due to the tragic influence of false beliefs.
In our culture, “the black cat” stands for power, mystery, and independence. Throughout history, many have demonized the black cat, the same way our culture demonizes free-will, personal rights, power, and things that go beyond our limited understanding.
Do not fear the black cat! It is here to set us free, to remind us that we are more powerful than we realize — if only we stop letting power-hungry authority figures make us feel weak.