With so many opinions about black cats, it must not be easy to be one. So many bad luck myths to debunk, and some outrageous good luck theories to live up to.
Just Google folklore surrounding black cats and you’re bombarded with entries on both good and evil mythology around the color of a cat’s coat. While there may not be a difference between a black cat and a tabby behavior-wise, there does seem to be some mystical differences. Take a look:
- In Asia and the United Kingdom, a black cat is considered lucky.
- In 16th Century Italy, it was believed that if a black cat lay on the bed of a sick man, he would die.
- According to Scottish lore, a black cat on a porch brings prosperity to the homeowner.
- In African American hoodoo tradition, black cats are considered good luck in matters of sports and gambling, particularly with card games and the lottery.
- In Yorkshire, if a sailor’s wife kept a black cat, her husband would always return safely from the sea; this sometimes led to black cats being stolen.
I surveyed local cat lovers to find out what they thought of black cats (366 cat owners responded):
- 31.7% indicated black cats are good luck charms
- 45.4% said black cats are their cats of choice
- 0.3% think black cats are ugly (one person)
- 81.4% think black cats are beautiful
- 16.1% believe they are overabundant
- 68.9% agree they are misunderstood
According to ScienCentral.com, the seemingly common black fur is actually a quite recessive gene. That means a black cat must carry two copies of the black fur gene to, indeed, be black. Talk about luck!
So all of you who have and love black cats, consider yourself fortunate to be in the presence of such a genetic marvel, the black cat! I do, every day.
Kathy is PR Manager for the Cat Adoption Team, author of the Cat's Meow Blog on OregonLive.com, and member of the Cat Writer's Association. She's worked for the Humane Society of the United States and the Oregon Humane Society. Kathy and her hubby live with two 'adopted from a shelter' cats - Mack and Clio (who is black).