Black Cats and Halloween: Beauty, Grace, and Legends Galore

A black cat sits in a white room decorated with large jack-o-lanterns

It’s that time of year again: costume shops have opened, enormous bags of candy take up entire aisles at the grocery store, the smell of pumpkin spiced everything fills the air, and images of black cats (back arched and probably silhouetted against a full moon) are everywhere. 

Black cat legends abound, and can be fun to learn about during this spooky time of year. Sadly, Halloween can be a scary time for black cats (and other pets), and we urge all animal lovers to stay on top of safety when it comes to their pets, regardless of the color of their fur.

Legends, Myths, and Folklore

It’s not known exactly how black cats and Halloween became inextricably linked in western culture, but it probably began with the ancient Pagan religions, which tended to associate black cats with witches and witchcraft. Around Medieval times, black cats began to be linked to evil. Witches were thought to take the form of black cats, and in many cases black cats were burned at the stake alongside of the supposed witches. 

Don’t Let a Black Cat Cross Your Path?

Over the years, many cultures have developed their own mythologies surrounding black cats. Here in the U.S. black cats are seen as bad luck, but it’s the opposite in other parts of the world. 

In the 17th and 18th century England, black cats were considered good luck to have aboard a ship, and the wives of sailors and fishermen believed that the presence of a black cat in the home would bring their husbands home safely. Black cats are still considered lucky in the U.K.,  France, Japan, and other parts of Asia.

Black Cats and Halloween Safety

Regardless of how many myths surround these dark beauties, black cats still face discrimination, and some real danger, in our modern world. Although it’s not a common occurrence, there have been reports of black cats being tortured and abused around Halloween. Adopting a black cat as a prop and then returning or abandoning it is also considered abuse.

All pets should be kept indoors in the days surrounding Halloween. Even if your pet isn’t at risk for being kidnapped, all of the costumes, doorbell ringing, and other chaos can be scary for pets. It’s not uncommon for a frightened pet to bolt from the yard on Halloween night, so make sure they are secured inside the home and update their microchip and ID tags, just in case.

As always, your team at Animal Medical Hospital & 24 Hour Urgent Care is here for you and your pet. Please contact us with your questions and concerns, and have a safe and happy Halloween!