Humans aren’t the only creatures impaled by the cruelty of stereotypes.
According to a September 23, 2011, article in the Sun-Times Media, black shelter cats are paying the price for myths and superstitions that surround them. In shelters and humane societies across the country, they go unnoticed by potential adopters. Jane Donahue writes that though some prefer more colorful cats, many believe that black cats are harbingers of bad luck.
Folk tales about black cats span centuries and cultures.
In some cultures, the black cat was believed to be a familiar of witches, and in other cultures witches were believed to have the ability to shape-shift into cats and back nine times; hence the belief in nine lives of a cat. Black cats, alongside their “witch owners,” were also burned at the stake during the 17th century witch hunts.
During the Middle Ages, Germans believed that black cats were omens of death if they jumped on the bed of the sick.
The Normans thought that if a black cat crossed your path in the moonlight, your fate was to die in an epidemic.
In Finland, black cats were thought to transport dead souls to the next world.
Positively speaking, though, the black cat is a sign of good luck if it crosses your path, as far as Brits and Scots are concerned. And some myths say that dreaming of a black cat will bring good luck, possibly even prosperity if the cat ends up on your front porch.
Unfortunately, superstition and folklore continue to feed irrational fears, especially around Halloween. So, let’s overcome ignorance and fear and give black cats their equal right to be adopted and loved because, after all, black is beautiful, too.