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A Black Cat Crossing Your Path

By: Chris Welsh - Updated: 22 Oct 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Black Cat Superstition Wives Tale Myth

It’s late and you are walking home at a brisk pace in an attempt to beat the oncoming storm. You are only a few streets from your destination when you spot a little black cat making its way towards you, angled to cross your path. Just like that you decided to risk getting a good soak rather than let the black cat cross your path, succumbing to an old superstition rooted in legends of witchcraft.

The Black Cat Superstition

Cats certainly are unique creatures. They can be soft, fuzzy and pleasant, and they can be bristling, spitting balls of razor sharp teeth and claws. Seeing a black cat is –depending on the country you are in at the time-- considered bordering on unlucky times, but having a black cat cross your path is considered by many to be an omen of doom; not only is it bad luck, it is VERY bad luck. From there the superstition goes as far as belief that the black cat is a demon in disguise trying to cut off a person’s access to heaven. What would drive people to believe such malignance would come from a kitty cat?

The origin of the Black Cat Superstition

The actual origins of the black cat crossing your path superstition is a bit of a mystery, but there are a few ideas. Cat’s ability to move silently and practically undetected put some people on edge, and their association with Egyptian religion added to the uneasiness in some Christian cultures. From here it was said that cats- and black cats in particular- acted as “familiars” to witches, creatures that are imbibed with an evil, otherworldly sentience that give power to their master. What God fearing Christian who believed in witches wouldn’t fear them, back when such rumours began?

Cats are sneaky, clever, agile hunters with a strong streak of independence- more reasons to add them into legend and wives tales. There are a lot of superstitions centred around cats, some colour specific, some not, and some even contradict each other.

In Scotland a strange black cat appearing on your porch is an omen as well- but a good one. It means that prosperity is on the way. If you hear a cat sneeze in Italy then you are in for a streak of good luck, as you are if you dream of a white cat in America. If you happen to spot a white cat in America as the sun sets, however, you might be in trouble.

Cats are not allowed in the room if family is having a private talk in the Netherlands- the fear is that the cat will spread gossip all over town, and the family secrets will be out. Don’t be too hard on the cat in Ireland, however- killing a cat there brings 17 years of bad luck.

Final Thoughts

So, a black cat crossing your path is unlucky, you say? Interestingly that is what many believe in the USA and many European countries, but that very same belief in Japan is flipped on its head- they believe it is good luck. The next time a black cat crosses your path, just say “Konichiwa” and take control of your own luck. Think black cats bring bad luck? There's a school of thought that says the same about women! Read our feature here...

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[Add a Comment]
I don't believe black cats are a bad omen. They are part of this planet just like birds, fish, insects and black and white people.
None - 22-Oct-17 @ 5:35 AM
One ran out when me where driveing
Blackcat - 20-Oct-17 @ 6:32 PM
@MartiG - it means the car owners have a pet black cat. There is nothing more to it than that.
Noddy - 28-Sep-17 @ 2:48 PM
Hi there, I am buying a car and i liked one ,but on one of the pictures there is a black cat?Is that mean anything or not ?
MartiG - 26-Sep-17 @ 1:59 PM
@Laila - what happens if you live with a black cat, does that mean you have bad luck all the time. I have three and they cross my path always. Also, in some cultures black cats are seen as lucky omens. It's just a coincidence your mum died (sorry :()and a coincidence you lost your job. You shouldn't hold so much store in superstitions. We can find anything we want in anything if we want to.
Misty - 19-Sep-17 @ 12:57 PM
Very true..i believe that when black cats cross your path..bad things can happen to you or a person you care for. This is because it happened to me twice. The first time was in 2005. I saw a black cat crossing my path for almost 6 months..as I left the supermarket...to the cinema...you name it...it freaked me out because it was almost everyday and for six months...until my mother died. Once she died I never saw a black again until in 2015. This time it was almost a year I continued to see a black cat crossing my path and in Sept 2016 I lost my job. Since then I stopped seeing a black cat. I am really afraid to have to see a black cat again...what worse then this could happen.
Laila - 17-Sep-17 @ 4:59 PM
What does it mean when you see a black cat run right infront of you while driving and its noon. Does it mean you have bad luck that night cause we were going to get a propane tank.
Spacereaper - 14-Sep-17 @ 1:10 AM
So I saw a black cat that apparently was trying to cross the road in front of someone. It didn't make it. So, if it is bad luck in the USA and European countries to have a black cat cross your path, does that mean if you kill it before it makes it, you now have staved off that bad luck? Ultimately the bad luck is on the cat though
Speedecr069 - 12-Aug-17 @ 9:42 PM
@Jo - it's all coincidence. The clue is in the title - it's a 'myth'. A cat has no ability to bring either bad or good luck to a person. It's a cat and a silly superstition so take no notice. Jim.
Jamesthefirst - 20-Jun-17 @ 12:11 PM
This morning I was driving my car a black cat ran a crossed the road safely front of me. My daughter saidit's bad luck oh no is it? Worried I had enough of bad luck atm my washing machine broke down couple days ago and it's fixed now my amazing boyfriend broke up with me a month ago ..... :(
Jo - 17-Jun-17 @ 11:00 AM
@Clint - nothing. It's a wonder you saw it! :)
Oz - 16-Jun-17 @ 9:50 AM
Whatdoes it mean when you are driving in the middle of the night you see a Black cat
Clint - 15-Jun-17 @ 10:40 AM
i saw a black cat in my back yard and it was horrible and i just want you guys to be careful because after that i saw a clown ghost and he tried to play with me and he watches me in my sleep and
happy - 16-May-17 @ 8:24 PM
@Sam, black cats of a night are difficult to see. They can get into the smallest of spaces, so it might be going somewhere or between a gap you don't know even exists. Ellie
ERR - 5-May-17 @ 12:44 PM
Sometimes at night I see a black cat run across the hallway what does that mean and there's nothing there I checked my whole apartment and there's nothing therewhat does it mean am I going crazy
Sam - 4-May-17 @ 6:23 PM
what do it means when a cat crosses your path fromright to the left of you
lovejoy - 1-May-17 @ 10:54 PM
What does it mean when a black cat crosses to the right then another right then to the left and just disappears..
Blaze - 18-Feb-17 @ 12:40 AM
What a black cat crosses your path from the left. What dose that mean?
Raybay - 17-Feb-17 @ 3:53 AM
@Nikki - it means your neighbour has got a black cat as a pet. It's a wonder your dog didn't chase it off......... unless they're friends :) Soph
Me - 8-Feb-17 @ 3:09 PM
I have seen this black cat twice. Once by a tree in my neighbors yard. I came outside let my dog out it just stopped and starred at me then 3 days later I go to the back yard and the cat is sitting in my yard starring at me. What does that mean
Nikki - 1-Feb-17 @ 7:44 PM
@Jess - I have two black cats - I think they have brought me good luck not bad and they pass me all the time in the house and outside :) Jennie.
JLO2 - 17-Jan-17 @ 10:44 AM
Omg...I just had two black cats pass me tonight and i would like to know wat this means...I've heard that were bad luck but just wen one cat passes...pliz can anyone tell me wat this means...
Jess - 16-Jan-17 @ 4:45 AM
@Brit - Sorry to hear about your gran...but I always thought black cats crossing your path is supposed to be lucky. I have one that crosses my path every day because it lives with me. Jules.
JulieR - 6-Dec-16 @ 1:00 PM
I was driving my grandmothers as she had been sick in and out of the hospital she was waiting forA lungtransplant a black cat ran across the street from my left my right even a week later my grandma passed away the day of her funeral I saw a black cat on the same side of the street as me
Brit - 5-Dec-16 @ 10:13 PM
I left my house this morning to drive my daughter to her bus stop.Firstly a black cat walked across the road in front of us, then further on 2 magpies were in the middle of the road feasting on road-kill.At this point my daughter salutes. On correcting her saying that you only salute one magpie, one flew away and I run the other over.Now thats bad luck!!
Nikki - 23-Nov-16 @ 9:11 PM
this is so true, it happend to a friend of mine
cookieover - 11-Nov-16 @ 3:11 AM
Hi Want to know if loden is still around? Got chills reading his story. He last posted in July. Did anything bad or good happened?
Sonia - 15-Oct-16 @ 4:55 PM
Was driving with my sister when a black cat stopped in front of my car and turned its head and stared at us for a few seconds then continued to walk in front of the car, stop, and look back at us. Since then I have broke glass in my room, spilled baby detergent in the car, and just wrecked the back of my moms car. Was my very first accident....I think this has everything to dowith this black cat.
Lexi - 22-Aug-16 @ 7:10 PM
I was just outside tonight after 9 and I seen a black cat walk past on the fence what does that mean pls
Lavi - 18-Aug-16 @ 12:32 PM
09/08/2016 It is the Hungry Ghost Month for the Chinese. Late night at 11:45pm, I just arrived home from catching Pokemons. I was thrilled as I saw a black cat behind me while opening the door. With the wrong key on the door, I was frightened so I just stood there as if I was a statue. It's devil looking eyes staring. Goosebumps..............
Ellie Han - 10-Aug-16 @ 5:44 AM
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