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.
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...
When I was growing up in England, a black cat crossing your path was considered an omen of great GOOD luck; and, indeed, it was used as such by Mary Tourtel in one of her Rupert stories...PAT
Brian Tyson - 15-Jan-16 @ 10:35 PM
@Marlene - I think it means a black crow has just got lost. I would not worry - black crows are beautiful and highly intelligent.
Ginny - 14-Jan-16 @ 2:05 PM
I work on the 2nd level and two times this happends to me a black crow hits my window and flys away. Scaring the wits out of me. What does that mean?
Marlene - 13-Jan-16 @ 8:01 PM
I think its depended on your mood, when you going to do something. .....ifyou have a cat in home and you love that, then you go out manytime per day , and your cat cross your eay...then ????
bhaya - 11-Jan-16 @ 10:46 AM
I really don't know whether black cat crossing ur path is good or bad, but what i liked in the article is the last part "Think black cats bring bad luck? There's a school of thought that says the same about women!" ;-)
Neil - 11-Jan-16 @ 9:25 AM
Bad cats are demon ?
Its a cheap thinking brought by our ancestors.Probably the thinking doesnt gives any sense or logic with it.
Luck is what we beilive. If we will beilive that if cat will cross us, it will be a unlucky day so,it will be. But if we will think the opposite, so we will have a lucky day.
So just ignore this. Stay fine and beilive yourself and your luck depends upon your thinking.. :-)
sunnY - 11-Jan-16 @ 5:39 AM
Black cat are not demons,but they are mammals like us,and the superstious is stupid and without logic.
shane - 11-Jan-16 @ 3:32 AM
Nothing can scare us, until unless we allow them. Cats r just one of d species of d nature where a simple formula exist which is "good mind good find". So, start loving all d animals without discrimination.
Ravi - 10-Jan-16 @ 11:32 PM
it's bad acuse such a cute animal
dj Adonis - 10-Jan-16 @ 7:22 PM
I don't think cats are Bad Luck....
I like Cats, They Are Very Pretty Animal....
Sourav - 10-Jan-16 @ 7:01 PM
Black cats are not bad luck they are beautiful creatures and very clever. This superstition is just silly and stupid.
millyissocute44 - 19-Nov-15 @ 7:30 PM
I was driving home an i notice a beautiful black cat what does it means.I am also a witch.
blondie - 13-Nov-15 @ 12:49 AM
I Will Not Hurt A Cat But I Truly Hate Black Cats! I'm In The USA They Are Bad Luck.seen One Two Days Ago In My Apartment When Its No Black Cats Here And than Two Days Latter My Cousin End Up Shot And Rip In Hospital!
EmilysMom23 - 20-Oct-15 @ 6:11 AM
@ A, black cats are not demons, they're mammals just like us, except from a different family. It's really cruel and totally unnecessary to hit or in any way hurt them. They're not dangerous to us. Your family member is right, and so is Ellie who replied to you before. If you don't like them, just ignore them or walk away from them when they approach.
philip - 2-Oct-15 @ 4:08 PM
@A - apart from anything, it is cruel to hurt an animal by hitting it and is not a very nice thing to do. Nothing will happen to you, but the poor animal may suffer. Black cats will not harm you, or anyone else, many people keep them as pets and enjoy them. Try to be kinder.
Ellie - 28-Sep-15 @ 11:05 AM
I saw a black cat today in the night I scared it with my ball two times and then it came closer so I scared it more and I kept hitting it with my ball my family member said to leave it alone but I kept on hitting it and I told him that their demons and I don't like them well anyway ...what happens if I hit it or said that ...?
A - 27-Sep-15 @ 4:20 AM
I have a black cat with green eyes, and a tuxedo cat with yellow eyes. Owned them for over a year and raised them since they were young. I still have a job, haven't got into accidents, with the woman of my dreams, and I'm in line for a promotion. Even if anything bad did happen to me I wouldn't blame my cats. Only thing I do believe in is karma, hard work and dedication.
Gui - 29-Aug-15 @ 9:58 PM
Since I moved to my new place I have been adopted by Two Cats Black and white and Black. They are in my door step every night and they sleep under my car. Another incident Grey cat closed my path when I was driving. I am scared because. I have been going through bad times and I can’t face more bad luck. It freaks me out Wright now.Can someone explain What it means
NANA - 30-Jun-15 @ 8:21 PM
A black cat crossed my path this morning on the way to work and I had an accident so I think for me black cats are bad luck as this was the first accident I've ever had whilst driving.........
Jack - 29-Jun-15 @ 7:16 PM
It isn't my path until I have traversed it. Therefore, to cross my path the cat would have to cross where I have already walked not where I am about to walk and would be behind me and most likely not seen by me. If the cat crosses in front of me then I am the one crossing his path.
MrXena - 4-May-15 @ 1:05 PM
I had a black cat run in front of my car today it went from right to left what does that mean I hope it is good luck me and my husband need it
sala - 4-May-15 @ 5:31 AM
As I was picking up a pre k student on my school bus this a.m., a black cat hid near my back tires and I accidentally ran over it. I never saw it go under my bus. I heard a yelp and my heart just sank. I feel terrible about this, as I am an animal lover.
bebe - 14-Apr-15 @ 3:07 PM
The color of the cat doesn't tell you it is good or bad luck, it doesn't matter because is not scientifically proven; if someday to a cousin to a friend sees a black cat and then has bad or good luck, it does not meen that it will happen with you, is just coincidence.
JFlll - 10-Apr-15 @ 4:23 AM
A young black female cat has taken occupation in my house about 4 days ago, she wont go and she wont leave me alone, she keepa purring and rubbing herself against me. Ive never been to fond of cats but this one surely found me, and I guess shes staying.
Merc - 3-Mar-15 @ 1:44 PM
@steph - I would not worry, a dream is just a dream and means absolutely nothing and neither does a black cat crossing your path. I have a black cat that crosses my path every day because it lives in the same house as me and I've never had any bad luck, only good luck.
Misty - 12-Feb-15 @ 12:29 PM
So last night on my way home from school a black cat ran out in front of my car, I almost but did not hit the cat, and this morning my brother tells me he had a dream I was shot five times, then my son says he had a dream we went to the zoo and all the animals attacked me, I really am freaking out here.
steph - 11-Feb-15 @ 3:59 PM
@brit. I think you will be fine and I wouldn't worry. I hope your luck changes for the better soon.
TimelessMyths - 15-Oct-14 @ 2:50 PM
I have had the worst day today and seen a pychic, Ive come out of a really bad relationship and have a VRO on him. I was just driving home and a black cat was about to cross the road but I came n it curled itself up against the kurb and went around the back of the car, I am so hoping this is good luck that it didn't cross my path.
brit - 15-Oct-14 @ 1:25 PM
From my experience over the years the black cats that have crossed my path have basically given insight into the coming year. A family of black cats crossed in front of my car Weeks before I found out I was pregnant with my first born. I've had fat healthy ones which were good fruitful years and noticed when the skinny sickly one crossed out was a difficult year. My cousin has a bigfat one. Him and the healthy young outside one are the only two I've encountered this year. I hoping this year is just as fat, healthy and happy as these two. Never heard of the white cat thing. But off that's the case I hope the 2 black cats cancel out the mean whit cat that's here. Most importantly is the last statement. Make your own luck. Lol!
jye - 23-Apr-13 @ 5:54 AM
I just want to know, I have been living with superstition all my life. 1. I never split poles, its bad luck. 2. When a black cat ever cross my path, whether walking or driving, I turn around and go the other way. 3. I do not like stepping on the cracks in the sidewalk, apparently that's bad luck. 4. Am I just living in the wrong life? As far as actually believing what the old folks use to say back in the day? I mean, what is it?