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...
For about 6 months i kept seeing cats crossing the road whilst i was working in care in the cimmunity the cats were mostly black they would alway be on my side of the road just about to cross to the other side never the other way round it was always about 100 ft away day . It started to freak me outi googled it and itvsaud it was a bad omen. Then about 2 months after my dad and nan died within a week of each otherthats was about 2 months ago .. i have not seen a cat cross my path since across the road.. i find this very very strange
Tina - 1-Apr-21 @ 10:59 PM
I saw two maybe three black cats on my porch one stood in front of my door way as I was knocking to get in I had no key so I walked to the corner to find a phone and I almost got hit by two cars.? I'm just a little curious please help
Sammy - 25-May-20 @ 8:27 AM
A black cat came on my patio looked in my screen door at me and I made eye contact with it then it walked away. What does that mean?
Kay Kay - 19-Apr-20 @ 3:19 AM
Came on my front porch to a black cat lying in a broken chair not afraid of me or my kids at all ....is this bad
Mom3 - 19-Nov-19 @ 5:54 PM
I had a black cat on my porch all last night sitting there was does that mean
Tootie - 22-Sep-19 @ 7:03 PM
Actually it used be that white cats were bad luck (probably more to do with alot of pure white cats being deaf). Black cats crossing your path used be good luck. As part of the witch hunts and spread of Christianity certain things were changed in societies minds and one of those was that the black cat became the witches familiar (insert healer bachelorette unusual woman pet) and it became an ill omen or sign of demons.
Moonfire - 15-May-19 @ 5:44 PM
This morning at 6 AM, I woke up from physical sounds from the desk near my bed.
something was moving the honey-cupthat was empty..
these sounds only came from the plastic foam on the cup..
these little cups are used for a small dosage of honey
there was no wind of mouse in the room..
the sounds did not stop at all, so somthing ghost-like was moving the small honey-cup.
when i turned the lights on it stopped..
immediatly opened the curtains at the window, and then I saw A black cat walking away from my window..
We dont even have Cats here in the area walking arround..
can someone please Tell me what this means..
I have alot of unhappyniss in my main core, beause bad luck always took a grasp at my chances..and now I just discovered that I have a signicant financial dept too...
feel free to leave a Comment
BHOLLAND - 27-Nov-18 @ 9:06 PM
Way back long time ago, i heard this with my parents that my mom was about to give labor to me. They rush to hospital at 12midnight the streets are so strange it is a bad weather and no people around. On their way to a certain part of the street some thing was thrown on them its like we used in a bath and then a black cath passing on thier way. My mom got hard time delivery on me as i was 9.5 pounds she got goiter after she took birth on me. I think so that i was bad luck to the family
Dian - 5-Nov-18 @ 5:31 AM
My husband has Indian in him and he seems to believe that black cats are cute and you can pet a cat 3 times without a problem, but he also believes that if your find yourself in a bad neighborhood and you see a black cat on every corner that it is a bad omen. Also every time you go ahead and cross a black cats path anyway you will have something bad happen to you in the next 24 hours unless you put a crucifix on the ground where it crossed and say a prayer of protection by shedding the blood of the Lamb over you and your car. I've heard of people putting x's on the ground but he said it is not an ex it is a crucifix and you just say a prayer to Jesus for protection. But if it's like that I wouldn't even go where the cat crossed my path and I would also say a prayer. That's just my opinion. As far as killing the cats I think that that is wrong. He said you can have them as a pet but if you're out and about on a bike ride or driving your car or taking a walk and one looks at you and beans you with his eyes and comes across your path that you should go the other way because it's bad luck.
Goldielocks - 27-Oct-18 @ 2:51 PM
1st time a black cat crossed my path a few days later 3 bad things happened:
1. My car got robbed from my driveway
2. Lost my most paying job of 6 and half years
3. My son died.
2nd time a black cat crossed my path:
1. My daughter's vertigo returned and she could not attend work and she could not conduct an important presentation and almost lost her job.
2. A few days later my daughter died.
Should I be afraid when it happens next time?
Angels on loan - 26-Sep-18 @ 8:25 PM
I hit a black ith a car on a freeway running from left to right. what does it mean?
MK - 20-Aug-18 @ 9:38 AM
Thank you for your post made me feel so much better. Things have not been good. Then in the space of two days a black crossed my path on two occasions was a big worried about this, now I feel so much happier after reading your web.
Charlie - 27-Jun-18 @ 2:25 AM
@marjorie thrasher - there are more black cats in the world than white and it's just coincidence that your head was split open (sorry to hear). Some people think black cats are lucky. I do as I have three :)
Juno - 17-May-18 @ 12:23 PM
may 15th the sun was setting .I was driving my friend home from the store and a blackcat crossed in front of me from my left to my right . .I didn't want to think it was bad luck,.so I tried not to think to much about it . a hour after I got homeI split my head open and was rushed to the hospital for stiches. . this makes you think ... YES it maybe true about a black cat crossing your path ,willit bring bad luck.or just a black cat crossing the road . Iam pretty sure I have not had a white catcross in front of me while driving or any other color .only black .why is that.
marjorie thrasher - 16-May-18 @ 12:46 PM
How many X's do you put on the windshield if a black cat crosses your path while driving
Lil C - 3-May-18 @ 3:14 AM
@Mee - yes, I always have thought of black cats as good luck and if one crosses your path it means you'll come into money. I used to have a black-cat lucky charm. I have a black cat too.
SheLL - 17-Apr-18 @ 2:20 PM
Here in the UK it is always considered very good luck if a black cat crosses your path. And I know it to be true because once a long time ago a black cat crossed my path and then came up to me for a pet. I had just put a lottery ticket on in the shop I had came out of before seeing the cat and guess what I won.Yeah ok it wasn't for mega money but I think it paid for lunch for us on hols.So that wee cat brought me some luck because I never win anything.
Black cats have always been considered lucky here in Scotland because they are considered to be witches cats and thus people thought that if the cat was kind to you then it would pass on a little of the witches magic and luck to you.In some places its believed that the witches are using the black cat as their familiar to curse people and this is believed in America and some other places.While others believe the cat is bringing good magic. So guess whether the cat brings you bad or good magic depends on your beliefs and where you live.I always believe its a symbol of good magic.
Mee - 13-Apr-18 @ 5:51 PM
@None - there is nothing wrong with a black cat walking in front of your car - it's a myth. Nothing is going to happen. I <3 black cats, they're the best. I think they bring more good luck than bad.
JellyB - 25-Jan-18 @ 10:44 AM
As I was parking my car I saw a black cat walking left in front of the car what's that supposed to mean I don't like black cats .
None - 24-Jan-18 @ 11:51 AM
Jan 10 2018 on 29th at going with my bf to the task to drop..a black cat ran across the street in front of my be SUV what dose that post to mean
Sarita - 12-Jan-18 @ 8:06 AM
Black car staring up into my window for no reason mmhhmm what's that supposed to mean?
Mr wong - 31-Dec-17 @ 8:14 AM
black arent evil there god giving creechers of this planet evil is killing ppl ppl killing ppl are killers and evil demons i seen
Candy - 20-Nov-17 @ 9:44 PM
@Insightisright - that's nice. My black cat runs to meet my car, it knows the sound of my engine. Perhaps this cat knows the sound of your engine and is coming to meet you too. Cats are quite sociable and perhaps it hasn't always been feral. Perhaps it still likes to know that human contact is near. You might be the cat's go to/favourite 'person' without realising. It might be escorting you to your home.
Suse - 2-Nov-17 @ 2:16 PM
I have to drive down an alley way to access the parking spot I have where I live. There is this really adorable young black cat that is a feral cat and inadvertently this cat always runs ahead of me and crosses my path, whether I walk or whether I drive.
The thing is I don't feel it's good luck or bad luck; I just feel like I'm meeting some aspect of myself. This may mean a part of myself that is the black sheep..or has to hide out from the mainstream..
I don't actually feel that luck is so flighty that something like a cat crossing your path actually affects your luck. I believe in Omens but this isn't a bad Omen it's the universe communicating something to me.
Insightisright - 2-Nov-17 @ 12:50 AM
One crossed me Right to left, but to the person coming my way it passed from left to right, who was the cat for!
Guess again - 24-Oct-17 @ 10:47 AM
@None - I love black cats. Black cats get a hard time. Even people won't take them from rescue centres because they don't photograph well for Facebook and other social media, would you believe that!
Hann - 23-Oct-17 @ 12:57 PM
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
@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
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.