Cat Superstitions

cat superstitions worldwide

Cat Superstitions from Around the World

In Japan black cats are a lucky omen as the blacks cats can heal sick children and protect against evil.

cat superstitions

In France the black magical cat called matagot could under certain circumstances bring prosperity to its owner. See Black Cats

A light colored cat will bring silver to the home of the owner. A dark colored cat will bring gold to the home of its owner. (Old Buddhist cat superstition)

A kitten born in May (especially on the first of May) will become ill behaved and troublesome. It may even be responsible for bringing snakes into the house. (Celtic)

Whenever the cat of the house is black, the lasses will have no lack of lovers. (English cat superstition)

It is bad luck to chase away a black cat. (English)

When moving into a new home always let the cat enter first for good luck. (Russia cat superstition)

If a young woman is unfortunate enough to step on a cat’s tail, she will not get married that year. (Wales)

In Madagascar it was believed that the souls of unburied dead would enter a cat.

In Japan the sculpture of the cat called Maneki Neko is extremely auspicious.

To kill a cat brings seventeen years of bad luck. (Irish cat superstition)

The Korat Cat Superstition

The Korat cat was originally from Thailand. It was considered to be a lucky cat bringing prosperity to its owners. The Korat cat was often used in rain-making ceremonies. Water would be poured on the cat believing this would call forth the rain clouds. “

Two Korat cats could also be given to a bride as a wedding gift to ensure prosperity. The Korat cat’s fur symbolized silver.

How to see what other men cannot

Albertus Magnus, (1208? –1280) had the recipe if you want to see what other men cannot.

“ Take the gull of a male Cat, and the fat of an Hen all white, and mix them together, and anoint thy eyes, and thou shalt see it that others cannot see.” Quote from “The book of Secrets of Albertus Magnus.

A cat sneezing is a good omen for those who hear it. (Italian cat superstition)To see a white cat on the road during the day is lucky.  (American superstition)

kitten white

It is unlucky to see a white cat at night. (American superstition)

If a cat washes its face, it is a prediction that a visitor will be arriving. (Japanese superstition)

If a cat washes his face, it is a prediction of rain. (Chinese, also found in Europe)

It will bring good luck if a cat runs in front of a fisherman when he is on his way to fishing. On the other hand it is a bad omen if a cat crosses his path on his way to fishing. (English)

In the fashionable hotel Savoy in London, the statue of the cat named Kasper prevents bad luck to any party of 13. Kasper, the cat will be placed at the table and served all the dishes as the 14th guest.

If a black cat crosses your path it is bad luck in mainland Europe and the U.S., but in England it is good luck (Make sure to make a wish before you lose sight of the black cat).

Never say the word “cat” on a ship or on stage, if you do it will bring you bad luck.

Make a note that a cat onboard a ship and a cat backstage in a theater will bring good luck.

A cat that walks across a stage will bring good luck.

Body of a Cat in the Wall

In England and mainland Europe it was believed that if a cat was placed inside the wall during the construction of the building it would protect the house from rats.

An ever better alternative was to place the body of a cat and a rat in the wall. The Natural History Museum in London possesses a collection of some of these ill-fated cats uncovered inside walls.

Make it Rain

In Java there was a superstition that bathing a cat would bring rain. In Sumatra there was a similar superstition.

There they would bring a black cat out in the river and force the cat to swim around for a while splashing water on the cat and each other. This was believed to call forth rain.

The Kimono Cat

In Japan there was a belief that if a cat was born with a black mark on its back and the black mark resembled a woman wearing a kimono; one had to show the cat the utmost respect.

The kimono mark on the back of the cat was evidence that the spirit of a dead ancestor possessed the cat. The highest precautions were taken to care for and protect these cats. These kimono cats were often given to the temple for safekeeping.

Black Cats

black cats superstition history

Black Cats Superstition

The black cat has made a deep impact in the history of the feline species. The color of these cats has triggered serious and strong emotions in humans throughout history.

Unfortunately too many humans have responded with fright to a black colored cat. This tragic reaction has resulted in a massive persecution of countless innocent black felines.

Black Cats on Feast of St. John

On mainland Europe black cats were associated with the devil himself during the Middle Ages.

The Feast of St. John (June 24rth) was a particularly dangerous time for black cats.

Black cats were on this evening rounded up and burnt alive on the bonfire. It was common belief that this was the evening witches from all over Europe had their gathering.

It was also common belief that witches could transform themselves into cats.

The church encouraged this practice believing black cats were the devil’s helpers.

Feline Holocaust

Pope Gregory IX (1147-1241) hated cats and started the feline holocaust that would last almost five hundred years.

In a Papal Bull (1233) he condemned the black cat as diabolic and thereby giving his blessing to the torture and killing/burning of cats.

Pope Innocent VII (1339-1406) and Pope Innocent VIII (1432-1492) both spoke load and clear giving their blessings to persecution of cats.

Pope Innocent VIII went out of his way to remind the inquisitors to always burn the cats together with the witches.

Angel’s Mark

Black cats Angel Mark

The only thing that could save a black cat from being burned alive was a white spot no matter how small.

A white spot on a black cat was known as the “Angel’s mark” and was the only thing that could save the black cat from the burning flames of fire.

Thousands of black cats ended their lives in the flames.

There is an account from a physician that King Louis XIII of France (1601-1643) requested to leave in order to spare the lives of the cats to be burned on the bonfires on St. John’s Day.

This was duly noted on June 24, 1604, making the king only three years old at the time. The effect of this mission in favor of the black cats seem slim to none.

Black Cat Superstitions

The black cats have a long history of being associated with darkness, witchcraft and even death.

Even today the black cats are among the favorite symbols during the Halloween festivals.

Some superstitious people will consider it bad luck if a black cat crosses their path. This applies mostly to the USA and mainland Europe.

A superstitious gambling person certainly does not want to see a black cat crossing their path on the way to a casino. That would definitely bring bad luck and the only wise thing to do would be to avoid the casino on that particular day.

In Britain it is the opposite. Black cat crossings your path will bring you luck in Britain. Some tongues say it may be because evil has passed by without harming you.

King Charles I of England (1600-1649) had a black cat. He loved his black cat dearly. Stories have been passed down through the generations that the king’s black cat brought good luck. The day after his black cat died, the king was arrested and later beheaded.

Ship’s cats have always been considered good luck. A black ship’s cat was considered the best and thought to be extremely lucky.

During the 19th century in England sailor’s wives often kept black cats in their homes to ensure a safe voyage at sea for their husbands.

Postcards sent during the Second World War often had pictures of a black cat by the seaside wishing the receiver all the best of luck.

Greeting card manufactures in England have a history of using pictures of black cats as a good-luck symbol.

In Northern England there was a superstition that if an unmarried woman kept a black cat in her home, she would never lack sweethearts.

In Scotland the arrival of a strange black cat to your home is said to be a sign of prosperity and obviously a very good omen. Never chase away a black cat from your house.

In Paris there was a world famous cabaret theater named “Le Chat Noir” – The Black Cat.

It opened in 1881 and unfortunately closed in 1897.

In Oslo, Norway there is a cabaret and revue theater named Chat Noir (Black Cat). It was established in 1912.

The names Chat Noir and Black Cat have gained popularity for hotels, restaurants and nightclubs worldwide.

Black Cat Breeds

If you are a black cat lover you may want to get to know the Bombay cat. The Bombay cat is a black cat breed. This cat often goes by the nickname “the mini panther”. This is the most awesome black cat breed ever!

The Black Magical Cat – Matagot

In France there was a superstition about a magical black cat called matagot. This cat is black and was in many cases considered evil. In other cases the matagot cat could truly bring prosperity if certain rules were followed. You had to lure the cat with a chicken.

Once caught the cat was to be placed in a box and carried home. During the journey back home it was extremely important to never look back, not even once.

After the black cat was settle in your home, you always had to give the matagot cat the first bit of every single meal. In return the black cat would bring prosperity to its owner. One last thing to remember; release the metagot cat before you grow old or you die in agony.

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe wrote a famous horror short story called “The Black Cat”.

It was published in 1843.

The illustration for the story was made by Aubrey Beardsly in 1894.

A horror movie named “The Black Cat” was released by Universal Studios in 1934. It became a box office hit.

Another horror movie involving a black cat was the movie “Tales of Terror” 1962.

The film is based on three of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories.

Many black cat owners brought their black cat to the audition hoping to make their black cat a superstar.

Maneki Neko

Maneki neko Japanese Cat

Japanese Lucky Cat

Anyone traveling to Japan cannot help but notice the sculptures of colorful cats with one paw lifted.

Maneki Neko

They seem to be all over the place, in restaurants, shops, places of business and even in the streets. They come in all sizes and qualities.

They are always shown with a lifted paw in a beckoning position.

Most of the time only one paw is up, but occasionally both paws will be lifted. Not unreasonably these cats are often referred to as the “Beckoning Cat”.

Actually Maneki Neko is Japanese for “Beckoning Cat”. Neko is “cat” in Japanese.

The Japanese Lucky Cat, the Beckoning Cat is a talisman. This beckoning cat is believed to bring lots of good fortune for any who associates with it.

In shop windows the Maneki Neko will invite customers and prosperity; in restaurants the lucky cat may be responsible for many happy guests and so on.

Undoubtedly thousands of Japanese firmly believe the Beckoning Cat, Maneki Neko is good for business.

The Beckoning Cat is seen at the entrance of business as though the cat is beckoning the customers to enter.

It can also be worn as jewelry. It will protect the wearer from bad luck and pain.

The Lucky Cat is most fortunate for prosperity and many Maneki Neko are used as piggy banks. Key chains with a Lucky Cat attached to the chain are also quite common.

The Maneki Neko Legend

Gotokuji temple
Maneki Neko Cat figures at the Gotokuji Temple

There are several legends about the Beckoning Cat. Here is the most popular legend of the waving cat.

There once was a very poor monk. This monk owned a cat named Tama. He loved his cat dearly. Whatever food he had he shared with his cat. The monk and his cat lived in a small temple called Gotokuji in Western Tokyo.

One evening a terrible storm emerged.  An extremely wealthy feudal Lord happened to be on a journey and was passing the temple as a thunderstorm broke out. The feudal Lord took shelter under a tree nearby.

As he was standing there under the tree, he caught sight of a cat sitting outside the temple door. He watched the cat and his curiosity arose. It seemed the cat was waving as though it was beckoning him to come.

The Lord felt drawn towards the cat and started walking over to the temple door. As he stepped away from the tree, lighting struck and hit the exact same place as he had been standing.

The feudal Lord had no doubt that the beckoning cat had saved his life. He made friends with the poor monk.

In gratitude he donated a large sum of money to the Gotokuji temple.

The monk and his cat Tama were blessed with prosperity for the rest of their lives.