Small Talk
A close-up photo of a black cat with brown eyesA close-up photo of a black cat with brown eyes
by: Smalls Team

Are Black Cats Bad Luck?


Fact or Fiction: Black Cats Are Bad Luck

  • It's really only in western culture that black cats have gotten a bad rep.

  • This largely stems from the idea that black cats are related to satanic lore.

  • In many cultures though, black cats can be signs of good luck, and we tend to agree.

With Spooky Season™ around the corner, it's hard to escape the mention of a pumpkin-flavored treat or an illustrated silhouette of black cat. In defense of pumpkins—they're in season. Black cats however, are worth celebrating year round.

Negative Myths About Black Cats

Primarily in western cultures, black cats have had some bad PR.

  • Myth #1: Black Cats Are Bad Luck

    In medieval times folks took symbolism perhaps a bit too literally. Anything with dark feathers or fur—from crows to cats—was a signal of death. However considering the time period a lot of things we might consider to be mundane today could very easily lead to death. In lieu of WebMD, we'll look past this very strange (and untrue) superstition.

  • Myth #2: Seeing a Black Cat From Behind is a Bad Omen

    If you see a cat walking away from you, it's allegedly a sign of bad things to come. Although, the only bad thing about that situation is that the black cat isn't walking towards you for some love.

  • Myth #3: Black Cats are Witches

    Black cats became associated with the devil in the Middle Ages when the Knights Templar were said to be worshiping a black cat who was "disguising" itself. The King of France (who maybe also had some political motivations to squash the Knights Templar) ordered for mass arrests under the guise of devil worship and black cats got lumped in with the lore. This superstition transcended time and continents, eventually making its way to Salem, Massachusetts where alleged witches would disguise themselves as cats or gain power from their feline "familiars".

Positive Myths About Black Cats

In many cultures around the world, and around here, black cats represent good luck.

  • Myth #4: Finding a Lone White Hair on a Black Cat Is Good Luck

    Just look at it though. Plucking that hair would result in bad luck.

  • Myth #5: Black Cats Are Gods

    Well, this isn't entirely a myth. But in ancient Egypt, black cats were held in the highest esteem because they resembled Bastet, the cat-headed Egyptian goddess of home, fertility, and health.

  • Myth #6: A Black Cat On Your Stoop is Good Luck

    In Scotland, if you see a black cat on your porch, you could have some good fortune on the way.

Philosophies of luck aside, the notion that we can distinguish a cats' character by their coat isn't true.

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