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From Gods to Villains to Kings of the Internet – The superstitious journey of cats.

The existence of cats and the way they’re perceived is like the classic rise and fall of any hero movie, that has kept being remade over the decades. At the start there was a lot of stigma felt among the viewers; now I'm happy to say, that the stigma is fading away.


You may be surprised that even to this day, cat superstitions exists. Some people will still think twice before crossing a road if a cat beat them to it.


The length of time that cat superstitions have been around is as long as the amount of superstitions there are for cats across the world – we’ll get to the funniest ones at the end.


 

Cats have always been a channel for mysteriousness and the unknown. Probably because of their agile and sly nature, their independence to decision making and the genuine affection and trust they can portray – if you earn it.


Which back in the day, was rare. Seeing as cats weren’t domesticized back then, a bond between human and feline was mysterious and special in its own right. With mystery comes superstition, which is fine since superstition can be seen as good fortune. However, superstition can be twisted to create fear and worry when it stems from something that you don’t understand, neglect to accept and irrationalize to justify a concept that was never grasped in the first place, leading to dangerous misconceptions.


Cats originated from the Fertile Crescent, which is today’s Egypt, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Azerbaijan. The story of cats began as a goddess, the Egyptians would worship cats and see them as a good fortune because they believe them to be a representative of the goddess Bast. Cats were thought to be magical creatures and housing them would bring you good fortune and protection.


Back then, cats were the dog’s bollocks. They were untouchable, until Catholics came in and spoiled their party.


The Catholics did not understand the Egyptian’s beliefs and their admiration to cats. They saw it as blasphemy.


So, in 1233, Pope Gregory IX, declared that during Satanic masses, the devil took the form of a black cat and hence the superstitious throne got passed to the black cat. With that declaration came prejudice that lead to the unfortunate and unnecessary death of millions of cats and their “witch” owners over the next 300 years!


The church tortured and executed cat owners for witchery and slaughtered the cats – a trend that only got worse due to the misconception that cats caused the Black Death. This started causing people in Europe to associate cats with bad luck. Depending on the circumstance and/or unfortunate coincidence different folklore stories about cats began to rise, spreading fear across the population. For example, cats have nine lives because that is how many times a supposed witch can turn into one during a moon cycle.


Thankfully, cats overcame this onslaught and with time the population’s ignorance diminished, allowing cats to take over our hearts. Fingers crossed they do not hold a grudge… at least for now, we are still allowed to live.


 

Thankfully not all beliefs are homogenous. In reality, many cultures have many different believes about black cats, even associating them with good luck.


In certain parts of 19th century Europe black cats were considered good omens. The Irish believed that a black cat on your porch is good luck and in Japan black cats are symbols of prosperity. In India and China, they both have cat fertility goddesses – Sastht and Li Chou, respectively.


BOOM...and our hero rises again!


 

To keep this stigma away, Cats Protection in the UK have declared the 27th of October as Black Cat Day to celebrate the virtues of black cats and to encourage people to adopt an unwanted black cat. Their research figures show that it is more difficult for black cats to find a home compared to other colours.


Therefore, in order to eradicate any superstition of black cats once and for all, just feast your eyes on some of these ridiculous superstitions from different parts of the world:


· In Wales, if a cat claws at curtains, windy weather is predicted.


· In England, upon a death of a person, if a cat ascents a tree their soul has gone to heaven; if a cat descends, then their soul has gone to hell.


· In Romania, if a cat jumped across a person’s grave then that buried person would come to life as a vampire!


· In India, if a cat licks the foot of a woman, her father in law may face danger for his life.


· Another one from India, if a cat jumps on a sleeping person, it is considered a bad omen – THIS EXPLAINS 2020, it’s been building up for decades!


· In Indonesia, if people wanted it to rain they would pour water over the cat and in revenge the cat would make it rain.

· In Iran, accidently eating cat hair will cause madness.


· In Netherlands , cats spread gossip so they are not allowed in rooms where private discussions are being held.


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