By Malcolm Mayhew
Today is National Black Cat Day, the day we recognize the grace and magnificence of these beautiful felines. Well, at least most of us do. When it comes to black cats, some of us are, for some reason, ‘fraidy cats’.
National Black Cat Day is the perfect time to dispel some of the unjust - and kind of silly - myths about these often-maligned cats, and share a few fun facts about them along the way.
Black cats were not always considered bad luck. In ancient Egypt, domesticated cats became a symbol of poise and were embraced for their ability to kill snakes and other vermin. Thousands were mummified, thought to be the highest honor in death at that time.
In the Middle Ages, black cats gained a bad rap when religious leaders began accusing people of witchcraft, claiming their black cats were in on the witchiness as well. To this day, the stigma still holds for some.
But in other parts of the world, black cats are often considered good luck. In south France (near our global headquarters), for example, black cats are sometimes called “money cats.” Be nice to a black cat, so goes the rumor, money and good fortune will follow.
English superstition says that giving a bride a black cat on her wedding day will bring her good luck in her marriage. It’s also thought that newlyweds with a black cat in their home will have a long, happy life together, and the black cat will ward off evil spirits, not attract them. If you’re a woman still looking for that special someone, forget dating apps. Japanese superstition says a black cat will bring you many upstanding suitors.
Says Reader’s Digest, there are 22 breeds of black cats.
Owners of black cats aren’t really helping the cause to normalize black cats. Instead, they have a tendency to name their cats after fictional heroes and villains who have a bit of a “dark side.” Popular names for a black cat are Licorice, Onyx, Gotham and Darth Vader. For males, popular names include Alacazam, Panther and Poe. Popular female black cat names are Abracadabra, Raven, Sabrina, Morticia, Hocus Pocis and, uh, Ashley. Well, Ashley’s a start.