How Black Cats Became a Symbol of Bad Luck

Famous cat daddy Jackson Galaxy looks into the galvanizing history of black cats, particularly how they became enduring symbols of bad luck and superstition.

It’s true – black cats have been truly vilified throughout our history, from mythology to being burned at the stake as witches to… well every superstition you can think of.

Galaxy recounts how these beautiful cats got such a bad rap. The famous “Halloween Cat” pose, their association with witchcraft, and how the particularly zealous Pope Gregory IV eradicated Europe of all cats.

I gotta say if you gotta blame the demonization the official demonization of cats and especially black cats in the world starting in Europe it would be Pope Gregory IX. Thanks Pope Gregory IX, because in 1233 …he basically called out witches as worshiping a devil that was this shadowy half-man half cat I mean that basically made cats “cattis non-gratis”, especially in Europe. 

Sadly, the bubonic plague spread freely across Europe as there were no cats to keep the rat population down.

By the 1300s it’s theorized anyway, that cat numbers were depleted so badly … that allowed the Bubonic Plague to just flourish. …The the more this went on the worse the rap was that black cats had on them.

The demonization got worse with the Salem witch trials and the propagation of superstition throughout history.

There is worshiping and there is vilifying and burning at the stake and all stops in between and that’s what the black cat has represented through time. …The Halloween cat and how badly misinterpreted that body position is. It is a surviving damning vision of the black cat especially when we associate during Halloween a witch and a black cat …These are vestiges of discrimination and wholesale slaughter of an innocent animal.

That being said, black cats are wonderful, sweet animals who, sadly, have a harder time getting adopted.

We gotta spread the word you guys black cats are good luck black cats are righteous … spread the word adopt a black cat today. Foster a black cat today.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails. Lori can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.