National Black Cat Day, observed every October 27th in the UK and Worldwide, is a special occasion dedicated to the celebration and appreciation of black cats. These felines, often shrouded in myths and superstitions, have been both adored and feared throughout history. The day serves as an opportunity to shed light on the true nature of black cats, debunking myths and highlighting their unique charm. It also brings attention to the challenges they face, particularly the lower adoption rates compared to other cats.

History and Significance

The inception of National Black Cat Day can be attributed to Cats Protection, a renowned animal charity based in the UK. In 2011, they initiated this day in response to concerning statistics that revealed black and black-and-white cats took, on average, seven days longer to find a home than their colorful counterparts. This disparity was largely due to prevailing superstitions and misconceptions.

Historically, black cats have been at the center of various myths. In the Middle Ages, they were often associated with witches, believed to be their companions or even shape-shifting witches themselves. Such beliefs led to widespread fear and persecution of black cats. However, not all cultural beliefs about black cats are negative. In places like Scotland, Britain, and Japan, the arrival or presence of a black cat signifies impending good fortune and prosperity.

Today, National Black Cat Day aims to rewrite the narrative surrounding these felines. By emphasizing their positive cultural significance and dispelling myths, the day seeks to improve the perception and treatment of black cats worldwide.

The Myths and Superstitions Surrounding Black Cats

Harbingers of Bad Luck

One of the most widespread beliefs is that black cats bring bad luck, especially if one crosses your path. This superstition is particularly strong in Western cultures. The origin of this belief can be traced back to the Middle Ages in Europe, where black cats were often associated with witches and were believed to be their familiars or even shape-shifting witches themselves. As such, encountering a black cat was considered an omen of misfortune or a sign that one was under the watchful eye of malevolent forces.

Symbols of Good Fortune

Contrary to the bad luck myth, in some cultures, black cats are seen as bearers of good luck. For instance, in Scottish folklore, the arrival of a black cat at a home signifies prosperity.1 Similarly, in Japanese culture, the ‘Maneki-neko’ or the ‘beckoning cat’ statue, often depicted as a black cat, is believed to bring good luck, especially to businesses.2

Witches’ Companions

The association between black cats and witchcraft is deeply rooted in history. During the witch trials in Europe and colonial America, black cats were believed to be witches’ familiars—creatures that aided witches in their magical practices. Owning a black cat during this period could even lead to accusations of witchcraft.

Sailors’ Mascots

While they might be considered bad luck on land, black cats were often seen as good luck charms aboard ships. Many sailors believed that having a black cat on board would ensure a safe voyage, and they were often kept as ship mascots.3

Celebration and Activities

Adopt a Black Cat: The primary objective of this day is to boost the adoption rates of black cats. By choosing to adopt a black cat, individuals can provide a loving home to a feline that might otherwise be overlooked due to baseless superstitions.

Engage on Social Media: Cat enthusiasts are urged to showcase their black cats on social media platforms. By using the hashtag #BlackCatDay, they can participate in a global movement, sharing heartwarming stories and adorable photos that highlight the allure of these cats.

Educational Outreach: Various animal welfare organizations and shelters run educational campaigns on this day. Through workshops, webinars, and interactive sessions, they aim to inform the public about black cats, debunking myths and presenting facts.

Support Through Merchandise: To further the cause, several outlets offer black cat-themed merchandise. From intricately designed coffee mugs to festive Christmas cards, these items not only serve as memorabilia but also help fund initiatives that support black cats.

Entertainment and Pop Culture: Spend the day indulging in entertainment that features black cats. Whether it’s watching Salem’s antics in “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” chuckling at Sylvester’s pursuits in “Looney Tunes,” or diving into the eerie world of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Black Cat,” there’s no shortage of content that stars these enigmatic felines.

Visit Local Shelters: Even if you’re not looking to adopt, visiting local animal shelters can be a heartwarming experience. Spend time with black cats, volunteer for a day, or simply learn more about their stories.

Celebration of #BlackCatDay

Official Websites

Wrap-Up

Black cats, with their mesmerizing eyes and sleek fur, are as affectionate, playful, and loyal as any other cat. Their unique appearance, combined with their rich history, makes them truly special. National Black Cat Day serves as a poignant reminder to view these cats through a lens of love and understanding, rather than prejudice. As we celebrate, let’s strive to create a world where every black cat is cherished and given the opportunity to live a life filled with love and care.

FAQ

Is National Black Cat Day in August or October?

There are two days dedicated to celebrating black cats. National Black Cat Day, founded by Cats Protection, a renowned animal charity based in the UK in 2011, is celebrated on October 27th and is primarily a British observance. On the other hand, National Black Cat Appreciation Day, established by Wayne H. Morris, is observed on August 17th and has its roots in the USA. However, both of these special days have gained international recognition and are actively celebrated worldwide. They aim to highlight the joy and happiness that black cats bring to our lives, counteract the misconceptions and myths that often surround these feline companions, and emphasize the importance of helping black cats find loving homes.

Why is National Black Cat Day celebrated?

National Black Cat Day is celebrated to raise awareness about the unique challenges faced by black cats, especially in animal shelters. Due to age-old superstitions and myths, black cats are often the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized in shelters. The day serves as an opportunity to debunk these myths, highlight the beauty and charm of black cats, and encourage people to adopt them. By celebrating this day, advocates aim to change perceptions and improve the fate of these often overlooked feline companions.

Reviewed by HolidayToday Staff

Alex’s Take on

I genuinely hold a deep respect for National Black Cat Day. Ever since my childhood, I’ve been disheartened by the prejudices surrounding black cats. The occasional cruel treatment I witnessed towards these felines deeply disturbed me. Yet, ironically, I too found myself being wary of black cats crossing my path, a testament to how deeply rooted these superstitions can be, even when we consciously disagree with them.

If you think that in today’s modern age, such superstitions have faded into obscurity, you’d be mistaken. Many communities still harbor these age-old beliefs. That’s why days dedicated to honoring black cats, both in the UK and the US, are so crucial and are actively observed in many other countries as well. In my opinion, they’re on their way to becoming international celebrations, and rightfully so. It’s high time we shed these baseless beliefs and come together to celebrate these beautiful creatures for what they truly are: loving, loyal companions.

  1. https://castleofchaos.com/blog/4-ways-black-cats-bring-good-luck/ []
  2. https://www.pd.com.au/blogs/maneki-neko-lucky-cat-of-japan/ []
  3. https://www.sailingeurope.com/blog/sailing-superstitions-grab-a-black-cat-and-leave-the-bananas []

Categorized in: