When the Egyptians domesticated cats thousand years ago they took a very high role in their civilization. They were seen as a representation of Gods and they were worshipped. They had a Cat Goddess named Bastet, who has a head of a cat and a body of a human. Bastet would grant good fortune with people who housed cats. Thus, killing cats even if it is an accident in Egypt is considered a capital crime and has a penalty of death.
In Europe there are other good superstition about black cats. It was believed that is a black cat walk towards you it would bring good fortune to your life but if it walks away it would take the fortune away. Some parts of Europe like in the English Midlands, use black cats as wedding present to the bride to bring good fortune to the new couple.
Black cats or cats in general has a positive superstition in Japan, it symbolizes good fortune and prosperity. That’s why most of the businesses today has a Maneki Neko cat statue facing the door. Many young and single women owns cats in Japan because they say it would bring many suitors.
Black cats are often connected to bad omens. It started during the Middle Ages where Normans and Germanic people associate black cats or other black animals especially ravens as a sign of death. They are also rumored to be connected with spiritual beliefs. People say that black cats are sent by the Devil to help witches with their deeds. Others say that witches would transform in black cats to disguise in the evening to cast dark spells on people. This belief spread in certain areas in Europe and it resulted to mass killings of black cats due to fear of people. The killing of cats led to an over-population of mice that spread diseases that killed millions of people that lasted roughly about 5 years the phenomenon was called, The Bubonic Plague.
The fear about black cats traveled to America because of the English Puritans. Innocent women or men who owns black cats are persecuted unjustly because of black cats are associated with witch craft and this was continued through Salem witch trials and other places of America. They even have a tradition on Shrove Tuesday that they would kill black cats before Lenten Season.
Killing of black cats sounds inhumane but in this world, we have different cultures, some places believe that black cats bring Good fortune and other places believe that they do not. Black cats are just animals, it’s not their choice to be coated black. They deserve to be treated equally with other animals.
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