Tag Archives: Black cat appreciation day


I posted a while ago about Black Cat Appreciation Day. I got it in the neck from one of my girls because she is not black, she is what is known as a Smokey Tortie. If you are not a cat lover, (a) you won’t understand what I mean and (b) move away from the blog now. Move to a cat free zone until my next post.

If you are, a cat lover read on…

The first cat who owned me was black, with a white locket. He was my best friend, and my only true love. Seriously. When he died, I missed him dreadfully and I went to Battersea Home for Dogs and Cats as soon as possible after he died (the prescribed wisdom is, leave it six weeks before getting another cat, to allow the scent to diminish) to get another cat. Not to replace him. That wasn’t possible. I could never replace my little T. (Actually, Titan wasn’t a small cat. Not fat, but quite big.)

I knew, despite the fact that I really love black cats (and dogs), I needed a different colour. I could not have a rival for my Titan. With the help of Nic and Kate, I ended up with two sisters, one was black and white, the other was the smokey tortie, Telesto.

There is a story to be told about my little Teleto, but it is incomplete. Incomplete because I don’t know it all and she, and her sister, Oceana, can’t tell it. I can surmise, and my friend, a spiritual medium, Anne Germain, tells me what she has been told, but I can’t prove it, so won’t say it here.

When I brought these girlies home, Telesto settled herself in very quickly. She cuddled and snuggled. What she didn’t do was sit on laps. That was ok, not all cats do laps. Oceana hid for a week before she came near anyone. Now, she will fight her way onto my lap. Little Telesto, it took her eight years before she would sit on my lap, or on top of me when I am lying down in bed. Even now, it’s quite fleeting, she still prefers, to lie by my side. Glued almost. Her preferred position is as close to me as she can be, particularly when I am sitting or lying in bed. The cat terms of engagement change in other rooms.

This is hard for us humans to understand, but it’s all about territory. I thought, when I bought my girls an activity tree that is about 6’ high, so taller than me, that they would all immediately think (a) this was manna from heaven and (b) they would stop scratching other things that I did not want them to scratch. Wrong.

First thing, my little girls, the younger pair of sisters, almost immediately made the activity tree their own. The other two rarely went near it. In fact, I have never, to this day, seen Oceana on it.

The thing is about cats (and dogs, and humans) is that when they’ve been badly treated, they need time to heal, and trust other humans. And sometimes they never build enough trust. The only thing you can do with cats is to let them take their own sweet time.

© Susan Shirley 2019


27 October 2018 was Black Cat Appreciation Day. I am a long-time lover of black cats (and dogs) and am always upset by the fact that Black cats (and dogs) are less likely to be rehomed than other colours. Why? It seems that one of the more recent reasons is that they (allegedly) don’t look so good in selfies (of course, I disagree, but then, I am totally biased). Or is that their connection with witches and bad luck persists?

They weren’t always considered unlucky

In Ancient Egypt, up to about 310AD, black cats were considered to be far from unlucky. All cats were considered to be sacred an worshipped. In fact, they were believed to be descended directly from the Gods. That is clearly a genetic trait that has passed on, at least to my cats, who expect that same level of adoration and are relentless if I don’t deliver the goods.

In medieval Europe, perhaps because of their nocturnal nature, cats were believed to be associated with witches and the supernatural. In Christian cultures, white is the colour of good and purity, black is the colour of the dark side…

At around this time in Europe, witch-hunting was big business (a story for another day but women – it was generally women – who were accused of witchcraft were damned if they did and damned if they didn’t. In England, they were put is a ducking stool, and plunged into a pond. If they survived, it was considered to be proven that they were witches, and they’d be burned alive, their cats with them. If they drowned, they were innocent, although too late for them.

As if all that wasn’t enough, in 1233AD, Pope Gregory IX (who had clearly been a mouse in a previous life) declared that black cats were an incarnation of the devil! The Christians (hmm, struggling with this a bit, seems a contradiction to me) gathered up all the black cats they could find and burned them alive at village festivals.

There were a number of other beliefs about black cats and witches, perhaps the most common being that they were “witches’ familiars,” and helped them in their pursuit of witchcraft. (Trust me when I tell you this is not true. Many, many times, I have pleaded with my black cats to magic me a shed load of money. I am still waiting.). They were also believed to be in touch with the underworld because they went out at night. Again not true. My girls curl up and that bed and only budge when I move.

And in some places, it is different

I was brought up to believe it’s good luck when a black cat crosses your path, which is also true in Japan and there are other places where they are believed to bring good luck:

  • In Italy, if you hear a black cat sneeze, it is supposed to bring a streak of good luck. (Gotta tell you folks that in 17 years of owning black cats, I’ve never heard one sneeze.)
  • It is considered lucky to own a black cat in Asia.
  • Black cats are supposed to be good luck at sea, according to European tradition.
  • In Scotland, a black cat appearing on your doorstep is a sign of prosperity.
  • In Japan, black cats are believed to bring good luck, especially to single women, as they are supposed to be a lure for the right man…
  • In Russia, black cats are considered lucky.

In my house, cats rule, not just the black ones, although my personal belief is that black cats have a louder purr than others (I used Titan’s purr as my ringtone for many years). If you can’t love them, don’t be cruel to them.


© Susan Shirley 2018