Black Animals: Misfortune or Good Luck?

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September 06, 2018 by

While the colour black acts as a fashion statement and is the go-to, safe colour in the wardrobe for most of us, it doesn’t seem to be a favourable colour for the animals.

Black as a colour, is associated with many a things. In ancient Egypt, black was a symbol of death and the night. And because of that, it was also a natural symbol of the underworld and hence, also of resurrection. In India, black represents evil and is often used in rituals to ward off evil. Which is why, as per an age-old custom amongst Indians an infant or, for that matter, anyone looking really spectacular, is often blessed with a little black dot on the cheek, chin or behind the ear to ward off the evil eye. Some even tie a black thread on their leg for the same purpose.

But when it comes to animals, especially black cats, they are blamed just for their colour! It’s a popular belief in the West and in our country, that if a black cat crosses your path, it’s a bad omen. The origin of this superstition came from the Egyptian culture, where they believed that black cats were evil creatures, whereas the Indian explanation is that black represents Shani and thus brings bad luck. It is said that if a black cat crosses your path, then your day’s tasks get delayed or postponed.

The folklore surrounding black cats varies from culture to culture:

    • The Scotts believe that a strange black cat’s arrival to the home signifies prosperity.
    • In Celtic mythology, a fairy known as the Cat Sìth takes the form of a black cat.
    • Black cats are considered good luck in the rest of Britain & Japan.
    • Furthermore, it is believed that a lady who owns a black cat will have many suitors.
    • However, in Western history, black cats have often been looked upon as a symbol of evil omens, specifically being suspected of being the companions of witches, and so most of Europe considers the black cat a symbol of bad luck, especially if one crosses paths with a person, which is believed to be an omen of misfortune and death.
    • In Germany, some believe that black cats crossing a person’s path from right to left, is a bad omen. But from left to right, the cat is granting favourable times. In the United Kingdom it is commonly considered that a black cat crossing a person’s path is a good omen.

Have you ever wondered, why can’t it be that the black cat, just like us, is crossing a road? Does he/she really have all that time to plot and plan where it will cross the road, and in what direction so as to cause havoc?

In folklore, the black cat has been able to change into human shape to act as a spy or courier for witches or demons. When the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock, they brought with them a devout faith in the Bible & also brought a deepening suspicion of anything that deemed of Satan. They viewed the black cat as a companion, or a familiar to witches. Anyone caught with a black cat would be severely punished or even killed. They viewed the black cat as part demon & part sorcery. During the Middle Ages, these superstitions led people to kill black cats. Black cats have been found to have lower odds of adoption in American shelters compared to other colours except brown, although black animals in general take more time to find homes. Some shelters also suspend or limit adoptions of black cats around Halloween and certain other occasions for fear they will be tortured, or used as “living decorations” for the holiday & then abandoned.

This is true even for countries like India. We’ve heard so many things about a black cat being the ultimate bad luck and anyone who owns one, is thought of, as possessing some evil powers. The same goes for black dogs as well. Some people who own black dogs, keep them entirely with the notion that they will absorb all the evil that the human is supposed to endure due to karma. Buffaloes, because they’re black in colour, are considered as Yamdoot’s (the god of death) vehicle. The television and film-making industry encourage these notions by using black animals to portray them in evil light.

The logical question here is – do we get to choose the colour of our skin when we are born? Then how does that logic go out of the window when it comes to animals? It’s pure genetics when it comes to the colour of the skin. Thankfully, there are a large number of educated people who are trying to bust these myths by choosing to adopt black animals, purely out of love, and also, to prove a point. More power to them!

We, for one, have one black cat & one black dog in the Furry Tales family, and we’ve experienced nothing, but pure joy ever since they came into our lives. If we are indeed the generation that is continuously making efforts to discard all the old notions that don’t seem to fit in today’s world, this myth about black animals, should be treated no differently. Let’s discard this notion. Let’s work on making a change for the good of the animals and ourselves.

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