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The Black Cat: Superstition and Beliefs

     Back arched, fur on end, eyes glowing, lip curled, hissing, claws drawn, ready to pounce on the first thing to cross its path: The black cat throuout history has been blamed for most of the wrongs of the  world, from blasphemy to the plague.
  Even today, black cats conjure up images of witchcraft and magic tales. Edgar Allan Poe wrote about one and Hollywood has made movies about them.  There is even a TV sitcom, "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch," which features a very sarcastic "talking" black cat named Salem.
        For thousands of years, black cats have been regarded as mysterious creatures with supernatural powers and were associated with witches and even death. It was believed that witches could change into cats; in fact, it is believed they could make that change nine times. Some believe this to be the origin of the belief that cats have nine lives. 
  There are many superstitions associated with cats, partly because the cat has lived alongside humans for thousands of years. Superstitions centering around the black cat are some of the most well-known and popular superstitions today. 
Will you worry the next time a black cat crosses your path? 
     It may depend on where you live in the world.  In Britain and Japan, having a black cat cross your path, is considered good luck, whereas if you live in the USA or several European countries, it is bad luck to have a black cat walk by.

Here are a few cat superstitions from various countries.
A strange black cat on your porch brings prosperity. - Scottish superstition
A cat sneezing is a good omen for everyone who hears it. - Italian superstition
It is bad luck to see a white cat at night. - American superstition
Dreaming of white cat means good luck. - American superstition
In the Netherlands, cats were not allowed in rooms where private family discussions were going on. 
The Dutch believed that cats would definitely spread gossips around the town.
In Egypt, it was once believed that the life-giving rays of the sun 
were kept in a  cat's eyes at night for safekeeping.
To kill a cat brings seventeen years of bad luck  -Irish superstition

     Today in America, during the month of October, we see silhouettes of black cats clinging to window panes anxiously waiting for the 31st, when hordes of little goblins, witches and ghosts make their way from house to house, party to party collecting treats. 
     Halloween is a fun time!  It is a time that reconfirms our social bond with the people of the neighborhood who we rarely, if ever, see the rest of the year. As we watch the wildly and someitmes very imaginative costumes parading from door to door, a fond reminder of what we once did ourselves, keep in mind that pets often find these strange sights frightening experience.  The Humane Society recommends keeping all pets confined indoors in a room away from any Halloween excitement and keep the Halloween candy out of your pet’s reach. Just like table scraps, candy can make some pets quite sick. 
     Today, the domestic cat (house cat) is second only to the dog in popularity as a house pet. No one knows exactly how many domestic cats there are in the United States, but researchers estimate that more than 30 million are owned as pets.
      These numbers do not include the millions of feral cats ('wild' offspring of domestic cats and are primarily the result of pet owners' abandonment or failure to spay and neuter) that suffer sickness, exposure, starvation and death on the streets of our nation's cities and towns, and in the fields and forests of the countryside as they attempt to survive on their own.
    If you are thinking about making a cat a part of your family, visit your local Humane Society, Shelter or check out our Adopt a Pet Link. 

Ms. Jacque Schultz, ASPCA Director of Companion Animal Services,
offers some common-sense tips to protect your pet on Halloween: ...

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