Picture Dr. Evil from Austin Powers owning a Pomeranian. A teacup yorkie emerging from the grave in the movie Pet Cemetery. Can you imagine Dr. Claw from the Inspector Gadget cartoons, stroking a poodle with his cold metal hand? When cats play the protectors, keeping evil spirits away, we’re still left with the creeps. Even the series in which Jackson Galaxy lovingly solves issues of troubled cats, is affectionately titled My Cat From Hell!
So, how does that sweet ball of joy you cuddle with, give others a feeling of unease, and even fear? Matt Hickman for Mother Nature Network points out “cats, no matter how well we think we know them, are mysterious and mischievous animals, that unlike their attention-starved canine counterparts, aren’t so easily manipulated”. “That trademark feline independence and unpredictability, seriously freaks some people out”.
According to Wikipedia, when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, their deep faith in the bible, made them very suspicious of anything deemed of Satan. Cats came to be demonized in Europe during the Middle Ages. It was believed they had close ties to witches and the devil. In Salem Massachusetts during the Middle Ages, the crazy cat lady next door, was in their minds, the evil satanic witch next door, (ouch!).
Imagine your neighbors gossiping that your cat, or familiar, does your evil bidding, (though any cat parent would happily admit we’re usually doing their bidding). Imagine a coffee clotch about how you shape shift, becoming a cat yourself. With the killing of many cats, ( which scholars believe helped the plague to spread), I’d say the cats may have gotten some revenge.
Though the people of Salem demonized cats, cats didn’t always have a bad rap. Ancient Egyptians loved and admired cats. Scientists found a massive cat cemetery in Ben-Hassan with 300,000 mummified cats. For most of us cat lovers, this type of devotion is totally relatable!
Christie Donnelly for thespruce.com Notes in Japan, single women who own black cats are believed to attract more suitors. In Great Britain’s English Midlands, a black cat is the ideal wedding gift, thought to bring good luck and happiness to the bride. Historically, sailors brought cats aboard ships to hunt mice and, presumably, for companionship. British sailors believed a black cat, in particular, would bring the ship good luck and ensure a safe return home.
Though cats have become widely embraced and are family to many of us, they still face challenges. Black cats in particular, have been found to have lower odds of adoption in American shelters, compared to other colors. Some shelters also suspend or limit adoptions of black cats around Halloween, fearing they’ll be tortured, or used as “living decorations”, then abandoned. With social media and people obsessing over posting pretty pictures, it’s been noted, black cats aren’t as photogenic as their counterparts. In honor of these mythical, beautiful creatures, I wrote a poem 🙂
A black cat crossed my path, I quickly froze still.
Not with fear or superstition, but wonder and thrill.
A flawless coat, so brilliantly reflected the moons light.
Eyes so exotic, pierced the darkest corners of my heart.
You’re more than worthy of being etched in ancient hieroglyphs
With an arched back you stared, calculating what to do.
It’s clear you have more to fear of us, than we have to fear of you.