The Significance of Sighting a Black Cat: Myth vs. Reality

The Significance of Sighting a Black Cat: Myth vs. Reality
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What is the meaning of a black cat?

Black cats have been unfairly associated with bad luck for many centuries. This has often resulted in negative consequences for them, ranging from simple avoidance to not being adopted to being victims of dangerous October stunts.

However, the truth about black cats is not quite so simple. Let’s take a moment to learn the true meaning of a black cat sighting and to understand where that stigma might have come from. Understanding the true meaning of a black cat sighting can help people dispel any preconceived notions modern society might have about black cats and allow them to enjoy a more nuanced and loving existence as all beings deserve.

The Story of the Black Cats

The stigmatization of black cats may have started in the Middle Ages, when it was believed that cats helped spread bubonic plague and were often killed as a result. Ironically, cats hunted and killed rats and probably actually reduced the spread of the plague.

Then, in the 13th century, Pope Gregory IX. Black cats in the official church document “Vox in Rama” as the incarnation of Satan and turned the supposed meaning of a black cat sighting into something darker. Black cats and witches were associated because the early Christian church viewed witches, i.e., pagan practitioners, as directly opposed to their goals. Because witchcraft works in harmony with nature and often leads to a loving relationship between animals and humans, witches and black cats have been lumped together by the Church and have remained so.

At some point, the rumor spread that witches could turn into cats. The superstition about the dangers of a black cat crossing someone’s path stems from the idea that a black cat was either a witch herself or on behalf of a witch, if not just an incarnation of the devil. All of these were frightening prospects, leading to the notion that interbreeding with a black cat was bad luck. People used to ease their fears after encountering a black cat by running to the nearest church and paying the priest for a blessing to rid themselves of the curse they thought they had faced.

Black cats have many meanings

It’s also not entirely coincidental that cats have developed such associations. Much like witches, who were seen as independent women who functioned outside of society and manifested their will through magic, cats are independent, especially compared to dogs, unwilling to flatter anyone and rarely listen to authority.

In many places and belief systems, the meaning of a black cat is seen as much more positive. In fact, black cats were sometimes seen as symbols of good luck. More recently, black cats have even come to suggest good luck in some European locations, where these rumors likely got their start in the first place.

Some traditions also consider black cats to be positive markers of romantic relationships, magnets of wealth and resources, harbingers of security, and helpful companions for travel. While the significance of sighting a black cat varies from place to place and culture to culture, these creatures are certainly no more evil or vicious than any other animal species.

Dealing with the black cat stigma

Black cats are simply cats with black fur. They are just as capable of magic and/or mischief as any other cat. It’s important to stop unfairly associating black cats with nonsensical rumors that should have stayed in the past. Black cats deserve to be treated with the same love and kindness shown to other cats. So the next time you hear someone spreading those black cat rumors, consider sharing that knowledge with them and encouraging them to reconsider.

That said, while black cat encounters are by no means inherently negative, they are not without spiritual significance either. It’s just that the meaning of a black cat isn’t as dark or as menacing as popular culture would have you believe. If you have a black cat and want to know what she’s thinking—or if you’ve met a black cat and want to know what it might mean for you—counseling with a pet medium or a life path medium can help help you discover everything you need to know.

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