All About Cats: Myths And Superstitions Around The World

Cats have played their part in the creation of myths and superstitions around the world. To learn all about cats, you might want to know some of these beliefs. In this post, we will look at a few of them.

White & orange cat bathing
  • Your Cat Could Be A Gossip: This one is a belief that comes from the Netherlands. Therefore, if you reside or visit in that country, you must not even whisper your secrets to a cat, as he will spread the tale far and wide.
  • This idea seems to be in direct contradiction to the belief that tells us that we can safely tell a cat these secrets, as he will not tell. Not true if you live in the Netherlands.
  • When Your Cat Bathes, Unexpected Visitors Will Come: This one comes from Japan, and it refers not to a total bath, but to a cat washing its face with its paws. The cat wants to be prepared.
  • In the United States some people believe that a cat cleaning its whiskers awaits a visit from a clergyman.
  • Some Beliefs About Sneezing: If you live in Italy and you hear a cat sneeze, it’s said to mean good luck will come your way. If your own cat gets the sneezes, it means you will receive unexpected money.
  • If a bride hears a cat sneeze on her wedding day, she can rest assured that she will have a good marriage. However, if a cat sneezes three times, it could mean that you will come down with a cold.
  • Graveyard Superstitions: In some parts of southern Europe, the story exists that if a cat jumps across a person’s grave, that person will rise again as a vampire.
  • The belief spread also into England, where an author from the late 19th century said if a cat jumped over a coffin during a funeral, no one moved until someone killed the cat.
  • A Cat Can Help A Female Mistress Find A Mate: In Pennsylvania German tradition, a cat can help his mistress with getting married. She simply has to feed the cat from her shoe, and she will find a husband.
  • A Wet Cat Can Cause It To Rain: In parts of Indonesia, cats play an important role with the weather. If people wanted rain, they would pour water over a cat. Supposedly, the cat would then make it rain out of revenge.
  • You Should Not Own A Cat If You Are Pregnant: In many European countries, you might learn you should not own a cat, nor should you pick kitty up or let him get on your lap. There is a belief that the baby will be born with a cat’s face or a cat-shaped birthmark.
  • We know this one is not true, but some folks believe it.
  • A modern version states that a pregnant woman who owns a cat will get infected by toxoplasmosis, which could lead to birth defects. Indoor cats most likely won’t have this condition. For extra protection, wash your hands often and have someone else clean the litter box.
  • Have You Heard The Story About Cats And Pickles? Somewhere in the past, people believed that if you wanted to know who your future husband might be, you could feed your black cat a pickle. The cat will go to the person you should marry.
  • If Your Cat Wants Out Frantically When Someone Is Sick, It’s Not Good: In such a case, it’s believed that the sick person nears death. As seen in cases with cats in nursing homes, a cat seems to have a sixth sense about people nearing death.
  • Good News For Folks Onstage: If a cat suddenly appears out of nowhere and walks across the stage at a theatre, the performers will have good luck with their play.
  • Ensure A Good Harvest: In many European country areas, it’s believed that you must have a cat if you wished to have a good harvest. Thus, the cat received respect, care, and good treatment.
  • A Weather Predictor: If a cat sits with its back to the fire, it could mean that frost would arrive soon.
  • Keep The Baby Safe: A Russian belief tells us that putting a cat in a new baby’s cradle had the power to ward off evil spirits from the baby.
  • The Maneki Neko, Or Beckoning Cat, Brings Good Fortune: In Japanese homes, the figure of a beckoning cat, left paw upraised, will bring good luck.
Drawing of cat band

Have You Heard That Cat Whiskers Bring Good Luck?

We all know that a cat can fit through a tight space if his whiskers will allow it, and isn’t that rather magical? Not only can the cat manage that tight squeeze due to those whiskers, but he can also curl up to sleep in the most unusual spots. The whiskers might let him know the spot’s a good one.

How To Protect Against Auto Accidents and Other Mechanical Problems: Put a cat’s whisker in a white bag and put the bag in your car. This little trick supposedly keeps you safe. It protects not only from accidents, but from parking tickets and car thieves. Whatever works!

Cartoon of cat with whiskers

Use Those Whiskers For Casting Spells: If you happen to believe that the cat’s whiskers are a bit magical, this one makes sense. You can find many recipes and stories about the use of cat’s whiskers. These are mostly about protection and good fortune.

Never, Ever Cut Your Cat’s Whiskers

Do not cut kitty’s whiskers. They contain lots of nerves, and if you cut them, kitty will hurt, a lot! You might notice changes in your cat’s behavior if you cut a whisker, but that’s because kitty is in pain! Do not do such a thing!

Cat looking up, showing full whiskers

Instead, when you find solitary whiskers that the cat has shed, those are the ones you keep. Put them in a safe place, as a fallen whisker denotes that good fortune comes your way.

Such fallen whiskers should be a rare find, so you can always consider it good luck if you find one. However, if kitty loses lots of whiskers, it might become a good idea to consult your vet.

Black Cats Can Bring Good Luck

Black cats gained their bad reputation in places under the influence of the Christian church. This set of beliefs arose during the time when anyone believed to be a witch might be killed, and their black cat as well, since people thought the cat to be her familiar.

Portrait of black cat

Of course, this horrible superstition got lots of support from the Church, and still has some effect today. Many ignorant people still cling to superstitions about black cats being evil. So sad! Therefore, let’s look at some beliefs about black cats that reinforce a positive set of beliefs.

Black Cats Good Luck In Japan

You will actually find more places in the world where folks believe the black cat brings good luck. For example, in Japan, the culture believes that when a black cat crosses your path, you will have good luck. Not only Japan, but much of Asia regards cats as good luck.

The Japanese have such a strong faith in this belief that they place statues of black cats around their homes and businesses because they believe the cats can draw in the good fortune and wealth that they want.

Feng Shui And Black Cats

A Feng Shui belief centers around the forces of good the black cat supposedly possesses. Keep your black cat happy and safe and he will in turn do the same for you. If you have a black cat figurine, place it facing north to keep bad energy and spirits away.

Black Maneki Neko

If you happen to have a black cat who has one white hair and can pull out that hair without being scratched, you would come into a great deal of money, plus you will also find true love.

Good Luck For A Newly Married English Couple

The English have a superstition that tells you if you give a black cat to a bride on her wedding day, she will find good luck in her marriage. If newlyweds have a black cat in their home, they will celebrate a long and happy life together.

Black, in general, is a lucky color in English culture, so black cats have gained great popularity in Britain. Black cats are also considered lucky in much of the UK.

Safe Travels For The Sailor At Sea

Long ago, sailors believed that a black cat on a ship brought good luck. The belief that a black cat would bring the sailor home safely created a problem: The cost of procuring a black cat became so high that often it was not affordable to get one.

A Black Cat Might Find You Treasure

Not only could a black cat bring you good luck, but such a cat could also invite wealth into your possession. A French peasant many moons ago believed that if you released a black cat at a crossroads where five roads intersected, he would lead you to wealth.

Handsome black cat

In the south of France, they called black cats “matagot” and believed them to be “magician cats” or perhaps “money cats.” Give the cat a nice bed, good food, and great respect, and that very same cat could reward you with wealth and good luck.

I have had several black cats over the course of my life, and have found them all to be most wonderful companions and playmates. They have comforted me in sad times and brought me happiness in good times. I believe that in themselves they are a treasure.

References I used for this post:

2 thoughts on “All About Cats: Myths And Superstitions Around The World”

    • There are certainly lots of stories about cats and superstitions. Makes you wonder how such a variety of beliefs arose in the first place. Interesting, how we choose to believe things.


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