Good luck, bad luck, a witch’s pet – myths debunked this
National Black Cat Day (August 17, 2023)
We’re a nation of cat lovers with an estimated 11 million living as pets in the UK*. However, sometimes certain characteristics mean pets can be a little overlooked and sadly, black cats are one of them.
Not only do rehoming charities often have black cats waiting longer to find homes than other cats, but in a world dominated by social media, black cats are also often said to be ‘less photogenic’ than other more ‘colourful’ cats.
For National Black Cat Day this August, PDSA vets together with PDSA Pet Insurance have debunked some of the most common myths about black cats.
“Good luck, bad luck, a witch’s pet… there’s a lot of myths around our mysterious feline friends and we’ll admit that not all of them are great,” explains PDSA Vet Lynne James.
“We, however, think black cats are wonderful and there’s loads of reasons they can make brilliant pets.”
Lynne has debunked some of the biggest myths surrounding black cats.
- We don’t live in the middle ages.
“It’s thought that the black cats and witches myth started sometime in the middle ages. We’re talking a thousand years ago here. They’ve gotten a whole negative reputation based on myth, when really they’re no different to any other cat.
- Black cats are actually good luck!
“Sailors used to take black cats aboard ships not only to catch mice but also because they believed they brought them good luck. In Scotland, a black cat turning up at your door is a sign of prosperity!
- They *might* live longer.
“According to researchers at the National Institute of Health, the gene that causes their fur to be black could also protect them against certain diseases. So your black cat may be scientifically less likely to fall ill with certain diseases.
- Black cats can help your love life.
“Believe it or not, in some parts of the world black cats are considered ‘matchmakers’ and are thought to help their owners find true love! They’re even believed to be the perfect wedding gift in some areas of the UK as they are thought to bring luck and happiness to the bride.
- They were worshipped.
“In Ancient Egypt, all cats were worshipped – including black cats. All cats were seen as sacred. In fact, the Egyptian goddess Bastet (who protected the home from evil spirits and disease) is often portrayed as having the body of a woman and the head of a black cat. Bastet is still worshipped today and her protection is believed by some to be cast over modern cats.”
PDSA is the UK’s largest vet charity providing a vital service for pets across the UK whose owners struggle to afford treatment costs for their sick and injured pets. For many vulnerable pets, PDSA is there to help when there is nowhere else for their owners to turn.
The charity’s insurance arm, PDSA Pet Insurance, offers a range of policies to cover cats and dogs for accidents and illness, as well as providing access to a 24/7 veterinary helpline. Every policy sold raises funds for the charity’s life-saving veterinary work.
To find out more visit www.pdsa.org.uk/pet-insurance-pdsa
*According to the PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report 2023.