Strange feline superstitions

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 26, 2010

Now that fall is here, pumpkins, ghost, and skeletons are now starting to appear on the lawns up and down the streets.

The black cat has always had a stigma following it, especially during the Halloween season. We all have heard about the demise of having one cross your path, but folks all around the word have superstitions and odd beliefs when it comes to cats.

In fact, in England it has often been believed that if a cat deserts someone’s house, illness will forever reign within the house.

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If a cat was spotted sleeping with all four paws tucked underneath their body, it was thought that cold weather was on the way.

English schoolchildren were taught that if they saw a white cat on the way to school that is was a sign that trouble was sure to follow. To stave off the bad luck, they were to turn around and spit.

The cats of English sailors had some of the best lives of all the cats in England. The sailors believed that fair weather at sea was guaranteed if these felines were happy at home. Because of this superstition, black cats became so exorbitantly priced that very few sailors could afford them.

The strangest English superstition states that two cats seen fighting on a person’s grave shortly after a funeral, or near a dying person, are believed to be an angel and a demon battling for the soul as it crossed over.

Strangely, many cat superstitions revolve around marriage and relationships.

A French superstition once stated that if an unmarried girl steps on a cat’s tail, she would not be able to find a husband for a year.

The English believed if a black cat chose to live in the same house of a young lady, she would have plenty of suitors.

In Arkansas’ Ozark Mountains, when a woman receives a marriage proposal and doesn’t know whether to accept, she would take three hairs from a cat’s tail, wrap them in white paper and leave them on her porch overnight. If the hairs spelled out the letter Y, her answer should be yes, but if they formed the letter N, her answer should be no.

On Britain’s Yorkshire coast, fisherman’s wives thought that if they kept a black cat in their house, their husband’s would return home safely from the sea.

America has not been immune from strange beliefs. Early Americans believed that if they put a cat in their house through a window in a new home, rather than the door, the cat would never leave. Another American superstition states that if you spot a one-eyed cat, spit on your thumb, stamp your thumb into the palm of your hand, and make a wish- the wish will come true.

It has even been thought that dreaming of a white cat indicates good luck.

Cats have many superstitions and odd beliefs surrounding them. But actually, a cat just wants what everyone wants — to be loved. Don’t let superstition keep you from making a cat part of your family.

Remember, that every dog (and cat) deserves to be treated like a show dog.

Tony Barker, The BARKer Shop