It’s Friday the 13th, a day full of superstition about bad luck. Superstition and cats have been associated for a very long time. Below are some interesting facts and history surrounding superstition and cats:
- In the 15th century, Pope Innocent VIII condemned the entire feline species, stating that all cats were evil. After this, thousands of cats were burned. Because of the mass killing of cats, the rat population grew tremendously, causing the Black Death to take a larger toll on the human population.
- During medieval times, many people thought black cats were witches in disguise. Some believed that after seven years of service, a witch’s feline companion was rewarded by becoming a witch itself. This was the beginning of the belief that a black cat crossing your path was bad luck, since it was thought to be an encounter with a witch.
- In the 1930’s, a cat named Napoleon became known as a weather forecaster. He would predict rain by lying on the floor, front legs outstretched with his head down between them. Napoleon’s predictions were published in the local newspaper, and in the six years he predicted the weather, he was never wrong. When he died, his tombstone was inscribed with “Napoleon the Weather Prophet.”
- Since the 1920’s, Kaspar the Cat, a black cat made of wood, has been joining dinner parties of 13 at the Savoy Hotel in London. This story dates back to 1898, when a guest of the hotel hosted a dinner party for 13 people. He did not believe the superstition that said the first to get up from the table would be the first to die. The host was the first to rise and was murdered shortly afterward. Kaspar the Cat was commissioned after this to join parties of 13 to boost the number to 14.
- The children’s game, cat’s cradle, is a game played with string. The game dates back to a time in Europe when it was believed a cat could enhance the fertility of a newly married couple. Soon after the wedding, a cat in a cradle would be taken to the couple’s home and rocked from side to side to ensure the couple soon would have a baby. In the children’s game, a hammock-like cradle is created by looping the string over the fingers.
To close, here’s a good quote from Groucho Marx: “A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere.” Yep, that sums it up quite well!
Have a safe and LUCKY Friday the 13th!