Why are Black Cats such bad luck?

The belief that black cats are bad luck goes all the way back to the Middle Ages when the cat was inadvertently associated with ‘witchcraft’.

Little old ladies (who were typically suspected of being witches) had a tendency to take in poor, starving alley cats. When these little old ladies were found to be ‘witches’, the cats were also assumed to be part of the witchcraft by association.

Legends then spread throughout Europe that witches could in fact turn into cats. One story involved two men walking through a forest when they came across a black cat in their path. They threw rocks at the cat to scare it away, and it ran into a nearby hut. The next day the men walked back through the forest and passed that same hut, where they saw a little old lady who was battered and bruised standing in the doorway. Naturally, it was assumed that the cat and the old lady were one and the same. Furthermore, she must be a witch!

The idea of black cats being part of witchcraft spread to America and was a rampant belief during the times of the Salem Witch Trials. The idea has carried through to today, although it mainly appears as a central part of Halloween imagery and is seen as a more of a superstition than a widely held belief.

There is no actual proof that a black cat is bad luck. In fact, some people might swear that black cats bring only the best luck!