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Friday the 13th: Why do black cats supposedly bring bad luck?


If it's Friday the 13th, then you shouldn't run into a black cat - especially not from left to right. According to superstition, the dark four-legged friends bring bad luck. But why is that actually the case? The bad reputation of the black cat stems from the Middle Ages - Image: Shutterstock / Pipalana

Friday the 13th is an unfavorable combination - because both the number 13 and Friday often represent bad luck. A queasy feeling is programmed that day. Superstitious people want to avoid all bad luck. This includes black cats, who are considered messengers of bad luck. It gets serious when the four-legged friends cross the path from left to right. But where does superstition come from?

Black cats were discredited in the Middle Ages

While in ancient Egypt and ancient Greece black cats were still valued as mouse catchers or even worshiped as deities, it became difficult for animals in the Middle Ages and with the spread of Christianity in Europe and the Western world.

Christian clergymen saw in the black cat the embodiment of evil, an image of Satan. The animals, whose color was considered demonic, were literally demonized and referred to as witch animals. Therefore, black cats as well as alleged witches and heretics were persecuted. In addition, anyone who owned a black cat had to fear being associated with witchcraft - and so a cat could actually bring misfortune to its owner.

Why are black cats harder to get across?

Unfortunately, it is a sad fact: Black cats are heavier in the animal shelter or at the breeder ...

Black cat from left to right

According to superstition, black cats mean particularly great harm if they cross the path from left to right. This is because the left has always been considered a "bad side". Because of this negative connotation, left-handed people have long been seen as different and attempts have been made to retrain them.

Black cats don't just bring bad luck

Interestingly, there are different versions of superstition. Black cats are not considered bad luck everywhere. In some cultures, it's the other way around. Both in Asian countries and in Great Britain, the four-legged friends are regarded as lucky charms.

Prejudices with sad consequences

Nevertheless, the prejudices about black cats make the four-legged friends more difficult to convey in animal shelters. The fur color of the velvet paws has no influence on their character or their amiability. And actually it is always lucky to have a cat - no matter what fur color it has.