Cat Superstitions from Around the World

  • In Japan black cats are a lucky omen as the blacks cats can heal sick children and protect against evil.
  • France the black magical cat called matagot could under certain circumstances bring prosperity to its owner. 
  • A light colored cat will bring silver to the home of the owner. A dark colored cat will bring gold to the home of its owner. (Old Buddhist cat superstition)
  • A kitten born in May (especially on the first of May) will become ill behaved and troublesome. It may even be responsible for bringing snakes into the house. (Celtic)
  • Whenever the cat of the house is black, the lasses will have no lack of lovers. (English cat superstition)
  • It is bad luck to chase away a black cat. (English)
  • When moving into a new home always let the cat enter first for good luck. (Russia cat superstition)
  • If a young woman is unfortunate enough to step on a cat’s tail, she will not get married that year. (Wales)
  • In Madagascar it was believed that the souls of unburied dead would enter a cat.
  • To kill a cat brings seventeen years of bad luck. (Irish cat superstition)
  • A cat sneezing is a good omen for those who hear it. (Italian cat superstition)
  • kitten whiteTo see a white cat on the road during the day is lucky.  (American superstition)
  • It is unlucky to see a white cat at night. (American superstition)
  • If a cat washes its face, it is a prediction that a visitor will be arriving. (Japanese superstition)
  • If a cat washes his face, it is a prediction of rain. (Chinese, also found in Europe)
  • It will bring good luck if a cat runs in front of a fisherman when he is on his way to fishing. On the other hand it is a bad omen if a cat crosses his path on his way to fishing.  (English)
  • If a black cat crosses your path it is bad luck in mainland Europe and the U.S., but in England it is good luck (Make sure to make a wish before you lose sight of the black cat).
  • In Japan there was a belief that if a cat was born with a black mark on its back and the black mark resembled a woman wearing a kimono; one had to show the cat the utmost respect.  The kimono mark on the back of the cat was evidence that the spirit of a dead ancestor possessed the cat. The highest precautions were taken to care for and protect these cats. These kimono cats were often given to the temple for safekeeping.
  • Never say the word “cat” on a ship or on stage, if you do it will bring you bad luck.
  • Make a note that a cat onboard a ship and a cat backstage in a theater will bring good luck.
  • A cat that walks across a stage will bring good luck.

The Korat

The Korat cat was originally from Thailand. It was considered to be a lucky cat bringing prosperity to its owners. The Korat cat was often used in rain-making ceremonies. Water would be poured on the cat believing this would call forth the rain clouds. 

Two Korat cats could also be given to a bride as a wedding gift to ensure prosperity. The Korat cat’s fur symbolized silver.

Body of a Cat in the Wall

In England and mainland Europe it was believed that if a cat was placed inside the wall during the construction of the building it would protect the house from rats.

An ever better alternative was to place the body of a cat and a rat in the wall.  The Natural History Museum in London possesses a collection of some of these ill-fated cats uncovered inside walls.

Make it Rain

In Java there was a superstition that bathing a cat would bring rain. In Sumatra there was a similar superstition.

There they would bring a black cat out in the river and force the cat to swim around for a while splashing water on the cat and each other. This was believed to call forth rain.

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