Black cats and Halloween don’t mix

10.18.09 Tommy

Dear Fisher,

Everything around our house is crazy these days. The kids are all hyper and they put on awful faces and try to scare me. It works just fine, thank you very much. This is holiday season – that’s what they say. It’s just starting and I can’t wait until it’s over. Worst is they have pictures of black cats in the window and they all look scary as heck. It is an insult to me and gives black cats a bad name. Sometimes I just want to run away from home. Can you help?


Dear Tommy,

If you mean will I help you run away from home, the answer is “No!” But, if you mean will I help you try to deal with your situation, I will be happy to. First order of business is to get the kids you live with under control. Even though you have a built in instinct to fight back, run away, or just freeze in place when you are afraid, these reactions are only encouraging them. Children can become overly exuberant when suddenly allowed to act like little monsters. You may remember doing much the same when you were a kitten.

You will do well to put forth your best effort to act aloof. After all, that is one of our best traits. Here is how that can work for you: The children put on scary masks and rush at you. You act aloof. After 3 or 4 efforts to scare you, they become bored. They then start to pick on each other, which annoys the parents and they end up in time out. At this point, skip the aloofness and do a little happy dance. All is under control.

As for the actual night of Halloween, your adult family members should help you by:

  1. Setting up the master bedroom as your safe haven, with litter box, food and water dishes.
  2. Select a pleasant program on TV so the endless doorbell ringing will not drive you nuts.
  3. Close the door to the bedroom. Appoint only one person to open it to check on you.
  4. Treats are OK, but no candy. Candy will cause new and often worse problems.
  5. Everyone must be on guard for your safety and inability to escape.
    Urban legend or not, cats should not go out on All Hallows Eve. Many animal rescue groups report an abrupt increase in the adoption of black cats at this time. For more information, look up Black Cats and Halloween.

    You are right to say this is the first of the holiday season, and no doubt the worst of it will be over for you soon. Next is Thanksgiving. Please remember to think kindly upon all turkeys.

    Your friend,

Black Cat Mystique

GargoyleCat Spats

For those who are convinced that a black cat crossing their path is bad luck, I just want to say, some of my best friends are black cats. They are not all that different from me or my other friends, who are orange, gray, tiger striped, or a huge mix of other colors. According to Mary Anne Miller, in her article The Mystique Behind Black Cats,

One of the three prevalent superstitions alive in our culture today concerns the black cat. These superstitions are: the number 13 being unlucky, you don’t walk under an open ladder, and if a black cat crosses your path, it is considered bad luck.

But, there is no convincing some folks who really believe in such bad luck superstitions. I wonder if they ever have nightmares about, oh, let us say, 13 black cats all sitting under a ladder! Mercy!
Ms. Miller explains that in ancient Egypt, the black cat and good luck went together hand and paw. One very special black cat named BAST was so revered for her powers of riches and prosperity, she became the official deity. The history of the black cat and good luck is very positive in Sumatra, the Yorkshires, and much of Europe and England.

So what happened? The Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock and changed history in more ways than one. Their fear of witches who often kept company with black cats just ruined the reputation created by so many wonderful black cats across the water.

Halloween will soon be here. Some revelers will take the opportunity to seek out and cause harm to cats – and these types really do not care what color. These trouble-makers are suspicious and afraid of cats. This is the night for you to stay home, wherever it is. Be safe. Be aware.

So what do you think of black cats?

Your friend,