Cats, our furry little friends, are loved by many people. There are those who have a real respect for this domestic feline that has become a part of our everyday household. They are unpredictable, affectionate, sometimes even a little shy and maintain their “wild” character. It is not always easy to tame them and they can often reject our attempted pampering of them. In general, cats are precious friends to many of us.
But why do witches have and like cats? Let’s find it out together!
Cats and witches, a perfect combination
In this article, we will focus on solving the unknown of what has led cats to become an emblem in the magical world, and the answer has a lot to do with the heritage of this animal. Some of the reasons that have established the cat as the ideal companion of witches have very different origins!
Mythology and history
In various cultures, cats are associated with gods and supernatural powers related to witchcraft and death. In Norse mythology, the most mysterious goddess who was attributed black magic was Freyja, whose image was represented on a chariot pulled by cats.
In Greek mythology, the goddess Diana was a symbol of fertility and was represented as a black cat. Later, this same goddess became a symbol of witchcraft. Another example is found in the witches of Salem, in Massachusetts, and in general, all the witchcraft of the Middle Ages, where those women accused of doing black magic always had a cat nearby.
The inheritance of a black cat
For the Hebrews and the Babylonian culture, these animals are associated with evil (as was the case with snakes too) and it was even suspected that for this reason, they were direct relatives of witches. Hence, in many countries, the black cat is considered to bring bad luck, although in others it is surprisingly a symbol of fortune.
Cats and witches are so similar to one another!
Cats are very intriguing animals; they’re silent, agile, independent, and have a unique character. Hence, they are unconsciously related to witches who have always been attributed these same characteristics.
Believe it or not, many people continue to question the relationship between animals and witches, wondering if black cats are synonymous with witches.
There are still superstitions about black cats because they were considered to be witches’ relatives, the representation of evil, or simply pets with special abilities. We now know that it was not exclusively cats that could be familiars to witches.
Although there was also a relationship between dogs and witches, cats were the most common pets, but there were other animals that accompanied witches. They were also considered relatives: frogs and toads, owls, bats, crows, and other animals that were perceived as mysterious, associated with the night, or viewed unfavorably.
Black kittens are more likely to survive than other kittens in a litter and have characteristics that make them more resistant to disease, more than cats of any other coat color. It may be because they have a stronger immune system, or at least in a matter of natural selection as their color can help them hide from predators.
Time has done justice to black cats since humanity and society itself exonerated them over time. Long after the diabolical stigma was born, film and television turned the image of the witch and the black cat into an icon of horror and cartoons which garnered more affection for our black companions.
Likewise, literature propelled the idea that all witches have black cats. From these collective beliefs came many stories about all kinds of fantasy witches and their faithful black cats, so popular that today we think they are fantastic.
Why is it believed that witches transform into black cats?
In Celtic mythology, it was believed that cats were actually humans who committed bad deeds and were forced to return to the world and, these beliefs ultimately lead to the superstitions that people currently have about black cats.
It was believed that the witch should have a black cat as an assistant, present at all times. This links back to the belief that a powerful (perhaps human) spirit inhabits the cat and can therefore cast curses on a witch’s enemies.
Such beliefs led people to invent stories of witches who turned into cats, which over time became more elaborate. The alleged witnesses to these transformations claimed that witches crawled into the homes of people they wanted to harm at night.
Some of the people convicted of witchcraft even confessed to that crime, but it is very likely that they were forced by the torture to which they were subjected. Thus, the cat became more than just a witch’s pet; he was an accomplice, a familiar.
Another belief was that black cats were reborn witches. Or that black cats were direct relatives of witches, but not all were black cats. Some were cats of other colors or other animals entirely: dogs, pigs, goats, crows, and more.
Some witches were supposed to have the ability to shapeshift into a black cat nine times, hence the ancient belief that cats have nine lives. Furthermore, black cats were sometimes used in magical rituals, sometimes as participants, other times as sacrifices.
I don’t like cats. Does this mean I am not a witch?
Absolutely not! You don’t have to like cats to be a witch! Each one of us has a special connection with a certain animal and it’s totally fine to not feel connected with cats! Maybe your energy is more in tune with another animal. Work on that connection to enhance your magical energy!