Superstitions and death omens related to cats
I work part time at a grocery store, in several departments. While ringing in a customer’s groceries I noticed that they were purchasing pet food. We embarked on a casual conversation about our fur babies, they owning dogs, I living with a cat. The customer asked what type of cat I had to which I replied that my Kismet is a domestic short hair according to my vet, almost completely black in colour with gorgeous greenish yellow eyes and was rehomed to me 3 years ago. The customer mentioned that it was bad luck to have a cat and owning one would bring death.
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines an omen as an occurrence or phenomenon believed to portend a future event. As a death doula, I am aware of some death omens or superstitions and most of the local folklore of foreshadowing, but I hadn’t heard of this one specifically about black cats.
So, that got me thinking, and after work I headed home to my laptop to do some research on death omens. According to the article, 64 Death Omens: Real or Folklore (See source 1) the following are specific to cats.
· If a cat lays at the foot of your bed, death is imminent.
· Black cats are often thought of as bad luck, and death is included in that belief.
· Black cats crossing the path of a funeral? Another family member will die soon.
Another article elaborated on superstitions around the world and listed even more death omens specific to cats. (See source 2)
· A tortoiseshell cat sighting is an omen of a death by accident. (France)
· A cat that lies on the bed of a sleeping man is an omen of death. (Italy)
· If a black cat crosses your path in moonlight, it is an omen for death in an epidemic. (Ireland)
· If a cat jumps across a grave, that corpse will return as a vampire.
· Two cats fighting by a grave are the devil and an angel fighting for the soul of the deceased person.
· A purring cat means a ghost is in the room.
· If a funeral procession meets a black cat along the way, another family member will die. (England)
· A cat with a black mark on his back like a kimono is possessed by the soul of a deceased relative and must be treated with respect. (Japan)
Superstitions tend to be passed down from generation to generation. I grew up with cats all my life, and so did my daughter. Most of these death-based superstitions/omens are new to me and I certainly did not pass on any that I knew to her. Kismet is just happy to have a loving home, free from discrimination.