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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.

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