On National Black Cat Appreciation Day, August 17, black cats could use a good spin doctor. They’re so sleek and seductive with their all-knowing yellow and green eyes, but black cats seldom get positive press even though they’re just as adorable as other cats. Let’s look at facts about this national day that honors our beautiful, sleek cats, and the reason why it was created in the first place.
History of National Black Cat Appreciation Day
Have you ever feared a black cat crossing your path? This is from ancient superstitions where people thought this meant bad luck. For many cultures and historical settings, black cats were actually meant for positive things. So, to try and dispel these myths about black cats, National Black Cat Appreciation Day was created to be celebrated on August 17 every year.
Today, pop culture loves black cats. There’s the sarcastic Thackery Binx in “Hocus Pocus”, Salem, in “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” and Pyewacket in the classic “Bell, Book and Candle,” and we can’t forget the classic cartoon black cat, Luna in “Sailor Moon.” Black cats are seen as loyal companions, and this is what they were seen as for a lot of cultures in history too.
So, who’s to blame for this negative black cat spin? Superstition! But mostly because during the Middle Ages, people (mainly the Catholic Church) saw witches as shape-shifting black cats and the damage was done. From then on, black cats were seen as evil entities for years and years to follow.
But not everyone sees black cats this way. In fact, black cats are actually welcomed by a lot of people. For some, a visit from a black cat means good luck, and for others it meant prosperity or romance. Hey — in some cultures black cats are even worshipped. Basically, there’s no need to fear them. On this day, we celebrate our cuddly friends, no matter what color their coat is!
National Black Cat Appreciation Day timeline
Salem is introduced in television
Everyone’s favorite teenage witch, Sabrina, makes her TV debut with her sidekick, Salem.
"Hocus Pocus" premieres with one of its stars being a black cat named Binx.
Cartoon cat appears for the first time
Felix the Cat debuts in "Feline Follies."
- Middle Ages
During the Spanish Inquisition, the Catholic Church associated black cats with witchcraft.
National Black Cat Appreciation Day FAQs
Is there a National Cat Day?
Close to National Black Cat Appreciation Day, National Cat Day is celebrated on August 8 every year.
Are black cats mean?
Despite what everyone may think, black cats are actually known to be the most friendly and cuddliest cats.
What does it mean when a black cat visits your house?
If you get a visit by a black cat to your house, it’s supposed to be a sign of luck and prosperity.
National Black Cat Appreciation Day Activities
Visit the Nekobiyaka Cat Café
This Japanese café pays tribute to black cats, letting them roam throughout the restaurant for guests to enjoy. Pay $10 to spend an hour with the kitties and order some soda or beer while you’re there. Guests are not allowed to pick up or hold the cats, but customers can pet them. Each cat wears a different color bandana so you can tell them apart.
Adopt a black cat
As unbelievable as this sounds, black cats are about half as likely to be adopted as other cats! This is silly but true. Show some love to a homeless or abused black cat or kitten by contacting your local animal shelter to find one in need of a good home.
Read Edgar Allen Poe’s, “The Black Cat”
The Saturday Evening Post originally published Poe’s short story back in 1843. It's one of the author's darkest tales — dealing with the psychology of guilt.
5 Myths About Black Cats
Black cats can change color
Black cats that also have the Tabby stripe gene have fur that can turn a rusty brown color after they’ve been lounging in the sun for a long time.
They were companions to sailors
Sailors and fisherman thought that having black cats on board would bring them good luck. It helped that they would eat the rats too!
Black cats are not a single breed
There are actually 22 cat breeds that have solid black coats.
Japan’s black cat cafe
In Himeji, Japan, there is a cafe that’s entirely devoted to black cats where visitors can pet them during their visit.
All cats are sacred
In Ancient Egypt, all cats were considered sacred, so they were worshipped. This includes black cats!
Why We Love National Black Cat Appreciation Day
Black cats are good luck charms
Luckily, many cultures cherish black cats. In Scottish lore, good tidings would follow if a black cat came to your house. Fishermen often kept black cats on their boats, believing them to bring good luck.
Black cats are unique
Their eyes are yellow and their hair can gray with age. Some scientific research reveals that a black cat's hair can help their immune system because the genetic mutation for hair color makes the cat less likely to contract feline immunodeficiency virus.
Black cats inspire Halloween costumes
Black pants? Black top? Homemade or store-bought black ears? Then you, my friend, have got yourself a Halloween costume. You can kick it up a notch by drawing on a nose, whiskers, and a tail. Black cat costumes are good for those last-minute, need-something-to-wear situations that can pull any masquerade look together.