Cat’s Role in the History of Halloween

Halloween: a time for pumpkins, witches…and of course, black cats. But, how did the black cat become associated with Halloween? Go back in time to the middle ages, when people believed in myths, fables and legends. Black cats quickly became known as “familiars” — or the spirits of witches in animal form. History also shows that people thought black cats were witches reincarnated.

In the October 2008 issue of Cat Fancy, Dr. Ruth MacPete, DVM, said history showed that during the 17th century black cats were abused during the Salem witch trials because being nocturnal, they were thought to have supernatural powers and could possess evil powers. Unfortunately, even though we’re centuries older, these perceptions have evolved into superstitions that many people still believe in!
And because of that, Halloween is not a safe time for black cats. So many cats are abused the weekend before and week of Halloween. If you own a black cat — or any cat! — please take these precautions to keep them safe:
  • If you have a black cat that goes outside, keep them inside for the weekend before, the week of and on Halloween
  • If you’re having a party, put your cat in a carrier so they won’t have the opportunity to run out of a room or the house and get outside
  • When you’re handing out candy to trick or treaters, keep your cat locked up in a room or in a carrier so they won’t run out the door
  • Also, remember, cats cannot eat chocolate and most candies, so keep your candy in a cabinet or drawer where they can’t get to it.
  • If you’re burning candles, try the new tea lights that run on battery versus ones that you light with a match! They look the same and give the same effect as real candles.
  • If you have anything with strings, remember that cats love to play with and chew on string…so be careful!
Although the cat has gotten a bad reputation during the centuries, you can help keep your felines safe!