It seems as though Western culture has always had a love-hate relationship with cats, especially black ones. Ancient Egyptians revered cats but western culture seems to perpetuate negative superstitions about them. In the Middle Ages, it was a common belief that cats were associated with witchcraft and evil. Many believed that witches could turn themselves into cats. During the witch trials and hunts in the 16th and 17th centuries, thousands of cats were torturously killed along with the humans who cared for them.
Even though cats are the most popular pet in the United States and other Western countries, they are still at high risk for maltreatment. As a result of misinformation and inaccurate age old beliefs, some people still use Halloween as an excuse to capture and viciously harm cats, especially black cats. This past weekend, during a trip to Petco, I spoke with a local cat rescue agency representative who informed me that they do not allow the adoption of black cats during the month of October. She explained that the Halloween season seems to trigger violence against cats in general and black cats in particular, so the shelter and pet foster families take extra precautions to decrease the chances of cats being adopted for the purpose of being tortured and abused. Unfortunately, this does not protect cats who are not in their care.
During Halloween season, especially on Halloween night, there are more people outside, increased traffic, and noise which could make the world a very scary and unsafe place for a cat. Please keep this is mind. Our feline friends are counting on their humans to protect them.
Have a safe and Happy Halloween!
Oíche Shamhna Shona Duit (EE-hyeh HOW-nuh HUN-uh ditch)! (Happy Halloween!)
Written by: Cindie Harper