October 30, 2017 3 min read
It all got started in ancient Egypt.
At early as 3400 BCE,Egyptians worshiped cats and cat-like divinities. The ancient Egyptians paid homage to various animals, but the cat’s cobra-wrestling, scorpion-defeating, and rat-reducing abilities won him special favor.
Bastet and Mafdet, two Egyptian super-goddesses, resembled cats. Both protected hearth and home like their animal equivalents.
Wealthy Egyptian families added jeweled collars to their cats and fed them from a lavish table. Egyptian rulers created statues and paintings to honor cats. When an Egyptian cat died,morticians mummified her body. The cat lovers of Egypt even shaved their eyebrows as a sign of mourning when a pet cat passed away.
All in all, the ancient Egyptians helped establish the animals’ legend as a powerful, magical, and divine force. Well …aren’t they?
Celts grew to revere cats, too.
Pharaoh forbade cat exports, but Phoenician traffickers spirited the animals to buyers throughout the Mediterranean. Later, Roman soldiers took the creatures to ancient Britain where thingsreally got interesting for cats.
The pre-Roman Brits decided thatcats were the guardians of the Otherworld, the realm of gods, heroes, and the dead. The Celts believed cats linked our world with the spiritual dimension. They also identified black cats as evil. Some historians think Celtic priests would even sacrifice male black cats to make love potions or as part of a divination ceremony.
Certainly, the Celts beganthe legend of Cait Sidhe. They attributed magical powers to this cat-like creature who prowled from house to house on Samhain, the holiday we now call Halloween. Folks left out a treat, usually a saucer of milk, for Cait Sidhe so he would bless them. Those who left no treats could expect Cait Sidhe to curse their cows.
Cats became linked to European witches in the middle ages.
After Europe Christianized, cats found their stock in decline. No longer worshiped as deities, they became the bane of the continent because people believed cats to bewitches’ familiars.
Europeans avoided the animals to keep from being linked to witchcraft.
One popular myth says that Europeans killed so many cats that the rat population swelled and caused the black plague outbreak. Actually, killing cats never happened at major scale, and more cats probably wouldn't have stopped the plague. Thankfully, superstitions about cats and witches died out, but cats never recovered their former zenith as gods and goddesses.
Your cat is safe on Halloween, but … maybe not.
According to urban legend, hordes of satan-worshiping, renegade teenagers prowl the streets of America on October 31 looking for black cats to torture and sacrifice. In fact, our country’s teens will be trying to sneak a handful of their younger siblings’ trick-or-treat takings not skulking under bushes in search of outdoor cats. Pranksters can do mischief, but in general, black cats are as safe on Halloween as on any other night of the year—kind of.
The biggest dangers to black cats on Halloween don’t come from Luciferian cults or even wacky kids. They come from holiday goodies. Chocolate, sugar-free candy, and other treats can poison household pets. Dangling decorations can enchant a cat but may result in catastrophe. Plus, cats can choke on snaps, baubles, or other attachments to costumes and party favors. And of course, trick-or-treaters frighten some cats into darting out the door.
If your cat or dog gets into the treats, call Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661.
If you’re askingShould I keep my black cat in on Halloween? The answer is that all cats are always safest when kept indoors especially at holidays.
Keep your pets happy and healthy on Halloween by putting them in an enclosed room with food, fresh water, and a toy.
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