This watercolour in progress is of a black cat at night in a Japanese garden.
Represented as good and bad, there are hundreds of myths and stories surrounding black cats.
Pirates of the 19th Century believed that a black cat would bring different kinds of luck, for example, if a black cat walked towards you. It would bring bad luck. If a black cat walks away from you, then you will have good luck.
Are you Lucky? If your Scottish, then you are. In Scotland, a black cat is a symbol of good fortune. The Scottish believe that a strange black cat’s arrival to the home signifies prosperity.
However, black cats in western history have often been seen as a symbol of evil, or a bad omen. They were seen as the companions of witches, shape shifters and the couriers of demons.
In Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat, he examines the psychology of guilt, a story about a murder who carefully conceals his crime and believes himself unassailable, but eventually breaks down and reveals himself, impelled by a nagging reminder of his guilt, and a one eyed black cat!
On a more positive note however, if you were a sailor considering a “ship’s cat” You would want a black one because it would bring good luck. You would also want your wife to have one at home while you were at sea, this would be in the hope that the cat would be able to use it’s lucky influence to protect you at sea.
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It seems that wherever man has been, and a cat of some sort, you’ll find tales of people shapeshifting into felines. In fact the only places on earth where it’s safe from the werecat are Australia and Antartica; two continents which don't have a native cat - I hear they have their hands full with werekangeroo’s and werepenguine’s as it is!