Friday the 13th has long been considered a day of bad luck and ominous fortune. Walking under a ladder, breaking a mirror, having a black cat cross your path- these are all considered unlucky things, but especially so on Friday the 13th. This got me wondering about other animal superstitions involving animals, especially cats, and a little research did not disappoint.
Feline animal superstitions:
- Cats seemed to have the greatest number, dating all the way back to the Middle Ages. It was believed that witches could turn themselves into cats, as well as communicate and control cats. They were often referred to as “familiars.”
- There is an Irish superstition that kittens born in May will become adults that bring snakes indoors, but the Irish seem to have a story about snakes for everything.
- A Russian superstition states that when moving into a new home you should always let a cat enter first to bring good luck.
- An English one assures that if a young lady steps on a cat’s tail she will not marry for a year.
- Apparently chasing away a black cat is bad luck.
- A cat crossing a fisherman’s path on his way to fish is bad luck in Northern England and good luck to those in Southern England!
- There is a rather horrid idea in some areas of Europe that if you place a cat in the walls of a home being built it will never have problems with mice or rats. I have no idea if the cat is supposed to be dead or alive, but either way, it can’t end well.
Cats aren’t the only animals superstitions, dogs have some doozies.
- In India, there is the notion that if a dog bites a woman it can impregnate her with puppies.
- One of the oldest dog superstitions is that a howling dog is an omen of death.
- The French say that if you step in dog poop with your left foot it will bring good luck. I guess if you step in it with your right foot you just get a dirty shoe.
Barnyard animals seem to get the short end of the stick. Burning a calf alive used to be how farmers would protect the rest of the herd from witchcraft and disease. Throwing a hair from your comb may cause you to suffer from a continuous headache on the chance it gets tangled around a chicken’s foot.
I think the animal superstitions we are all most familiar with is about a rabbit’s foot being lucky, but there is a LOT that has to happen before carrying that foot on your keychain will win you the lottery. The foot should be a left foot and carried in your left pocket. It also should come from a rabbit killed during a fool moon. And the kicker? It has to have been killed by a cross-eyed person!
There are countless animal superstitions, many of which come at great pain or death to the animal. As silly as many of them may seem it is amazing how many people still give credence to them and react to the animal accordingly. Hopefully, we will outgrow our superstitious nature (knock on wood.) But until then let’s all try to encourage each other to quit blaming our ill fortunes on black cats, lost rabbit’s feet, chickens, elephants, rhino, tigers, and crows.
But I would still steer clear of walking under any ladders, especially if there is paint involved.