The history of cats is intimately linked with that of Man since the VIIIth century BC when cats were first domesticated. Cats have always fascinated with their character, their independence and their wildness, and they were even the object of veneration and sometimes fear.
Their story is one full of twists and turns: worship in ancient Egypt was followed by persecution by the Inquisition in the Middle Ages. It is in fact in ancient Egypt that the first records of domestication were found. Many ordinary people in Egypt owned a cat because of the fear and mystery they inspired. They were worshipped through invocation and veneration of the goddess Bastet, and were valued so much that when they died they would be mummified, and the entire family would shave their eyebrows in mourning.
However, during the Middle Ages, cats didn’t enjoy the same status in our western societies as in Egypt. At its worst, the Church considered cats an incarnation of the Devil and they were persecuted by the Inquisition. They were exterminated and burned, just like the women who were accused of witchcraft. In addition, any person owning a black cat risked the same fate as their pet.
In the fourteenth century, cats were wrongly accused of being responsible for the black death. Paradoxically, the few people who, despite the risks, had kept their cat were able to escape the plague: indeed, the disease came from rats, which were chased away by cats.
From the Renaissance to the XIXth century, cats slowly became accepted again as pets and were even studied by naturalists. It’s in the XVIIIth century that the naturalist Carl von Linne created the first classification of the different races of cats.
Today, many households own a pet cat. Indeed, cats are known for creating good vibes, and restoring emotional balance. However, superstition regarding this mysterious creature remains in human consciousness. Do black cats bring good luck or great misfortune? Either way, the delightful, mysterious and enchanting feline will always keep people fascinated.