Cats play different roles to human society. They are pets, friends, family and sometimes, lucky charms. Some cultures have a history or superstitions that regard cats with good fortune. So, if you’re a cat lover, you may want to visit a few countries with cultures that believe cats are good luck.
Supposedly, in many parts of the UK, cats are considered good luck. Despite the morbid history of feline mass killings during the period when the issue of witchcraft is rampant, this has changed drastically. For English people, there’s a superstition that says giving a bride a black cat on her wedding day is a great thing; this will bring her good luck in her marriage. Despite black cats associated with evil in the past, this has somehow changed into black calicos protecting couples or newlyweds by warding off evil spirits.
Moreover, English sailors in the past have also treated cats as good luck. Their superstition says that bringing cats aboard their journey can bring extra wealth and ensure a safe voyage. This has made cats’ value to rise back then, making them quite a luxurious lucky pet to have. On the other hand, if a ship’s resident cat fell or thrown overboard, that ship will be hit with terrible storms and its sailors are cursed for nine years.
This is another culture that believes cats are good luck. French culture has a belief on what’s called a “matagot” or “mandagot.” It’s a supernatural creature dubbed as “magical cat.” According to some traditions in France, it’s a spirit that dwells in animals like cats and more particularly, black cats. In relation with the witchcraft in Europe, there’s a negative connotation to matagots being related to evil. So, in order to get good fortune, French people would take care of the matagot with utter respect and adoration. Things like giving a nice bed, the first bite of their dinner and making sure the magical calico has a home even after its owner’s death- these actions will please the matagot and bring their human wealth and great luck.
It seems that good luck is universally associated with wealth. Japanese culture also believes that black cats bring wealth and great fortune. This belief has made many Japanese get black cat statues for their homes or businesses. Aside from this, Japanese superstition also says that a black cat will bring a single woman many suitors.
Japanese culture is also famous for the maneki-neko or “beckoning cat” figurine. One widely known story behind this lucky cat charm talks about a man who finds a cat raising its paw as if it was calling out to him. He followed the cat just as a bolt of lightning struck the place he was at. This maneki-neko has become a popular “fortune cat” which further promoted the belief that cats are good luck.
The maneki-neko isn’t just popular in Japan but also to China. Most Chinese shops would have this cat figurine somewhere close to their cash register. The cat’s paw swaying back and forth mimics a gesture of a person beckoning someone; this further enunciated the cat’s supposed power of attracting good luck and fortune for its owners.
Additonally, in some parts of China, people believe that cats are good luck because of their ability to see what people can’t, like ghosts or spirits. In effect, cats are able to protect their owners and keep these dirty or sinister stuff out of their homes.
Cats have represented good luck to various cultures from east to west; black cats being superstition favorites as they have continually represented something mystical over time. Regardless of the measure of truth on the belief that cats are good luck, human civilization and various cultures have indeed benefited a lot from cats. Whether as pets, property protectors, friends or family, humans found did find good luck by being able to bond with these curious creatures.