Black cats targeted in Italy

Italian people find that a black cat crossing you in the street is a sign of misfortune and that the devil is present, as a result have distaste for the unfortunately coloured felines. Whilst in the UK a black cat is considered lucky, in Italy it is estimated that nearly 60,000 black cats are killed by residents who believe they bring them bad luck. The estimation comes from observations of the stray cat population and monitoring animal ownership registers. There is evidence to prove that thousands vanish or are found dead each year.


Black cats throughout Europe have been associated with witchcraft since the Middle Ages, said to be the companion of choice for witches. This association further adds to the already superstitious Italian people and their motives for their distaste for black cats. Many cats go disappearing around Halloween, speculated to have rituals performed as they are made sacrifice.

The Italian Association for the Protection of Animals and the Environment is pushing to hold a “Black Cat Day” every November 17th to help spread awareness of the problem and dispel misguided beliefs about the innocent animals. The event is aimed to educate as well as to celebrate the life of the tragically victimised felines so that hopefully people will come to understand reason over superstition.

Source: Weekly Telegraph – Armiola Ionescu – July 2007

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