Halloween is upon us, and you are probably seeing lots of black cats around your neighborhood and Black Cat Laying Downcommunity among the autumn-themed outdoor decor. It is important, though, to remember that if you own a black cat, or even just a cat in general, you should take extra caution around this time of year.

The black cat “bad luck” myth that ties these animals to Halloween stems from Europe during the Middle Ages. During these times, many elderly, solitary women were being accused of witchcraft, and often, these same women fed and cared for stray cats. By association, the cats were thought to be their co-conspirators, especially if they were black cats due to their dark color.

Now, we realize that this concept is nothing but a superstition. In Japan, black cats are actually considered to be good luck, and if a woman has a black cat, it is said that she will attract many suitors.

However, some people hold onto the myth and black cats have been known to fall victim to harassment and animal cruelty around Halloween. Many shelters will not allow black cats to be adopted out within a certain timeframe around the holiday for fear of them being tortured or sacrificed.

Please remember to keep your cats, especially black cats, inside this Halloween. The risk of people with bad intentions is not the only reason to take caution. The excess foot traffic, noise, and costumes are likely to scare pets, and scared pets can easily get lost.—Kelsey Hardin

Kelsey Hardin is a crazy cat lady and graduate of the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. Living back in Columbus where she grew up, she spends her spare time writing, cuddling cats, crafting, spending time with friends, and catching local concerts and theatre shows.