Black Cats – Superstitions, Names & Breeds

Why are black cats associated with bad luck?

This superstition came about because of their association with witches in the Middle Ages. Black cats are still considered bad luck throughout most of Europe, India and the US. Many pet shelters in the US will not adopt out black cats around Halloween due to the increased risk of harm. Learn more with our article: Why Do Black Cats Mean Bad Luck.

Not all countries think of black cats as bad luck though, Great Britain, Ireland, Japan, Australia and New Zealand all consider black cats to be good luck. A black cat who crosses your path in England is thought to be good luck. In Germany, if a black cat crosses your path from left to right, it is a good omen if it crosses from right to left it is a bad omen.

British sailors used to believe that black cats would bring them good luck and would seek out black cats to have as ship cats.

Sadly, even though many view black cats as lucky, reports indicate that black cats are over-represented in animal shelters.

Black cat eye colour

Black cat eye colour

All cats are born with blue eyes at birth; they change colour around the 8 – 12-week mark. Brown, yellow and green are the most common eye colours in black cats. The only black cat with blue eyes is the Ojos Azules, an extremely rare cat with limited information available.

Black cat breeds

Black Cornish Rex

Black is a common colour in domestic cats. The Bombay is the only breed that only comes in black. However, many other cat breeds have multiple coat colours, which includes black.

Black cat appreciation days

17th August.

27th October – National black cat day (US).

17th November – National black cat day (Italy)

Black cat names

  • Ash
  • Asher
  • Ashton
  • Binx
  • BlackJack
  • Black Magic
  • Blackie
  • Charcoal
  • Cinders
  • Coco
  • Cocoa
  • Crow
  • Ebony
  • India
  • Ink
  • Inkie
  • Isis
  • Licorice
  • Lucifer
  • Luther
  • Midnight
  • Minnaloushe
  • Minnow
  • Nightshade
  • Obsidian
  • Onyx
  • Othello
  • Panther
  • Persephone
  • Piewacket
  • Pluto
  • Raven
  • Sabrina
  • Salem
  • Shadow
  • Silhouette
  • Smudge
  • Sooty
  • Spade
  • Tabitha
  • Tom
  • Wizard

Did you know?

A seal point Siamese is genetically a black cat, but the Himalayan gene they carry inhibits the black colouration on the warmer parts of the body.

Black Cat Appreciation Day was launched in the United States to dispel the negative view towards black cats. The date is August 17th.

Photographing black cats

This can be somewhat of a challenge due to their coat. When shooting in automatic mode (as most people do), or on a phone, the camera sees black and tries to adjust the shot by increasing the brightness. This can make the photo look somewhat washed out. If you can adjust the settings on your camera, it is better to shoot in manual or Av (aperture priority) mode, and under-expose by one or two stops. Avoid using the flash.

Keeping black cats safe

Sadly there are still people out there who will take the opportunity to take out their ignorance and aggression on black cats. So even if your cat is usually allowed outside, it is safer to keep him confined over the Halloween period.

Black cats make beautiful pets as cats of any other colour. Unfortunately, they are still the target of superstition in so many countries.


  • Julia Wilson, 'Cat World' Founder

    Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio

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