There's a lot of talk about the luck of cats, especially black cats. Some people believe they're lucky, while others think they bring bad luck to humans. There are also plenty of myths about cats’ own luckiness, like whether they always land on their feet when they fall.
Because of their mysterious nature, cats have long been the subjects of myth and lore. As veterinarians, we’ve heard all sorts of things about them, and some of the stories are downright fascinating. So what's the truth about the luck of our feline friends? In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, let's look at some myths and facts about these furry little creatures.
Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?
As veterinarians, this is definitely one of the most commonly asked questions we hear: Do cats always land on their feet? Are they really that lucky every time they take a tumble? The answer is yes and no.
Cats are naturally agile creatures and when they fall from heights of six feet or less, their bodies go into survival mode and snap into position to ensure that they land on their feet. They have a righting reflex that allows them to twist in mid-air. This reflex kicks in when kittens are as young as seven weeks old. It’s more about biology than luck.
However, when cats fall from greater heights, like an apartment building balcony, for example, they might not be so fortunate. This can result in serious injury or even death—even if they do manage to land on their feet. It goes without saying that humans should protect cats and avoid putting their lightning-fast reflexes to the test!
Do Cats Have Nine Lives?
Have you ever heard the expression "cats have nine lives?” For years, this phrase has been used as a way to describe cats’ uncanny ability to survive certain situations that other animals likely wouldn't. Let’s face it; it doesn’t get much luckier than being able to survive the unsurvivable and go on to live a new life like nothing ever happened. But is this just an old wives’ tale or is there some truth to it?
In reality, cats can endure more than most animals, but the concept of having nine lives is a tale as old as time. Though no one is quite sure of the origin, this myth has been around since at least the late 1500s when William Shakespeare referenced it in Romeo and Juliet. While cats may not actually have nine separate lives, their physical capabilities allow them to slip away from danger quickly and gracefully, making it seem like they possess some pretty incredible luck. While cats have impressive survival stories, let's face it; they only get one life just like every other animal.
Are Black Cats Bad Luck?
The superstition about black cats being bad luck is one of the most popular myths around, but is there any truth to it? Do these mysterious creatures really warrant fear and suspicion? In reality, black cats are no more cursed than any other animal. In fact, many cultures believe black cats bring fortune and good luck. In Scotland, a black cat is a sign of good luck, and tales of magic swirl around them. English sailors firmly believed black cats were a lucky charm and would take them with them on long voyages.
So, do these often-feared felines really bring bad luck? Not really. The superstitions surrounding them are little more than myths and are not based on any real evidence. The next time a black cat crosses your path, give them a friendly pat rather than veering out of their way.
Is It Good Luck if a Cat Licks You?
If a cat has ever licked you, you might already feel pretty lucky. But is this a sign of good luck? Interestingly, this superstition comes from an old wives' tale that likely originated hundreds of years ago. According to the belief, if a cat sneezes near you or licks you it is actually bestowing its blessing upon you.
Of course, there is no scientific fact supporting this. But if it gives us a reason to feel lucky when your beloved feline friend gives you a lick, why not have a little fun with it? After all, who wouldn't want to feel extra lucky after receiving some warm attention from a furry friend?
Is Finding One White Hair on a Black Cat Good Luck?
There is a long-standing superstition that discovering one white hair on a black cat signifies good luck. Many people believe that if you are lucky enough to find one of these white hairs, it could bring you an abundance of fortune and joy. While there is, of course, no scientific evidence to back this up, people have been relying on the power of their lucky white hair for centuries. Some even believe that having a black cat with one white hair can help ward off bad luck and protect the home from any harm. Whether or not it’s true, it’s always nice to imagine that our furry friends might be bringing us some extra luck.
While most stories relating to the luck of cats originated from old wives’ tales and are shrouded in mystery, one thing is for sure: Anyone who gets to share their home with a cat is pretty lucky! They are wonderful, loving companions, and each has their own unique personality. They bring joy to homes and, with proper care, provide years of companionship. If you would like your feline friend to feel like the luckiest cat ever, help them live a healthy life by scheduling routine and preventative care with your primary care veterinarian.