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Norwich Bulletin - 10/28/2007

All Hallow’s Eve

It’s a dark night…suddenly, you see glowing eyes. An animal with back arched, coal black fur on end, claws bared, hissing, spitting and ready to attack the first human to cross it’s path. You have just met the Halloween cat, a scary childhood myth.

The cat’s ability to move silently and gracefully into the night makes it seem as if the cat is appearing and disappearing at will. There is no fear of the night for this animal with natural nocturnal habits; in fact, the cat of Samhain seeks out the dark. The unearthly yowl that eminates from this creature only adds to its fearsome reputation.

As we all know, black cats have always had a bad rap throughout history. Greek mythology teaches that Galenthias was turned into a cat and became a priestess at the temple of Hecate. Hecate is, of course, the “Dark Mother” and is also credited with being the Mother of Witchcraft.

During the 12th and 13th centuries, witches in Europe were convicted and burned at the stake. Unfortunately for the poor black cats that lived with these women, they were also “convicted” and burned right alongside of them. Even today in the 21st century, there are people who still believe that a black cat signifies bad luck.

Even though the majority of people no longer associate a black cat with witchcraft anymore, any cat, especially black, can become the victim of thoughtless and cruel pranks as Halloween approaches. As much as the children look forward to the fun of Halloween, it can turn into a terrifying experience for your cat. One that could even result in the death of your beloved pet.

While there are no statistics on black cat torture during October, we do know that ritual sacrifice still exists. Just ask any police officer in a rural area and you may hear about the animals found completely drained of blood. Young people who hear these stories, whether true or exaggerated, are very vulnerable, especially if they themselves have been the victims of abuse.

There are situations in which the stray black cat becomes a target of extreme cruelty. And the stray is oftentimes someone’s pet. Most true feral cats will not go anywhere near a human, so it is the friendly, unsuspecting pet that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, that ends up being the victim of foul play.

This perception of danger to black cats in particular, has led most shelters and rescue organizations (including Helping Paws) to refuse to allow the adoption of black cats during the month of October. Now that this is no longer an easy option for black occult practitioners, they oftentimes will look to the streets for their sacrificial cats, and color is no longer the highest priority.

So keep your cats safe. The best thing, of course, is to always keep your cats indoors, but if that is not your practice, at least keep them inside during the month of October, especially if they happen to be black. And even if you live in an area that does not tend to have these types of problems, the sheer numbers of children and teenagers that are out and about on Halloween in costumes, make the outdoors a frightening and unsafe place for small animals.

Even indoor cats need to be watched on All Hallows Eve. If you open your door to trick or treaters, you need to make sure that your cats are contained in a comfortable room away from the door. If your cat becomes traumatized by the constant ringing of the doorbell and having kids traipse in and out of its home, it could even bolt outside and run off.

It’s the same thing if you have a Halloween party. Let your cats be somewhere safe, away from it all. This way you do not have to worry about them getting outside or being given something to eat that could end up being toxic, like chocolate!

Even though there is the persona of the Halloweed cat, we all know that it really is just a myth. In truth, our kitties need us to protect them from all that takes place on the spookiest night of the year.

Helping Paws wishes you and your pets a happy and safe holiday.

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