Happy Firday The 13th! – Surprising History And Folklore About Black Cats And Sailing
Most people associate black cats (and Friday the 13th for that matter) with bad luck. Here are a few surprising history and folklore about black cats and sailing/boating.
A LITTLE HISTORY ABOUT “SHIP’S CAT”
The ship’s cat has been a common sight on many trading, exploration, and naval ships, and is a phenomenon that goes back to ancient times. Cats have been carried on ships for a number of reasons, the most important being to catch mice and rats. These rodents, when aboard, could cause considerable damage to ropes and woodwork. More serious was the threat rodents posed to the stores the ship carried. Not only could they devour the foodstuff carried to feed the crew, they could cause economic damage if the ship was carrying grain or similar substances as part of its cargo. Rats and mice were also sources of disease, an important consideration for ships which could be at sea for long periods of time. Cats have a high ability to adapt to new surroundings, and were therefore highly suitable for service on a ship. They also offered companionship and a sense of home and security to sailors who could be away from home for long periods, especially in times of war. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship%27s_cat)
RMS TITANIC SHIP’S CAT – A cat, kept on board to keep the rat population at a minimum, was said to have been on board during sea trials. As the story goes, the feline disembarked when the ship docked in Southampton, making multiple trips up and down the gangplank to retrieve her litter of kittens. She and the kittens quickly disappeared and it was later said that had some sort of premonition that the voyage wasn’t going to be a good one. (http://www.petside.com/article/dogs-lost-sea-facts-or-titanic-tales)
FACTS OR FOLKLORE ABOUT BLACK CATS…
- It was believed to be lucky if a cat approached a sailor on deck, but unlucky if it only came halfway, and then retreated. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship%27s_cat)
- A popular belief was that cats could start storms through magic stored in their tails. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship%27s_cat)
- If a ship’s cat fell or was thrown overboard, it was thought that it would summon a terrible storm to sink the ship and that if the ship was able to survive, it would be cursed with nine years of bad luck. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship%27s_cat)
- If a cat licked its fur against the grain, it meant a hailstorm was coming; if it sneezed it meant rain; and if it was frisky it meant wind. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship%27s_cat)
- In Britain, on the Yorkshire coast, wives of fishermen believe that their menfolk will return safely if a black cat is kept in the house. (http://www.kinrossfolds.com/cattery/superstition.html)
- Black cats were once treated like royalty in the homes of English sailors, who believed that keeping them happy would ensure fair weather when they went to sea. They became so high-priced that few sailors could afford them! (http://www.kinrossfolds.com/cattery/superstition.html)
- Scottish folklore believes that if a strange black cat visits a person’s home, good luck will follow. They also believed that owning a black cat would give a woman many suitors. (http://suite101.com/article/black-cats-superstition-and-halloween-a260165)
HAPPY FRIDAY THE 13th – WE HOPE YOU ALL HAVE A FUN AND SAFE WEEKEND!!