Monday, August 27, 2007

Italians Killing Black Cats

By Carmiola Ionescu, Sunday Telegraph
Superstition blamed for killing thousands of black cats in Italy
A leading animal rights group has estimated that 60,000 black cats are killed every year by Italians who believe that they bring bad luck.
The Italian Association for the Protection of Animals and the Environment claims that some are also killed as part of black magic rituals.

While black cats are seen as being lucky in the UK, many people in Italy believe that if a black cat crosses their path it indicates the devil is present. The association calculated its figure from observations of the stray cat population and from monitoring of animal ownership registers. The group said it had evidence that thousands of black cats vanished or were found dead each year.
Across large parts of Europe, black cats have been associated with witchcraft since the Middle Ages and were said to be the favourite companions for witches.
Lorenzo Croce, the association's president, blamed the Church for spreading myths about the animals.

THE REASON - Catholics of course
"The Catholic Church has perpetuated this idea for centuries and it is now deeply implanted in people's minds," he said.
"For centuries black cats were massacred at the order of priests."

All the Italian priests I know seem to be struggling against superstition, in Italy as in the UK it is secualristas who are into crystals, charms alternative therapies.
Mr Croce said Italians were very superstitious and more needed to be done to educate people.
"It is mostly uneducated people who would harm a black cat just because of its colour or would abandon a cat like this in the street to fall victim to other superstitious people," he said.
Mr Croce added that many of the cats disappeared around Hallowe'en. He blamed "strange rituals for worshipping evil", and said the perpetrators "need to sacrifice black cats while performing their rituals".

There is a story, that I don't believe, that one of my predecessors who was very large, killed a black cat by slumping into an old ladies chair, and crushing her cat
The association wants to hold a Black Cat Day every year on November 17, because the number 17 also holds negative connotations for Italians, who consider it to be as unlucky as the number 13.
It has been suggested that the superstition is related to the Roman numerals for the number 17, XVII, and an anagram of them, VIXI, which in Latin is the past tense of the verb to live.
Mr Croce said: "Our appeal for help to organise Black Cat Day has received a tremendously enthusiastic response from people who love the black cats just as much as all the others.
"We are planning to organise conferences and exhibitions in all major Italian cities, including Rome and Milan.
"The peak of it will be a big public concert in Rome that will celebrate these great, but tragically victimised, felines."
I wonder if that Roman cat lover, you know the one who used to feed stray cats before he became Pope will want to be involved.


The Brighton Gardener said...

That kitten is so cute!

John Fitzpatrick said...

Black cat day on november 17th? Whatever next? Its already a very significant day.

John said...

Many years ago I enjoyed reading novels by Bruce Marshall.
Anybody remember him?
Somewhere in one of his books I seem to recall something along the lines of "The Italians are *******". "Yes, but just think how much worse they would be if they were Methodists!"
(If you choose to delete this I will understand, but......)

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Is this for real?

Dr. Peter H. Wright said...

I'm sorry : I must be missing something.
What's the significance of this date ?

It's the feast of St. Gregory the Thaumaturge, and (in some dioceses) St. Hugh of Lincoln, and (in one diocese) St. Hilda of Whitby.

There is, or was, a Greek terrorist group called "November 17" or N 17".

It was a bad day for some politicians :
In 1967, President Lyndon Johnson said of the Vietnam War : "We are making progress."
In 1973, President Richard Nixon famously said : "I am not a crook."

But it was a good day for Arnold Schwarzenegger who became Governor of California on that date in 2003.

If the above seems slightly "off topic", I apologise.

I've been reading about cats.
The confusing thing to me is the fact that the black cat is considered lucky in some countries and unlucky in others.

As to superstition, witchcraft, etc., it would seem that the black cat is regarded as a "familiar" of witches.

I don't know quite what that says about a Pope who was said to be fond of cats.
History does not record what colour the cats were ...

Moretben said...

That kitten is so cute!

Are you crazy? It's the most malignant-looking thing I've ever seen in my life. Look at those eyes!

Drive it to the river! Uggh!