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 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.”
I must have missed those Church documents on black cats. You would think it would be in the Cat-echism and I wonder if they were killed via a Purr-ifier?
This accusation strikes me as being particularly silly. The greatest animus towards cats (and dogs) was during the Black Plague where they were blamed as plague carriers, though the animals killed were certainly not at the order of the Church. Then of course there were rumors of cats being familiars for witches such as portrayed in Shakespeare’s MacBeth. But even during the height of the largely exaggerated witch trials in Europe, Italy doomed no more than a handful of witches. So the idea that it is the Catholic Church responsible for the supposed mass executions of black cats in Italy is quite ridiculous. Somehow they are both suppose to largely ignore Church teaching and yet at the same time respond to what is superstition from the Middle Ages which was suppose to have been instigated by the Church.
Besides I think the Pope’s black and white cat Chico would be quite upset if his master was the head of a large cat killing organization.
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".
By the way for information on the witch trials check out historian Sandra Miesel’s article.