You are sitting with popcorn in your hands and watching a horror movie on your laptop. The protagonist runs to a cabin deep in the woods and hides under a creaky wooden bed. Her hands are trembling, her lips are quivering, and tears are rolling down her cheeks. Her skin is crawling as the gruesome image of all the women he killed flashes in front of her eyes. She can smell the wet mud as the piercing thunder echoes inside her brain. The pitter-patter of rain deafens her ears. She hears the cling of a spoon falling. Her entire body tenses up as she covers her mouth so he can’t hear her heavy breathing. She feels a presence. The presence moves closer and closer to her. She squeezes her eye shut.
She slowly opens her right eye just to see a soaking wet black ball of fur rubbing against her leg. Her newly made friend has sparkling green eyes, whiskers, and a pink nose. It’s a cat!
This is not the first time you have seen a cat in a horror movie. But why are these adorable felines associated with evil?
The most obvious reason is that cats don’t show love in a way that humans understand. A cat human needs to earn the pet’s trust. They will rub their whiskers on your legs to leave their scent and purr as they lean their head in your lap. Clouds of myths about how cats are loyal to the home and not the human form a canopy over anyone who might potentially want pets.
For starters, a reputation of being the witch’s pet doesn’t exactly work in their favor. It is impossible to trace the starting point of this idea, but it is believed to have started in the Middle Ages. Many believe the source of this thinking is the mere fact that many women who were alone confided in cats. For a patriarchal society that functions on presuming women need men to live, this was a hard pill to swallow. Witches were believed to take the physical form of a cat to not get caught.
As per a Hebrew story, vampire Lilith would disguise himself as a black cat and attack infants.
We often see our elderly uncles and aunties talking about how a black cat crossing the road is considered bad luck. It is believed that this popular superstition originated when it was discovered that Eqyptians worship the black cat Goddess Bast and therefore people from the west thought that black cats were associated with demonic powers.
May it be from tales as old as time or beliefs with no substantive evidence that haunt our lives, cats are constantly the victims of being related to evil. These beliefs have tragically led to people being repulsed from cats. Cats hiss and scratch and bite, but no more than dogs bark and howl and bite. Feral felines are not meant to be petted and they will attack you in self defense.
Your internalized stigma against them stains your rationalizing abilities and leads you to believe that this has a supernatural reason as opposed to the simple fact that it is just how animals function. Cats are bundles of joy and bring sheer happiness where ever they go- and that is the whole story.