Appalachia Folklore Ghosts - Haints - Spooky

Cat Folklore

Cat folklore from appalachia

Cats-mostly black cats-have long been associated with spooky folklore. According to the Frank C. Brown Collection of NC Folklore :

  • seeing a black cat is bad luck (Back in the day when I was a teenager-riding the roads with my best friend, every time we saw a black cat she would lick her finger and make a X mark on the windshield to ward off bad luck)
  • if a cat follows you home-it brings bad luck with it
  • if a black cat enters the house through the front door it brings good luck
  • if a black cat looks through the window-bad luck will soon befall the house
  • if a black cat licks its fur the wrong way trouble will come to the entire family (how do you know if its lick is wrong?)
  • it is good luck to pull a black cats tail
  • if you kill a cat-its soul will come back to haunt you

I’ve also heard:

  • cats can steal a baby’s breath
  • cats are supposed to be familiars for witches
  • cats will gather around a house where a body is lying in state
  • to cure a sty rub the tail of a black cat across your eye

If you have any cat folklore-hope you’ll leave me a comment!




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  • Reply
    mary Lou McKillip
    October 16, 2016 at 9:34 am

    Cats has very good sense I had two Mommies cats with babies( Miss Julie would have never approved). We had let this man bring his beagles and hunt rabbits on the hill above us. The two cats were peeping around the smoke house watching them. I said to them you better put it in the wind they will nab you and boy did they ever make tracks. First Hubby laugh about that for years.
    My niece tried to get them to come to her by saying kitty Kitty and they would not I told her to call them by their names and they let her pet them. She said they don’t know they are cats, I said I guess not we always called them by their name.
    Mary Lou McKillip
    Mary Lou McKillip

  • Reply
    mary Lou McKillip
    October 15, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    Has an adorable seven toed cat named Andy Booths. He is spooled you can tell him he is so pretty and he will meow and stretch
    Mary Lou McKillips

  • Reply
    mary Lou McKillip
    October 15, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Truman has a seven toed cat named Andy Boots, you can tell him he is pretty and he will meow and stretch petted rotten that cat is.
    Years ago when Miss Julie was young people had no funeral homes to take the dead and they would dress them at home and make their coffins. Daddy’s uncle wife died and she had about 15 cats running around. Miss Julie said all those old cats stood on their hind legs and squalled and squalled and after most visitors had left some men took it on their own to shoot all those cats, they were afraid they would come in the house where the body lay. They had no screen doors on the houses either. I think Dad and his uncle were in on killing them cats . His uncle was glad to get rid of all those cats. Mother would never let us keep over two cats at the most.
    Mary Lou

  • Reply
    October 15, 2016 at 7:21 am

    Looks like you covered all I’ve ever heard. We’ve had only 2 cats since we were married, one was a female that loved to catch mice, (priceless) and she had kittens, and later a car ran over her, we kept one male, my Dad called him Happy Jack, the cat thought he was a Dog, he’d go hunting with us, when we’d knock a bird down he be in the brush pile with the dogs looking for that bird and when I’d go to the woods to cut wood he’d go with me and rub on my legs while the chain saw was running. The only problem with that cat was he was nasty, he might decide to just lay down in the mud and rub around, he didn’t keep himself groomed like most cats and he was a long hair cat and you can imagine what he looked like, he was odd, and I guess that is what made him special..

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    October 14, 2016 at 11:42 pm

    We always have cats. Right now we have about 14, 4 of which are SOLID black. (I say “about” because of some feral strays we feed outside, don’t rightly know exactly how many there are out there right now…I think 2, maybe.) We get nothing but joy from them all, including the black cats. And we’ve never had a bit of bad luck from one coming in or going out either door or any of the windows.
    Plus, they’re just plain great to keep the vermin down around the farm.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    October 14, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    The difference between a dog and cat is this: Go to the door and say “Fido, do you want to go outside?” He will bounce, jump and run and not be able to contain his enthusiasm.
    Do the same for Fluffy. He will stroll to the door, look up at you, give you a “are you serious look”, sit down and think it over while you stand there with the door wide open, trying to get him to go on out the door. He will stand again, walk a inch or so, stop and look outside. Look up again and say in his way, No I don’t think so, but maybe if you will just stand there and let me look things over, check the temp, and turn my radar ears to see if I hear anything interesting. After more pleading “go on out Fluffy” he finally will step out the door but not until he turns and starts to back up one more time.
    That’s when I close the storm door, snicker and say “gotcha”!
    Yes I love cats always have! We have one spoiled neutered Tom living here and we are his slaves!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    October 14, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    This dog person is now well-informed about cats. Thank you! Happy Halloween!

  • Reply
    October 14, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    My sister had cats, I had dogs. They laid on the porch together when neither of us were anywhere near. If my sister went out the dogs moved to the yard. If I went out the cats ran for the nearest tree and my dogs looked at me waiting for the command to. “Git em.”
    My daughter told one cat owner boyfriend that every time she saw two cats her thought was, “God wasted enough fur for a good dog.”

  • Reply
    October 14, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    I like Cats too, got a mama cat and her daughter. The other day I came to work, opened the shop door and saw the daughter laying on one side of the door and a snake about 2′ long was all stretched out on the other side. I went back to the Jeep and got a hoe, pecked the snake on the head and told my dog “now git ’em. He carried that snake outside and flibity-flibity flop—it’s head went over my Jeep and I don’t know where the rest went. I figured Misty and that Snake had fought about all night and decided to let bygones be bygones.
    Rosey (the mama Cat) is always showing me what she caught during the night. I’m forever finding Moles and Rats at my doorstep…Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 14, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    Cats don’t like violins or classical guitars.
    Cats refuse to get stitches when they get cut.
    If cat lovers were the size of mice there would be no cat lovers!
    Black cats are attracted to white sweaters and white cats to black sweaters.
    Black cats with white stripes are friendly.
    Cats DO have a climbing gear.
    Can you skin a cat on the monkey bars?
    Cat Scratch Fever is a real disease! Lymphoreticulosis
    I had a pet cat once. Yeah, I picked it up down on the road. It was a special breed of cat. I think it was called a flat cat. Anyway I took it home. I didn’t really have a place to put it so I decided to nail it up on the wall where it took up hardly any space, being flat and all. It didn’t eat much, in fact I can’t remember it eating anything. It didn’t make much noise. It didn’t scratch the furniture. I didn’t need a litter box. No other caterwauling cats came outside wanting to be its friend. It was just the kind of cat everybody needs.
    Now for the sad part. We had to get a bigger house because my mother in law moved in. When we sold the old place the fixtures stayed with it. My wife took down all the pictures and packed them in boxes. She says she thought I was going to get the cat. I thought she had it packed in one of the boxes. Anyway it wasn’t there when we got around to hanging pictures. I went back to the old home to get my pet but the new owners wouldn’t give it up. They said that since it was nailed down it was considered a fixture and had to stay. I took it to court but they won. So now I don’t have my pet.
    I miss my old pet. I sometimes drive along that same lonely stretch of road where I first found my Willard (or Willa, I couldn’t be sure). Maybe I can spot one of his relatives. Like I say, I really miss my pet but if I a see another cat that looks like old Willard, I won’t miss it.

  • Reply
    Pam Danner
    October 14, 2016 at 11:33 am

    Oh, by the way, the cat in the photo is just beautiful!

  • Reply
    Pam Danner
    October 14, 2016 at 11:32 am

    I have heard some of those myths but it doesn’t matter to me, I LOVE cats!!! I have had black cats before and they are no different than any other cat, sweet and loving. I really do worry about cats this time of year. There are some very cruel and mean people out there that wouldn’t think twice about harming cats. On behalf of cat lovers everywhere, please be kind to our precious, furry little feline friends.

  • Reply
    anita griffith
    October 14, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Tipper,pulling a cat’s tail can bring you instant bad luck.

  • Reply
    October 14, 2016 at 8:06 am

    I have read that black cats in most parts of Great Britain and Japan are considered good luck. Sailors of the past were also said to consider them good luck.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    October 14, 2016 at 8:00 am

    I surely hope a black cat looking outthe window is a myth, I have two of them and that is most of their day, lol.
    My husband and I love cats, we always adopt and we always adopt black cats. They are so loving. They are also most likely to be put down in a shelter because of the myths you have listed above. They are beautiful and mostly friendly….not evil and do not cause bad luck. If so I must be imune.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 14, 2016 at 6:52 am

    On behalf of cats everywhere I say “It ain’t so!” Cats are warm loving creatures, well most of them are, most of the time.
    Cats are generally aloof and self contained. I think that’s why they get all the attributes attached to them..
    I guess you can tell, I love cats. I’ve always loved cats. I have two cats now, Robert and Yoda. They are very good company.

  • Reply
    October 14, 2016 at 5:49 am

    I have friends and family who have deliberately chosen black cats because they felt otherwise they would get abused. Poor kitties are always getting blamed for something. Their independent nature is not always understood. There does not seem to be evidence for all the superstition surrounding the feline except for one .According to Snopes they don’t steal a baby’s breath. But, it is a well known fact that Snopes can have some strange leanings. I think there is a possibility, especially if a large Tomcat is hungry and can smell the milk. There is never an excuse to be abusive to animals, however. I personally would not allow a cat around a newborn.
    I try not to be superstitious, but admit I feel uneasy when I break a mirror, have a black cat run in front of me, or my least favorite when a bird tries hard to get in the house. Friday the 13th is not my day for driving A really superstitious person could become a prisoner of their own superstition.

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