Every year the warnings go out. Black cats should be kept indoors at Halloween. Many rescue groups avoid adopting out black cats in the weeks leading up to the day. In fact it’s a good idea to keep all cats in on Halloween but black cats have special issues. First of all, they are black. Black = darkness = evil = Satan. As a result, black cats must be in league with Satan and very evil, possibly possessing magical powers to lure unwitting humans to their damnation.
Pope Gregory IX, in addition to instigating still another crusade and a massive papal Inquisition. also was the driving force behind the first major recorded slaughter of cats in Europe. He appointed a particularly nasty, bloodthirsty and indiscriminate inquisitor named Konrad von Marburg who believed black cats were essential as a stand in for the devil in the diabolical rituals of the Satan worshipers he seemed to find everywhere. Pope Gregory found this entirely credible and issued a papal bull sometime in the 1230’s called the Vox in Rama that repeated Marburg’s claims and decades of black cat killing ensued. This is the source of the association of witches and cats as well. Even after centuries there are disproportionately fewer black cats in Europe as a result. In consequence, the decimated cat population could no longer control the rats, whose population skyrocked, rapidly and catastrophically spreading the Black Death. Revenge from the grave? A full quarter of Europe’s human population died. It would seem that killing black cats is far greater bad luck than leaving them be. That didn’t stop the Puritans from dragging the same superstition to the colonies and so it is that black cats still suffer consequences today. Black cats are the least likely to be adopted, for example.
My cats are indoor only. At least I won’t have to corral them for Halloween to keep them safe. I know at least one neighbor who lets her cute little black female roam about and I hope she will be brought in for the evening at least.