Beliefs that let the cat out of the bag

The following text is originally lifted from the trivia section of The Jakarta Post dated Sunday, 8 June 2008.

~Compiled from various sources~

  • In ancient Japan, it was thought that somewhere on the tail of a cat there was a single hair that would restore life to a dying person. Relatives would sometimes bring a cat to the dying person and let them pluck a hair to try their luck.
  • In the early 16th century, a visitor to an English home would always kiss the family cat.
  • In 16th century Italy, it was believed that if a black cat lay on the bed of a sick man, he would die.
  • English schoolchildren believe seeing a white cat on the way to school is sure to bring trouble. To avert bad luck, they must either spit, or turn around completely and make the sign of the cross.
  • A cat on top of a tombstone meant that the soul of the departed buried was possessed by the devil.
  • The Welsh believe that when the pupil of a cat's eye broadens, there will be rain.
  • In the Netherlands, cats were not allowed in rooms where private family discussions were going on. The Dutch believed that cats spread gossip.
  • The Scottish believe that a strange black cat on your porch brings prosperity.
  • The French believe it is bad luck to cross a stream carrying a cat.
  • The Irish believe that to kill a cat brings 17 years of bad luck.
  • The British believe that if cats desert a house, illness will always reign there.
  • In Normandy, seeing a tortoise-shell cat foretells death by accident.
  • The Irish believe that black cat crossing one's path by moonlight means death in an epidemic.
  • Americans believe that a cat washing itself on the doorstep means a clergy will visit.
  • A black cat crossing your path is considered good luck in some countries, bad in others.
  • A black cat seen from behind is a bad omen.
  • Seeing a stray tortoise shell cat is a bad omen.
  • Cats bought with money will never be good mousers.
  • A cat sneezing once means it will rain.
  • A cat sneezing three times means the family will catch a cold.
  • Kill a cat and you will sacrifice your soul to the devil.
  • Kicking a cat will result in rheumatism.
  • It is bad luck to see a white cat at night.
  • Dreaming of a white cat is good luck.
  • When you see a one-eyed cat, spit on your thumb, stamp it in the palm of your hand and make a wish. The wish will come true.
  • If a cat washes behind its ears, it will rain.
  • A cat sleeping with all four paws tucked under means cold weather ahead.
  • Two cats seen fighting near a dying person, or on the grave shortly after the funeral, are really the devil and angel fighting for the dead person's soul.
  • To see a white cat on the road is lucky.
  • When moving to a new home, you should always put the cat through a window instead of the door so that it will not leave.
  • A kitten born in May was believed to be a witch's cat.

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