Italy Celebrates Black Cat Day


Black cats get an undeserved bad reputation simply because of their color. Many people view black cats as evil or bad luck, especially in Italy. Some men in Italy have been known to make the sign of the cross with one hand and cover private body parts with the other to ward off the evil curse of a passing black cat. (In the US, both black cats and dogs have a harder time getting adopted just because of the color of their fur.)

In Italy, they are trying to change this superstitious view of black cats and want to put a stop to an estimated 60,000 black cat killings in Italy per year. The country is holding its first national Black Cat Day today in cities across the nation including Milan and Rome.

The Italian Association in Defense of Animals and the Environment (AIDAA) is organizing the celebration to stop prejudice against black cats. Events will include artwork celebrating black cats, picnics, and awards for people who have protected black cats.

“Our primary objective is to markedly reduce the number of animals that are kidnapped or abandoned. However, our aim is also to create a day to fight superstitions and help relaunch the image of the beautiful black cats,” said Lorenzo Croce, head of AIDAA.

AIDAA estimates that annually 60,000 black cats in Italy are kidnapped, abandoned, killed “in esoteric or satanic rituals.”

Source: Spiegel Online

33 Responses to “Italy Celebrates Black Cat Day”

  1. blkcatgal says:

    I have a black cat and he is the sweetest! When I adopted him, the shelter folks told me that black cats were not easy to adopt out. Which is sad because black cats have such wonderful purrsonalities. I’m happy to see that Italy celebrates black cats….I wish the US would start a similar practice.

  2. shibadiva says:

    I love black cats and how those big green eyes stand out. My Molly is black, as were Strega and Tuffy who preceded her. Both my dogs are black (well, black, white and tan). My silver-grey cat is an Honorary black cat.

  3. JustMe says:

    Currently have 3 black cats myself. They are the sweetest.

  4. stefani says:

    Boy, I didn’t know about the killing of black cats in Italy! I sure makes me happy I rescued this litter that I found there when I was on a business trip in Naples in 2000 — four girls, two of them all black!

    They were horribly ill because in the Naples area, most of hte cats were feral and not kept indoors — their colony had a horrible herpes virus infestation. I spent two weeks nursing them to try to get them healthy enough to be approved for transport. They were about 5 weeks old!

    Of the four, two are tabbies (one silver and one brown with white) and two solid black. One of the black girls and the silver tabby were adopted by a Philadelphia couple who were Italian and loved the idea of adopting italian kitties. The black girl (Bela) was a present for his halloween birthday.

    The other two I ended up keeping because they continued to have flareups and I was concerned that an adopter might grow weary of treating their recurrent infections. But they are fabulous cats!

    Since I got two black females out of the country I feel very good and relieved!

    The Toonces Project
    “Is Your Pet Safe at the Vet?”

  5. Pam says:

    Wow, Stefani,

    What a story about the litter you saved. Thanks for sharing. I also had no idea about Italy and killing black cats.

    Of course, many countries still hold old superstitions, including the U.S. It is good that some people are trying to change that. Congratulations to the AIDAA! May it be a huge success and many black cats honored.

  6. Amanda says:

    My dad’s from Italy. We had a black cat(he lived for 18.5 years even surviving feline leukemia as a kitten) when we lived in South Africa and moved to the USA with him.
    Now we have two black kitties we rescued just earlier this year due to one having a broken tail and the other having a grapefruit sized infected wound and plastic bag wrapped around his belly!
    We love our black cats and even feed a black stray that lives under our house.
    I am glad they are doing this in Italy, they need to do it in Africa as well!

  7. Velvet's Dad says:

    A year ago, I adopted a sweet all-black kitten from a shelter. My head spins some times reading all this stuff. Here we are in the 21st Century and far too many people are still influenced by superstitions. It is mind-boggling. If only believers in a divinity understood that our greatest gift as humans is the power of reason, much of this would cease. Far too many people rely soley on what others tell them, whether that be some so-called good book or charlatan on a pulpit. Part of maturity and being an adult is accepting responsibility for one’s own actions and not blaming others or other circumstances.

  8. Michael R. says:

    Velvet’s Dad, my friend, you speak the whole truth.

    Two of our three cats are black with golden eyes. Their names are Isis and Licorice, and we wouldn’t trade them for the world! We live surrounded by mountains and forest, and they are not allowed to go outside without a leash and harness, and without supervision.

    Not to leave out the other animals: Tiggie is a beautiful gray tiger cat; Beau and Gabriel are fine chestnut Morgan horses.

  9. mittens says:

    we had a big old black tom cat growing up mostly because my mother is a witch( in the religious/spiritual meaning of the word) so i’ve been terribly fond of them my whole life.

    i just adopted a persian-y all black kitten who was up for euthanization even though she was only 10 months old. she’d been in a cage for months and no one would adopt her even though she’s gorgeous and super friendly-i think it was because of her color. they waived the adoption fee which i was perfectly willing to pay because they considered her chances of adoption so slim. in large part i adopted her to save her life- i had no plans at the time to get another cat.

    i have 2 feral torties who arent exactly social butterflies yet and arent pettable. when i brought the Djinn home it was as if a love bomb exploded in the house. miss black and lovely is full of all the play and joy that the ferals were missing when they were kittens trying to survive. Djinn adores every human, has to be in on everything and is teaching the ferals how to be kittens. ive seen a world of difference in them- theyre friendly now and romp and play and seem more secure every day. the wee black cat is the best thing to hit this house in a long time. she’s a sheer joy and has brought nothing but love and good luck and a wee bit of attitude.

  10. Melisa says:

    Im very concerned about this , I have no idea people of this century can still have thoughts like this.. I have 9 cats and I adore them, two of them are balck felines or “mininos” (spanish word for kittens) and cant be more lovely. Also this site shows us that black cats are better than any cat cause they are extra protected from a lot of diseases.. http://www.genomenewsnetwork.o.....lack.shtml
    This sick ideas should stop and we should help organizations like this!¡!

  11. Furbabies says:

    I have 3 black kitties and they are the sweetest little critters. It’s so sad that there are so many ignorant and superstitious people out there! I’m Italian American and a little embarrassed of how they treat the animals over there. They need to join the rest of the world in the 21st Century.

  12. Teresa says:

    I live in England and have had several black cats. I am shocked and sickened by the reports I have just read about the practice of maltreatment of black cats in Italy. What century are these offenders living in. Black magic belongs in the Middle Ages when ignorance was rife. Join the 21st Century, please. I for one, will never holiday in Italy again.

  13. Anonymous says:

    No witch is a good witch! It’s NOT a religion but an adoration to Satanism. You can’t win with adoring Satan. In the end Jesus Christ/ GOD wins out. HE made Satan. How can Satan over power HIM.

    Wake up!

  14. stefani says:


    “You can’t win with adoring Satan.”

    I’m not Wiccan or Pagan myself, but I know a few people who are, and they don’t worship Satan, they dont’ even believe in Satan. That is a very ignorant remark.

    Everyone else, I have learned a lot from your posts, it is great to see so many black cats with good and appreciative homes.

    Melisa, I didn’t know that black cats had genetic advantages!

    Mittens, I have been told by many people who work in shelters that you are right, the black kitties are the hardest to adopt. :( It is very sad, also, in addition to the superstitious reasons, many people don’t find their markings interesting enough, and there are very many of them since it is a common color.

    Even in the US, black cats are often victimized at halloween, by teenagers who are using the myths they have heard as an excuse. No black cat is safe at Halloween.

    My sweetest kitty left after the passing of my most beloved Toonces is the black kitty I rescued from Italy! Her name is Miracle (because she was so sick, I thought she would die, and yet she lived), and I can honestly say she does not have one mean or aggressive bone in her body. She is the sweetest cat ever.

    The Toonces Project
    “Is Your Pet Safe at the Vet?”

  15. Traci says:

    “I’m not Wiccan or Pagan myself, but I know a few people who are, and they don’t worship Satan, they dont’ even believe in Satan. That is a very ignorant remark.”

    It was also offensive to Jews who don’t believe that Christ is God.

  16. Traci says:

    Also, the killing of cats as evil and especially black ones comes from the Christian Middle Ages and their crusades against cats as agents of the Devil (who can’t be worshipped in the first place unless you believe in him…are taught to believe in him…).

  17. The Lioness says:

    A-Cowardice wrote: “No witch is a good witch! It’s NOT a religion but an adoration to Satanism. You can’t win with adoring Satan. In the end Jesus Christ/ GOD wins out. HE made Satan. How can Satan over power HIM.

    Wake up!”

    The baser part of me wants to answer hate with hate, but being Wiccan is about being above all that.

    Instead, I will wish you peace and the blessings of the Gods and the healing your poor sould clearly needs.

    Shed the fear. If you really believed even a smidge of the stuff you are spewing, you’d adopt a name and not hide as “anonymous.”

    I feel so sorry for you.

    On the topic of black cats: We have two, and they are amazing. These cats have very strong personalities. Lots of self-knowledge and self-confidence in them. The older of the two we have is about 20 years old, is diabetic, has kidney disease, but despite all that shows no sign whatsoever of slowing down. Every time I sit down on the sofa, he climbs right up next to me.

    ~The Lioness

  18. Traci says:


    I understand black cats are “good luck” in Britain… Maybe in awhile I can find some of this stuff on a google.

  19. mittens says:

    i am what is referred to as a witch.(and i believe my post mentioned my mother being a witch-so i feel justified in sounding off) i am not a wiccan . i am not a satan worshipper- the christian entity satan does not exist in my religion- he is purely a christian construct and has no relevence for me. satanists are christians having a temper tantrum.

    i am a pagan goddess worshipper who believes in a female creator and the power of the spirit and nature to heal. gooddess worship is ,as supported in part by the science of archeology, the oldest known religion on earth-clearly predating both judaism and christianity.the bible mentions us and even moses had a hard time dragging the jews away from Her worship.

    i do believe in evil- the evil of mankind who likes to make up creepy supernatural powers to blame for all his own vile hateful deeds.i try my best to not partake in this folly. i try to do no harm because it creates self perpetuating negativity and a spritual void and because it’s wrong. period.- not because i live in fear of some angry god who wont reward me with stuff if i dont obey. unlike many self professed christians in the news i hardly ever break any of your so called 10 commandments. you wont find mittens stealing anyone’s stuff, killing anyone, coveting anyones anything or raping a child, having sex in a public bathroom or marrying someone while still having extra marital sex with members of the same sex.

    and i try not to judge people like they seem to think they have the right to judge me even though their lord and saviour forbade them specifically from doing so.

    cats are my familiars- spirit guides if you’s why ignorant women- hating christians killed them in the middle ages and attached superstitious stigma upon them. they threw them on the pyres that burned the ‘ witches’-a fire upon which they also tossed accused homosexuals.a fire that also consumed whole villages of jews. tell me, why are the followers of the prince of peace, the pauper who hung out with whores and spared adulterers and was in fact a jew himself, act so much like the satanists youre alwasy accusing the rest of us of being? projection?

  20. Traci says:

    Sigh, you really have to weed through conflicting, badly written or researched pages, or pages just iterating nonsense and assumptions. Here are some that struck me as more reliable:

    A commonality in my searches, cats were considered sacred in many pagan religions, especially in relation to fertility and magic goddesses. Consequently, they became demonic symbols to a Church striving to repress the last remnants of pagan and heretical beliefs.


    “A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere.” ~~ Groucho Marx

  21. A.C. says:

    Hey, folks, don’t you recognize a troll when you see one? There’s not a single self-respecting Christian out there who would post Anonymous’s outrageous and inflammatory remarks.

    As for the responses, I feel compelled to point out that nowhere in the Bible will you find a reference to cats being evil. On the contrary, we are instructed to care for ALL animals on this planet, not to mention one another. Christianity is not about judging or oppressing each other, but about redemption, love and sacrifice. There are fanatics in every walk of life that give the rest a bad rap; Christianity simply has more because it’s so highly visible and well known.

    I am a Christian, and I’m proud to be so. One of my favorite and most beloved cats was Shawna, a gorgeous black girl with the most amazing gold eyes. She was devoted to me and even guarded my house when I was away, once actually attacking a neighbor who had agreed to feed my furbabies while I was on a military exercise. I miss her still.

  22. MaineMom says:

    Black cats have been considered both good and evil by different cultures throughout written history. Although all cats were persecuted by the Christian church, black cats were considered especially fiendish because they were associated with the Prince of Darkness. Hense, all black cats were the most sought after for the annual burning-cats-alive ceremonies on the day of the feast of St. John. Black cats with any white hairs were exempted due to the belief that they might not have been consecrated by the Devil. Thus, most black cats today have white “lockets” on their chests or at least a few white hairs in their coats. If you see a pure black cat of any breed, it’s not unlikely the handler has removed a stray white hair somsewhere in the coat.

    Personally, I subscribe to my British ancestors belief that black cats bring good luck and to the Japanese belief in the black koi “money fish.” Superstitious? Maybe. But I can also tell you if someone has died in a house or if the vibes are positive or negative.

    Traci - Desmond Morris in his book “Catlore’ quotes an old British saying: “Whenever the cat of the house is black, the lasses of lovers will have no lack.”

    Every cat is special in his or her own way, but we’ve always become especially attached to our black cats through the years.

  23. mittens says:

    although, indeed ,black cats are not mentioned in the bible killing witches is- specifically.

    cats were very important to many of the celtic tribes through out places like scotland-where tribes were united by their cat ‘worship’( that is cat as totem). place names like Caithness(originally Kataobh meaning ‘ cat country’) still bear this out. those sometimes referred to as the Picts were a cat people tribe.

    it’s because of this that the christian world of such places as britian often portray a confused notion of the cat and her either sinister or beneficial attributes.while it’s true as some have stated that in some places in britian the black cat is good luck she is also at the same time in the same locales still seen as evil and bad luck. demonized as part of pagan worship, they were still sometimes begrudgingly thought of as lucky in most likelihood because of that past worship and esteem. for example- you find them as considered a bad sign- as when a sailor crosses a black cat on his way to his ship, he has to turn back or good luck-women whose men are at sea consider it lucky to keep black cats and they were often stolen in some areas because of this superstition. it was considered extremely bad luck to shoo a black cat away from your house while black cats were still considered to be servants of the devil- and also lucky to their owners. on the same island we find seeing the front of a black cat first good luck but seeing the back bad luck. some say seeing them on your wedding day is good luck and some say it’s bad- i could go on like this for quite a bit- all folk beliefs from england and the surrounding islands.

    such is the confusion when you are forced to believe in lies about other people or indeed often your own ancestors and their beliefs.

  24. kaefamily says:

    A good friend of ours recently adopted a couple of dogs from a shelter. One of them is a one year old mostly black and a little bit white mutt named Freckles. Of all three dogs my friend has, Freckles is the most happy loving and caring pup she has ever had. He is our regular house guest.

  25. Helen says:

    I would not have traded a single one of the black cats that have been my companions my whole life, including my current black cat. They have the most amazing personalities! My girl was on death row at the shelter also, six months old with two infections, and now she is nine years old. I am so glad to have found her in time! People can still be so ignorant!!!

  26. Charlotte says:

    This is strange because when I was in Rome in 1985 (quite a while ago, but still…) I saw black cats ALL OVER THE PLACE. They seemed to be doing reasonably well. Of course it was tourist season (August) and the natives were mostly gone. But when I saw an italian-made film set in Rome, circa 1986, I saw a lot of black cats in the background.

  27. Charlotte says:

    btw, I have had 3 black cats, including one especially loving green eyed beauty beloved of all who knew him, a black female and male (manx b&s) who were incredibly loving.

  28. ts eliott says:

    “it’s because of this that the christian world of such places as britian often portray a confused notion of the cat and her either sinister or beneficial attributes.while it’s true as some have stated that in some places in britian the black cat is good luck she is also at the same time in the same locales still seen as evil and bad luck. demonized as part of pagan worship,”

    It has nothing to do with “Christianity”. I’m a little tired of everything people don’t like being blamed on this religion (and I am not even Christian). Pagans had equally negative feelings about certain animals. I knew people from Muslim countries who would turn around three times when they saw a black cat. I have know Africans from a “pagan”, Christian and Muslim backgrounds who react badly to cats.
    Cats just get a bad rap because, as one girl told me, they “look so much like people” and do not talk.

  29. Wescott20 says:

    Stefani, you did something really special for those cats…if they had stayed in Italy, they definitely would have been in danger. Prejudice against black cats is rampant in Italy (even more so than here)…probably idiocy left over from when the Roman Catholic Church had its Inquisitorial stranglehold over Europe, especially Southern Europe. And the poor cats get victimized from both sides, because Satanists, arch enemies of the Church, go after them too! You’d think in this supposedly enlightened age people would have moved past all of this ignorant superstition…and it is even sadder because black cats do tend to be very docile and sweet natured.

  30. Busy Bee says:

    Hi, I have come across this page whilst trying to find the species, of a stray black cat with green eyes and a white patch/spot of hair on chest, of which I have adopted. This is my first cat and first pet. Can anyone provide me with any advice? I would appreciate your help! Please email me at Thank you :-) P.S. Does anybody know how to stop a cat preying on birds? I love all life and have bird feeders in the garden which attract wild birds - however I would like to protect them from the black cat…..I have found some cat repellant rods which cover 1sq metre…would you advise this?

  31. a says:

    I’m wonderin how well this festival worked??

  32. alie says:

    I’m wonderin how well this festival worked??

  33. Anne says:

    i own 2 black cats who i love deary my female is a compleate softy shes always by my side and is full of love the boy is funny he comes to you whan i first got him he was hissing and growling but he settled down and i wouldent be with out neither of them i think thise should be made a holiday all over the world black cats are just the same as tabbys or gingers their not evil or have powers their normal kitties with pigment in their genes that makes them black

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