Superstitious Time of Year

It’s October and everyone knows that this is the month that imaginations run wild. Little ghosts and goblins, witches and ghouls come knocking on your door demanding a treat or suffer a trick.


I thought today I’d take a break from the state countdown and visit some of the common superstitions, this time about cats and dogs. Most everyone is familiar with the belief that black cats bring bad luck or that a howling dog signifies that someone is about to die. (If that were truly the case, people would be dropping right and left every time an ambulance goes by with its siren blaring.) I’ve looked up some of the opinions about this, and believe me there are many, and thought I’d share a few today.

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Black cats bring good luck. In Britain, a bride and groom who encounter a black cat on their wedding day are ensured a happy marriage. Sailors, a notoriously superstitious lot, avoid saying the word “cat,” but having a black cat aboard ship is believed to bring good fortune. In fact, the wives of sailors used to keep black cats to ensure their husbands’ safe return.


A cat in the cradle protects babies. A well-known (and need I say unfounded) myth
is that cats will jump into a crib and suck a sleeping baby’s breath. In
Russia, however, new parents used to put a cat into a cradle to drive off evil
spirits that might harm the baby. Smart thinking! Who better than a loving and
protective cat with super night vision and an alert nature to ward off any
natural — or supernatural — meanies? (Of course, folklore notwithstanding, you
never want to leave any pet with a baby unsupervised.)

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Cats won’t run away if you take certain actions. Moving? Bring your cat into the new place through the window and he won’t leave (presumably because he doesn’t know where the door is). Or rub his paws with butter. The theory behind this one is that by the time he finishes licking all the butter off his paws, he’ll be used to the new place and won’t want to leave. My opinion…feed them. I never have any trouble getting them to stay. 🙂

And in the case of our Canine friends

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The lick of a dog has healing powers. Ancient Greeks and Romans had temple dogs whose licks were believed to cure disease. Maybe they were onto something — we know today that petting a dog can lower blood pressure. Some dogs can also scent out cancers and other signs of illness such as high blood sugar.

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Dogs lead us to the next world. Cultures around the world associate dogs with the
path to heaven — or Hades. A three-headed dog named Cerberus guarded the
entrance to Hades, ensuring that no one went in — or out — who wasn’t supposed


Meeting a dog is good luck. I always think I’m fortunate whenever I meet a dog, and plenty of superstitions support that belief. According to folklore in various parts of the world, it’s good luck to meet a Greyhound with a white spot or a Dalmatian (spotted dogs must really be something special). If a strange black dog follows you home, you’ll have good luck. Seems to me that it would be even better luck for the dog if you decide to adopt him.


Dogs and cats can predict the weather. For instance, if a dog retreats underneath your dining room table or curls up in a corner, cold weather is coming. The same is said of a cat sitting with his back to the fire: It’s a sure sign that frost is on the way.


There’s more but maybe we should save some for another time. I seem to have run out of space. 🙂 Excerpts from Lifestyle Blog and Dr. Marty Becker,

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