Friday, December 1, 2023

Furry Friends Feature: The Hocus Pocus of Black Cats

Is a black cat staring at you sending terrible luck and omens your way? Chances are, it just wants a little food, water, and some snuggles. As Halloween approaches, The Heritage Humane Society helps the holiday’s most associated animal emerge from the shadows of lore, from the practice of deception, or simply, hocus pocus.

Slinking back to the Middle Ages

Black cats can represent mystery and secrecy to some who associate this with evil. For those intrigued by mystery, magic, and the arts, they may gravitate to the allure of black cats.

Dating back to Ancient Greece, according to Greek mythology, Zeus’s wife Hera once transformed her servant, Galinthias, into a black cat as punishment for impeding the birth of Hercules. Galinthias went on to become an assistant to Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft. Since then, black cats have been associated with evil.

Over the years, black cats continued to be associated with evil and giving greater power to witches. When the Pilgrims arrived to the New World, a part of their devout beliefs was to rid their surroundings of perceived evil to include the killing of black cats.

In Western cultures, some people still buy into the superstitions of black cats although that is continuing to decrease. In Germany, while there is a belief that if a black cat crosses a person’s path from right to left was a bad omen, there is also a belief that a black cat crossing a person’s path from left to right is granting favorable times. In Japan, black cats are treasured for warding off evil and lead to wealth and prosperity. In France, there is a belief that black cats will lead to treasure. In England, it was believed keeping a black cat at home would protect a sailor at sea.

Unlocking mysteries

Today, people are unlocking other mysteries of black cats that are even helping with human health. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health discovered the gene mutations associated with the coat of black cats are the same mutation in humans that causes complete resistance to HIV. This discovery is helping researchers as they pursue a cure for HIV.

As the future shines brighter for these optimistic onyx lovelies, people now celebrate National Black Cat Day, which is coming up on Oct. 27.

Meet these mystical beauties

The Heritage Humane Society and its gracious friends at Schwartzy’s Cat Cove located at The Nautical Dog in New Town have the following raven beauties available for adoption. Adoption is first come, first serve. If you visit Schwartzy’s Cat Cove, be sure to say “hello” to one of their two shop cats, a black beauty named Ollie!

When you visit Nautical Dog/Schwarty’s Cat Cove make sure to say hello to Ollie! He was adopted from HHS in 2018.

Meet Bonfire. This 2-year-old male cat was found as a stray in Busch Gardens. Bonfire is a bit on the shy side, however give him a cozy bed and a window to enjoy some bird watching and he will be in pure heaven.

Meet Bonfire

Meet Jason. A 1-year-old male who was surrendered to The Heritage Humane Society. This shy guy is learning to trust humans. The best thing is to go slow with him and offer your hand, he will smell it before slowly nuzzling against it. When he trusts you, he will greet you with the softest, sweetest “meow.” He will need a patient adopter who understands a slow transition will be best for him.

Meet Jason

Meet Loki. A 10-year-old female who was surrendered into the shelter’s care. Loki is currently in a foster home. Here are some words from her foster mom: “She is such a sweetheart. She fit into the apartment with my roommates right away! She is very social and affectionate and will cuddle right next to me when I lay down.”

Meet Loki

Meet Morticia. She is a 1-year old female cat who came in a stray with a litter of kittens. She gave so much love to her kittens and made sure they grew up strong and healthy. Her kittens (Wednesday, Gomez, and Thing) all found loving homes, and now it’s Morticia’s turn to be loved and cherished is a forever home.

Meet Morticia

Spread a little magic

If adopting a black cat isn’t in the cards at this time, consider sponsoring the adoption fees for other so they can find their permanent home. If interested, email or call the Heritage Humane Society Adoption Team at or 757-221-0150 ext.0. Make an online donation, donate needed items, or purchase items from the shelter’s onsite ReTail Store, or join The Heritage Humane Society foster community.

To learn more, visit or call 757-221-0150. Heritage Humane Society is located at 430 Waller Mill Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185. Schwartzy’s Cat Cove is located within Nautical Dog at 5102 Main St. Suite B, Williamsburg, VA 23188.

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