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Shelley Munro discusses Black Cats and Superstition

Emily Scarlet’s husband left her for his secretary and died in a car accident—all on the same day. Now, six months later, Emily has emerged from her chrysalis of painful memories. And to prove she has what it takes to attract a man, she’s determined to experience one perfect night of passion.

Feline shape shifter, Saber Mitchell has a problem with his four boisterous younger brothers. They’re out of control. It’s too late for him, but he hopes to get his brothers mated and settled, and the ball is the place to introduce them to marriageable women.

Unbridled sex is the last thing he plans on, but one glimpse of Emily Scarlet changes his mind. Sex with her is a necessity. They dance. They make love.

One thing is clear—a single night isn’t enough. Saber must have her for his mate, but Emily isn’t so easy to convince…or trust.

Hello! Thanks for having me to visit today to talk about Scarlet Woman. Scarlet Woman is the first book in my Middlemarch Mates series and features black leopard shifters, which naturally leads me to black cats.

What do you think when you see a black cat?

Do you run screaming in the opposite direction or do you rub your hands together and watch approvingly while the black cat prowls past?

Is a black cat good luck or bad luck? I decided to research the subject for a definitive answer. Detective Shelley is on the case!

In Egypt all cats, including black ones, were held in high regard. Laws protected cats and when a pet died, the entire family would mourn. Both rich and poor families embalmed their deceased pets. Archaeologists have discovered entire pet cemeteries with mummified black cats fairly commonplace.

Fast forward in time to the Middle Ages. Cats overpopulate major cities. Any woman who owns a black cat or feeds a stray black cat risks accusations of witchcraft.

Throughout history, black cats are blamed for anything from blasphemy to plague. Even today black cats get bad press and conjure up images of witchcraft and magic. Poe wrote about one, Hollywood makes movies and television series about them. Heck, even I write about them with my Middlemarch Mates series.

There are hundreds of superstitions associated with cats, probably because cats and humans have lived alongside each other for thousands of years. Let’s look at some of them.

A cat sneezing is a good omen for everyone who hears it. ~ Italian superstition.

If a cat washes behind its ears, rain is coming. ~ English superstition.

If a cat mews and appears cross, the ship and its passengers will have a hard voyage. ~ Sailor’s superstition.

A strange black cat on your porch brings prosperity. ~ Scottish superstition.

If you wash a cat, it will rain. ~ Indonesian/Malaysian superstition.

If you dream of a white cat, you’ll have good luck. ~ American superstition.

If you kill a cat, you’ll have seventeen years of bad luck. ~ Irish superstition.

In tasseography (tea-leave reading) a cat signifies false friends and deceit or someone lying in ambush.

In the Netherlands cats were banned from rooms where private family discussions were taking place.

In Egypt it was thought the life-giving rays of the sun were kept in a cat’s eyes at night for safekeeping.

And of course during October the silhouettes of black cats decorate many houses and shops for Halloween.

So what about black cats? Are they good or bad luck?

Well, it seems it depends on where you live in the world. For example in Britain and Japan having a black cat cross your path is considered good luck. If you live in the USA or in European countries you definitely don’t want a black cat strolling by because bad luck will surely follow. Now if you live in New Zealand, near the town of Middlemarch, seeing a black cat mightn’t be such a bad thing, especially if you’re a single girl looking for a man!

What do you think about black cats? Are they good luck or bad luck? Do you have any cat superstitions to add?

Shelley Munro lives in New Zealand and loves to write about feline shapeshifters. To learn more about Scarlet Woman and the other stories in Shelley’s Middlemarch Mates series, read excerpts, see family trees and other background information visit her website at www.shelleymunro.com


Excerpt from Scarlet Woman:

“Look, we said we’d go along with this plan,” Felix said. “We’ll give it a shot. Me first. Introduce me to the lady in red.”

The lady in red.

The second brother to mention her. Curiosity piqued, Saber turned to check out the view. His breath stalled until the tight vise around his lungs reminded him to breathe. Saber inhaled sharply, his nostrils flaring, feline genes kicking in.

He wanted the lady in red.

But that wasn’t the purpose of this shindig. Saber consciously relaxed, telling himself she was too obvious. The invitation a little blatant for his taste, but she might spark the urge to mate in one of his brothers. “Fine. We’re next in line for introductions anyway.” He watched one of the elders walk up to the lady in red and offer his arm. The lady smiled, and Saber adjusted his thoughts. A touch of vulnerability flitted across her pale face before she answered a question posed by the elder. Wistfulness. Hope. She treated the elder with courtesy and respect, earning points from Saber. He’d noticed the impatience of some of the other women waiting to enter the marquee. Excitement jumped in him. This plan would work. The lady in red would make a fine sister-in-law.

The elder led her toward him and his brothers. Saber indicated Felix with a jerk of his head, but the elder stopped in front of him.

“May I present Joanna Scarlet?” the elder said. “This is Saber Mitchell.”

“Just call me Jo,” the lady in red murmured, her voice a low, sensual hum that speared through him, winding his stomach in knots of desire and lust and uncharacteristic possessiveness. Her attractive floral scent reminded him of old-fashioned flowers and herbs. Maybe a touch of vanilla. It seeped deep into his lungs, drawing him in like a helpless insect. Saber sighed. His Scarlet woman. If his brothers didn’t stop with the leering, he was going to smack some manners into them. Whoa…his?


***Leave a comment answering Shelley’s question for a chance to win any book from her Middlemarch Mates series. 8 to choose from! Good luck! 😀

Shelley also has some free reads and the Middlemarch family tree on her site!

41 Responses

  1. Hi Shelley,
    I love the excerpt for Scarlet Woman. I want to read all the Middlemarch Mates books now. I have never looked at black cats in a superstitious way. They are beautiful creatures and hold some graceful allure to me. Thanks for sharing Shelley.
    I like the Scottish superstition though. 🙂
    Carol L.

  2. Sounds great Shelley! Black cats are a bad sign here 😉 Where we live, you cross yourself if you see one crossing the road.

  3. I think that black cats are bad luck and where I’m from you don’t cross yourself you cross out the cat if it crosses the road in front of you. I love the sound of your series shifter books are my favorite to read.


  4. I think a black cat is just a black cat. I saw the cats and kiitens up for adoption at the local Petsmart. recently. They had an abundance of black cats due to superstitious people.

  5. Wow, I had no idea that there were so many superstitions about cats. I’d only heard the one about the black cat and a ladder but that is all. Very good post. Have not read this series of books but would love to read them.

  6. I don’t think cats have anything to do with luck, good or bad. Cats are highly evolved inter-dimensional life forms with intelligence , physicality and beauty far beyond the understanding of mankind…or at least that’s what the cat who permits me to share her space instructed me to tell you, and who am I to argue?

  7. I think black cats are very good luck. My very first cat was a tiny black kitten that mysteriously showed up at my house… she was atypical and loved to cuddle and ride on my shoulders. She brought me great joy and mysteriously disappeared two years later. I am convinced she was an omen of good and not evil and will have fond memories of her forever.

  8. Hi Shelley – I love cats and happen to own a huge black one but where I grew up a black cat laying on a bed meant someone was going to die.

  9. Hi Shelley! I’m personally not a cat lover, but my best friend has a black cat and she’s never given me any bad luck. So I guess that means that I really don’t have any cat superstitions. Now my dog, that’s another story. ** Grin ** Have a good one!

  10. I have a black cat, Alex-aka Moose. He was the cutest little kitten, but he’s now about 20 lbs. Maybe 1 -2 lbs. of extra padding, but he’s mostly muscle and bone. He is absolutely gorgeous with a black nose and huge green eyes.

    I can definitely state they are bad luck. ;- ) Not so much now that he’s 3, but when he was smaller he used to blend in. I can’t tell you how many times I almost killed him or myself by either sitting or stepping on him. It didn’t help that he liked to lay in the bathroom doorway and I don’t turn on the lights for late night trips, which led to literal trips. (There’s enough ambient light to see the other two cats.) I learned to slide my feet instead of picking them up, which saved me from tripping, but he got lifted up and tossed a few times.

    I never had this problem with my white, grey, tabby or black and white cats.

  11. You know, I love your shifter cat series, Shelley! And I love your superstitions list. I have a black cat and he’s just great. I think cats, esp. black ones are wonderful good luck. Middlemarch was a fab idea to write!

  12. Black cats are cute. 🙂

  13. I’m pretty neutral about black cats and I think they’re adorable.

  14. I don’t have anything against black cats. I’m a pretty big cat person and have had a couple all black cats before. Nothing bad happened with them!

  15. I keep hearing a lot about this book! very interested in readin it. Black cats are pretty and I don’t think they bring superstition

  16. Carol – I can say that black cats are quite lucky for me or at least the Middlemarch ones are!

    Jaime – my MIL is quite superstitious. She’d do that. Isn’t it strange the way this is quite a regional superstition?

  17. Sherry – thank you. That’s interesting. I don’t see many black cats around us. There is a ginger cat that is on our hit list because he keeps pooping in our vegetable garden!! 🙂

  18. Andrea – sigh – I think it’s the season for lots of cats here. I know our local SPCA is very crowded with cats.

    Maria – cats are an old species. I guess we’ve had thousands of years to interact with them, hence the number of superstitions.

  19. Donna – LOL I hear you. My sister’s cats certainly have loads of attitude and rule the roost.

    Miranda – She sounds like a lovely cat. There aren’t many that enjoy cuddles.

  20. Cyberclip – that’s interesting. I haven’t heard that one.

    Barb – my husband is not a cat person, but it’s funny the way my sister’s cats crowd him whenever we visit. One of her cats had an accident years ago and ended up with one of his front legs amputated. He’s such a character and is always jumping on people. If you see him heading for you at speed it’s time to brace because he’s getting ready to jump!!

  21. Anne – he sounds gorgeous. There’s something about green eyes. My Mitchell boys all have green eyes.

    Kaye – thank you! As I said earlier, black cats have been lucky for me 🙂

  22. Rachel 😉 Especially the shifter variety!

  23. Jeanette – I like cats, and there should definitely be more felines in books. I love to read feline shifter books.

    Alicia – that’s good to hear. It seems to depend on where you live when it comes to superstition.

    Amanda – I think it’s a great series, but I am a little biased. 😉

  24. As a cat fan, I don’t think a black cat is bad luck. I’ve found a few of my relatives to be more bad luck inducing than any cat I’ve run across. LOL!

  25. I am not superstitious about black cats—-I have one.
    I don’t think black cats have anything to do with luck—either good or bad.

  26. I’m rather neutral on the topic of black cats and what type of luck they bring. I’m not really superstitious and don’t think cats have anything to do with luck.

  27. My mother loved black cats, so that’s the only kind we had growing up, and always associated them with good luck.

  28. Hi Shelley. Thanks for visiting with us again!

  29. Hi, Shelley! I know all the superstitions say that a black cat is bad luck, but black cats are also incredibly beautiful! I try to remember that a cat’s a cat 🙂 And boy, if you intentionally kill a cat, you deserve the years of bad luck that are coming to you!

  30. I admire all cats from afar…really bad allergies. Of course, that makes every cat I come in contact with want to be my new best friend…contrary creatures!

  31. I don’t believe in any of the superstitions dealing with black cats. I had own about 5 of them and never had any bad luck with them. Sometimes I think owning a black cat gives a person good luck.

  32. I think Black cats are good luck. My husband found our solid black kitten on a job site trying to attact a huge dog….She was so brave he couldn’t resist bringing her home. She is the only cat we’ve ever had that lived to a ripe old age of 13…And that is a long time for an outdoor cat….She was a survivor, the perfect huntress and hidden at night by her wonderful black fur.

  33. […] of I Do Not Want To Wait, I Want the Book Right Now has an interview about black cats and superstitions with paranormal author Shelly Munro, along with a chance to win a copy of one of Shelly […]

  34. I have two black cats – so you can guess I don’t believe in this black cat – bad luck superstitions.
    Here’s one superstition about cats from Croatia: If a cat starts grooming herself while in the house you will have a visitor coming soon 🙂

    Oh, did I mention that feline shape-shifters are my favourite…

  35. I like both cats and dogs and a black cat would be just that, a black cat. But I think superstitions do rub off on me because I sometimes automatically walk on the other side of the street if I spot one!

  36. Ah, most of you don’t agree that bad luck comes with black cats.

    Fran – feline shifters are my favorites too.

    Lillie – thank you for having me 🙂

  37. Amy – it’s strange/funny how cats make a beeline for those who don’t like them! Contrary creatures.

    Mitzi – she sounds like a feisty cat!

  38. I happened to have so many black cats as my pets 🙂 so no bad luck happened (*Thank God !)

  39. I don’t think black cats are bad luck. Not superstitious about that at all. We have three bengal cats and they are gorgeous. 🙂

    I enjoy feline shapeshifter books and all the books in your Middlemarch Mates series sound awesome!

  40. Black cats are supposed to be bad luck in my part of the world but I don’t believe the hype. When I was a kid, I had a black cat named Inky!

  41. I love black cats. My first pet was a black cat named Midnight–such a sweetie.

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