Pets and Superstitions


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Black Cat

Many superstitions concern animals in general and pets in particular.

Contents

Birds

  • A bird that flies into a house, foretells an important message. A white bird foretells death.
  • Bird droppings landing on your head are a sign of good luck.
  • A bird call from the north means tragedy; from the south is good for crops; from the west is good luck; from the east, good love.
  • If a blackbird nests in your house you can look forward to a year of good fortune.
  • If a red bird crosses your path, you will receive good news from a loved one.
  • Some Native American tribes believed that eating turkey would cause them to lose their courage.
  • Sparrows bring summer with them when they come.
  • If you harm a robin's nest, you will be struck by lightening.
  • Parrots will lead humans to salt deposits.
  • A hen which crows is considered to be unlucky.
  • A hen which enters the house is an omen that a visitor will arrive.
  • In England it is a death omen if a rooster crows three times between sunset and midnight.
  • A man who eats roasted owl will be obedient and a slave to his wife.
  • An owl hooting is bad luck. There are a number of ways to counter this bad luck: put irons in your fire; throw salt, hot peppers or vinegar into the fire, the owl will get a sore tongue and hoot no more; take off your clothes, turn them inside out and put them back on.
  • Peacock feathers have an evil eye at the end.
  • If a mockingbird flies over the head of a single woman, she will be married within the year.
  • In Norway, the call of the loon in the evening means someone will drown soon.
  • The Aztecs believed that hummingbirds were the reincarnation of brave warriors killed in battle.
  • The dove is the only bird which a witch cannot transform.
  • If you see one magpie you had better see another one right away or you will have bad luck.

Dogs

  • A greyhound sporting a white spot on its forehead guarantees good fortune.
  • Being followed by a black dog is an omen of death (in Scotland and Lancashire).
  • Being followed by a black dog is good luck (in the West Country).
  • A sleepy dog who scratches himself is a sign that the weather will change. If a dog eats grass or rolls in the dust, rain is coming.
  • It was once believed that if a dog howled on Christmas Eve it will be fated to go mad before the end of the year. Many healthy dogs were killed as a result of this belief.
  • Dogs howling in the silent night are a sign of imminent death.
  • A dog with seven toes can see ghosts.
  • Three white dogs together are considered lucky.
  • South Dakota Lakota Sioux Indians believed you could transfer illness from a human to a dog by placing them next to each other.

Cats

  • If a black cat crosses your path, Satan is taking notice of you.
  • Cats "suck the breath" from babies.
  • If a black cat walks towards you, it brings good fortune, but if it walks away, it takes the good luck with it.
  • A cat on board a ship brings good luck.
  • If a cat washes its ears, rain is coming.
  • If a cat washes its face and paws in the parlor, company's coming.
  • A sneezing cat is a sign of future wealth.
  • A cat washing on the doorstep means the clergy will visit.
  • A bride will have a happy married life if a black cat sneezes near her on her wedding day.
  • If you kick a cat, you will develop rheumatism in that leg and you are sacrificing your soul to the Devil. If you are a farmer, your cattle will die mysteriously.
  • If a girl treads on a cat's tail, she will not find a husband for at least a year.
  • In the Dark Ages, a cat was mortared, while still alive, into the foundation of a building to ensure good luck to the inhabitants.
  • In France, it is considered bad luck to cross a stream carrying a cat.
  • In ancient Japan it was believed that there was one hair on each cat that could restore life to a dead person.
  • When moving to a new home, put the cat in through the window, not the door, so that it will not leave.
  • To reverse the bad luck curse of a black cat crossing your path, first walk in a circle, then go backward across the spot where it happened and count to 13.
  • The Dutch believed that cats could spread gossip around town and were careful not to discuss anything delicate in front of them.
  • "Who cares well for cats will marry as happily as he or she could ever wish." -- French proverb.

Horses

  • A horseshoe hung in the house brings good luck.
  • A horseshoe hung in the bedroom will keep nightmares away.
  • Horseshoes can cure hiccups.
  • Grey horses and horses with four white socks are considered to be unlucky.
  • Inhaling a horse's breath is a cure for whooping cough.
  • Changing a horse's name is bad luck.
  • If you see a white dog you should be silent until you see a white horse.
  • If a bride and groom see a gray horse on the way to the church, they will have good luck.
  • Walking under a ladder is considered back luck. To reverse the bad luck, keep your fingers crossed until you have seen three horses.
  • If you place a horse's tail in water it will turn into a snake.
  • If you put horse skulls under the floor of a house they improve the tone of a piano that was above them.

Other pets

  • If the first calf born during the winter is white, the winter will be a bad one.
  • If an offer was made to buy cattle which was not for sale, this would lead to the cattle's illness or death.
  • Meeting a flock of sheep on a journey is an omen of good luck.
  • If sheep gnash their teeth during round-up in the autumn, the winter will be hard.
  • If you kill a daddy long legs, there will be rain soon.
  • Seeing a dead Donkeys brings good fortune. Leaping over the carcass three times is a good luck charm.
  • If you throw back the first fish you catch you'll be lucky the whole day fishing.
  • Some fisherman believe that it's bad luck to get married when the fish aren't biting.
  • If you dream of fish, someone you know is pregnant.
  • You can get rid of warts by rubbing a peeled apple and giving it to a pig.
  • A rabbit's foot is a symbol of fertility.
  • A left rabbit hind foot, carried in the left pocket after having been removed from a rabbit that was killed during a full moon by a cross-eyed person is truly lucky.
  • Seeing a spider run down a web in the afternoon means you'll take a trip.
  • If you eat a live toad first thing in the morning nothing worse will happen to you all day.
  • In some parts of Madagascar, the Aye Aye is considered bad luck and will be killed if found.


Do you know of any other pet superstitions not mentioned here? Please add them!