"Why witches hang out with black cats."
In superstition, it was thought that one way to identify if someone was a witch was if they owned a cat. This cat was believed to be some form of demon or evil spirit in disguise, acting as the witch's Familiar
and aiding her in her spells. These days witches and cats don't have such bad reputations, but their association with each other persists. If a show has a witch, there is an extremely good chance that witch has a cat. Sometimes simply owning a cat is used as a hint or foreshadowing that a woman living alone might have a secret magical nature.
And doesn't that make purrfect
sense? Everyone knows that Cats Are Magic
, not to mention the best
, so of course
any witch worth her broomstick would be owned by one, if not a whole clowder of cats. In fact it's not uncommon for a witch to have a such a soft spot for her feline friends that she doubles as a Crazy Cat Lady
, owning a dozen or more. Such witches are usually considered quirky and tend to be of the good variety, the same if a witch owns cats with coat colors outside the stereotypical black. The cat is the most common Familiar
for a witch by far, though sometimes the association is so strong that it's not that the witch owns
a cat, but she is
The association is most concrete between female witches and cats, though occasionally if a work allows male witches, or warlocks and wizards are simply male witches, the association will spill over. In European folklore, black cats have been considered to be familiars of witches since the Middle Ages, so this trope is Older Than Print
Compare Right-Hand Cat
, Cats Are Magic
Anime and Manga
- In the first episode of Soul Eater, what Maka and Soul thought was a witch, turned out to actually be a cat that had a human form and magic and merely dressed like a witch.
- In Harry Potter a cat is one of the animals which wizarding students can bring as a pet to Hogwarts. In this case the cats are merely pets, not familiars. A Witch and teacher, professor Mc Gonagall, can turn into a cat. Both Hermione and Umbridge own cats, the latter of whom doubles as a Crazy Cat Lady. There was also a Crazy Cat Lady who lived near the Dursleys who turned out to be a Squib
- In Enchanted Forest Chronicles Morwen, a famous witch, owns a large number of cats of many different colors as her familiars. Other witches think she's strange for numerous reasons, but one of those is that she owns a dozen cats, none of the black.
Deep in the Enchanted Forest, in a neat grey house with a wide porch and a red roof, lived the witch Morwen and her nine cats. The cats were named Murgatroyd, Fiddlesticks, Miss Eliza Tudor, Scorn, Jasmine, Trouble, Jasper Darlington Higgins IV, Chaos, and Aunt Ophelia, and not one of them looked like a witch's cat. They were tabby, grey, white, tortoiseshell, ginger, seal brown, and every other cat color in the world than a proper and "witchy" black.
- In Dark Lord of Derkholm, Querida, the most powerful witch on the continent, owns three cats.
- Discworld has Nanny Ogg and her tomcat Greebo, and, later, Granny Weatherwax's kitten, You.
- In the novel Operation Chaos by Poul Anderson, the witch Virginia "Ginny" Matuchek has a cat named Svartalf as a familiar.
- In the Arcia Chronicles, Gerika keeps pet lynxes before and after she gains powers, but goes to ordinary cats when she pretends to be a swamp witch while healing Alexander in book five (which is lampshaded). She can also possess her cats and use them as conduits for her power (which probably explains it).
- One of the witches in Shakespeare's Macbeth has a cat named Graymalkin
- A line in the "Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats" from Lloyd-Webber's Cats goes "Can you ride on a broomstick, to places far distant?" referring to cats being associated with witches
- Bomamba in NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams has a whole swarm of black cats. They're the source of her magic power.
- The sorcerologist Tessa from Red Earth owns four cats, two of whom (Al and Ivan) actually aid her in battle from time to time. The catch is that Tessa owns several other pets, such as a bird (Hato), a frog (Kaeru), and a dragon spirit which doubles as her cape (Manot).