FACTBOX: Black cats and bad luck

Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:42am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - British animal charity the RSPCA says black cats can be difficult to find homes for because of the superstitions surrounding them. These are by no means confined to Britain:

* In China, black cats can sometimes be seen as harbingers of famine

* In North America, it's bad luck if a black cat crosses your path and good luck if a white cat does.

* In Scotland, however, a strange black cat appearing on your porch is a portent of prosperity.

* And in Japan a black cat crossing your path is often seen as lucky.

* Things are more complicated in Germany. There, a black cat crossing your path from right to left is a bad sign but exactly the opposite if it does so from left to right. There are various combinations of doom or delight in different parts of the world in the case of a black cat walking towards you.

(Compiled by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)