Why does the black cat almost always have white hairs under the neck?
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Why the cat black has almost always a few white hairs under the neck ? History gives the key to this mystery, confirmed by genetics.
In the Middle Ages, in Europe and especially in very Christian France, black cats have a bad reputation : sorcerers companions witches that they accompany the night on the Sabbath, or devils incarnate in person, they are condemned by the Church and the owners, excommunicated. The Inquisition (created in 1233 by Pope Gregory IX) is ruthless and the people who are struggling to survive do not have our contemporary sensibility.
The animal trials are in the mellel of time , but the case of the cat is particular. He is not judged for this or that wrong, supposed or real. Symbolizing the Devil, he is fatally criminal... and hag on the cat! All black cats are targeted. It is almost a crime of dirty mouth. Burned in the pyres, crucified at the doors of the houses, drowned in whole bags, the race has almost disappeared.
Miraculously, some white hairs under the neck could save the beast: "mark of the angel" or "Finger of God" . A superstition was even worth protecting: snatching a white coat brought happiness!
That's why most of our black cats are not all black: descendants at the same time as survivors of this genocide, they wear a discreet white medallion, remembrance of an old and tragic history
The revenge of the black cat
The black cat takes its revenge in the nineteenth century : its devilish air fascinates the authors, painters and graphic artists . This natural singularity that made his misfortune becomes an asset in the eyes of the romantic. Haunted by the Black Cat, the American Edgar Poe is the hero of his most famous novel, translated in 1843 by Baudelaire - we can not imagine our dark poet in love with a white Angora or a gray Persian. However, the Black Cat (drawn by Steinlen) appears in Montmartre, in the evening...
In the 1960s, the cat market created a new breed that announced the color - black of black. The Bombay , born in the US from a successful cross between two races, remains little known in France and not as popular as the others, Abyssinian, Angora, Carthusian, Persian, Siamese...
And in the refuges, the black cat (naturally gutter) will be the last adopted, the first euthanized - as if a strong prejudice was still running .
P for more historical and feline anecdotes, discover Story of Michèle Ressi's cat, already available in e-book .