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How many Halloween cards have you seen with images of witches and their cats? How many shows depict that every witch is a cat lover? How many books depict anyone even remotely Pagan as having a feline familiar? Nearly all of them. It’s a widespread belief, but there’s not as much truth to it as the media would like for you to believe.
This belief is rooted in some truth. It’s believed that cats have “one foot in and one foot out,” meaning that they straddle the line between worlds, between life and death. Cats are highly respected by practitioners of magic for this reason, among others. Cats are also very intuitive, and are often amazing judges of character.
In ancient times cats were worshiped as embodiments of the gods, or seen as transporters of magic. Post-Christianity, they were seen as demonic and associated with the devil, and by extension, witches. Old tales even implied that those who practiced magick could transform into cats at will.
The truth is, even though cats and Pagans do tend to go hand-in-paw, they don’t all own them. Pagans are like anyone else in that they’ll have whatever kind of pet they feel most drawn to. I’ve seen Pagans with all manner of pets including cats, dogs, rabbits, snakes, lizards, rodents, birds and even arachnids. They may own one or more pets of various types.
There’s nothing anywhere that says a Pagan has to own, or even like, cats. You can have whatever pets you like, or none at all. Most of them do tend to be drawn to animals, and they think of them less as possessions and more like friends or family members. Some witches even include their “familiar” in religious ceremonies or magickal practices.
*Disclaimer: I no longer practice Paganism, but I’ve left these Pagan Myths articles active because I believe they’re still valuable in helping people to understand Paganism and reduce negative stereotypes.*