No description of the cat and its involvement with witchcraft is complete without the accompanying examples of it as an essential ingredient for magic.  Cats and magic have been inseparable since Egyptian times. The black cat was especially important, as it was commonly believed that the blood of a black cat when mixed with certain herbs was extremely powerful […]

CATS AND WITCHCRAFT (Part 8-The New England Colonies)

Incidents of cats and witchcraft not only plagued Europe, but also spread to the New England colonies as well.  In 1619, “Dalton’s Country Justice” was published and included instructions on how to deal with witchcraft (Taylor, 1908). On the morning of December 8, 1679, a man claimed that while his wife was making their bed, she had been accosted by […]

CATS AND WITCHCRAFT (Part 7- The Witchfinder-Matthew Hopkins)

RUTTERKIN: Some years after Topsell’s book was published, (see last week’s post) the witch trials were still quite common.  The trial of Joan Flower and her two daughters Margaret and Phillipa Flower, also known as the witches of Belvoir, took place in 1618.  Joan and Margaret worked for the Earl and Countess of Rutland at Belvoir Castle until Margaret was […]

CATS AND WITCHCRAFT (Part 6 – Edward Topsell)

Further inflaming the fire of witchcraft accusations that revolved around cats, in 1607, Edward Topsell (1572-1625), first published his book The History of Four Footed Beasts, wherein he stated, “The familiars of witches do most commonly appear in the shape of cats, which is an argument that this beast is dangerous to the soul and […]


SIR HENRY WYATT: As we know from last week’s post, Queen Elizabeth I was not at all fond of cats.  However, in contrast, Elizabeth’s adversaries seemed to like cats.  Sir Henry Wyatt, the Duke of Norfolk, after having been committed to the Tower by Queen Elizabeth I for plotting to take over her throne, was […]

CATS AND WITCHCRAFT (Part 4-The First Witch Trials and the Cat Satan)

The First Witch Trials and the Cat Satan Because of religious unrest, Henry VIII thought it prudent to enact a law against Witchcraft in 1542 making the act a felony punishable by death.  Ironically, even though most regarded cats as evil, the cunning Cardinal Wolsey seemed to have liked cats very much.  So much so […]

CATS AND WITCHCRAFT (Part 3-Malleus Maleficarum)

MALLEUS MALEFICARUM OR THE HAMMER OF WITCHES: Unfortunately, in 1484, the fate of women and cats took a dire turn for the worse when the Dominican inquisitors Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger complained to Pope Innocent VIII that witchcraft and heresy were consuming all of Germany and nothing was being done about it.  The Pope […]


Vampire Cats: Cats already feared as being vampires in Japan and China and in some Baltic countries were soon accused of such activity in Europe.  Antonia Guaineri, a respected physician, claimed in 1440 that witches could assume the form of cats, and these witches became vampires that drank the blood of infants (Waddell, 2003). Later […]


Lady Alice Kyteler and the first Witchcraft Trial:          The ritual of the Taigheirm was perhaps the most shocking evidence of the cat being equated with the devil, but not long after the Vox in Rama, as previously discussed, was issued in 1233, accusations of witchcraft involving cats began to rise amongst […]


WITCHCRAFT AND THE CAT’S PERSECUTION:  TAIGHEIRM During roughly the same time that Emperor Hsuan Tsung was lovingly painting cats in China, in Europe, with the advent of witch and heresy trials ushered in by the Inquisition, the cat was being subjected to the cruelest period of its history. Swept up into the divine plan of […]

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