Black Cats weren’t always the butt of superstitions, feared, or even considered bad luck. As superstitions go, fear of a black cat crossing one's path is of relatively recent origin. It is also entirely adverse to the revered place held by the cat when it was first domesticated in Egypt around 3000 BC.
In the 1500s, there arose the belief that witches could shape-shift themselves into the form of Black Cats so they could roam freely about the country wrecking havoc and spying on people.
One popular tale from British feline lore illustrates the thinking of the day. In Lincolnshire in the 1560s, a father and his son were frightened one moonless night when a small creature darted across their path into a crawl space. Hurling stones into the opening, they saw an injured black cat scurry out and limp into the adjacent home of a woman suspected by the town of being a witch.
Next day, the father and son met the old woman at the local marketplace and saw that she was limping on her left leg. From that day, the people in that town were sure that the woman was an evil witch that prowled their town at night in the shape of a black cat, looking to do mischief against anyone who crossed her.
The notion of witches transforming themselves into black cats in order to prowl streets unobserved became a central belief in America during the Salem witch hunts.
Thus, an animal once looked on with consent became a creature dreaded and reviled.
However, in some cultures, the black cat is still revered and a symbol of good luck even today.