18/10/2011 09:32 BST | Updated 18/12/2011 05:12 GMT

(PHOTOS) Black Cats And Broken Mirrors: Weird Superstitions

People are refusing to adopt black cats from rescue centres because they are deemed to be "unlucky", one organisation has claimed.

Superstitions have surrounded these hapless felines for centuries, with black cats believed to be familiars for witches. When with the witch, the cat was a demon in disguise, able to assume many forms.

However black cats were highly respected by the Egyptians, who even had a cat goddess, called Bastet. Indeed, cats took pride of place within the Egyptian household, with family members shaving off their eyebrows when the family pet died.

Pirates traditionally wanted a black cat for their ship, believing they brought good luck. As the nights draw in and the winds blow colder, Huffington Post UK enters the murky world of symbol and superstition to unearth some of the stranger beliefs: