Several countries have folklore that include cats, and many of these legends are about frightening felines. It’s easy to see why, with their piercing eyes, sorrowful wallowing, and lithe movements. As the weather turns colder and the nights get longer, curl up with your favorite feline and retell some of these creepy cat tales from around the world.
1. The Wampus Cat (USA)
Originally a Cherokee tale, this story is deeply imbedded in the folklore of the Appalachians and part of the South, even before Europeans appeared on the scene. Many different versions of the story exist, but they all involve a wild cat that could drive even the bravest warrior insane. Some versions, like the one found in Spooky South by S.E. Schlosser, say it’s actually a Cherokee women turned into a cat. You can purchase the tale as part of a collection of short stories here.
2. Sith Cats (Scotland)
There are many stories about fairy cats in Celtic mythologies, usually seen as a large black cat with a white spot on his chest. Some speak of cats stealing souls of the departed before they are buried; or a witch that can turn into a cat nine times; others mention a King of the cats. Though these tales are hard to find in print.
3. The Vampire Cat of Nabeshima (Japan)
In this 16th century story, a cat not only devours humans, but then assumes their form to deceive other humans. The story appears in a 1910 book by lgernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford called Tales of Old Japan and the link above.
4. The Black Cat of Killakee (Ireland)
Like most legends, there are many variations of this story, though they all center around a phantom or demon cat that haunts a building once called the Hell Fire Club. However unlike many folktales which have faded into the distant past, this legend is still alive and well – you can even tour the Hell Fire Club in Dublin. See another version of the Black Cat of Killakee story here.
5. Kasha (Japan)
Originally a flaming cart that took engulfed the bodies of the dead; in 1776 an artist by the name of drew him at a demon cat covered in flames instead. From then on, Kasha was associated as a demon cat who came down from the sky in a ball of flames and devoured the dead. Find several versions of the story at the link above.