A cat crossing your path is considered a bad omen in India, more so if the cat is black ( I think this belief also exists in many other cultures too). Not sure why, but my take is that this must have come from the times when human beings lived in close proximity to jungles. A cat is endowed with very good instincts that helps it to sense danger earlier than humans. For someone walking on a jungle path, a cat running would have meant that there is some danger close by; perhaps a wild animal.
But it is interesting to see how wide-spread this superstition is and how it has managed to survive for such a long time. Our logical minds will definitely refuse to accept superstitions, but there are always some incidents that shake our logic. Let me narrate my experience.
Last week I was driving my father to the hospital from my hometown. All of a sudden, a black cat crossed the road right in front of my car. Instinctively, I pulled off and parked the car on the road side. (This reaction was based on a very old experience. Few years back I was driving with a friend of mine when a cat crossed our path. I ignored it and continued further and sometime later had a very close encounter with an elephant. Then my friend advised me that the right thing to do when the cat crosses your path is to just stop for few moments; it has got something to do with time)
As I stopped and picked up a bottle of water to drink, I was glancing at the rear view mirror. In a second or two, a bike that was coming in the opposite direction collided with a bicycle right behind my car. All the people fell on the road and in a flash I was out of my car running to help them.
Nobody was seriously injured. But as I continued to drive further, I was thinking about the cat. Did it really sense that there was something bad going to happen.
One thing I am sure, the next time I have a cat crossing my path, I am going to stop for a while. Hell with the logical mind!