-16.ARE THEY EVIL? During the Middle Ages in Europe, the cat became an object of superstitions and was associated with evil. The animal was believed to have powers of black magic — an assistant to witches and perhaps the embodiment of the devil. People who kept cats were suspected of wickedness and were often put to death along with their cats. Cats were hunted, tortured, and sacrificed. Live cats were sealed inside the walls of houses and other buildings as they were being constructed, in the belief that this would bring good luck. As the cat population dwindled, the diseasecarrying rat population increased, a factor that contributed greatly to the spread of epidemics throughout Europe. By the 17th century, the cat had begun to regain its former place as a companion to people and a controller of rodents. Many of the superstitions that appeared during the period of cat persecution, however, are still evident today in the form of such sayings as "A black cat crossing your path brings bad luck."
During the Middle Ages, cat-owners were in danger of being ------ .
thought to be evil people
forced to kill their pets
perceived as very superstitious
considered to be the devil himself
used in the construction of buildings
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