Various groups of mammals had their origin in a unique animal now extinct. This carnivorous creature was something of a cross between a cat and a seal; it could live on land or in water and was highly intelligent and very active. 
20,000,000 years ago many groups of animals migrated to North America from Asia, including many varieties of the cat family. The cat tribe was represented by panthers and large saber-toothed tigers, the latter first evolving in North America.  The cat family dominated the animal life.  During these early epochs of the ice age North America was overrun with many groups of the cat and dog families. 
Black cats were considered magical.