Witches are often seen accompanied by animals, including black cats, known as "familiars." These animals may be associated with the witch's family or native land. A familiar is an animal with which the witch has a spiritual or psychic connection.
A familiar may be an animal that has appeared in one's life suddenly or one that has been a lifetime partner. A familiar may be found through meditation or in the course of everyday life. Not all witches have familiars. In some countries, it is believed that certain animal familiars may be inhabited by the spirit of elemental beings, such as faeries.