I agree, it definitely doesn't have the best associations. I've heard worse, but I do immediately think of the Witch Trials, and I don't think the sound is very feminine or appealing at all.
I get both the witch trials and Sabrina, lol! Definitely prefer it on a cat, too much bad history to consider for a person
I grew up with a male Salem (he was my friend's brother), so I associate it with a person which colors my view of the name. And that's the thing to remember with names: we discuss them until they start to bleed but ultimately, once you meet someone with the name and get to know them, the name becomes them and all other associations are secondary. I love the name Salem, in part because of the sound which I find pleasing, but I'm sure my love comes heavily from the person. If Salem had been a nasty little boy? I'd probably hate it. The funny thing is, growing up with Salem none of us thought anything of it. I don't ever remember anyone bringing up the cat from Sabrina (and I grew up in the 90s) or the witch trials. We were on the west coast in the US, so our first association was Salem, Oregon.
I actually really love this name. But would never use it in real life. Too many other people would associate it with the cities or the cat.
There's always Selah which has a very close sound.
My thoughts exactly - and yes Selah is darling :)