They’re just as cute and cuddly as their other cat counterparts, but black cats often get a bad rap. Buck stereotypes and show the raven-haired kitties some well-deserved love this August 17 on Black Cat Appreciation Day. For one reason or another, black cats come with lots of superstitions. Long ago, in the Middle Ages, black cats were believed to be connected to witchcraft, and the reputation stuck. It is often said to be bad luck if a black cat walks in front of you, and that the encounter is a sign of bad things to come. But black cats come with some admiration, as well. Many black cat owners believe them to be more empathic and instinctive than other breeds. Black cats can even be seen all over pop culture: check out the cartoon Felix the Cat, the sarcastic Thackery Binx in the Halloween movie “Hocus Pocus,” and Salem in “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” For those willing to take a “chance” on black cats, be sure to commemorate their day on August 17.
Why We Love National Black Cat Appreciation Day
A. It’s a chance to pay homage to the luck o’ the black cat
While there are many negative superstitions associated with black cats, there are plenty of positive tales for black cats. In fact, many cultures revere black cats, and consider them good luck. Scottish lore said you would receive good tidings if a black cat came to your house. Fishermen often kept black cats on theirboats, believing them to bring good luck. Japanese women believe that owning a black cat brings romantic good fortune.
B. Black cats are unique
Black cats are not just any old cat. They have yellow eyes, and their hair can gray with age or rust in the sun. Studies have found that the cat’s black hair can help their immune system, as the genetic mutation that causes the color makes the cat less likely to contract feline immunodeficiency virus.
C. Black cats make for the easiest Halloween costume
Black pants? Black top? Homemade or store-bought black ears? Then you, my friend, have got yourself a Halloween costume. You can kick it up a notch by drawing on a nose and whiskers, or making a tail. Black cat costumes are good for those last-minute, need something towear situations, and yet look put together and fun!
How to Celebrate National Black Cat Appreciation Day
1. Visit the Nekobiyaka Cat Café inJapan
Located in Himeji, the café pays tribute to black cats, letting them roam throughout the restaurant for guests to enjoy. Pay $10 to spend an hour with the kitties, and order some soda or beer while you’re there. Guests are not allowed to pick up or hold the cats, but can pet them. Each cat wears a different color bandana to tell them apart.
2. Adopt a black cat
Black cats are about half as likely to be adopted compared to other cats. Contact your local animal shelter or reach out to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to find a black cat in need of a good home.
3. Read Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Black Cat”
Poe’s short story, written in 1843, was originally found in the Saturday Evening Post magazine. The story is told from the perspective of a prison inmate. Much like Poe’s famous Tell-Tale Heart, the story is a physiological study of how there is a capability for individuals to do bad things. “In speaking of his intelligence, my wife, who at heart was not a littletincturedwith superstition, made frequent allusion to the ancient popular notion, which regarded all black cats as witches in disguise.”
National Black Cat Appreciation Day - Key Moments
Binx Is Born
"Hocus Pocus" premieres, and one of its stars is a black cat named Binx
Felix the cat is introduced in "Feline Follies"
Black cats are associated with witchcraft