We’ll be celebrating National Black Cat Day on October 27. It’s a day to adore black cats in our lives as their reputation as an omen of bad luck is well-known and, quite frankly, unearned. The black cat carries a unique status among the wide batch of different cat breeds. In some locales, notably Scotland, Britain, and Japan, the presence or appearance of a black cat is indicative of imminent good fortune and prosperity. Beyond these regions, though, public favor of the black cat runs sharply southward.
In much of the Western world, black cats are considered to bring or indicate misfortune. The unfortunate association stems from an image most of us know too well, of the black cat serving as a companion to potion-brewing, spell-casting witches. Keeping in mind that black cats have a long and winding cultural history, we do wonder if this has anything to do with the increasing rates of black cats being left in animal shelters.
Rejected because of color?
Animal shelters in the UK and the US report that black cats are the hardest color to home. The RSCPA said that 70% of the felines it cares for were either black or black and white, and the animal charity Blue Cross claimed it has seen a 65% rise in the number of black cats being taken in between 2007 and 2013.
Apparently, a lack of interest in black kittens is also common. A member of the RSPCA told The Telegraph that there were 30 calls in two days for a tabby kitten that was shared on Facebook. However, for a black kitten, there was only one call of interest for rehoming on the same day. Another spokesperson for the RSPCA claimed there is a myriad of reasons for disinterest in black cat rehoming, ranging from the fact black cats are harder to tell apart than cats with more distinctive markings to black cats being harder to photograph than other felines.
Giving black cats a home
A study was conducted by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to decipher if black animals were really being rejected because of their color. Statistics from almost 300,000 dogs and cats were gathered, with the results surprising and varied.
The study found that out of the cats left behind at animal shelters, black cats were sadly the most common at 30%, with grey cats at 28% and white cats at 26%. However, the adoption figures for black cats were also the highest, with 31% of feline adoptions being black cats and grey cats way behind at 20%. The explanation lies in the number of black cats being taken into shelters in the first place. Black cats are by far the most likely to be brought to an animal shelter, as 33% of the feline intake was black, whilst grey cats accounted for just 22%.
So it seems black cats are being adopted, but just not at an equal rate to the black cats that are entering animal shelters. For whatever reason, the reality is that there are more black cats in animal shelters than any other. This needs to be highlighted and emphasized to hopeful future cat adopters, so more of these beautiful creatures can find a forever home.
Superstitious or not, black cats are beautiful creatures in need of love and attention just like any other animal. On National Black Cat Day, give an extra cuddle to your black cat or even think of adopting one!