Facts And Folklore: Setting The Record Straight On Black Cats

We have all seen, heard, or experienced the ugliness of discrimination. As much as we would like to believe otherwise, racism is alive and well in modern society. Does it extend to our feline friends as well? Perhaps. Then again, maybe we are simply conditioned by a lifetime of hearing negative superstitions. Maybe it is something else.

While the reason may be debatable, the facts are not. And the fact remains that countless loyal, loving, innocent cats are subjected to abuse, abandoned, or perpetually overlooked in shelters, simply because of the color of their fur.

Sad statistics

How differently, and unfairly, do we treat black cats? According to an article published in Huffington Post last year, over a quarter of Americans say that color is important or very important when choosing a pet. Half of those surveyed said that color does not matter at all. Yet, white cats are 2.7 times more likely to be adopted from shelters than black cats are.

Halloween horrors... or not

Black cats and Halloween go together like bunnies and Easter, except the connotations are not so pleasant. It's a time when the dedicatedly superstitions may fear black cats, and animal lovers fear for those cats' safety. Fortunately, it seems that such fear is unfounded.

First, and hopefully you already know this one, black cats are not evil, nor are they bad luck. More surprisingly, according to the ASPCA, our feline friends are not in any more danger on October 31st than any other time of the year. Still, many shelters refuse to adopt out black cats during the month of October as a precautionary measure. Conscientious pet owners also tend to keep their felines inside and protected, just in case.

Good luck, bad luck

Felines – with their graceful movements, uncanny senses, undeniable intelligence, and seemingly supernatural powers such as seeing in the dark – have long been fodder for folklore, myths, and legends. This is especially true of those colored to match the darkness of night.

Surely, you have been told that black cats are bad luck. That is likely one of the most significant factors causing them to be passed over so often in animal shelters. But the mythology of these magnificent creatures isn't all bad, as About.com reminds us.

Here are a few of the most prevalent myths, both good and bad, from around the world:

  • In the United States and other North American nations, it is considered bad luck if a black cat should cross your path.
  • In Asia or the U.K. the belief its reversed: Black cats are considered good luck. That is, unless you happen to be in Yorkshire, England, where the locals share the American superstition about black cats crossing one's path.
  • In the 16th century, Italians believed that a black cat laying on the bed of an ill person would bring on certain death.
  • Scottish superstition holds that good luck will come to the homeowner who finds a black cat visiting his or her front porch.

Black cats need you!

Wicked, harbingers of ill luck, unlovable, and unwanted? Nope. Black cats are awesome! If you are ready to adopt a feline companion, give these bright-eyed beauties a chance; you will be paid back many times over in love, friendship, loyalty, and the daily pleasure of their charm. If you need more reasons, check out The REAL Scary Truth about Black Cats from the ASPCA. Then visit your shelter and adopt a black cat. Your heart will thank you.