Black cats have gotten mixed up in some twisted human thinking. For much of Western world black cats have become a symbol of bad luck, particularly if one of these felines happens to walk across the path of a human. This belief originates from the old stories of cats accompanying Satan in his evil deeds. When witches were burned at the stake, often their trusted cats shared the same fate. Frankly all cats are a bit spooky but their gifts are natural, not evil.
We live in a time of straightening out all the injustices we have allowed to go on. We are told to be sensitive about negatively labeling any human group so why shouldn’t we examine our attitudes toward animals? That is the purpose of International Black Cat Day which is celebrated annually on November 17. This piece of activism originated in Italy where 60,000 black cats are claimed to be killed each Halloween season. Here in the U.S.A Black Cat Appreciation Day was instituted in 2011 and is celebrated every August 17th.
A similar change in views about black cats is occurring in the management of animal shelters and rescues. It used to be that black cats were held back from adoption during the Halloween season to prevent people from using the cats for nefarious purposes. Katherine Shenar, chief of staff at San Diego Humane Society, admits that she shared those fears when she started shelter work 21 years ago. Today she feels that blocking adoptions perpetuates a harmful myth and endangers the cats by denying them the opportunities.
The truth is that black cats do not cause unfortunate events. They seem to be on the receiving end of “Bad Luck.” They do not deserve the poor treatment they are receiving. Black cats spend 40% more time in shelters than other kitties and they tend more often to be euthanized. So we wonder if outside the color of their fur if there is any real difference between black and non-black cats. Cat experts tell us that there are temperamental differences between cats of different breeds but attitudes about color are stereotypes.
The True Nature of Black Cats
“Despite superstitions, black cats are one of the most affectionate and playful cats Black cats also tend to have a very close relationships with their owners and they are very grateful for love when it is received.” ~ animalwised
UPDATE – Actually things may be improving for black cats. According to Petfinder an animal placement agency it is reported that we can expect more adoptions as our superstitions are replaced by a growing appreciation for darker hued cats. And the Found Animals site claims that black cats make exceptional pets, even those currently housed in shelters or living out on the street. Rescued black cats are very adaptable and appreciative. Given a stable home they become loving and steadfast companions. And that’s nothing to fear!