Friday, December 6, 2013

Black Cats

"But Jennifer, you future New York Times bestselling author!" you say looking at the title of today's post, "It's past Halloween!"

"Your mom is past Halloween," I reply in a mature manner.
This isn't about Halloween, though I will mention it briefly later on. Instead, the focus here is specifically on the color of a cat (and prepare for this to be the most heavily-referenced and sourced post ever, as I want to show I'm not just spewing out random information.)

I did a speech paper on black cats once and learned quite a bit in the process. Since then I've been even more of an advocate for the adoption of black cats.

“A 2002 study in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science that examined adoption rates over nine months in a California pound found that black cats were about half as likely to be adopted as tabby cats and two-thirds less likely than white cats.”  - From

Go ahead, take a look a look for yourself at I was browsing there  less than a week ago and the number of black cats there in comparison with any others is staggering.

Some of you at this point are probably asking why. Why are black cats so hard to adopt out?

Here's a rundown:

They Are Hard To See

Shelters can sometimes have poor lighting and, as a result, black cats get lost in the background. They're like the jokes people make about ninjas.

Adorable, purring ninjas.
How to solve this? Easy, take a harder look in what you may originally thing are empty cages or, better yet, specifically ask about black cats. The staff at the shelter would likely be enthusiastic to show you who might be unintentionally hiding from you.

People Think They Are Bland

 By bland I mean it in two ways. People want a cat with a more exotic-looking fur coat and, even worse, they think they will have a bland personality. Seriously, that's like accusing someone of being bland because they wore a plain T-shirt today.

Gawd I bet her idea of a good time is pricing brands of cotton balls.
I have plenty of anecdotal evidence to the contrary, but here's a video of one that has over 2 million views.

They Are Bad Luck

I really could just leave it at that, but the idea that black cats being back luck isn't exclusive. Some countries actually believe specifically black cats are good luck. Great Britain, Scotland, Japan, and many others (Germany is sort of halfway on the concept, believing right-left crossing is bad luck but left-right is good luck). Groups of people like sailors believed cats, specifically black ones, would keep them safe at sea.

No one really knows where the origin of black cats being bad luck came from. I've heard a large number of stores (one of which involves Vikings!) but while the origin remains fuzzy what really caused it to gain momentum was witchcraft. Even today people associate black cats with witches. To this day people still believe they're bad luck, I have a friend who's mom refuses to allow him to get a black cat because she believes them to be bad luck.

Hey, you know what happened last time we persecuted and murdered a bunch of cats? The Black Plague. But whew! Good thing we got rid of all those bad luck cats, it could have been way worse!

There would be sexy witches everywhere!
But in all seriousness if you are considering adopting a cat at any time in the future, please consider a black cat. Many shelters do keep people from adopting out black cats in October, as people have been known to "rent" them as Halloween decorations, returning them after the holiday (or much worse), which is why I bring this up in November instead.

There are shelters that have black cat adoption months, ask your local shelter. They might even offer you a discount right on the spot if you express enthusiasm!

And, most importantly, you'll be giving a home to someone who really needs it.

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