Animals

Is it Because I’m Black?

Witches on brooms. Ghosts and goblins. And…black cats. No, this blog isn’t about Halloween, but about Black Cat Appreciation Day.

It has been said that black cats are the least likely to get adopted from shelters, are more likely to be euthanized, and are the least likely to be selected from new litters. Why? Do we REALLY believe the stereotype that black cats bring bad luck? Yes…

In our culture, black cats are typically associated with black magic and witchcraft. And – seriously – because of this stereotype, people avoid adopting black cats. Black cats are immediately stereotyped as being meaner than other cats or that they are cursed.

Has History Taught Us Nothing?

According to an article published by the Huffington Post back in 2010, the infographic shows that black cats are less than half likely to be adopted from shelters (and, unfortunately, the most likely to be euthanized).

It’s quite humorous to read that 13 percent of people are superstitious about a black cat crossing their path. In fact, according to Dr. Weiss from the ASPCA, studies have shown that people are more likely to believe a myth even with hard evidence and proven facts that it is wrong.

The Egyptians Didn’t Care, Why Should We?

If you know anything about ancient Egyptian history, you would know that the Egyptians worshipped cats. Egyptians believed that the feline-like goddess, Mafdet, who was often portrayed with a lion-like headdress protected the Egyptians from evil and dangerous creatures, such as snakes or scorpions, which made Egyptian homes unsafe. Egyptians kept cats in their homes and treated them like valuable family members as they were seen as protectors.

Give Me Shelter!

I have volunteered at several different cat shelters through my late teens and my 20s, and I can vouch from my own experience that although many shelters see excellent turnover, the black cats are the ones left without loving homes month after month. I used to try and give the black cats more attention, simply to show visitors that they are just as friendly and loving as the other cats. Animals have feelings and personalities just as humans.

Many shelters have gotten creative in how they help black cats find homes, such as giving the animal a colorful collar or a fun name like “Mocha” or “Blackberry”, and have even waived or reduced some adoption fees, in some cases. In fact, some shelters even limit the number of adoptions of black cats in the month of October for fear of animal cruelty.

My “Pride” and Joy

I personally also have my own black cat, “Nikki”. “Nikki” is the “pride” of my family (okay, pun intended). He is extremely intelligent. He can figure out how to open cabinets, open doors, and drawers, and knows exactly what to “say” to you to get attention when he wants it. He greets me when I come home from work or even when I enter a room. He will talk to you and tell you about his day, and he will make sure you are safe at night. He’s a great friend, and he’s always been there for me, and I for him.

And, no, he doesn’t bring me bad luck…

“Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder”

We’ve all heard this phrase – and it goes for animals just as it does for people. If you can put aside all the stigmas, myths, urban legends, and stereotypes, you would see that black cats are in fact stunning creatures. Their shiny, sleek fur and large, jade eyes are extremely attractive, yet they are picked over for other colored-coats.

Black Lives Matter

All in all, I have made it my personal mission to always have a black cat in my home – no matter what and no matter who is in my life – to not only make a difference in the black cat community but because I know firsthand how beautiful black cats are, and how one very special one has enriched my life.

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