Skip to comments.Unlucky: Black cats less likely to be adopted at shelters
Posted on 12/13/2008 8:57:42 AM PST by JoeProBono
Throughout history, it has conjured up images of witchcraft and magic. In the Middle Ages, it was burned alive for its supposedly supernatural powers.
In North America, it is considered unlucky to cross paths with it.
Many shelters during the month of October ban its adoption out of concern it may be abused as a result of the image it portrays on Halloween. The black cat has come a long way since the 15th century. And though its supernatural image in the 21st century has largely been relegated to folklore and mythology, many in society still consider it a social misfit because of, well, its color, or lack thereof.Indeed, the black cats main enemy is its own genetic makup.
In North America, it is considered unlucky to cross paths with it.
Many shelters during the month of October ban its adoption out of concern it may be abused as a result of the image it portrays on Halloween. The black cat has come a long way since the 15th century. And though its supernatural image in the 21st century has largely been relegated to folklore and mythology, many in society still consider it a social misfit because of, well, its color, or lack thereof.
Indeed, the black cats main enemy is its own genetic makup.
In animal shelters across the country, black cats and dogs - are looked upon as dull or plain, and are often passed over for more colorful pets for adoptions. As a result, they are more likely to be euthanized because no one wants them.
Julie Broadwell. of the Wood County Humane Society, a non-profit, no kill shelter in Bowling Green, says there are always a lot of black cats at the facility.
They are seen as uninteresting in their markings, a dime a dozen. People arent looking at their personalities, just their coloring and they think they are boring, too much of the same, said Broadwell.
John Dinon, executive director of the Toledo Area Humane Society, agrees.
Theyre harder to adopt because theyre more common, said Dinon.
There are even misconceptions about their temperaments as a result of their color.
According to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Southwest Michigan, some holding facilities will actually euthanize black cats and dogs on intake because of their chance of finding a new home is so slim.
Many people find them simply unattractive, states the SPCAs Web site. They dont appear to be as unique, and, sadly, it is harder to see expression in a dark face.
The black cats temperament, though, is not any different from the various dispositions displayed by other cats, said Broadwell.
Temperaments of black cats run the gamut from playful and friendly to lazy lap kittens to outdoor cats that want to prowl, just like any other cat. Thats why we would encourage people to pick a cat to adopt based on behavior/personality/temperament, not fur color, said Broadwell.
There are people who link behavior to color, said Dinon. Ive had a couple of black cats, and they were the sweetest, calmest cats there could be. Of course, theres always individual variations within that.
Few would argue that the black cat is in need of a serious image overhaul.
Scientists may be in the process of doing just that.
In an article that appeared in the March, 2003 issue of NewScientist, Black cats may be the more fortunate felines, research showed that ebony felines may have a health advantage over other cats. The gene for melanism, which makes their fur black, may be able to prevent certain viruses or bacteria from entering their cells, making them more resistant to disease than cats with lighter-colored coats, according to scientists.
Add to that a study by researchers at the University of Minnesota this year that showed cat owners were 40 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. For reasons that were unclear, the study did not show the same result with dog owners.
Adopt a black cat month In an effort to get many more cats into loving homes and reduce the number of felines at the Wood County Humane Society, the groups board of directors approved a year-long campaign of special pricing for cats.
December is Adopt-a-Black Cat Month.
The board of directors voted to hold a year long campaign of a Special of the Month to help reduce the number of cats in the shelter as we are way over capacity, probably 100 cats over what we should be, said Broadwell. When I asked the shelter manager and assistant manager what type of cat they wanted to run first, the said in unison, `black cats.
Any black cat at the Wood County Humane Society in December can be adopted for half price of $40. Or the adoption of a black cat at the regular price of $80 entitles the adopter to another cat, any color or markings, for free. All cats available for adoption have been spayed/neutered, tested and vaccinated. The adopter also receives a card for a free veterinary exam.
Well run a special on orange cats, calico cats, etc., but we picked b lack cats first because there are so many of them, said Broadwell.
Who’ll be first wit to post the little black kid saying “That’s racist’?
My parents had a series of “Blackies” that spanned fifty years - six or seven different ones IIRC. They are both gone now, along with the cats. Think I’ll adopt one soon.
Just the other day I saw a beautiful black cat up for adoption at PetSmart. Now I'm really tempted.
One of mine, too. I had a black cat I named Larla who lived for 19 years. We "grew up" together. She had a sweet and gentle disposition and was a great conversationalist. She was chatty and had a very rich and multi-syllabic meow.
My poor Dizzy died young, of a respiratory infection. She was a sweetie - liked to sit on my chest and stroke my beard. I miss her.
One of the best cats we ever had was our jet black, pretty, long hair that we named “Big Al”....as in Al Sharpton...
He’d lay on my wife’s chest at night, and she would pet him. As she drifted off to sleep, Al would extend one toenail into the soft flesh of her chin, just enough to wake her up, and continue petting him...
Black cats are my favorite! I have 2.
Waiting for Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to show up.
My son and his girlfriend have four black cats, and I have also had black cats. I think they are beautiful.
I have 5 feral cats that live on my porch. I built them a Cat House and their food bowls and water are on top of the Cat House. There are three black cats. One has a white blaze on his breast but all are BLACK long hairs! There is one Orange Tabby who we call OJ and one multi colored who we call Fudge!
They're all strays but come running when I whistle while putting out their food!
I love dark haired cats. Perhaps my next adopted one will be a black cat.
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