For Good Luck, Adopt a Black Cat

Posted by John Melia, ALDF Litigation Fellow on October 3, 2012

Truffle the catThis blog is part of our "Rescue Tails" blog series. Want to share your animal rescue story? Enter your rescued pet in our Rescue Tails photo contest!

It’s October, and supermarket candy aisles, campy advertisements, and pop-up costume shops are already reminding us that Halloween is right around the corner. But while the cardboard cutouts of vampires and zombies will disappear on November 1, one famous mascot of Halloween will remain with us the whole year round: the black cat.

Black cats may enjoy seasonal fame around Halloween, but the rest of the year their beautiful black coats bring many of them bad luck. Unfortunately, black cats in shelters have significantly lower adoption rates than their lighter-colored counterparts. While no formal studies have been done on this phenomenon, it is widely reported by shelter workers across country. Black Cat Syndrome, as it is commonly known, traps thousands of otherwise adoptable animals in overcrowded shelters, and causes many to be euthanized. Whether it’s because of their relatively plain appearance or the persistent superstitions about black cats being bad luck, Black Cat Syndrome is a serious problem for innumerable shelter cats.

Despite the superstitions that haunt them, black cats can make wonderful household companions. I’m not just making this up, but speak from experience. One of my first cats, Truffle, was a longhaired black cat who brought me a surprisingly large amount of joy for being such a small animal. Like most cats she had a certain amount of feline insanity: her two greatest enemies were grocery bags and my old pair of Crocs. Her affinity for play and affection, however, did much to make my apartment feel like a home. Truffle is currently living in the Bay Area with her sister, Pepper, and their two awesome humans.

Cat named TruffleBut you don’t need to trust me on this. Though black cats have a widespread reputation for bad luck, many cultures throughout history have viewed these animals in a much more positive light. Scottish tradition holds that finding a black cat on your doorstep will bring good luck. Sailors in centuries past used to keep black cats on their ships for protection.

Black cats also enjoyed a revered position in ancient cultures. Ancient Egyptians believed they could gain favor from the cat goddess Bast by hosting black cats in their homes, and in Norse mythology two black cats pulled the chariot of Freya, the goddess of love.

For those looking for more practical reasons to adopt a black cat, the San Francisco Gate recently posted a list of reasons that black cats make particularly good pets (including the excellent point that they won’t leave visible hair on your black formalwear).

If you’re in a shelter this month considering which lucky cat to bring home with you, give a little extra thought to the black cats in the crowd. Chances are they’ll have a harder time finding homes than the other cats you see, and as a group they’re amazing animals. So in the spirit of Halloween, think about adopting a needy black cat this month. You’ll be lucky to have each other the whole year round.

Find A Black Cat Now!

To find a black cat near you, simply click the button below to take action, and enter your zip code into Petfinder. A list of adoptable black cats near you will be returned, with photos, videos and a description of your new lucky friend.

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3 thoughts on “For Good Luck, Adopt a Black Cat

  1. Megan says:

    Sweet Truffykins!! <3

  2. Leni says:

    I have 6 cats (all feral rescues) and 4 of them are black. They are all completely different and fabulous. One of my favorite cats of all time was rescued by my parents. He was born in my yard with his brother and sister (who are both Siamese). This was at a time when I was trying to get a handle on a large feral colony by my house and I got these kittens up to the shelter. His brother and sister were spoken for in a heart beat, but I was worried about the obviously special little black boy. I took my parents up to the shelter and they took him right away. He is so remarkable and I’m so thankful that I get to see him all the time. It took several years to TN and find homes for most. My group of 6 “leftovers” is still a lot, but I wouldn’t part with any of them.

  3. Darlene says:

    Almost 2 weeks ago, driving home from work at dusk, I saw something on the side of the road that I knew should not be there. It turned out to be a tiny all black kitten. How did he get therer? No one knows. But I knew I could not leave him there – so I turned the car around, got some meat pieces from a nearby sandwich shop and rescued the little black kitten. He is now mine, living with myself and my black Poodle, getting healthier and happier every day, and has been named Oscar (nickname “Oscar Myer Weiner.”) He is just a joy!

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