Black Cat Appreciation Day: Why it is important

Apparently, time got away from me for a bit. I had several blog posts in the works then suddenly it has been a month since I wrote anything! Apologies!

Many of you probably know about Black Cat Appreciation Day today. This is the second annual day to celebrate these much maligned cats. These beautiful cats are overlooked at shelters and according to a statistic on the Black Cat Appreciation Day Facebook page are 5 times more likely to be euthanized than other cats. According to Alley Cat Allies 72% of cats admitted to shelters or animal control facilities are euthanized, leaving just a 23% adoption rate.  As if the decks weren’t already stacked against a cat entering a shelter, entering a shelter with black fur is about as close to a death sentence as you can get. Let’s not even consider the shy, sick, or elderly black cats.

Last night, while browsing Facebook I saw a posting for a 16 year old black cat on death row. Blacky, as she is called, was scheduled to be euthanized today. I looked at the rest of the pictures and saw that there were at least 10 other black cats scheduled to be euthanized today. That was out of 59 other cats scheduled to be euthanized in this one facility. It is disgusting and heartbreaking to think of these poor souls cowering in their cages at animal control facilities across the country, simply waiting for their turn to die.

Superstition is the most commonly cited reason that black cats are not adopted. The believe that black cats are bad luck or even associated with magic has stuck around for centuries so this certainly plays some role in the lower adoption numbers of black cats. Let’s face the truth here, sure some people don’t adopt black cats because of superstitions. I bet most people don’t adopt them because it is so much easier to overlook a black cat. People go for beautiful cats, which means the ones with the most stunning markings or the brightest colors. Black cats simply don’t stand out compared to Torties or tabbies. That is why it is so important for shelters to know the personalities of their animals. Adoption should be about personalities, not strictly physical appearance. Unfortunately, the modern animal shelter system is not set up in a manner that places importance on animals personalities or finding the right match for a home. Maybe if more organizations focused on getting to know the animals in their care and finding out what each adopter is looking for, more black cats could get adopted. Heck, maybe more cats in general could get adopted! It would be a wonderful thing.

I don’t understand why people don’t like black cats. They are gorgeous. True, it can be hard  to get a good picture of their faces, but that is one little minor mark against them. When I worked as an adoption counselor there were times we would have a room with several black cats and it would be difficult to determine which black cat was which, though only slightly more difficult than distinguishing brown tabbies or Siamese cats from each other. If you really look at black cats you will see their coats are all slightly different. Some have beautiful brown undertones to them. Some are jet black. Sometimes  you can notice a stripe or two where the fur is darker than other places. It is amazing how many different shades of black there are! Then there are the odd white spots that you will find on some black cats. There are the little white diamonds some get on their throats, and I once fostered a black kitten who had a tiny white spot on her belly!

So take a look at a black cat (or dog) the next time you are looking to adopt. They are  great companions and you will be saving the life of a harder to adopt animal. Besides, it is so much easier to find clothing and furniture to match that black fur!

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