October is Black Cat Awareness Month.
YES, it’s a real thing! Promoting black cat adoption in shelters & raising awareness of these lovable domestic ‘panthers’. Sadly, black cats today suffer lower adoption rates than other coloured cats. We’ve shared a short history to help understand why. Please also enjoy some upcoming posts this month of some Mittagong Vet super-black-cats; Batman, Boris, Nundu, Spartacus, Terry, Evie, Luna & Kushi!
Recent US studies found it takes about 6 days longer to adopt a black cat than cats of other colors, regardless of age or sex, adversely affecting their health outcomes*. The reasons are anecdotal; black cats have received a terrible wrap in history, (ironically) back to the Dark Ages.
In 1233, a cat-phobic Pope Gregory IX declared cats in cahoots with the devil. The edict created persecution of cats, depleting their numbers throughout Western Europe. A fear & culling of cats caused rat numbers to increase. Rats happened to also be taxi-of-choice for fleas. This may have helped spread the Black Plague amongst the same people Pope Gregory IX was trying to protect from ‘wicked cats’. Wow, that’s a near-perfect medieval Circular Economy. Later, Gothic conspiracy theorists spread vicious rumours about black cats; that witches transformed into black cats to evade capture & black cats were supernatural servants to witches. Over time, people reasoned ‘black cats are bad luck’. This is silly & has no scientific basis. A lucky cat is simply one that is loved & appreciated, no matter the colour, breed, or even if under a ladder.
Groucho Marx once stated the obvious: “A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere.” This month, remember the plight of the black cat. Let’s appreciate the ones we know & why not consider a beautiful ‘domestic panther’ if you’re looking to adopt.
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*Open Veterinary Science Journal. 2013. Kogan, Schoenfeld-Tacher, Hellyer. ‘Cats in Animal Shelters: Exploring the Common Perception that Black Cats Take Longer to Adopt.’