Just like black dogs, black cats can also have a hard time getting adopted. Many shelters refer to this as “black cat syndrome.” It may seem strange to many of us cat lovers that anyone would discriminate a kitty based solely on fur color.
A lot of black cats’ troubles have to do with superstitions and ignorant beliefs. This often means that black cats are the last to be adopted from shelters. During Black Cat Awareness Month in October, it’s especially important that we dispel the myths and encourage people to adopt black cats.
Personally, I had a black cat, and everyone loved him. He was the sweetest and had a playful personality. His green eyes stood out against his expressive face. So I know from experience that these kitties are just as loving and beautiful as any other cats — maybe even more so!
Here’s what you need to know about black cat syndrome and why black cats have trouble getting adopted.
Why Do Black Cats Have A Harder Time Getting Adopted?
I have trouble understanding this, but there are some odd beliefs about black cats out there. Some people regard black cats as witches’ familiars, while others think they’re just plain bad luck. Others even believe that vampires transform themselves into black cats and dogs as a way of traveling unnoticed at night. I just don’t get some people.
There are even rumors that Satanic cults use black cats as sacrifices in rituals. It’s hard to know how true that rumor is or if the problem is widespread. However, the fact remains that black cats often get hurt or stolen near Halloween, whether it be from cultists, pranksters, or just cruel people who don’t care about the pain they cause.
Beliefs about black cats and the dangers they face from people who hold those beliefs can end up discouraging people from adopting them.
It’s gotten so bad that many shelters won’t adopt out black cats around Halloween. It seems that people want to use black cats for rituals or as living decorations around the holiday. Some people return black cats to shelters immediately after Halloween or, worse, hurt cats during that time.
So a good number of shelters refuse to adopt out their black cats from the end of September to the beginning of November in order to keep the cats safe.
And there are even a few people who refuse to adopt black cats because they think the felines won’t photograph well. They want a cute pet who will look good on an Instagram feed.
So unfortunately, black cats and dogs are the often last animals left at the shelter.
Look Beyond The Fur, & Fight Black Cat Syndrome
Black dog syndrome and black cat syndrome refer to the difficulty these animals have when it comes to finding forever homes. Shelter workers can tell you that these animals are often the last to get adopted.
The next time you’re looking to adopt a dog or cat from the shelter, take personality into account. Talk to the shelter workers or the workers at the rescue group, and make an informed decision.
And help spread the word about black cats during Black Cat Awareness Month in October! These kitties deserve homes just as much as cats of any other color.
Do you have a black cat at home? How do you think we can fight black cat syndrome? Let us know in the comments below!
Michele C. Hollow writes Pet News and Views, a blog devoted to the positive side of animal welfare. Her blog covers news about people who work with and for animals and animal nonprofits.