This bad rap for black cats did not dissipate as we are all very much aware of the witchcraft hysteria in the 17th century. The Christian Church demonized black cats as evil omens and strongly linked them to the ‘devil’. If you encountered a black cat then it would cause you considerable bad luck such as misfortune and death. It was even suggested that witches could transform themselves into black cats. This led to many cats being unfairly slaughtered or burnt alive along with their female witch counterparts. This affiliation of witches and black continues to present day as is seen in comics like ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’ with her black cat, Salem or witches and black cats being advertised in store fronts during Halloween.
Since black cats are viewed in such a negative light, this has led to an abundance of problems for these types of cats. One of the main problems is that these cats are deliberately overlooked or completely avoided in animal shelter’s by potential pet owners. Some animal rescue’s report that black cats are usually euthanised early on or upon arrival at the clinic because they know they will simply not be adopted. During the Halloween period, we have heard stories of people purchasing or adopting black cats from animal shelter’s merely to use them as part of their ‘Halloween display’. Once the festival has finished, they simply discard them to the curb or return them to the shelter. In the most terrible of circumstances, black cats have been used in satanic rituals or horridly tortured as people continue to be drawn into the fabrication of these cats possessing evil spirits. In reaction to these reports, some animal shelters have opted to prevent anyone from adopting black cats during October or fortified their screening process to protect these harmless cats from potential harm.
The organisation Petfinder that specialises in listing animals needing adoption in the US, Canada and Mexico, runs an annual event ‘Adopt a less adoptable pet week’. This campaign which originated in 2009 is designed to urge people to not hesitate on adopting pets that they wouldn’t necessarily consider in the first place (including black cats) and thereby boosting much needed recognition for their adoption. Animal rescues or shelters have also run promotions such as adopting a black cat or black dog at discounted prices in hopes of increasing their adoption rate.
In other news, there is a ‘For the Love of Black Cats’ page on Facebook with over 100,000 likes where fans post photos and share stories about black cats. There are links to news articles discussing black cats and black cat t-shirts to purchase. If you feel like showing your support today, be sure to like the page on Facebook.
What should we draw from all this? That black cats should be considered just as lovable, sweet and fantastic as a pet as any other fur coloured cat. During Halloween, we urge everyone to keep a protective eye on their own or any black cats in their neighbourhood from any potential danger. If you hear someone sprouting nonsense about black cats, please try to educate them. Every little bit counts for these handsome cats.
Here at Concord Vet Hospital, we are a strong advocate for adoption and rehomeing of pets and we are proud to be associated with the Cat Protection Society. If you are interested in adopting a cat, feel free to check out the Cat Protection Society for cats desiring a home.