Ever have a black cat cross your path and fear the worst for the rest of your day? If so, you are not alone. For centuries, black cats have been tagged as evil, deadly, and witch-like. According to the article, Black Cats – Myths and Facts (Liz Allan), “Druids believed that these cats were humans, but had been reincarnated as cats as a punishment for mis-deeds in a previous life. In the Middle Ages…some people believed black cats were demons who helped witches to perform black magic; and in Germany, it was believed that a black cat jumping on the bed of a sick person meant that person would die.”
Cats are not the only animal that suffers from “color prejudice”. According to Wikipedia, “Black dog bias (BBD) is a veterinarian and animal shelter phenomenon in which black dogs are passed over for adoption in favor of lighter-colored animals.”
Although a number of factors may contribute to this phenomenon, the bottom-line seems to be “superstition”. Here we are, living in the 21st century, where incomparable technology is utilized by the masses daily; and yet some of us still believe in unproven, outdated stigmas that are based on fables, fairy tales, and the negative portrayls of dark-colored dogs and cats in movies and on television. It’s hard enough being a homeless animal depending on the kindness of strangers for their survival. In addition, the poor unfortunate dog or cat that through no fault of its own has the misfortune of being born black and/or dark brown has the added burden to bear of superstition and “urban legend”. It’s not fair, and it’s not right.
The Montgomery County Humane Society wants to help change this misconception, especially during the month of August, 2011 by “WAIVING ADOPTION FEES for the lucky adopters of a solid black cat or kitten over six months old” who is residing at the shelter or in foster care. All applicants must apply in person at the shelter; and must “bring a valid driver’s license, proof of rabies shots for other pets in the home, landlord’s name and phone number if applicable, and veterinary reference. Montgomery County applicants take priority over others.” (MCHS website – http://www.mchumane.org).
Still hestitant about adopting a black cat or kitten? The Montgomery County Humane Society offers 7 reasons that may change your mind:
1) You will truly save a life. 2) They will love you unconditionally forever. 3) When you love a black cat, luck is on your side. 4) Their coat shimmers & their eyes will mesmerize you. 5) They don’t care what you look like! 6) Holding a black cat is slimming. 7) Black cats will match any decor. (MCHS website)
Are you convinced yet? Or are you still feeling “suspicious”? Maybe I can sway you with my own experiences with black cats. I adopted Harry when he was 5 weeks old. A friend had found a pregnant cat and kept her until the kittens were born. I told her, “If a “black male is born, please name him Harry, and I’ll take him.” At the time, I thought the chances were slim to none that a solid male black cat would be born to a tabby mom cat. But to my delight, Harry was born. He was the only male and the only black cat born in that litter. Unfortunately, the other kittens didn’t find homes; and they, along with their mom were turned over to the local animal shelter. Harry ended up living with me until he passed away from cancer. He was 17 years old at the time. Harry was a very lucky black cat. And he gave me some of the happiest years I ever lived. He was not only my first cat, but also my first black cat. As I’m sitting here writing this article, my second black cat, Moxie, who just turned 17, is sitting with me, bringing me the same kind of joy and happiness that Harry brought.
In closing, I ask, if you are considering adopting a cat, please do a “double-good-deed”…adopt a black cat. You will be saving the life of a deserving homeless pet, and you will also be living proof that black cats are very lucky cats!