Why People Should Adopt Black Cats

(Except on Halloween)

The Macon County Animal Shelter is a place that defines the word ‘stress-reliever.’ Every Wednesday afternoon, I dedicate at least forty-five minutes of the day to hang around the dogs and cats who are looking for good homes. Among those cats and dogs, the most common breeds I see in there are pit bulls and black cats.

Now black cats have gained a notoriety over the years. Some people still associate them with witchcraft or bad luck. It’s not their fault, of course. American society kind of screwed them over, and it’s a shame, too, because these cats should have as equal a chance as every other feline who passes through that shelter every day.  

Besides, these black cats are the same as any other cat: they’re weird. Case in point: one of my best friends adopted a black cat about a year ago; his name was Devo, and he was quite a character.

Devo was a cat who loved to drink water from the sink, and he loved to play with all our socks. But my favorite memory with Devo was one night, my roommates and I were studying together in the living room. He thought nobody was paying attention to him, so he climbed up to the space between the cabinets to the wall itself. It was only when I pointed out what he was doing that his owner noticed and freaked out.

Even ignoring the fact that I’ve been well acquainted with black cats in my life, just look at them. They are so iconic and majestic-looking. Even when their pupils are the size of almonds, they still have quite a look going for them. They look so cool.

Aside from looking cool, there are some cases where black cats can bring good luck. In fact, for the British, having a cat on board a ship guarantees safe voyages but also guarantees very effective pest control aboard the vessel.

In Japan, black cats get extra special treatment. Not only are they considered a symbol of good luck, but there’s a cat café located in Himeji where people can hang out with the exclusive company of felines with black fur. The café is called Nekobiyaka, and it’s located near Himeji’s central train station. From the looks of it, everything in that place is designed for a kitty paradise, and it’s one I might have to put on my list of places to see in Japan.

But even if you don’t fancy black fur, for some cats, their black coat doesn’t last forever. A closer look at feline genetics, via the cat blog Paws and Effect, reveals that hints of brown or stripes can appear on a black cat where it was invisible before. Some cats can be browner than others, but whatever shade these cats have, it gives a ‘rusting’ appearance in their fur, which can look neat, especially in the sunlight.

Yes, black cats are very special beans indeed; however, if you’re interested in adopting one this month, you might want to be careful. As I mentioned earlier, these cats have gained a bad rep over the years. And this is thanks, in part, to religious crusades who often view the black cat as ‘Lucifer’s companion.’ They were worshiped in Egypt; therefore, they were pagan cats. Thus, they would be tortured and burned for the color of their fur. It’s a type of cruelty that still goes on today.

Abusing animals, even for religious purposes, is something you could and should go to jail for. No animal deserves to be treated harshly, and it’s because of those ill intentions that some shelters won’t allow people to adopt black cats during October, or at least around the time Halloween comes around.         

Still, at the end of the day, cats are cats. In other words, cats don’t care about what you think of them. They just do their own thing. It’s the human that’s the issue, as it often is. If you have the budget, time, patience, and place, then adopt. These cats can’t speak for themselves, and when they can’t, it’s up to us.