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I'm SO Over the Myth of Black Cats as Bad Luck. Are You?

Black cats have a harder time finding homes than other cats. Do you want to help me change that?

 |  Mar 6th 2013  |   49 Contributions

I’ve loved black cats all my life. The first cats who were officially mine were a pair of black twin boys named Castor and Pollux. Then there was Maddy-Gold, my “accidental rehab.” After that came Sinéad and Siouxsie, who inspired me to start writing my blog, Paws and Effect. Later on I adopted Dahlia and Belladonna, also felines of the ebony persuasion.

Bella, enjoying her last few minutes at the shelter before I took her home.

Two of the three cats who grace my home are black: Siouxsie, now almost 17, and Bella. (The other cat, my big tabby Thomas, doesn’t seem to mind having a harem of house panthers.)

Even when I was a kid, I never understood the ridiculous superstitions about black cats. Bad luck if one crosses your path? Minions of the devil? Seriously? People, this is the 21st century. Can we please get over it?

In the immortal words of Groucho Marx, "A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere."

As my blogging career continued and I became more and more cat-obsessed, I learned about statistics suggesting that black cats are about half as likely to get adopted as cats of other colors. Some of the reasons cited were that “they don’t photograph well, so they’re hard to advertise” and “they’re so dark, people can’t see them in their cages.” That may be part of it, but I think a larger part is the hangover from this medieval belief that black cats are bad news.

So, when I see a cartoon like the one below, which I found on the Nothing but Kitty CATS Facebook page, I get a tear in my eye. Well, OK, more than one tear.

This cartoon appeared on the Facebook page Nothing but Kitty CATS, and the only credit given was "by tara-the-wolf." I'd love to know the artist's real name so I can give her/him the proper credit!

Yep, I am that mushy.

I hate to see any cats stay in shelters for a weeks, months, or even years -- or be killed after they run out of time -- and it breaks my heart to think that so many cats are passed over simply because they’re black.

Bella droops over the cat tree to spy on Thomas and Siouxsie.

Sure, it’s hard to photograph black cats when compared to felines of other colors. But holy bazzoli, people! We've got digital cameras now! You can just keep on clicking away and you’re bound to get at least one or two good shots. I’m constantly taking photos of my black cats. They’re such beautiful and elegant creatures, and if there’s anything I can do that even remotely conveys the beauty of the sunlight shimmering on their ebony coats, or the subtle highlights and shadows of their gorgeous faces, I'm darn well gonna do it!

This photo of Siouxsie was manipulated by the Android app SketchGuru.

Black cats also lend themselves very well to artistic photographs. I love to experiment with light and dark, and black cats are the perfect subjects for this kind of study. I’m not a professional photographer, but I’m not afraid to try!

Black cats can be as goofy and dopey as any other cats, and being able to capture them in the midst of flagrant silliness could make even the grumpiest person smile.

Jazz paws!

Yes, black cats really are like all other cats, and we black-cat lovers owe it to their kin languishing in shelters or on the streets to share photos and stories of their perfectly ordinary adventures. Please, plaster the Internet with photos of your gorgeous house panthers. Share your poems, blog posts, stories, and whatever else you can think of, and get the word out about how awesome black cats are. Do your part to help me stop weeping over cartoons!

"When the tea is brought at five o'clock, 
And all the neat curtains are drawn with care, 
The little black cat with bright green eyes
Is suddenly purring there.”
-- Harold Monro, "Milk for The Cat"

By the way, while messing around on the Internet -- er, I mean, doing research for this article -- I found some great tips for amateur and professional photographers about how to take good pictures of black cats.

Do you believe black cats get a bad rap? Let's talk in the comments!


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