It's Tough To Be a Black Cat
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It's Tough To Be a Black Cat

Est. read time: 4 min.

Fall is in the air. For many cat parents this means cool, crisp weather, yummy treats like apple cider, and, in many parts of the country, breathtaking fall foliage. As much as we humans love the season, it’s a tough time of year to be a black cat. Ever hear of “black cat syndrome?”

Black Cats and Halloween

This time of year, black cats get a bad rap. They are featured prominently in spooky Halloween decorations as witches’ sidekicks. Add to that the superstition that it’s bad luck to have a black cat cross your path, and our ebony friends have quite a bit of negative press to overcome!

Because black cats have become a trademark for Halloween, some shelters avoid adopting them out during the month of October. They fear that the cats may be used as costume accessories and then abandoned or, even worse, that they may become the target of animal cruelty.

If you are the parent of a black (or any other color) cat, here are a couple of tips to help you keep your kitty safe on Halloween:

  • The safest place for any cat at any time of the year is inside, however, this becomes even more important for black cats at Halloween. Some experts recommend keeping your kitty indoors for several days before and after the holiday to avoid allowing him to become an easy target for pranksters.
  • If you plan on entertaining trick-or-treaters, keep your cat in a secure part of the house where he won’t be able to dart out of your door when it’s opened. And make sure that he has up-to-date ID, like a PetHub tag, just in case his inner escape artist takes over.

Black Cat Syndrome

The challenges facing these dark-furred beauties don’t necessarily end with Halloween. “Black cat syndrome” refers to the belief that, as a general rule, black cats—just like their canine counterparts—spend a longer time in shelters waiting for adoption.

Shelter workers who have noticed this trend point to the fact that black cats’ features are harder to distinguish, making it a little harder for them to connect with anyone who is looking to adopt. In addition, they don’t photograph as well, so they may not stand out among online postings of animals in search of fur-ever homes. And finally, since black is a fairly common color for a cat, people who are looking for an animal with distinct markings may pass over black cats in favor of their flashier shelter mates.

The Truth About Black Cats

Olivia Photo by Kristen Levine Olivia
Photo by Kristen Levine

Black cats may face some challenges, but they sure do make their families feel lucky to have them in their lives!

I have had the joy of having four black cats—Max, Fatto Cat, Tank, and Olivia—all rescues. Each and every one of them was truly “the best cat ever” in their own special way. Two of them were black with white spots and the other two were all black.

One of the things I loved about my black kitties (besides their funny little personalities) is the fact that their fur never showed up on my black pants. (I wear a lot of black, so that’s a huge advantage!)

As with any animal, what really counts is the personality underneath. If you’re looking to adopt a new feline friend, don’t be too quick to dismiss a black cat. Take a minute to get to know him—you may just find the love of your life!

Guest post by Kristen Levine Pet Living, the place for stories, science & advice for living happier and healthier with pets.