Are black cats more friendly than cats?
10 fascinating facts about black cats
No kitty is as misunderstood as our inky-furred feline friend, the black cat. In 2017 so far, Cats Protection welfare charity revealed that their black cat residents have taken 13% longer to be rehomed than cats of any other color. Shocking, right! Typically associated with bad-luck, witches and Halloween, it’s well known that dark-haired kitties have a long (and unfair) myth-filled history. To help debunk these common misconceptions and prove their bad reputation is all hocus pocus, we’ve put together 10 fascinating facts about black cats…
One in 22
There are as many as 22 recognized breeds that can have solid black coloring but the only all-black feline is the Bombay cat. The breed was developed in the 1950s by crossing Sable Burmese with black American Shorthairs with the aim to create a cat that resembled a miniature black panther. Well if you can have a lion in your living, why not a panther!
The Witching Hour
Cats were often cared for and fed by poor, lonely ladies who were accused of witchery and as a result, got a bad rep. Black cats were considered especially desirable partners for witches because of their ability to remain unseen in dark places and as witch hunts grew in popularity, many superstitions about uniformly black felines started to develop. Thankfully witchcraft is now something we worry about less, so those beautiful black kitties can rest easy.
Imposters Dressed in Black
If your black cat has an underlying tabby gene, you may see faint stripes appear on them after they’ve spent the afternoon basking in the sun. Why? The sun’s rays break down the pigment in their fur and reveals their dormant tabby coloring. Think of it as the feline version of a suntan.
Due to their genetic makeup, true onyx-hued cats produce a lot of melanin. This pigment makes their coats black and their eyes a captivating amber shade, an extremely rare eye color in humans. A sight for sore eyes indeed.
In Ancient Egypt, all cats, including black cats, were considered sacred and worshipped. The goddess Bastet, a deity often depicted as a woman with the head of a black cat, was strongly associated with domestic cats. Every house and temple had at least one cat as it was seen as a way to bring luck into your family.
Historically, sailors and fishermen believed that having a black cat onboard would bring the ship good luck and guarantee a safe journey (with the added benefit of fewer rats). Fishermen’s wives would also keep black cats at home believing that they would ensure their husbands returned home safely from sea. A far better onboard companion than a noisy parrot, don’t you think?
Lab goggles at the ready: researchers at the National Institute of Health discovered that the genetic mutation that causes a cat’s fur to be black also protects them from certain diseases. Because cats experience many of the same health issues humans do — Cancer and Alzheimer’s to name a few — experts believe studying these fascinating felines could possibly help mankind combat these illnesses. Impressive — a coat that not only looks good but helps black cats (and potentially us) feel good too!
Lucky Tommaso made the Guinness Book of World Records after his owner, Maria Assunta, bequeathed 10 million euros to her furry friend. This abandoned black kitty was a stray living on the streets of Rome before he was rescued by his adoring owner. A true rags-to-riches tale!
Lights, camera, catnip
Heavyweight Hollywood directors learnt early on that most films could easily be improved by the presence of a cat. Scene stealing feline costars include Salem the sassy feline star of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, the transfigured Binx from Disney’s Hocus Pocus and the homeless kitty who stole the show in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Cat. But the first ever kitty starlet was Pepper who — it’s said — was a Maltese cat born under the floor of Keystone Studios in 1912. She crawled up through the floorboards in the middle of a scene and into film history!
Lucky in love
Despite the popularity of cultural stereotypes involving single women and cats (crazy cat lady comes to mind), in certain parts of the world it’s actually believed that owning a black cat can improve your love life and attract potential suitors. Just make sure you remove all of the black fur from your clothing before actually going on the date!
Don’t Judge a Cat by Their Coat: The Allure and Magic of Black Cats
Black cats are the least likely to get adopted from a shelter, not only because of the superstition that they bring bad luck, but also because they don’t photograph well.
Psychologically, it’s harder to bond with a little black furball on your screen than a cat with more intricate colors. And in the age of social media and documenting with photographs, some people don’t think that a black cat will go with their Instagram aesthetic.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Black cats are stunningly beautiful and are not hard to photograph with a little practice. They make exceptional and loving companions to those who are lucky enough to bring them home.
Let’s highlight the magic of black cats today, not only because it’s spooky season, but because these house panthers deserve a loving home all year round.
Black Cats in Folklore
Superstitions around black cats began in the 1300s when fear of witches was part of everyday life. Folks at the time believed that witches were worshipping a devil disguised as a cat.
In the New World, people thought that witches could shape shift and would take on the form of a black cat, which was considered a standard belief until the Salem Witch Trials.
The tides turned when America was at war during the 1940s. Trick-or-treating became part of our culture, and black cats were viewed as protectors. It was believed that a black cat would chase away any evil entities from your door.
The Age of Social Media
The world has changed immensely and those bad luck myths about black cats seem to have become just that—a myth. However, in the age of social media, people have found that photographing black cats with their phones is a bit difficult, and therefore, they’ll adopt any other color cat than black. It sounds absurd that this would be a reason to leave a cat behind, but numerous shelters have reported that folks want a “designer” looking cat.
Black Cats Are Worth Adopting
- Have you ever seen a black cat up close in person? Their super sleek black fur, which can have shades of blue or red in the light, is beautiful.
- They are curious, friendly, and cuddly—and want to be friends with you!
- They’re the perfect accessory: black goes with everything.
- Being in the presence of a black cat is like being with your own miniature house panther.
- They love to play and often keep that kitten-like wonder throughout their lives.
- Their eyes against their dark fur are striking, and they always look dressed to the nines.
Photographing Black Cats
Taking a snap of your black cat isn’t that difficult, it just requires a little know-how and patience.
- Get down on their level. If photographing from above, they may end up looking like a black hole in outer space, which, let’s be honest, is very cute in itself.
- Make sure they’re well lit. Natural lighting is always best. Use a nice window that directs plenty of sunshine on your furry friend.
- Focus on their eyes. Use your finger to make the focal point of the photo your kitty’s stunning eyes.
We could go on and on about the beauty and allure of black cats, but we think it’s best to find out on your own. When you have room in your heart and your home, you’ll understand why they’re so magical.
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About the Author
Aimee is a New Jersey native currently living in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and crew of four cats. She has an English degree and when she isn’t writing for AKC Pet Insurance, you can find her drinking seltzer, painting, watching reality TV shows, and trying to wrangle her cats into sweaters.
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