By Dr. Tracy McFarland, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a pet insurance agency for dogs and cats.
In America black cats are often viewed as unlucky, but the Russians, Japanese, Scots, Irish and English disagree. They all feel that black cats bring luck and prosperity. Sailors have historically preferred black cats on their ships to bring luck and to take care of any stowaway rodents.
Black cats probably got their unlucky reputation in America from their association with so- called “witches” in the Middle ages. More recently, they have been associated with Halloween, especially the classic scared kitty with hunched back and bottle brush tail.
Despite their bad luck reputation, black cats have been a very popular motif in American advertising. I’m guessing graphic artists aren’t particularly superstitious. Black cats have been very lucky for merchants selling everything from hair pomade to motor oil.
While black cats certainly don’t bring bad luck, they aren’t always so lucky when it comes to finding a forever home. Black cats can be breathtakingly beautiful, but that isn’t always obvious in a cage or in a photo on an adoption website. With the addition of the ” bad luck” rap, it’s no wonder that black kittens and cats are often at the end of the line, when it comes to adoption. Some rescues have improved odds for their black kittens and cats by naming them ” Jellybean” or ” Licorice”.
Some of my favorite patients are black cats, especially the tall, slender, long tailed ones who are obviously part Siamese. They often have many of the traits I adore in Siamese- the outgoing, friendly, affectionate personality, but a bit mellowed by whatever blended with a Siamese to create a lithe, miniature black panther. I do have many clients who share my liking for black cats, but I do wish more cat guardians would give a black kitten or cat a second look.
Another advantage of keeping company with a black cat, in an era where so many men and women prefer dark colored clothing, is the fact that any fur that you might pick up on your slacks or dress will be much less noticeable. Less use of cat hair remover rollers!
Black cats are often not available for adoption around Halloween, due to concerns for their safety. If you’re thinking about adding a kitten or cat to your family, consider a well socialized black feline friend. You’ll be feeling lucky for years to come.
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