How Black Cats Won My Heart

So I’m a cat lady.

I’ve previously blogged about my cat, Clem, whom I believe has what it takes to be a star.  Today, I’d like to talk about my other cat, Rupert.  He recently celebrated (read: I celebrated) his seventh birthday and five year adopt-iversary.  Before I adopted Rupert, I had never given black cats much thought.  I’d never really met one, or seen them except as decorations around Halloween.  But the moment I met this cat, I knew he was the one for me.  He had bright eyes and sleek fur.  He was friendly and quick, and I could just tell he had a sense of humor.  I found him at the Ottawa Humane Society, and I was taken aback by how surprised and grateful the adoption staff were when I said he was the one I’d like to take home.  Check out his goofy face:

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Rupert always finds the dusty spots.

You may be wondering if they were surprised because he is so weird that they never thought he’d find a home.  I certainly wondered if it was because there was something wrong with him.  Yeah, he’s weird, but it turned out that wasn’t it.  They were surprised by my choice because he is black.  And black cats are apparently adopted about 50% less than any other type of cat.

Whaaaaat?

That’s right.  It’s a well-documented fact that black cats are just harder to find homes for.  There are a few suspected reasons for this:

  1. This article suggests that black cats are harder to photograph (it’s true) and potential adopters are put off because they are worried that they will have difficulty showing their cat off on social media!
  2. People are just less likely to notice a black cat, because they don’t stand out the way cats with more unique colours and patterns do.  At the shelter, if people don’t connect with the first black cat they meet, they subconsciously rule out all the others.
  3. Superstition.  Can you believe it?  Black cats are still stigmatized because of their unfortunate association with witches from hundreds of years ago.  That’s why people think of them as a Halloween thing.  But that’s not fair, because who doesn’t like Halloween?
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Everyone loves pumpkin spice!

One is not enough…

Black cats are not just for October, but I think this is a good time to share my story.   I’m so glad that I happened to pick Rupert out from the crowd, and learned about the challenges shelters face with black cats.  Less than a year later, I adopted Edna, a feisty senior cat, to keep Rupert company.  Edna passed away in the spring at the ripe old age of 15.  I could write a whole separate post about the benefits of adopting an older cat, but suffice to say that giving her a home is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had.

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Best buddies.

I’m happy to share my love of black cats with anyone who is interested!  I can tell you that they are just as sweet and fun and interesting as any other kind of cat.  And, once I had one of my very own, I started noticing that they really don’t all look the same!  Now, I find them just as individual as any cat with other colours.  I almost didn’t adopt Clem because she wasn’t black, but I’m really glad I didn’t let that get in the way.  What I’ve learned is that the most important thing is that people find the pet that is best for them, whatever the colour (but maybe black cats deserve a little extra consideration!).

What do you think?  If you were adopting a cat, would you consider a black one?  Does knowing that they are less likely to find homes change your opinion?  Do you think I lose my black-cat-fan credibility because I adopted an orange cat?

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Orange and black: Halloween cats!

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4 thoughts on “How Black Cats Won My Heart

  1. I’m a huge animal lover and a long-time cat mom (every stray finds me!). I cannot imagine not loving a black cat simply because it’s black, but found your post really illuminating in terms of what puts people off at such a subconscious level. My cat won’t look good on social media??? WOW

    • I was surprised to hear that social media viability could factor in to the selection of a pet too! This obviously can’t be true of all people, but it does make sense in a world where people are increasingly focused on being able to share everything about their lives online! And as I said, it is true. They are hard to photograph in anything but ideal lighting situations.

  2. I am not very visual, so I really look at personality. That being said, 11 years ago, the family had decided to get a schnoodle dog. We found a breeder and saw the picture of the only pup left. One of the kids said, “I could never love an ugly dog.” So, we bought him just to show her that love is not based on looks. I am not sure if it took 30 seconds or a minute, but she fell in love with him when we put him in her arms.

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