National Black Cat Day- October 27th, 2022
Just in time for Halloween, October 27th marks the start of National Black Cat day. This holiday brings awareness to the stigmas around these adorable cats, called Black Cat Syndrome. Although ancient cultures in Scotland, Ireland, and Egypt see these felines with symbols of good luck and power, many people in Western society think of bad luck or “symbols of the supernatural and evil,” according to a team of Kentucky sociologists in the National Library of Medicine. This unfortunately results in animal cruelty and lower adoption rates throughout the year but especially before Halloween, the day which most of black cat myths center around.
At Harmony Veterinary Center, we recommend keeping your cats with any coat color inside for the next few days to protect them from biased dangers, stress, and ingesting candy, wrapper and all.
A Colorado State University study looking at the Larimer Humane Society (Fort Collins) and Dumb Friends League (Denver) shelters in Colorado analyzed about 29,000 cats in total, all spayed or neutered. Adoption rates tend to be higher in Colorado than other states across the US, but a bias against the darker ones is still apparent.
At DFL, it took an average of 22.4 days for lighter colored kittens to be adopted, but 24.3 days for black kittens. LHS held kittens before adoption for an average of 18.8 days, and 19.5 days for black cats. All kittens were under one year of age. LHS also had cats over one year old, graduating the lighter cats out after 21 days, and black cats after 25 days. Though a couple of days isn’t a lot of time for most humans, the extra time spent in a shelter instead of a forever home negatively impacts the health of kittens and cats. Stress is an integral part of anyone’s health, including cats. An overwhelming environment along with a lack of stability and connection greatly increases the risks of a Urinary Tract Infection (URI) or Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTD). It can even develop after adoption and leads to some owners returning their cats to the shelter. The study notes the unfortunate reality that URTD “is the leading cause of feline death in shelters, and as a result, the leading cause of death of young, adoptable, cats in the United States.” The longer a cat is in the shelter, the higher chance there is of developing a harmful or deadly disease.
While this seems discouraging at first glance, there is always hope to reduce the bias and bring more black cats out of shelters and into loving homes. We encourage supporting local cat shelters, like Almost Home, through volunteering and donations. Stop the negative ideas about black cats by sharing your own!
Cabrini, Robert M, et al. “Coat Color and Cat Outcomes in an Urban U.S. Shelter.” National Library of Medicine, MDPI, 23 Sept. 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7597961/.
Kogan, Lori R., et al. “Cats in Animal Shelters: Exploring the Common Perception That Black Cats Take Longer to Adopt.” The Open Veterinary Science Journal, vol. 7, no. 1, 2013, pp. 18–22., https://doi.org/10.2174/1874318820130718001.
Preville, Maureen. “Black Cat Syndrome Takes a Toll on Adoptions.” Humane Society of Loudoun County, 10 May 2020, https://humaneloudoun.org/what-is-black-cat-syndrome/