PET HEALTH CORNER: The Myth of the Black Cat

by | General Pet Care |

Myths have surrounded cats, and especially black cats, for centuries, but how much of it is true? Dave Wilson, director of Shelter Health and Wellness for the Ontario SPCA and retired vet breaks the stigma around adopting black cats around Halloween.

The Black Cat Legend

black cat
Public Domain

Wilson says it’s well-known cats have been blamed a lot through the ages for plagues,  and diseases, they’ve been associated with witchcraft and other negative imagery.

“Black cats and human interpretation isn’t just this century, it isn’t just our current lifetime, it goes back thousands of years,” he says.

Adding to this negativity, Wilson says there are certain societies and cultures that see black cats as very unlucky. He says this means it can be hard to home black cats year round, let alone at Halloween. But he says the Halloween imagery of the black cat certainly doesn’t help.

The Truth Behind the Cats

Some people think shelters don’t adopt out black cats at Halloween because people could have bad intentions, but Wilson says that isn’t how it is.

“If your adoption process is sound and it works for you every other day of the year, that same adoption process should still work for you, entering Halloween as well,” he says.

Shelters, according to Wilson, depend on the quality of their adoption process, and this is what reassures them the animals are going to good homes all year. He says shelters tend to do the opposite of withholding black cats.

“Some shelters believe in turning it completely around,” he says.

Wilson says around Halloween, shelters will specifically promote autumn-looking cats like calicos, tomcats, tortoiseshells and black cats, to counter stereotypes around their adoption.

There’s a lot of history behind these myths, he says, but that’s all they are.

“All it is, is you’re carrying that history forward into 2015,” says Wilson.

Adopt a Black Cat!

To adopt a black, or otherwise coloured cat go to meetyourmatch.ontariospca.ca or visit your local shelter.

Let’s break the myth!! Give a black cat a loving, forever home.