Black cats have a long and winding cultural history to talk of. From being worshipped as an Egyptian deity, to being King Charles I’s most precious pet, to being a symbol of witchcraft and magic, these felines have had quite a complex relationship with human beings over the years. Some even regard the black cat as superstitious (presumably those who haven’t realised we’re no longer living in medieval England. Spoiler alert: witches aren’t real).
“The RSCPA said that 70% of the felines it cares for were either black or black and white”
And yet animal shelters in the UK and across the pond in the US report that black cats are the hardest colour to home. The RSCPA said that 70% of the felines it cares for were either black or black and white, and the animal charity Blue Cross claimed it has seen a 65% rise in the number of black cats being taken in between 2007 and 2013. Seeing as every black moggy I’ve ever come into contact with is just as cute and loveable as any other, these statistics perplexed me.
A spokesperson from RSPCA told the Telegraph: “In UK folklore, black cats symbolise good luck, yet sadly in reality they are not so lucky. There are a number of reasons for this, ranging from the fact that black cats are harder to tell apart than cats with more distinctive markings and the fact that black animals tend not to photograph as well.” Are prospective pet owners really rejecting kitties in need of homes because of bad lighting?
Another member of RSPCA mentioned the lack of interest even in black kittens: “We had some photos of a single eight-week-old tabby kitten on our Facebook page and received around 30 calls in two days from people keen to adopt him. We had maybe one call in relation to the black kittens which were posted for rehoming on the same day.” So are adopters looking for more colourful cats instead?
“Every cat, regardless of the colour of their fur, is deserving of a safe and loving environment to grow and thrive in.”
The statistics tell a slightly different story. A study by Dr Emily Weiss of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals looked at the data from their Comprehensive Animal Risk Database, with statistics from almost 300,000 dogs and cats to investigate if black animals really were being rejected because of their colour. The results were surprising and nuanced.
Weiss did find that out of the cats left behind at animal shelters, black cats were sadly the most common at 30%, with grey cats at 28% and white cats at 26%. However, the adoption figures for black cats were also the highest, with 31% of feline adoptions being black cats, and grey cats way behind at 20%. The explanation lies in the number of black cats being taken in to shelters in the first place. Black cats are by far the most likely to be brought to an animal shelter, as 33% of the feline intake was black, whilst grey cats accounted for just 22%.
“For whatever reason, the reality is that there are more black cats in animal shelters than any other.”
So it seems black cats are being adopted, but just not at an equal rate to the black cats that are entering animal shelters. For whatever reason, the reality is that there are more black cats in animal shelters than any other. This needs to be highlighted and emphasised to hopeful future cat adopters, so more of these beautiful creatures can find their forever home. Every cat, regardless of the colour of their fur, is deserving of a safe and loving environment to grow and thrive in. So please encourage those you know to opt for a black cat if they’re looking to welcome a new feline in to their family. As you may know from experience, anyone who’s adopted a black cat considers themselves very lucky indeed!
At Beyond Skin we are big fans of furry friends of all breeds and sizes, as a vegan company, animal welfare is very close to our hearts.