A paw from a black cat

Black Cats Matter! Here’s Why..

Humans today have really embraced diversity – I’m all for the LGBTQ movement. But us black cats are still getting the short straw 🙁 Throughout history, we have been associated with evil, witches, bad luck, and everything in between. As a result, black cats are the least likely to be adopted around the world.

As my fellow felines of color remain cooped up in shelters, I thought it was about time I set the record straight!

Meet your author Salem; Maine Coon cross, journalist, and expert mouse catcher

Reasons to Adopt a black cat

Black cats are awesome (and no I’m not just talking about myself here). Here a just a few reasons why we make the best pets:

1. We are sleek and sophisticated

You can never go wrong with a black cat. I am happy to blow my own trumpet here and say we are very majestic and regal looking. It’s like having your own mini panther. Besides, we all know that black is a very slimming color and it goes with everything…

2. You will have live Halloween decor

You won’t need to spend countless dollars on fake skeletons and gruesome tidbits when you have a black cat in the house. We bring an instant Halloween vibe all of our own.

3. We have great purr-sonalities

Black cats are a joy to be around (just ask my human). We may be all black, but our personalities shine. Some of us are chilled and affectionate (me!), whereas others are crazy, playful bundles of fun that will give you hours of entertainment. The choice is yours.

4. We bring you good luck

Contrary to popular opinion, black cats are not bad luck. These views are simply outdated and plain ridiculous. There are many cultures around the world that actually celebrate us as good luck omens, but more on that later.

5. We get given the best names

You can really have a lot of fun with naming a black cat because we have such a rich history. If you’re stuck for ideas, just check out these cool options:

  • Salem: This just had to be my top pick; think the Salem witch trials or Sabrina the Teenage Witch
  • Shadow: Adopt one of us and we may even become your own personal shadow
  • Pepper: Who doesn’t want a little spice in their life?
  • Wednesday: Go gothic and name your little panther after the spooky character in the Addams Family
  • Hex: Add a little witchy vibe to your home with this cool but unusual name. It actually means ‘to spellbind’ which is exactly what your new feline will do to you when you first meet him or her.
  • Ozzy: Name your black kitty after the Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne
  • Bastet: Remind people of our heritage as much loved rat catchers in Ancient Egypt by naming us after the cat goddess herself.
  • Misty: Elusive just like us
  • Onyx: We shine like diamonds, so why not name one of us after this beautiful black crystal that is said to ward off evil?
  • Berlioz: Go exotic with the sophisticated French name of the adorable black kitten in Disney’s Aristocats

6. You will be saving a life

Statistically, black cats languish longer in animal shelters than any other color cat1. This leaves them more vulnerable to sickness and even euthanasia. So, by adopting a black cat you really could be saving a life. Everyone deserves a shot at a happy life right?

So, now we have gone through the reasons why you should adopt one of my fellow black cats. Let’s now dispel some of those silly myths, shall we?

Superstition 1: We are evil

Where do I start on this one! We are not evil, we were simply persecuted! Back in the Middle Ages, folklore spread about a black cat that limped into an old lady’s house after two men threw rocks at the poor feline. The woman just happened to have been accused of witchcraft by the Church. So, when she was spotted limping the very next day, everyone believed that the cat must have been the woman in disguise. This began our association with witches, Halloween, and even Satan himself. From then, the persecution of my brothers and sisters spread across Europe and eventually to the Salem Witch Trials. And we all know how that went…

The truth

The Middle Ages was not a good time for us, but before then we were treated like kings and queens. In Ancient Egypt, we were revered members of the family. When a house caught fire, our humans would dash in to save us before they even considered trying to save anyone or anything else. We were closely associated with the Goddess Bastet who protected the home, hearth, and women. Which, if you think about it, made us deities in our own right. Back then, exporting or harming a cat was punishable by death. How things have changed…

Superstition 2: We are bad luck

Being associated with witchcraft and evil, it’s perhaps no surprise that we are also considered to be bad luck omens. Have you ever heard the phrase ‘Never let a black cat cross your path?’ – seriously, what’s up with that? I cross in front of my human all the time (especially when she’s late making my dinner), and she seems fine… It probably stems from the ridiculous notion that we are witches familiars. Other black animals such as crows and ravens also fell victim to the hysteria of the Middle Ages. But, come on people, black is beautiful!

The truth

In various cultures around the world, we actually represent good luck. In Japan and much of Asia, black cats are said to bring prosperity to anyone who respects and cares for them. The French even believe we can lead them to treasure. It is said that if you place a black cat in the middle of an intersection that splits five ways it will lead you to wealth. Pretty cool, huh?

Superstition 3: We don’t take good selfies

Now this one is just daft. Apparently, people don’t adopt black cats nowadays because we don’t show up well in selfies and Instagram posts. It’s true, we blend pretty well into a black sofa but its all about using the right lighting people! I don’t want to sound vain or anything, but I think I look rather dashing in photos.

The truth

For me, there’s nothing better than watching a hot black female strutting past my house. Especially when the sun hits her back and she shimmers all shades of black, brown, and auburn. Black cats are unique in that they are made up of multiple colors. What could be more photogenic than that?

Famous black cats

Now you know the truth about us. I think it’s time we run through some famous black cats that have broken the mould and brought joy to humans around the world:

Salem Saberhagen (Sabrina the Teenage Witch)

My human loved this program so much that she named me after Sabrina’s wacky sidekick – Salem, the talking cat. Released in 1996, this comedy TV series became a huge hit, especially because of Salem’s witty one-liners and wonderful singing voice. I think I have a pretty good voice too actually…

Fun Fact: In the original comics, Salem was actually a ginger cat!

Thackery Binx (Hocus Pocus)

Yup, another talking black cat, and one of my personal favorites. With all the negative vibes surrounding black cats and Halloween, I thought it was great to have one of my feline companions as the hero for a change. Just like Salem, Binx was originally a human who was cursed to live as a black cat. Personally, I think he made a great feline.

Felix the cat

Every human should immediately recognize this pioneering feline. Although his mouth is white, he is known as one of the most famous black cats in history. Felix began his career back in 1919 as the star of short, silent movies. However, he can still be seen today on cat food adverts, which is impressive for his age. This guy just doesn’t stop working, does he?

Oscar the bionic cat

Ok, so the first three cats on my list are not real felines, but Oscar is. This brave black beauty had to have his two back legs amputated after a devastating collision with a combine harvester back in 2009. Lucky for him, his veterinarian referred him for a ground-breaking treatment that saw him fitted with two prosthetic blades. Much like those used by Paralympians. Unfortunately, he had to eventually give up his blades which were replaced with bionic paws. However, he is still a champion in my eyes.

Blackie the Millionnaire cat

Now, this is one lucky cat. When his human died in 1988, Blackie received a hefty inheritance of $12.5 million! What’s even more impressive, is that he then donated it all to animal charities to help his fellow felines. Personally, I would have spent most of that on beds and catnip…

Fun Fact: Blackie has his own spot in the Guinness World Records as the wealthiest cat.

My story

Ok, so I’m not famous or anything (yet!). However, as a black cat, I feel it is my duty to share my story in the hope of helping my fellow felines.

I was born to a family in Cambridge, UK. I had four brothers and sisters and a wonderful mother who doted on me. But, it wasn’t meant to be. Our human didn’t understand our needs and my mother struggled as a result. When I was just 4-weeks old, some lady found me wandering around outside (I can’t even remember how I got there). She took me in and immediately put me up for sale because she already had cats of her own. I was in a bad state; my eyes were constantly running, I was starving, and I had this awful cold that had me sneezing night and day.

When my (now) human showed up at the door, there was just something so kind and loving about her eyes. I took to her straight away. My new home was cozy and warm but it was filled with unusual smells and funny noises. I was scared at first. But my new human took great care of me and worked every day to nurse me back to health. Now, 10 years on, I am the proud owner of four humans that cater for my every need. I just love to curl up on their laps at the end of a long day and watch a bit of TV. I do sometimes think they got more than they bargained for though, as I was actually sold as a short-haired female!

Show us your black cats

So, as you can see, black felines should be celebrated not feared. We are loving, playful, and will remain devoted to you for life. We just need to be given a chance. For all those people out there that have already given a home to a black beauty, I salute you. In fact, let’s have a look at your felines and show the world that we take great selfies! Post a pic in the comments below and tell us all about your stunning black cats.

References

  1. Microsoft Word – Kogan_TOVSJ (benthamopen.com)
  2. https://www.worldhistory.org/article/1387/cats-in-the-middle-ages/

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