Contrary to superstition, black cats aren’t bad luck – but many of them seem to be unlucky in animal shelters across the United States.
Black cats are least likely to be adopted among cats of all colors and breeds, and — perhaps even worse — run the greatest risk of being euthanized, according to Gallup and volunteer organization, Kindness For Cats. To bring awareness to the felines' plight, animal groups have dubbed Nov. 17 “National Black Cat Day.”
Many shelters, including several in the Bay Area, attempt to shed some light on the furry problem and offer special discounts and rates for black cats during the week of Nov. 17.
In Contra Costa County, the department of Animal Services is running “Black Furday” all through November. Anyone looking for a new pet can adopt a cat or kitten with black markings for free.
“In the animal welfare community, there is this stigma we see every day about black cats,” said Steve Burdo, a coordinator with the animal services department. “Whether it’s superstition or, you know, just something about the color, they typically don’t get adopted at the same rate as other cats or kittens."
Although it should be fairly obvious in the 21st century — black cats do not bring bad luck, Burdo stressed, adding, “A black cat or kitten is no different from any other cat aside from the color."
Still, about 13 percent of Americans are superstitious about the dark-colored felines and their alleged, centuries-old connections to witch craft, according to a study by PetFinder. During the days surrounding Halloween, many animal shelters temporarily stop adoptions of black cats out of concern that the adopter may intend to cause harm.
It’s also worth noting that, in many other parts of the world, black cats are known to bring good luck — England; prosperity — Scotland; and even a purr-fect romance to the owner —Japan. So, don’t let the hocus pocus fool you.
To find a shelter near you, click here.
Gillian Edevane covers Contra Costa County for NBC Bay Area. Contact her at Gillian.Edevane@NBCuni.com.