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Why adopt a black cat?

It is a sad fact that black cats are less likely to find forever homes than cats of other colours. We’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover and everyone knows rationally that the colour of a pet’s coat does not determine its personality, which is what really matters, isn’t it?

This month, RAPS has a large number of kittens and adolescent cats ready for adoption. Most of them are black.

An aside: In the days before humans were as conscientious about animal welfare as we are today, people would adopt black cats as Halloween “decorations” and heartlessly discard them after the festivities. RAPS, and other legitimate animal-serving organizations, undertake intensive processes before adopting animals to prospective forever homes. We are especially vigilant at this time of year to ensure that the intentions of the adoptive families are best for the kitten.

More to the point, the discrimination against black cats is based on irrational superstitions that we might expect our society to have abandoned. The tropes are numerous and familiar: Don’t let one cross your path! Black cats are symbols of evil or black magic! They are the embodiment of the devil.

But in many other societies across the globe, black cats are synonymous with good fortune! So, while we should be making decisions about adoption based on level-headed decisions about what is best for the animal and our family, there’s no harm in having a little fun debunking hackneyed stereotypes!

In Scotland, a black cat appearing on your doorstep is viewed as a sign of imminent prosperity. (We don’t guarantee you’ll win the lottery if you adopt one of our black babes, but the love you get in return just might make you feel like you did!)

In the English Midlands, a black cat as a wedding present is thought to bring good luck to the bride. (Actually, we do not recommend animals as gifts. Adopting a pet should take place after all members of the family have discussed the joys and responsibilities involved. But anyway.)

In the south of France, black cats are referred to as matagots or “magician cats” and, according to local superstition, feeding and treating them well will bring good luck to the owner. (We’d like to second that motion! If there is any justice in the world, treating all animals well will bring good luck to a person!)

In Northern Europe, it is believed that taking in and caring for a black cat can ensure fair weather and safe passage during voyages on the sea. (Given cats’ well-known aversion to water, we’re not sure how this idea came about, but this isn’t a PhD dissertation, just an ostensibly fun blog post.)

In parts of Asia, having a black cat is considered lucky. For example, in Japan if a person sees a black cat crossing their path, they say konichiwa and take control of their own luck.

In Italy, if you hear a black cat sneeze, you are in for a streak of good luck. (This might account for the phenomenon of Italian nonas offering offering pepperoncini for cats to sniff!)

For all the superstitions, jokes and sarcasm, black cats are just … cats. OK, black ones are like mini-panthers and if you’ve ever known one, you know the regal way they slink from food bowl to litter box, making the most mundane activity look majestic. But the point is … The reason to adopt a black cat is because they are just like every other cat. Which is to say, they are unlike any other cat, since each has its very distinct personality. But black cats are no different from any other colour in that what you see is what you get with them. Some are sweet, some are sassy, some are lap cats, some are stand-offish. Each has its own unique character and disposition. Just like every other cat, black cats just want to be loved and cared for. If you want to give a black cat a chance at a loving forever home, contact RAPS!


Photo Michele Wright, Furry Friends Photography.