ASPCA say the prejudice against black cats is a myth. PETA disagrees

We have all been indoctrinated into believing that black cats are overlooked at shelters. The reason given is superstition or because black cats are difficult to see at shelters. Also it is more difficult to photograph black cats successfully and therefore their images are less often clicked on the Petfinder website.

Black and tabby cats; which is the more numerous?

Black and tabby cats; which is the more numerous?


So we believe that black cats are unpopular and PETA confirms this on their website when they say that black cats are two thirds less likely to be adopted than white cats. Also black cats are only half as likely to be adopted as tabby cats. They just aren’t seen as appealing as white or tabby cats, say PETA.


However, according to the ASPCA, the prejudice against black cats (and dogs for that matter) is just a myth. It’s a misconception because, they argue, there are more black cats at shelters. They are the largest group of shelter cats by colour. Therefore, if black cats are adopted in equal numbers to other types of cat there are still more of them remaining at a shelter at the end of the day.

ASPCA’s data concerning about 300,000 animals from 2013 support their argument. They say that 33% of intake are black cats. Grey cats represent 22% of intake. Black cats accounted for 31% of feline adoptions while gray cats accounted for 20% of feline adoptions.

According to ASPCA the adoption rate of black cats is the strongest amongst the cat coat types at shelters but because of their higher numbers the euthanasia rates of black cats is the highest. PETA argue that the majority of the 71% of shelter cats euthanised are black.

Conflicting information

We have, therefore, to very conflicting viewpoints on the matter of blackouts at shelters. It paints a confusing picture. Clearly we need the point to be clarified as soon as possible.

It doesn’t help that there is no scientific data telling us the percentage of black cats in the population of random bred and purebred cats. Anecdotally, I would argue that the percentage of black cat is no higher than that of tabby cats. It may in fact be even less than tabby cats. But we need scientific information rather than guesswork.

Cat superstitions and death

Photography of black cats

Incidentally, photographs of black cats at shelters should be taken with some skill and caution. It is essential that they are photographed properly, to enhance their features. This means they should be well lit and the cage should be out of frame if possible. The background should be plain and a toy should be incorporated. Black cats can make stunning photographs as they create a shape and contrast.

Superstition, Witchcraft and Cat Familiars are Alive and Well in Nevada

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ASPCA say the prejudice against black cats is a myth. PETA disagrees — 4 Comments

  1. In my area, speak to any rescue, they will all state that they encounter some varying degree of problems in getting black cats adopted.

    Prejudice is fairly rife when it comes to black domestic mammals. Cats are sadly not alone in being the recipients of ignorant prejudice baed on colour.

    The Black Dog, present throughout mythology as a portent of death eg: Black Shuck – is present in many cultures. In the UK, courtesy of Winston Churchill, a visit from The Black Dog, is a euphemism for a bout of serious emotional distress/depression.

    Horses are not immune to colour prejudice either, it is often said amongst old style horse people, sadly some younger ones too, that a black horse is never a good horse. Chestnut horses (particularly mares) suffer from being thought of as fiery and unpredictable. The genes that produce a chestnut coat also produce a horse which may have more hairs per square centimetre, ergo more nerve endings, which may result in more skin sensitivity. See “The Horses Mind” by Lucy Rees for more on this.

    In my area, black and white (cow cat markings) are seen as too common and along with black cats are often harder to home.

    What a giant pile of steaming ignorance colour prejudice is…

    ….and that is before we even consider the prejudices and bigotry applied to the skin colour of homo sapiens.

    • I tend to favour your argument that there is a genuine prejudice against black cats and dogs. Perhaps ASPCA are trying to get rid of that prejudice by saying it does not exist.

      • I think the ASPCA are right in that colour prejudice is from mythology, sadly a myth that humans love to perpetuate, hence it enduring.

        It is always a massive task to rid the world of prejudice, when intelligence would serve all beings, so much better.

        You could be right there about the superior motive of the ASPCA, I hope so. Good luck to the ASPCA, if they are trying to dispel the myth.

        If succrssful, !aybe they could move on to religion next!

        • It would be nice to have some good data on the percentages of each type of cat coat type. I suspect the black cats are quite numerous but also that they are the least popular.

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