Most of us know that the black cat was associated with witchcraft (Africa is bad on black cat superstition). It is quite possible that some people today still believe the same thing. Superstition is still rife. The black cat is considered unlucky by some people but there are an almost endless number of superstitions regarding the black cat. Will the black cat ever be rehabilitated into mainstream human society, I ask?
The reason why I ask this question is because we are told in the news media1 that hundreds of black cats are being abandoned by their owners because they don’t look good enough in selfie photographs which are posted on the Internet.
In the UK, the RSPCA have stated that 70% of more than 1000 cats currently residing in their rescue centres are black. This is “cat coat colour prejudice” on an industrial scale!
The selfie is a modern phenomenon is due to technology which has allowed smart phones with built-in cameras to turn the lens on the photographer so that they can obtain an accurate photograph of themselves and anyone else who wants to join them. This modern phenomenon has once again shown us the prejudice people have against the black cat.
Here are thumbnail photos of black cats. Some are by me to show visitors that black cats can be wonderful subjects for the creative photographer. Click on the images to see full-sized versions.
We have to agree that it is more difficult to photograph a black cat. One reason is because autofocus lenses find it difficult to focus on the fur. This can produce out of focus photographs of black cats. Sometimes you have to use manual focusing to overcome that problem. Another problem in photographing a black cat is light. You need good illumination of the fur otherwise it is liable to be underexposed becoming a black mass without texture.
However, with imagination, a photograph of a black cat can be highly impressive because there is an inbuilt contrast, drama and mystery about a black cat. It just takes a bit of photographic skill and effort which is probably not an attractive proposition to most snappers – photography today is about “instant” – the instagram.
Another problem apparently, so says the RSPCA, with black cat, is that it is more difficult to tell them apart because they lack distinctive markings.
There appears to be a little bit of an additional trend against black cat in 2014 judging by one cat rescue centre in Nottinghamshire (Millwood cat rescue). The founder says that they have had a lot of black cats in in 2014. She remarks that people don’t like black cats at the moment.
At rescue centres, when adopters are presented with a black cat, they may ask for something else and the favourite currently is the ginger male cat.
Cats Protection is organising a national black cat day to take place on 31st October 2014 in an attempt to re-home the unfairly rejected black cat.
In one post that I wrote some time ago I suggested that there may be a inherent form of subliminal racism (based on human races) against the black cat.
People’s rejection of the black cat reinforces my belief that there is an over focus on the superficial by many people. At the end of the day, the cat owner receives greatest pleasure from their relationship with their cat through the character and personality of their cat which is exactly what happens between people.
It is time to be fairer to the black cat and shead this unjustified prejudice.
Note: 1. Times newspaper July 30th 2014.