Categories: black coatCat Coats

Black cats abandoned because they don’t look good in selfie photographs

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?

Helmi Flick photographing a Bombay purebred cat – a jet black cat

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.

Picture of black cat Charlie
Black on black. Gorgeous eyes.
Three-legged black cat Charlie. Photo: Michael Broad
You can't get a better cat photo subject.
Two black cats
Black cat portrait photograph by Michael
Stray black cat. Photographer unknown. Nice photo. Fine looking cat

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.

Please comment here using either Facebook or WordPress (when available).
Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

View Comments

  • Right now I have a rescued furry black lump with huge scared eyes; he's hiding at the back of an open carrier. Knowing that black cats don't get homes as readily I will probably bend my "old cats only" policy and keep him. It means keeping his tabby brother, but que sera.

    My black moggy Scrapper had incredible personality. Black Tulip was fragile and just grateful for a safe home. Black Thenie was also a character (aren't all cats?) Who cares about photos - cats are companions, not props.

    • Aww poor kitty. Hopefully the kitty will get brave and come out. Moggies are the best Cats or kittens to get in my opinion. :) Yes older Cats are just as nice if you can give them what they need. good luck.

  • I love black cats, ofcourse.
    What struck me most of all about this was that it was written that people can't tell one from another. Well, ofcourse, they can't because they don't know them.
    I spend time with no less than 25 completely black cats and know each and every one. I know their faces, walks, "quirkiness", even their butts. They have names, and I could pick any one of them out of a lineup.

    • And, here he is.
      My Damon stealing my sock to take to one of his piles.
      Black cats are the smartest of all.

    • I think the fact that people say they can't tell the difference between black cats supports my view that a lot of people (cat owners too) are not involved enough with their cats. They are interested in superficial aspects rather than getting to know and understand that each cat has his/her own character

        • I agree. Some people say racist remarks like all Chinese look the same. Same thing. It is a aspect of ignorance.

  • Though I know black cats have always been left behind and last in the queue I find it hard to believe that anyone would be so shallow as to dump a cat because it doesn't look good in the stupid modern craze that is "selfies" my God how low can people stoop and how much more ignorant and cruel can they get? My heart aches for our two black girls Ebony and Popsy, they were beautiful, inside and out and would never have been rejected for any reason.

    • I so agree with you, Barbara. "my God how low can people stoop and how much more ignorant and cruel can they get?" really sums it up for me. 'Cept I might use some other descriptive words beside ignorant. ;-)

  • Hi Micharl. She is registered as a Turkish Angora. At a show in Germany she was awarded 3 CAC EX-ls all in one day. The judges said "What a sweet cat ". She is one of this group of colony cats before I adopted her, probably the one in the middle.

  • Hi Michael. She is registered as a Turkish Angora. She won 3 CAC EX-ls at a WCF show in Germany all in one day. The judges commented " Such a sweet cat " She gets a tremendous thick fur coat during Winter. She is one of this group of colony cats , probably the one in the middle.

  • I have always thought Black cats were lucky, some old superstition about one crossing your path (not sure if it was in front or behind), and to me they somehow look special though I can't put my finger on why.

    • Good for you, Alan. I don't really select a cat on any physical feature. Like Sarah Hartwell, the cat selects me. I don't have a choice.

  • Even here in New Zealand herald about this on TV on the news tonite. Can't understand why people not taking cause of the reason they dont look good in photos. Black Cats are so beautiful, I have two beautiful black Cats jasmine & Ozzie. Its just their Coat that makes them Different their personalty's is what make them so loved. Also another thing cause they are black often very good Rat/Mouse Hunters as often the rat cant see them.

Recent Posts

Birdfeeder placement to help avoid attack by cats

I can think of two instances (but there are many more) of exposing, through good…

2 hours ago

My neighbour’s cat asks to be let in all the time, so is he neglected?

It is not uncommon for neighbourhood cats to want to visit neighbour's homes. You won't…

7 hours ago

Radon gas increases the chance of your cat getting lung cancer

Background Radon gas is a mysterious substance which appears to be all around us, all…

9 hours ago

12 facts about the Nebelung cat

Here are 12 listed facts about the Nebelung cat. I hope you find them useful.…

22 hours ago

21 reasons to take your cat to the vet

Here is a list of reasons to take your cat to the vet. Richard H.…

1 day ago

Panicking man, giggling woman and complacent cats fail to catch a terrified mouse

I can understand the minor chaos caused by a mouse brought into the home by…

1 day ago