Today, I feel like diversifying. Pushing the envelope as I always like to do. One way of doing it is to address topics which are rarely addressed. One such topic is whether people of colour, specifically black people, don’t really like cats or companion animals in general. ‘Persons of colour’ refers to non-white people. It must include Asians and many Asians love cats. I’ll confine this article to black people.
This idea that black people don’t like cats is a thought that occupies my mind sometimes. I have the thought because on my travels over the internet and in reading books it is exceptional to encounter stories of black people enjoying the company of cats. There are some examples but their exceptions prove the rule: black people don’t do cats.
And those words, the words of the title to this article, were written by a Zola Ndlovu in her blog. Her blog post was republished on the website Sowetan Live ‘for a bit of a laugh’. Is it funny? There is a serious side to the discussion surely?
Zola writes that “We’re okay with you having pet cats but please, please do not expect us to cuddle, kiss or love them. In fact, black people don’t really do pets at all, dogs belong outside and are there as a matter of necessity, there’s no love lost between me and Spotty.”
I presume that ‘you’ in that extract refers to white people. Are her words a true reflection of the attitudes of all black people? No, of course not but in general it is true.
So why? Well, Zola provides me with an instant answer. It is all to do with witchcraft. A lot of people of colour still believe in witchcraft. In her words, ‘Witchcraft is a big deal’. She believes that witchcraft is real. She said, ‘This is linked to the fact that black people do’t do cats.’
In other words people of colour, specifically black people whose origins are in the African continent, don’t do cats because they are linked to witchcraft.
This seems to be a superstitious attitude which is rooted in the Middle Ages. Most of the world has moved on but this is not the case for some black people.
Now, I’d like to mention an exception: Sterling Davis. There will be many others. He is a rapper who is now regarded as a ‘cat man’ and he is proud of it. He applied for a job at an animal shelter. He screwed up the interview he said but got the job because it was so rare for a black guy to apply for this kind of job. His rarity value got him in.
His application to work at an animal shelter was a dramatic change in career from rap artist on the road, in 2012, to cleaning litter trays at a shelter.
He worked in TNR and called himself the ‘TrapKing’, a variation on his usual nickname ‘RapKing’. He now manages his company TrapKing Humane Cat Solutions. He operates in metro Atlanta among mainly black neighbourhoods trapping and neutering feral and stray cats and educating people about the importance of caring for these unwanted animals.
And it is all about education. It is a certainty that if the black people who dislike cats because they believe in witchcraft dropped their notions about this superstition they’d start liking cats a bit more.
I strongly disagree with Zola. Witchcraft is not ‘a big deal’. Neither is it real. It is a superstition born out of fear. It is a human condition that affects billions of people. Shed that mentality and you can move forward.
The life of stray cats in any one of the African counties must be harsh if the citizens believe that they are the reincarnation of the devil.
SUPERSTITIONS AND THE CAT: