Categories: fostering

Cats Protection report that black cats are no longer being ‘left on the shelf’

Some good news for people who love cats, all kinds, no matter what their colour. We know that normally black cats have a harder time attracting the attentions of an adopter visiting a rescue centre. They tend to “stay on the shelf” to use a shopping term. For me it is a form of cat racism. But Cats Protection say that black cats now spend 11 days less on average in their care than they did before they launched Black Cat Day in 2010. A testament to the success of their campaign, a much-needed campaign, I guess, to try and chip away at this prejudice.

Chris with Shadow. I wish him well on his road to recovery after a couple of strokes. Picture: Chris and Ellen, his daughter.

They report that since 2010 around 65,000 mostly black cats have been rehomed through their adoption centres. Interestingly, they say that it reflects almost half (44%) of all cats rehomed through their centres over this period. This implies that 44% of their cats are black or black-and-white, which surprises me to be perfectly honest. If it is true it might imply that black cats are more likely to be abandoned at shelters.

Huffington Post provide us with some nice black cat stories. I particularly like the first one on their list concerning a man who suffered two strokes in a week four years ago. His name is Chris Jurczak and he is 57 years of age. He lives in Sutton Coldfield, UK. His daughter, Ellen, adopted a black rescue cat who they named Shadow to keep him company.

Although she was a bit concerned about him coping because of the effects of his strokes, she discovered quite quickly that they had become inseparable. For a start off, Chris sleeps better when Shadow is on his bed at night (some cat owners lock their cat out of the bedroom at night). She also says that Shadow has added some structure to his life and believes that his beautiful black cat has made a big difference to his recovery. It’s a good picture of him.

Black cats

Although I would always adopt a rescue cat, there is a well known “refined” purebred black cat called the Bombay. They have a jet black coat, shiny and glistening. The coat is reminiscent of the black panther, a melanistic leopard, which is the intention of the breeders. They wanted to bring the wild cat into the living room. They are described as black Burmese and their coats are like patent leather.

The difficulty of adopting out black cats in the past at Cats Protection must have partly been due to superstition. It has always surprised me that the legacy of black cat superstitions persist in the 21st-century. They originate in the era of witchcraft, in the Dark Ages when domestic and stray cats were persecuted for hundreds of years. Superstition plays a role in cat abuse in developing countries. It is a sad reflection on the lack of education and enlightenment among a section of society in these countries. The superstitions regarding black cats are varied which underlines how silly they are.

P.S. It is strange that black cars are popular but not black cats. This may because women are primary cat carers in homes and women tend to go for brighter colours.

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.

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