Do Black People Dislike Cats?

by Michael

This is a delicate subject so I’ll tread gently! However, it is an interesting one. I feel inclined to write about it and seek some feedback in comments, particularly from our American visitors. In my internet searches on Flickr, a major photo sharing website where there are tens of millions of photographs, I have failed to find or stumble upon a photo of a black woman with her cat. That might be pure chance and not significant but it might be an indication of something – not sure what!

Some people say that black people hate cats. That must be wrong. Obviously there will be a wide range of preferences from black people towards cats. Some will strongly dislike cats and some will love cats. It’ll be the same for white people.

The question is whether there is a higher percentage of black people who dislike cats in comparison to white people and if so why?

I sense from reading the answers on a Yahoo Answers website page, that there is a higher percentage of black people who dislike the domestic cat. If I am correct, it begs the question why.

One thing comes to mind: superstition. There is a good bit of history, folklore and legend surrounding the domestic cat. There was a time in the middle ages hundreds of years ago when the cat was persecuted in Europe. There was a lot of superstition at that time. I am thinking of witchcraft, the black cat and witches’ familiars etc.

Superstition can foster an unjustified fear of the cat. This will naturally lead to dislike or even hatred. Black people may have a tendency to have more superstitions about the cat than white people. I have no information to support that. It is just a gut feel and a guess.

Of course, if I saw all the visitors to PoC I would be able to see the percentage of white to black people. People who visit the site will normally like cats. Alexa an internet company that provides information about website does not and cannot provide a visitor profile with respect to their skin color.

I sense, however, that most visitors to PoC are white people and I would love it if there were more black people. That said I could be mistaken in my assessment.

It may be that black people are less likely to visit websites about animals. There are a whole range of influences that affect website visitations. I read that black folk in the American south prefer dogs for instance.

What can I conclude? Black people may have a greater tendency than white people to be slightly fearful of the cat due to superstition or incorrect information about the cat, which possibly leads to a lower percentage keeping cats as companions. That is a guess and not a criticism. We all have our views and I respect the views of others even when they are completely opposite to mine.

Comments for
Do Black People Dislike Cats?

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Mar 24, 2012 Black people and cats NEW
by: Ruth (Monty’s Mom)

I would say, from my experience, the percentages of black people who like cats or hate cats is about the same as for any other group of people. I worked at a school in the inner city and the black children there enjoyed hearing about Monty and telling me about their pets as much as any other children I’ve worked with. The stories about their cats were often very sad. Many of their cats were hit by cars. Perhaps cats in crowded urban areas shouldn’t go out– and I’m usually against keeping indoor only cats. One of the teachers, also black, loved cats but was so highly allergic to them that if I had any cat fur on me my presence next to her aggravated her allergy. But she loved to hear about my kitty.

I also work sometimes at an outpatient physical therapy clinic in a location that serves people from many different ethnic groups. I hear just as many stories about patients’ cats from black patients as from any other group. I would say elderly white women are the most likely to say they hate cats or to say that cats belong out in the barn to catch the mice, but they would have no desire to have a cat in the house with them. It might have less to do with race as with where you live. Cats are a good fit for small apartments in the city. The elderly white women mostly grew up on farms and had big dogs as pets while the cats just lived in the barn.

Mar 24, 2012 Cats can see humans skin colors ! NEW
by: Anonymous

As cat lover/rescuer/helper for over 50 + yrs, i have learned that some ethnic groups dislike cats simply due to superstition, especially those of African descent. But there’s always the exception,
a black couple with their young daughter visited white friends that are cat lovers, young daughter fell in love with their siamese cat & simply told her parents what type of cat she wanted, her wishes were granted & all were happy including new cat.
A funny story to share along same line, a couple was preparing for long vacation, just one problem
“who would sit with the cat”, arrangements were made & cat was taken to a mutual friends home, first few days cat hid under bed & hiss @ everyone that came close to her, husband is worried about kitty not eating/drinking & hiding under bed.
On fifth day (5) he decides to wear a pair of thick black leather gloves, the instant kitty saw those black hands under bed she begin to purr. Her owners are black & sitting couple is white. Cats are very smart/intuitive as their surroundings.
southeast Arizona

Mar 23, 2012 black cats NEW
by: stephan

Most people i know of African heritage dislike cats particular black ones! My wife is from Africa and totally dislikes likes them!however other cats such as lions and tigers she simple adores!There is simple in my belief a link to the colour black, particularly in domesticated cats. I could be wrong however generally speaking this is what i have come across.It would be interesting to hear from others!


Do Black People Dislike Cats? — 27 Comments


    • Hi Cindie. Thanks for visiting and commenting. As you can see in the article I did not stereotype black people. In fact, I bent over backwards to avoid stereotyping black people! I am pleased that you love cats. Great. Come back to the site and write more comments 😉

  2. In all seriousness, I think pet ownership in general is lower for non-white Americans, but that’s my guess. If I had to predict survey results (a real survey with an actual methodology), I’d say pet ownership among blacks would be the lowest. And lowest for cats since a higher percentage of Americans own dogs. Pet product companies and advertisers have this data for sure.

    I’m a little sceptical of the idea that African superstitions have a significant influence on black Americans’ feelings about cats in 2015 when most black people have never even been on the continent. It just seems like a stretch to me. I can’t get on board with it any more than I can with generalizations about how Asian-Americans feel about dogs based on the fact that it’s not uncommon for people to eat dog meat in some Asian countries.

    (To be clear, I’m not referring to recent immigrants from Africa or their children, grandchildren who might have closer connections to an African country)

    It’s more plausible, in my opinion, that people’s beliefs about pets are influenced by their environment and culture. My dad grew up on a farm and cats slept in the barn or under the porch, not in the house and definitely not in the bed. They were dirt poor, so a dog or cat would not be treated like a child.

    Assuming someone likes cats in the first place, ownership is probably a matter of cost, lifestyle, home size, rural vs urban and preference. Of course there are demographic and cultural differences, and I suspect you don’t even need to reach as far as Africa to make those points.

  3. Some people like cats and some people don’t. Of course there are cultural differences, not racial differences.

    I thought I’d heard all the silly broad stroke generalizations about race, but this is a new one. It never even occurred it me. I’ve even heard that black people are afraid of or don’t like dogs, and now we don’t like cats or less so than white people. What about birds? Do black people like birds? Ferrets? Tropical fish vs. fresh water? More or less than Irish people? I need to know!!

    I should note that I’m not “offended” in any way. I think it’s funny! If you actually said this to me in person, I would probably laugh and make you watch a 15 minute slide show of my little honey bear angel baby cat who is a gift from the heavens delivered on angel’s wings to be perfection on earth and bring joy to the masses. Yes, I love him that much! All 15 lbs of him.

    I’m black (or African American if you prefer) and I like cats and dogs. Most of my family members are animal lovers, except for those living in rural areas who see animals for work – cats are for keeping rodents away, not for snuggling. I’ve always had cats growing up along with dogs, birds, and fish. My cousins grew up the same way too. We’ve rescued kittens a few times, and our neighbors (black, white, Asian, Hispanic, African, and more) gave them homes. In fact the one person on the block who didn’t like cats was the older white lady next door who would shoot them with a BB gun.

    • Thanks CeeCee for commenting. I am pleased you like cats. The article is a question not a statement so I am enquiring and exploring the possibility that black people like cats less than white people in America not stating it as a fact. And I believe that if there was a survey it would conclude that there are less cats in black households than white households. Just a guess but a considered guess nonetheless.

      • Who knows…maybe your considered guess is right. I still think the discussion is hella funny! I can’t help it. These types of questions and discussions crack me up! Plus I tend to have an odd sense of humor that doesn’t always translate online. It’s what moms usually call “smart ass.” Throw a Will Smith quote into a discussion about whether or why fewer black households have cats than white households, and I can’t help but smile.

        If I were to make a considered guess, I’d say one reason some black people (or some people in general really) are less inclined to have a cat, especially indoors, is because they dig in the dirt to defecate and are perceived to track cat feces into the home. That’s a big factor for some people. Also, since most black people in America were not born in Africa, have never been to Africa, and their families have been in the US for many generations, perhaps those African superstitions about cats are starting to be less “hardwired into their DNA.” I’m still waiting for the results of my feline affinity DNA test (kidding, totally kidding).

        Frankly, I am a little offended you didn’t offer praise and gratitude for blessing your eyes with a picture of my little sugar bear. (Just kidding!)

  4. I came here because I was watching the movie I,Robot. There is a scene where a cat which had recently lost its owner tries to warm up to Will Smith’s character. Smith tells the cat “…look, this relationship isn’t going to work. You’re a cat. I’m Black. And I ain’t gonna get hurt again.” So I’m genuinely curious about why that line is in the script. It obviously wasn’t offensive to Smith, and why did he even mention his race?

    Of course it’s not actually an issue of race. It’s illogical to suggest that a dislike of cats is related to a person’s genes, aside from perhaps allergies. On the other hand, why can’t we talk about it as a cultural issue? There is undeniably an African American culture that is distinct from other subcultures. Could a dislike of cats be a holdover from African roots? Or perhaps it could be something unique to the South.

    • Hi Eric, thank you for sharing your views. My opinion is this. Africa is where black people come from and in Africa a lot, a high percentage, of black people are superstitious about the cat and particularly black cats. You will find many examples. I think this is hardwired into their DNA.

      The superstition may originate in the simple fact that wild cats in Africa were and in some respects still are a genuine danger to the health and welfare of the people. Also the power of the wild cats were probably worshiped and feared if you go back far enough. Worship is a short step to superstition.

      In my opinion, it is fairly clear to me that a lower percentage of black people living in America prefer cats compared to white people. Black people I believe tend to prefer dogs.

      I like your reference to Will Smith’s line in that film. I’ve seen the film but I forget the line. It is a curious line as you say.

  5. One of the things I love about the internet is that we can ‘talk’ to strangers without seeing each other, so we can’t make any judgements by anyone’s appearance.
    We can become friends without knowing if someone is black or white, or tall or short, or plump or thin etc….
    We are all equal here, we are only judged by what we write.
    We unite as cat lovers! (Apart from trolls like Woody of course) Then we maybe see photos of others and feel we already knew them even before knowing how they look.
    Like Ahsan, our newest PoC family member, his kindness shines from his words, so I wasn’t surprised to see he has a kind face.
    We should follow this in real life and not judge anyone by their looks or their colour because it’s what a person is like inside and what comes out of him/her that counts.

  6. I think it doesnt matter what the Colour of your skin is. As if your taught early on about looking after cats it really and honestly shouldnt matter. Education is the main thing as Cats are no different to dogs. THey all have feelings and hearts.

  7. I live in Louisiana and I think there are more blacks here than in Africa. And every single one of them I’ve seen or come into conversation about cats with acts as if they’re either scared or hate cats. They can’t stand to be teased about it either. I don’t know what they’re problem is. I find that blacks always want to be like other blacks and if one says he or she hates cats, all of them say they hate cats. I’ve come into contact with some whites who hate cats, but there are a lot of whites who like cats, unlike the blacks who nearly all hate cats.

    • Thanks very much for telling us about your very interesting first hand experiences. It chimes with what I think. Black people are far less likely to like cats I believe. They prefer dogs but sense that they are less interested in animals in general. Although I am generalising which is dangerous.

      • And I know that generalizing is a dangerous aspect of bitter truths.

        You take the risks therefore specially from Pakistan people do not mention their names or nick-names either, just start shouting at you in comment box.


        So, what are the future programs about generalising any idea 😉

        I think we must focus on truth and be neutral to our ends 🙂

        What you say my friend? <3

      • I agree about blacks not being interested in animals. But for some reason or other all of them that I’ve come across either hate or fear cats. I don’t know why that is and I’ve never been able to get any kind of explanation for any of them. Personally, I don’t see how anybody could not like a cute little kitten or a sweet natured adult cat. But that’s just the way they are. If they don’t like cats I suppose that’s they’re business. But when I come across anybody who abuses cats or any other kind of animal, that’s when I get mad.

    • I’m black….I love cats. I have two “torties”, one is five years old the other is one year old. Other black people have stopped talking to me in an effort to “force” their hatred of cats on me. The only thing I hate is THEM…

  8. I live in the Midwest, and most of the African Americans here seem to dislike cats. Not sure if it’s fear, dislike or both, but they don’t like them. I only have one other black girlfriend who has cats. I’m like the only one along with her. Haha

    • Thanks Kitty for sharing your experiences. What you say does not surprise me. I have this distinct feeling based on years of life experience that black people are less likely to like cats.

  9. Hi all, I’m 15 years old living in South Africa. Well, today my Helper (she’s a woman well into her 30s) who is from the township area started freaking out when she saw the stray cat we had taken In!! We were forced to take the kitty outside and I just sat there with the cat ._. When I came inside again, Ketiwe* was still in a state! She was crying, shaking,sniffling so much, I honestly thought that maybe she witnessed a murder or something! She still refuses to talk to us about what she sees when she looks at the kitty ! Did I mention it’s a black cat? Unfortunately – there are many instances where the people from the townships ‘hurt’ black cats that roam their streets, and that brings overwhelming rat problems – it’s horribleee because I’m an avid animal-lover – the RSPCA (an animal shelter) does everything they can to help stop this, but I nk this is more of an issue that the black children are brought up with – superstition ? Even some kids in my class refer to black cats as ‘Tokaloshe’ or muti – a kind of witchcraft in South Africa… There’s hardly any information regarding their superstitions on the internet .. So I hope Ketiwe* calms down so I could ask her what it is .. Sucks that I know so little about my own South Africa.

  10. Cats are sweet, affectionate and helpful animals. Unfortunately, many people do not realize their usefulness. For example, pediatricians encourage mothers to keep cats as outside pets. They keep snakes and rodents away. Cats also warn their humans of unusual and suspicious activities. Once our cats alerted us to an infestation in our closet and another time of a destructive prowler around the property(a four legged one).

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