Some Evidence That Black Cats Are Healthier

Cynthia Olen

Black cat with a short tail
Stubby – Black Cat – Short Tail – Great Pic – copyright Helmi Flick
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

I have two black cats at the moment and have never had any health problems with them. Other cats I’ve owned—tabbies, torbies, and color points (including an old-fashioned Seal Point Siamese) — have also been reasonably healthy in terms of infectious disease, though I have lost 4 of them (domestic shorthair type) to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and 2 Colorpoints had severe allergies to fleas compared to other cats.

They were all mixed breed, with the exception of the seal-point siamese, so generally benefitted from hybrid vigor. The Siamese lived to a ripe old age, but he had chronic problems with urinary tract blockages and infections. My black cats, however, have by far been the healthiest and most vigorous animals.

But, testimony based on limited personal experience is useless.

I have lived in a couple of neighborhoods which had very large feral cat populations, and have encountered other colonies routinely as I go about my daily grind. One thing I have noticed is that, as disease, exposure, malnutrition and competition take their tolls on these colonies—and trap/neuter/release efforts reduce the birthrate—the survivors tend to be mainly black cats with a minority of ordinary brown or gray tabbies (short-haired in each case)!

Little by little the other colors and the long-hairs drop out. The sickly cats always seemed to be the fanciest looking — white and color points especially — and if injured, they didn’t seem to recover as quickly nor as well compared to the black cats and tabbies.

I see this kind of pattern in cat colonies all the time. Is this pattern typical, and does it speak to the natural vigor of black cats and tabbies, and to the short-haired form?


P.S. Note from Michael (Admin). There is little or no scientific evidence available to the public on this topic (this should deficiency needs to be rectified) so when a visitor has something to say about it, it’s worth publishing. We are reliant upon anecdotal evidence.

4 thoughts on “Some Evidence That Black Cats Are Healthier”

  1. I haven’t really seen more longevity with my black ferals rather than my others. But, I don’t discount that possibility overall.
    My experience is that black coated males and orange ones (unneutered) tend to suffer the most from infections and blood bourne diseases. Even after being neutered, most large black or orange males will dominate a colony and be territorial which, persistently, exposes them to maladies. The same isn’t true, ofcourse, for females. However, about 50% of black and orange ferals (male and female) that I rescue and domesticate as much as possible, test positive for FIV. Their lives in the wild would be very limited otherwise.
    I’ve never had any male cat of color (especially blue or tabby) assume the role of dominance in a feral colony.
    I, genuinely, haven’t ever seen

  2. There is a link between melanism and resistance to infection. Melanism is when cats with otherwise normal coats turn charcoal black in colour. The black panther which is a jaguar is a classic example. Quite a few of the wild cat species can be melanistic.

    A black coat and improved health but you can click on this link which goes to a BBC website page which discusses this association between health and a black coat.

    There is little information from scientists about the connection between black coats and improved health. That is why I published a comment from Cynthia and turned it into an article. I thought it was useful and interesting. I would like to see some more research done on this. But the indication is that there may be a connection from a scientific standpoint.

  3. Cynthia, I appreciate knowing your experience, however, I believe that there’s nothing to substantiate a cat’s color as being responsible for their health or lack of. No more than I would believe a person’s color determines their health. I can’t see why one would affect the other, except in cases where a person’s color would mean they were denied access to healthy food, nurturing, a positive environment or medical care.

    Health or disease in animals and people is the result of many factors which include heredity, nurturing or lack of, diet, environment, (complex in itself!) risk from exposure to toxins or contagions, and their general immune state.

    I don’t know if any scientific studies have been done on this topic, but that’s the information I’d look to for guidance.

    My first black cat, at 6 yrs. old, died of being poisoning by a cat hater. My second black cat, a Persian mix, died of cancer at 4 years old.

    Many years ago, I adopted two black short haired female siblings. They were about 4 months old, and had such wild behavior, that I returned them to the breeder.

    These have been my only experiences having black cats, but I’ve had black cat friends that belonged to neighbors, who were very sweet and friendly. I don’t know their health history though.

    The one I have now, my first long haired gray cat was a feral for a year before I adopted her. She was very healthy for 5 years, and her health issues started after seeing a vet for constipation, and being given Baytril. The vet thought she “might have a UTI”, although there were no symptoms; only constipation. I changed vets.

    Since I’ve been feeding her raw food, she has no constipation, and seems to be thriving, except from being stressed by the attacks of a 3 month old kitten in the house. She was bitten by him on the back of the neck, and for now I keep them separated while I figure out a solution.


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