Black cats are less likely to be adopted — is superstition the reason why?

Oct 29, 2014 at 9:29 a.m. ET
Image: Tiffany Hagler-Geard/Sheknows

Although superstition surrounding black cats claims these felines are unlucky for people, the statistics suggest it's the other way around.

People, it would seem, are unlucky for black cats.

Did you know that black cats have the lowest adoption rate of any of their kitty counterparts? Or that, subsequently, they have the highest euthanasia rate?

According to a study in the Journal of Applied Welfare Science that examined adoption rates over a nine-month period, black cats are half as likely to get adopted as tabby cats and a dismaying two-thirds less likely to get adopted than white cats.

There is no logical explanation for this "black cat syndrome." Some suspect it is the superstition factor. Others suspect it is because black cats can't be seen very well in dim-lit kennels at shelters or because they don't show well in photographs on adoption sites.

Unfortunately this unfounded phobia leads to black cats going unnoticed, being ignored by many rescue groups because they are harder to place (and therefore hold foster spots much longer) and, ultimately, running out of time.

But here's the truth: The benefits of having a black cat for a companion are innumerable. For starters, in many countries, black cats are actually considered to be a sign of good luck!

In the U.K., a black cat crossing your path will bring you a smile and indicate that good fortune is headed your way. Latvian farmers who find black cats dance with joy at this sure sign they will reap an abundant harvest. Black cats have been considered deities in Egypt since ancient times. In Scotland, a black cat on a porch brings prosperity. And in China, the blacker a cat is, the better the luck it is for the person who owns it.

Besides, black is always in style. Whatever fashion fads come and go, black remains timeless, and black cats are no exception. Distantly related to panthers, they are striking and majestic.

So, listen. It's almost Halloween. Why not kick superstition aside this year and adopt a black cat? Take a look at these seven loving cats from the Humane Society of New York that are available for adoption nationwide, and bring home your own mini-panther.

Adoptable black cat

Photo credit: All Photos by Tiffany Hagler-Geard/SheKnows/Humane Society of New York

Well, if this isn't a handsome, distinguished-looking fellow, then we just don't know what is. Born in July 2003, Gabe is an easygoing guy described as "a really, really nice boy."

Belinda

Despite having come from a hard life on the streets, Belinda is a happy, well-adjusted kitten. And with her medium-hair coat and cute white smudges, she's obviously a total beauty.

Adoptable black cat

Eight-year-old Moby is graceful, loved and a real "guys' guy" — he's all about hanging with his feline bros. He's also quite partial to people, particularly ones who lavish him with petting and adoration.

Adoptable Black Cat

I mean, c'mon. Could this little Nicolas be any cuter? We think not.

Adoptable black cat

Move over, Iggy Azalea — this is one seriously fancy cat. While Venus is still getting used to the camera, I think we can all agree she's a natural. This feline is f-i-e-r-c-e.

Adoptable black cat

Dinah may be on daily medication for hyperthyroidism, but she doesn't let it hold her back. In fact, she's otherwise perfectly healthy and loves to be petted. And, you know, she's super pretty too.

Adoptable black cat

Sasha is what we would call the best of both worlds — she is a free-spirited, independent young lady... who also happens to love her people-time too. Her shelter friends say she is so animated and sleek that she was quite possibly a professional dancer in a former life.

For more information please check out the Humane Society of New York

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100 Black-and-white kittens abandoned at a Bay Area shelter

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