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Black Cats Have It Tough

Don't let a black cat cross your path; it’s bad luck. A black cat is the constant companion of only one kind of keeper—a witch. These persistent, mythological warnings are indelibly ingrained in our cultural dialog and perpetuated by the books we read and the movies we see. However, while the familiar shape of a black cat with an arched back and icy green eyes makes for classic Halloween window dressing, it also has a measurable and heartbreaking effect on adoption rates of ebony-haired felines.

Hard statistics are difficult to come by, but most shelter workers say black cats take twice as long to adopt on average—and this is if they are adopted at all. According to the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 40 percent of the cats taken in during 2011 were predominantly black. Of those, 35 percent were adopted; 40 percent were euthanized.

Augmenting the issue is the practical reality that black cats are more difficult to take flattering photos of and their expressions are more difficult to read. Because online photographs are a primary avenue of pet adoptions today, it’s important for shelter workers to take extra measures to ensure an aesthetically pleasing and emotive image is captured (for tips on taking compelling pet photos, please visit One Picture Can Save a Life).

Want to do your part to eradicate this myth and help out kitties in need of forever homes? Share this story via social media and tell your friends and family. Superstition only persists if it’s reinforced, and the only thing this superstition does is make life harder on these innocent animals. Why not help debunk this myth even more actively by adopting a sweet-tempered black cat of your own? Chances are you won’t be met with bad luck, but an avalanche of unconditional love!

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