Black Cats Deserve Better

I know that there is a lot of superstition surrounding black cats, but I certainly don’t believe in that hocus pocus at all, because it is just that—hocus pocus. 

I once knew someone who was very reluctant to help me try to save a stray and injured black kitten, and I wondered why they believed in this superstition so much, that they would rather see it die than go near it! It turns out, as Ginny A. Roth writes in “The Truth About Black Cats”, that “during the Middle Ages when people became sick and died without understanding the scientific truths of their illnesses”, they would baselessly blame it on “witches” and black cats. This stereotype has unfortunately stuck with black cats, and it taints their reputation to this day! 

Roth also notes that “The superstitions surrounding black cats have affected them so negatively that these cats have some of the lowest adoption rates and the highest euthanasia rates out of all cats in American shelters”. These cats are incredibly neglected because of irrational beliefs, and I find this to be really unfair. It’s like if someone spread a lie about you in high school and that rumor stuck with you, your kids, your grandkids, and so forth. This generational stigma just doesn’t make sense when applied to people and to cats. In fact, there is evidence that suggests that the superstitions surrounding black cats are not only false but that black cats actually pose a lot of benefits for their humans!

Roth writes that all cats, including black cats “provide emotional support, improve moods, and contribute to the overall morale” of their human. This goes to show that black cats are the same as all other cats and that there is nothing about them that brings bad luck. In this way, the superstitions against black cats are unnecessary and only cause black cats’ suffering. No one is served by believing in such superstitions, so these commonly held beliefs must change.

Why not substitute the harmful superstition of black cats being bad luck with the more positive characteristics that cultures associate with black cats? Roth writes that in Japan, “black cats can bring prosperity, bless a marriage, ensure good harvests, and even help bring success to a theater production”. There is no sense in holding a false belief against black cats, as there are people who know black cats to be positive creatures. Why hate black cats nonsensically when one can just appreciate them for being cats that can bring love and joy into the lives of humans, just like any other cat?

To end the stigma against black cats, consider adopting one from a shelter. At the very least, consider that black cats are just like any other cat, and the only difference is that they have black fur that people have attached a negative stereotype to. At the end of the day, black cats are living, breathing cats that need love and a home! Next time you see a black cat, consider this rather than feeding into the damaging stereotypes that black cats face. Black cats have a lot to contribute to the world, and you can help make a better future for them by reframing your thoughts about them and by (hopefully) adopting them!