Black cat awareness day: 'Beauty is more than fur deep'
Black cats, despite their reputation for bringing luck, are being neglected when it comes to people choosing to adopt a cat from rehoming shelters, according to a charity. So today - in an attempt to rectify the balance and prove monochrome moggies are just as much fun as their ginger and tabby rivals - it's national black cat day.
It seems internet-users are on board, as there's been a spike in the number of online searches for black cat, and a surge in tweets using the hashtag #blackcatday.
Why are the sooty pussies being ignored? Research by Cats Protection found on average, black cats have to wait 22% longer to find a new home compared to their more colourful friends.
The study indicated one reason was that black cats are perceived as "less playful and friendly" than their striped, tabby and tortoiseshell counterparts - which the charity says is simply not true.
Some of your cats:
"There is a tendency to see the black cats as less exciting, which we think is because they are much more common among the cat population," says Gemma Croker from the organisation.
"When people visit any of our branches and adoption centres, they can be faced with a large number of black or black-and-white cats so their eyes tend to wander over to the brighter-coloured tabbies, light tortoiseshells and gingers who look more exciting to adopt.
"But beauty really is more than fur deep."
Black cat folklore
- A funeral procession meeting up with a black cat is believed to forecast the death of a family member
- In 16th Century Italy, people believed that an ill person would die if a black cat lay on the sickbed
- Although in the UK it's good luck if a black cat crosses your path (unless you're at a funeral), in the US it's considered bad luck. The opposite is true for white cats
- Finding a white hair on a black cat brings good luck - but if you pull it out your luck will sour
- In Scotland a strange black cat on a porch brings prosperity to the householder
- King Charles I believed that his own black cat was incredibly lucky and that if any ill fate fell upon it, the kingdom would fall
- The Norse goddess of love and fertility, Freya, supposedly travelled in a chariot pulled by two black cats
- In medieval England, it was commonly believed that if you wilfully killed a cat, you would automatically forfeit your soul to the devil
- The wives of sea fishermen working in perilous waters believed that keeping a black cat would protect their husbands while they were away
What some black-cat lovers have to say:
How big a problem is the black cat issue for cat charities?
Cats Protection's Danielle Draper says it's a "real struggle".
"People find black cats a little dull when compared with other colours. But the reality is that you really can't predict what a cat's temperament will be like based on the colour of its fur.
"Black cats are just as fun-loving, mischievous and playful as any other cat and have just as much to offer in terms of companionship."
One person who agrees is Jane Scott, from Wallington in Surrey, whose cat Caspar is not only the furry face of the Cats Protection campaign but "truly lovely".
"He is very friendly, playful and loves to be around people," she says.
More of your cats:
And even more...
Words by Bethan Bell.