Opinion

Despite superstitions, black cats deserve love too

They’re cute, they’re furry and they’re being thrown out into the streets. Black cats often come to mind because of one particularly important day that’s just around the corner. And no, I’m not talking about Halloween.

I’m talking about Black Cat Day, of course. In 2014, the U.K.’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reported that 70 percent of the abandoned cats in its care were black. The Cats Protection charity subsequently designated Oct. 27 as a day to celebrate the wonders of our dark-colored feline friends and encourage people to adopt them. While there’s no concrete answer as to why black cats face such high abandonment rates, some have attributed the neglect to ancient European folklore.

Historically, black cats are often associated with bad luck and other superstitious beliefs. In Medieval Europe, black cats were thought to be witches in disguise and were often killed by the thousands. In some cases, owners of black cats were also thought to be witches and were promptly punished or executed.

Today, we live in a far more scientifically advanced age that invalidates just about every superstitious belief out there. While the witch craze of the Middle Ages has died down, black cats continue to be abandoned by the thousands in many countries. In the United States alone, black cats have the lowest adoption rate and the highest euthanasia rate, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

As in the United Kingdom, the United States has its own day for raising awareness about these potential furry companions. The day is Aug. 17, which the ASPCA designated as Black Cat Appreciation Day in hopes of getting them off the streets and into warm, comfortable homes.

So the next time you stop by a pet store or shelter, consider having a black cat in your life. Even if it’s not Black Cat Day, don’t let that discourage you from adopting one of these intelligent, beautiful, ebony-coated felines. The experience of owning a pet is very rewarding, as many scientific studies demonstrate. Pets in general can improve mood and lower depression, and black cats are no exception. They’ll love you just as much as any other cat would and, regardless of what some people might tell you, they’re completely jinx-free.

Find out more at www.petfinder.com/animal-shelters-and-rescues/.

Israel Aragon is a sophomore majoring in psychology.

Featured image courtesy Pixabay user bella67.

October 26, 2016

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