Picture your storybook Halloween night: bubbly cauldrons, green-faced witches, and toothy jack-o-lanterns. This scene would be incomplete without a black cat perched on a fence post with glowing eyes. Many cultures seem to have a unique perception of these midnight felines.
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You may be familiar with some black cat myths. A popular tale is that bad luck will ensue if one crosses your path. The stereotype exists that black cats are the pets of witches. Some say they were used by sorcerers to spy on enemies and return with details of their affairs. It’s believed that witches can shape-shift into cat form to deviously prowl about. Pirate legend holds that when a black cat crawls on board a ship it shall be cursed and sink on the next day. Talk about a bad rap!
These stories portray black cats in a negative manner and warn of consequences but don’t fret kitty lovers! Many cultures see black cats in a very different light, bringing good fortune to their families and businesses. Some believe that petting an approaching black cat brings good luck to you and your family. Women married to sea captains own black beauties in hopes that kitty will send positive vibes to their husbands away at sea.
Black cats are often protected and many shelters have a day where they can be adopted for free. It is a way to encourage people to open their hearts and homes to these wonderful dark fuzz balls. Some shelters will even disallow black cats to be adopted around Halloween, for fear of being used for holiday decor, only to be abandoned shortly after. You may be aware that black cats are often the last to be adopted and have the longest stints in shelters. If you’re lucky enough to have a black fuzzy in your home, you know that they make some of the most beautiful and loving companions.
Tales aside, there are some very interesting facts about cats, black ones in particular. Black cats don’t just have beautiful golden peepers for no reason—it can be explained by their higher levels of melanin. All-black cats come to be due to a recessive gene that usually hides any pattern. Even though you may think you have a brown cat, sometimes-black cats can look brownish from their fur turning color in the sun. Male cats tend to have all black coats more than females.
These dark creatures are pretty cool, even if they have a little bit of mysterious history in their furry family trees. Fear not, the next time a black cat crosses your path.