11 fascinating facts you need to know about black cats
1. In certain parts of the world, black cats are considered good luck charms
Throughout many portions of England and Ireland, it’s thought of as a lucky thing if a black cat crosses your path. Some think if a cat is walking towards you, it is bringing good luck! Both Irish and British sailors would often adopt a black ‘ship’s cat’ for good luck on their many voyages.
2. Black Cats Were Once Considered Egyptian Royalty
A deity way back in the 22nd Dynasty, Bast, (Egyptian Dynasty) was commonly shown in hieroglyphics as a lady with the head of a black cat! Many historians believe it was a common practice for the Egyptian people to adopt black cats, thinking these furry little ones contained Bast’s spirit!
3. Black Cats Seem to Have Low Adoption Rates
Sadly, Black Cats have some of the lowest adoption rates in U.S. shelters. To make matters worse, they have very high rates of euthanasia. For pretty obvious reasons, there are some rough superstitions and negative beliefs surrounding black cats.
4. Halloween is a Dangerous Time for Black Cats
Many shelters refuse to re-home these little ones around Halloween. Unfortunately, this is a dangerous time for the little ones, due to all of those misguided superstitions out there. Where as most of us animal lovers detest cruelty in any form, there are some who either fear the animals enough to hurt them, or simply delight in torture. How Detestable!
5. There is actually a Black Cat Awareness Day
August 17 is Black Cat Awareness Day every year! Shelters, rescues and other organizations will often offer decreased adoption fees, or even pet adoption programs, around this time. If you’re looking to adopt, this would be a great time!
Come to think of it, that is right around the corner. Are you ready to celebrate national cat day?
6. Where the ‘Bad Luck’ Myth Began
The black cats being bad luck myth actually dates back to the European middle ages. Back cats were often associated with the belief of witchcraft, and the unfortunate woman accused were usually seen feeding or housing stray cats in the area.
To compound the superstition, a tale began in which a father, with his son, claimed to have seen a witch transform into a black cat.
7. Black Death Tragedy Could Have Been Mitigated
The true irony of it all links to the ‘Black Death’ Bubonic plague epidemic in Europe, beginning around the late 1300’s, is estimated to have resulted in the deaths of a whopping 30%-60% of Europe’s entire population! This is quite a bit, considering a majority of the human population lived in Europe at the time. The plague was carried by fleas on rats, but no one had any way of knowing that.
Of course, what animal loves to hunt and kill rats? You guessed it, cats. Sadly, cats were being killed off in multitudes by ignorant people believing in silly superstition, so there were very few predators to keep the rodent population in check, or at least far less than there would have been.
I wonder how many people suffered and died horrible deaths which could have been avoided if not for these ignorant beliefs.
8. Genetic Mutations Might Lead to More Resistances
Gene mutations are already the reason cats are black, Mutations leading to a cat being black are in fact in the same familial group as those involved with HIV, so the belief is black cats have a bonus on resistance over others. Of the 37 or so species of cats out there, about 11 have the benefit of black coats!
9. There is a Cat Cafe Solely Devoted to Black Cats in Japan
If you’re ever lucky enough to visit Nekobiyaka in Himeji, Japan, you’ll probably see more black cats than you ever have in one place before! Visitors are welcome to interact with the cats, and each one can be seen wearing a uniquely colored bandana to tell them apart. Of course, their names are each separately placed along with their colors.
You’ll get to look at a little book with photos of all of the cats, noting names and birthdays, and the cafe is furnished in a residential type style.
10. Black Coated Cats Benefit in the Wild
We all know most cat species didn’t begin as domesticated house pets, but the black coat coloring probably evolved through environmental selection, as a benefit to camouflage for hunting.
Think about it. Cats are nocturnal hunters, right? Which would be able to hide better in the darkness, a brow and tan cat, or a black cat? The black cat would have great success not only sneaking up on other animals at night unseen, but also hiding from predators. In fact, this is the reason many animal species are the color they are!
Anyway, in this case, the more successful cats (black) were more likely to survive and pass on their genetic traits to offspring.
11. Cats Have a special Membrane that Helps Night Vision
Have you ever wondered why a cat’s eyes seem to glow when the light hits them just right? In fact, all cats (not just black) have a special reflective membrane in the back of their eyes, called the tapetum lucidum, which we humans don’t.
The tapetum lucidum actually helps reflect light back to their retinas, offering a kind of ‘second chance’ to improve night time or darkness vision. This makes a lot of sense, since cats are mainly nocturnal hunters, and rely on night vision.
Many animals, including dogs, have this. This is exactly why an animal’s eyes might seem to ‘glow’ when the light hits them a certain way!