‘Purrrrfectly’ fun facts about black cats #BlackCats
‘Purrrrfectly’ fun facts about black cats
Black cats are symbolic of Halloween. Black cats appear in decorations as well as Halloween folklore. Many cultures harbor superstitions about black cats – feeling they represent either good or bad luck.
Black cats have long been thought to be companions of witches or “familiars,” demonic animals gifted to them. Various tales indicating that black cats are witches’ familiars. A familiar is an animal-shaped spirit or minor demon believed to be a domestic servant, spy and/or companion to a witch or magician. Familiars also help bewitch enemies or divine information.
While some think it’s bad luck for a black cat to cross your path, in Ireland, Scotland and England, black cats symbolize good luck.
Very often black cats unnecessarily have been given a bad reputation. However, black cats are no different from other types of cats, and they can make wonderful family pets.
The Cat Fanciers’ Association recognizes 22 different cat breeds that are capable of producing solid black coats. These domestic cats can be mixed or specific breeds. Black is one of the three basic colors of cats that can be called “pure.” The other two are red and white. All other colors and patterns of cats are a combination of black, white and red. The Bombay breed of cat was selectively bred to be pure black. Most other black coats occur through random genetics.
Black cats have appeared throughout history. Ancient Egyptians once worshiped black cats, and owning a black cat was thought to bring good luck. Those who live in England and Japan also felt black cats were harbingers of good luck. In Japan, some believe that a single woman who owns a black cat has a better chance of attracting suitors.
Due to their high melanin content, a condition called melanism, black cats commonly have bright, yellow eyes. Because black cats can blend into the shadows easily, sometimes all a person may see are a black cat’s glowing eyes.
Black cats once became so highly valued that some people could not afford to have them. That’s because fishermen and their wives saw black cats as good luck. Cats were even allowed to ride aboard ships. Not only could they catch errant rodents, but also they may have been charms for safe travels.
Much as human hair color can change as a person ages, so, too can a black cat’s fur. Black cats may start to develop gray or white fur as they age, according to the cat information resource Catster. Spending too much time in the sun also may cause the fur to “rust.” This means the pigments lighten, leading to the cat’s fur developing a rusty, red hue.
The San Francisco SPCA says black cats are usually the last to be adopted. They are half as likely to be adopted as other cats. This may be due to misconceptions and superstitions. What’s more, unfortunately, black cats are also the target of malicious behavior around Halloween. Many shelters will not allow adoptions of black cats around Halloween out of fear for the animal’s safety. For those who already own a black cat, it’s advisable to keep him or her indoors on or near Halloween.
Article compliments of MetroCreative. TF16A473
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First published May 31, 2018. Last updated or republished October 28, 2019.