This superstition came about because of their association with witches in the Middle Ages. Black cats are still considered bad luck throughout most of Europe, India and the US. Many pet shelters in the US will not adopt out black cats around Halloween due to the increased risk of harm.
Not all countries think of black cats as bad luck though, Great Britain, Ireland, Japan, Australia and New Zealand all consider black cats to be good luck. A black cat who crosses your path in England is thought to be good luck. In Germany, if a black cat crosses your path from left to right, it is a good omen if it crosses from right to left it is a bad omen.
British sailors used to believe that black cats would bring them good luck and would seek out black cats to have as ship cats.
Sadly, even though many view black cats as lucky, reports indicate that black cats are over-represented in animal shelters.
All cats are born with blue eyes at birth; they change colour around the 8 – 12-week mark. I have read that it is possible for black cats to have blue eyes, but this is extremely rare. At the time of writing, I have been unable to verify if it is indeed genetically possible for a black cat to have blue eyes.
Yellow and green are the most common eye colours in black cats.
Image Ralph Daily, Flickr
Black is a common colour in domestic cats.
The Bombay is the only breed which only comes in black. However, there are many other breeds of cat which come in black as well as other colours. These include:
- American Curl
- American Shorthair
- American Wirehair
- British Longhair
- British Shorthair
- Cornish Rex
- Cymric (longhaired Manx)
- Devon Rex
- European Shorthair
- Norwegian Forest Cat
- Russian Black
- Scottish Fold
- Scottish Shorthair
- Selkirk Rex
- Turkish Angora
Black cat appreciation days
27th October – National black cat day (US).
17th November – National black cat day (Italy)
Image Ana C, Flickr
- Black Jack
- Black Magic
Did you know?
A seal point Siamese is genetically a black cat, but the Himalayan gene they carry inhibits the black colouration on the warmer parts of the body.
Black Cat Appreciation Day was launched in the United States to dispel the negative view towards black cats. The date is August 17th.
Photographing black cats
This can be somewhat of a challenge due to their coat. When shooting in automatic mode (as most people do), or on a phone, the camera sees black and tries to adjust the shot by increasing the brightness. This can make the photo look somewhat washed out. If you can adjust the settings on your camera, it is better to shoot in manual or Av (aperture priority) mode, and under-expose by one or two stops. Avoid using the flash.
It is always a good idea to keep your black cat indoors all the time, however, this is especially important in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Sadly there are still people out there who will take the opportunity to take out their ignorance and aggression on black cats. So it is best for all concerned to keep your cat safe and indoors.
Black cats make just as beautiful pets as cats of any other colour. It is unfortunate that they are still the target of superstition in so many countries.
In memory of Shadow and Podge.