Black cats shadowed by harsh superstition

By Diamond Victoria
Editor-in-Chief

Photo by Diamond Victoria Ichabod Crane gears up to pounce out of his favorite crinkle tunnel.

Photo by Diamond Victoria
Ichabod Crane gears up to pounce out of his favorite crinkle tunnel.

 

Since the Middle Ages, black cats have been shunned, abused and killed in the name of superstition. They are considered bad luck and an omen of death and have been made a popular prop for Halloween decorations in the U.S.

But it’s about time to debunk this abusive myth.

The thing is, black cats are just like any other animal who is treated with respect and kindness – sweet, playful and full of love. And nowhere else is this more evident than with my little black cat, Ichabod Crane.

I bought Ichabod Crane almost nine years ago. He was only a few weeks old and alone in a cage off in the corner of a pet store. I bought him because I had a feeling he would be discarded as nothing more than a bad product and would never make it to an actual animal adoption center.

Since then, I have openly fought for the importance of adopting black cats to anyone seeking an animal companion. And despite the 13 percent of Americans who consider black cats unlucky, several countries in the rest of the world consider them good luck.

In England, giving a bride a black cat is believed to bring her good luck, according to The Huffington Post. In Scottish lore, a black cat showing up at one’s home is thought to be a sign of wealth to come.

Despite these being positive beliefs, they are still just that: beliefs. None of it is proof of black cats bringing luck. It simply goes to show that different cultures have different stories to tell.

Ichabod Crane weighs 7 pounds and is entirely black aside from a small white spot of fur on his chest. He has never meowed. He squeaks. He loves his favorite spot tucked away in my linen closet. His favorite thing is milk, which I try not to give him because it upsets his stomach. His purr is soft, and he loves kneading on my lap. He’s a quiet cat who enjoys lying in the warmth of a sunbeam on my balcony and sleeps at the foot of my bed every night.

It’s likely nobody would know about my little cat and his sweet disposition if I hadn’t decided to rescue him from what could have led to his placement in a kill shelter. He could have seen his death too soon because of ancient and outdated beliefs regarding cats with dark fur.

While black cats are given the same opportunities to be adopted, they are given up to shelters more frequently than other cats and have the highest euthanasia rate at 30 percent, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ website.

According to time.com, some shelters have special adoption days for black animals including cats and dogs. Prices are generally lowered to encourage adoptions.

For years, black cats have been portrayed as evil or menacing in films and television alongside witches and other horror elements. They have been typecast for a life of abuse and misunderstanding and live in the shadows of ancient superstitions.

But in reality, these mini panthers are not only incredibly photogenic, but capable of being anyone’s best friend.

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