Just like pumpkins, witches and ghouls, black cats have become synonymous with Halloween and one of the most popular animals associated with the holiday.

Black cats are as famous for being the iconic characters in “Hocus Pocus,” or Salem and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” but their Halloween popularity is said to have caused them some problems. There are many stories that black cats have been abused and used for Satanic rituals, or even killed. Animal shelters shouldn’t allow people to adopt them during October.

The reality is that Halloween doesn’t put black cats at greater risk. This urban legend is merely a myth. 

USA TODAY was told by Becky Robinson (president and founder of Alley Cat Allies) that “that’s pure myth.” It’s an old fear that people will adopt black cats.

Robinson, who founded Alley Cat Allies back in 1990 has been a tireless advocate for cats around the globe. Robinson said that there are no evidence to show black cats were harmed in this season. 

Black cats are associated with Halloween and bad fortune since they have been around as long as the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, when black cats were considered mythical animals. In medieval Europe, the rise of witchcraft was associated with black cats, which then came across to the United States, although there is no clear answer for how the two became connected. Black cats were heavily blamed as well for spreading the Black Plague.

Black cats also have been  characterized as bad luck charms for the people who may cross their paths, but in reality, it’s common to run into one. Black fur is a dominant trait in cats, meaning it just takes that one gene for a cat to appear black. Robinson says that the misguided belief in black cats as unlucky makes it more difficult for black cats to be adopted.

Julie Castle, the CEO of Best Friends Animal Society said that the problem of cat shelters is not limited to the black cat. It impacts all types of cats.

Cats die in shelters far more often than any other animal. Each year, approximately 920,000 shelter animals are euthanized, with more than half, roughly 530,000, being cats, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

“Cats, in general are just getting more into the shelter system. So, therefore, we have to do double the work to get cats adopted into families,” Castle said. When it comes to cats, we have much work ahead of us.

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Since there is no evidence of harm happening to black cats, Robinson says instead of being cautious with adopting out felines around Halloween, shelters actually may use the animal’s popularity to double down on promoting they go to a good home around the spooky holiday.

She stated that halloween is “a marketing period for black cats.” “A lot of animal shelters actually use this time of year to promote black cats for adoption.”

Castle explained that it is important for shelters to be seen by the media during holidays from Halloween through Christmas in order to adopt black cats and other animals. The marketing decision to make all the holidays of late-year a marketing tool for shelters has been successful in recent years. 

Still, if people are still unsure about taking in a black cat, Robinson can vouch from her experience of being a black cat owner, saying they “brought me nothing but good luck.

“They’re uplifting, and I know that there’s hundreds of thousands of people who agree with me who have shared their homes with black cats.”

Follow Jordan Mendoza via Twitter @jordan_mendoza5

Source: USAToday.com

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