Throughout history, folklore and old wives’ tales have painted black cats as benevolent supernatural beings in some cultures, saviors of sailors and ships in others, and symbols of Satan in England, Their association with Halloween and witches continues today. But more and more people are discovering black cats for their loyalty, their intelligence and their beauty.
So why are black cats still considered hard to adopt? Perhaps there is still a stigma attached to them. But there are also some realistic reasons as well. Black is a more dominant gene in cats, meaning there are likely more of them. And since the law of supply and demand applies to cats and dogs just like it applies to goods and services, the more black cats there are, the lower their perceived value. And black cats are notoriously hard to photograph. In the unforgiving light of a shelter, an unskilled photographer attempting to photograph a black cat often ends up with only an indistinguishable black blob with eyes – a hard sell in a world where more and more pets are being introduced to potential adopters via photographs online.
But last month, the Cleveland Animal Protective League and Public Animal Welfare Society of Ohio (PAWS), set out to change the perception of black cats and promote adoptions. They teamed up with Friendship Animal Protection League, Geauga Humane Society’s Rescue Village, Lake Humane Society, and Pawsibilities, The Humane Society of Greater Akron for “Everything Goes With Black”. The two day event, featuring reduced adoption fees, expanded outreach and education efforts, and some very creative marketing helped showcase black cats across the community. In just two days, 159 cats were adopted. 79 of those were black, including Lucy and Cosmo, who had been in foster care at PAWS for two years.
Special promotions aimed at increasing adoptions of black cats are catching on. To celebrate Black Friday ,the day after Thanksgiving and the traditional start of the Holiday shopping season, Norfolk Animal Care Center offered 1/2 off black cat adoptions, calling their event “Black Fur-iday”. The Virginia Beach SPCA also reduced adoption fees on black cat and black dogs as part of Black Friday, as did the the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, the Animal Rescue Project in Portage, Michigan, the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and dozens of other organizations across the country.
Cleveland Animal Protection League. (n.d.) “Everything Goes with Black” adopt-a-thon on October 1st and 2nd. Retrieved November 28, 2010 from the Cleveland Animal Protection League website http://www.theapl.org/MediaPR-EverythingGoesWithBlack.html.
Debbie Messina.(11/20/2009). Some see racial overtones in Norfolk’s pet adoption event. Retrieved November 28, 2010 from the Virginian-Pilot website http://hamptonroads.com/2009/11/some-see-racial-overtones-norfolks-petadoption-event.
Christin Rogel. (11/24/2010). Animal adoption deal offered for Black Friday. Retrieved November 28, 2010 from the Las Cruces Sun-News website http://www.lcsun-news.com/las_cruces-news/ci_16698638
Derrick Perkins. (11/26/2010). ‘Black Friday’ sales extend to dog, cat adoptions at local shelter. Retrieved November 28, 2010 from the Alexandria Times website http://www.alextimes.com/news/2010/nov/26/black-friday-sales-extend-to-dog-cat/.
Lois, Animal Rescue Project. (11/25/2010). Special two-day Black Friday pet adoption event. Retrieved November 28, 2010 from Animal Rescue Project blog at http://www.animalrescueproject.org/blog/special-two-day-black-friday-pet-adoption-event/.
PAWS. (11/22/2010). Black Friday Weekend: Black Dogs & Cats for $40. Retrieved November 28, 2010 from PAWS blog at http://blog.paws.org/2010/11/black-friday-weekend-black-dogs-cats-for-40.html.