Thursday, August 4, 2011

Black Cats

Black Cats are GOOD Luck …

In honor of the 6th birthday of my son’s cat, Licorice, I decided to do a blog post on black cats. The superstition surrounding them leads to such sad circumstances as black cats staying in shelters and humane societies longer than any other color (some say almost twice as long!). This makes me cry. Most of my life, I’ve had Siamese, especially blue points. I love me my Meezers. Life isn’t complete without a (talkative) Siamese to welcome you home. That said, however, the next most frequent cat type I’ve had?

Plain ol’ Alley Black.

I love black cats almost as much as Siamese.

First, I think they’re beautiful. There’s nothing like the sleek, blue-sheen of true black fur. Ebony. Onyx. Carbon. Coal. Raven. They’re absolutely gorgeous.

Second, “black” is nature’s most popular color. Dogs, cats … there are more black dogs and cats than almost any other color (except maybe gray). But people consider BLACK “bad luck” and are more reluctant to adopt them.

This is silly. The association of black with “evil,” “witchcraft,” “sin,” and “death” is unfortunate. Nor is it universal. Not a few societies see WHITE as the color of death, not black. Let me also point out that BLACK soil is considered the most fertile. Black is RICH, not evil. In my own native culture, black is the sacred color of the north -- not bad at all.

The (obvious) connection seems to be that night = black = unable to see things (easily) = mysterious/dangerous/evil, while day = white/gold/yellow = good = able to see things easily. This makes a certain sense in eras before electric lighting. But it’s led to all sorts of unfortunate social assumptions that have harmed “black” beings … whether those were black African slaves, or black cats (or dogs), or even bats. But oh boy, where would we be without bats?! There’s another much maligned creature who are our FRIENDS. And, in the spirit of full disclosure, I should admit I think bats are the coolest mammals ever! (Who wouldn’t want sonar and hearing like theirs?!) Like bees, the world needs bats.

Black is beautiful. It may be a cliché of the ‘60s, but it’s also true. Whether skin or fur, BLACK IS TRULY BEAUTIFUL. So are white, and red, and brown, and yellow. But this blog entry is about BLACK.

Black cats. It’s considered lucky, you know, to OWN a black cat (or be owned by one!). It’s GOOD luck to have one enter your house. Being greeted at the door by a black cat, or touching one is also GOOD luck.

Adopt a BLACK cat. Please. Encourage others to do so. There aren’t a lot of statistics about adoptions, but -- as mentioned above -- what we have say black cats (and dogs, but *especially* black cats) stay in shelters longer than any other color. People fear them for NO good reason. Licorice was the only black cat with two gray siblings, but guess who got adopted first? He did! Ian saw him in the window as soon as we walked into the humane society, and he said, “Mommy, I want THAT one.” Mom, with due caution, suggested we look at several cats. So we did. But as soon as they brought Licorice into the room, he ran to Ian who welcomed him with open arms. That was the cat we took home that day, and secretly, I was glad that my son wanted the BLACK one. They’ve been best friends ever since. He saw the beauty of a black cat, and that cat has been one of the best-tempered, smartest cats I’ve ever known. The irony? We got a couple of extra “perks” for adopting the black cat, including a special knitted blanket. Why? People don’t WANT black cats/dogs.

Again, this makes me very sad. Take it from someone who’s had more than one … black cats are the BEST luck you’ll ever take home.

Next time you’re considering a new cat, look -- hard -- at the black ones.