JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s National Black Cat Day!
Black cats get a bad rap, especially during Halloween season, when they’re associated with witches and other scary things.
To celebrate, we wanted to share some fun facts with you from LeadER Blog, LeadER Animal Specialty Hospital:
1. Although a black cat crossing your path supposedly signifies bad luck, in some countries it’s the opposite.
In most of the U.S., superstitious people go out of their way to avoid crossing paths with a black cat, but in other parts of the world, that isn’t the case at all! In parts of places like England, Asia and Ireland, when a black cat crosses your path it signifies good luck.
2. They typically have yellow eyes due to Melanism.
Melanism is basically the opposite of Albinism. An excessive amount of melanin in these cats is what causes their fur to be so black. Essentially, these cats have so much melanin that it causes their irises to be golden/yellow!
3. In North America, black cats are most commonly associated with witches.
Anyone remember the smart-mouthing black cat named Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch? This folklore and association comes from people believing cats turned themselves into black cats or used them as their familiar. Black cats were most commonly believed to be witches because they’re nearly invisible in the dark of night!
4. The color “Solid Black” is only allowed to be considered an option for certain breeds.
There are many types of black cats, but there are limited amounts of breeds who can officially list “black” as a color option, according to Cat Fanciers' Association. Only an estimated 22 breeds can list black as a color option.
5. Black cats are often in danger around Halloween.
Like I said, black cats are closely tied to Halloween. In some parts of the world, black cats are seen as threats or animals to be sacrificed around Halloween. How messed up is that? Because of this, many animal shelters won’t re-home black cats in the weeks surrounding Halloween or in the month of October.
6. To be a true black cat, both of its parents need to have the black color gene.
The black gene is dominant, but the dominant fur pattern is tabby. This means two dominant black color genes have to be present in order to overpower the tabby pattern that leads to multiple fur colors!
7. Black cats fur can turn white with age.
With age, white fur can start to appear on black cats. Just like when a human’s hair goes gray over time, all cats tend to have fur color changes with age. It’s most obvious with black cats, however, because of their dark fur.
8. They can rust.
Well, not literally, but If your black cat spends too much time in the sun, its fur can begin to turn a reddish dark brown. This is known as “rusting.” This is only temporary–once the cat’s melanin levels return to the normal state, so will its fur color!
9. They supposedly have a better immune system than most other cats.
According to research, it’s very likely that cats with black fur have a higher resiliency against illness and are more resistant against diseases like Feline HIV.
10. They’re just like any other cat.
Even though their history is linked with anarchy and witches, these cats are not bad luck and have nothing to do with black magic! The behavioral pattern of these cats are just like the pattern of any other feline. So, next time a black cat crosses your path you have no reason to be concerned.