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Home > Cats > Are Black Cats Really in Danger During Halloween? The Sad Truth

Are Black Cats Really in Danger During Halloween? The Sad Truth

black persian cat in halloween costume beside pumpkins

With their quiet personalities, a black cat can come softly in a room like a shadow. Throughout the centuries, many cultures have regarded these peaceful creatures as objects of superstition and even companions of witches. However, we know all of that’s just a bunch of hocus pocus. Even so, there are anecdotal tales that black cats are often captured, tortured, and mutilated around Halloween. Many humane societies ban cat adoptions on October 31st and many shelters across the nation cry out against the animal cruelty that seems to escalate during that time of year. Does evidence justify their actions, or are they supporting a modern myth? The truth is that there hasn’t been any conclusive evidence that these occur more frequently around October 31st than any other time. 


Why Black Cats Are Always in Danger

We may think we live in an age of reason, but statistics show black-colored cats are the least likely to become adopted1. Black and white solid color and gray tabby patterned cats are some of the most common felines, so you might think that may explain the high shelter euthanasia rate. However, even though white cats are almost as popular, they are the most likely to be adopted and least likely to be euthanized, which clearly shows how people hold biases against black cats.

Unfortunately, we can’t help but believe the lingering multicultural superstitions may have something to do with it. Black cats have been reviled at least since the Middle Ages, when Europeans thought they were responsible for spreading the Bubonic Plague. Ironically, the black cats were probably catching the real perpetrators: the rats. These innocent cats were killed by the thousands—and the Plague spread like wildfire.

Today, no one may not believe black cats are responsible for spreading disease, but many still think running into one spells bad luck. However, not all cultures believe black cats are a bad omen. According to Japanese legends, crossing paths with a black cat actually brings good luck, especially to single women who are looking for a husband.

Kids Lying On Bed with Black Cat
Image By: cottonbro studio, Pexels

So, Are Black Cats Really In Danger on Halloween?

Tales of cat sacrifice and mutilations abound near Halloween, but this is not the case. Rather, we might be more aware of crimes against black cats during Halloween since the holiday tends to steer our focus towards these “spooky” felines. The rumors and reports also have varying factors that make the suggested link look more like a witch hunt rather than a situation with a clear cause and effect. For example, people claim various cults and Satanist groups are responsible for the violence, but there’s no evidence that cults are involved. In fact, some have argued that troubled youth are more likely to be the culprits.

From what we can tell, it appears that black cats seem to be at a higher risk of human cruelty and bias than cats of other colors. This risk doesn’t necessarily center around Halloween, although it’s an added danger.

While shelters mean well by imposing adoption bans on and around October 31st, it’s possible that they’re causing more harm than good since darker-colored kitties already have the lowest adoption rates. If someone wants to harm a black cat, it’s much more likely that they’ll grab a cat off the street rather than pay money to go through background checks. That means if you have a black cat, be sure to keep them inside around Halloween. They’re much more likely to be a target than the cats in the shelters.


In Conclusion

Despite their large population, black cats have the lowest adoption rates. Human prejudices predispose these sweet creatures to higher rates of euthanasia than any other cats, as well as cruelty and superstition biases. While there’s no conclusive evidence that violence towards black cats increases on October 31st –and certainly no clear connections between the incidents and occult groups—many reports warn about cats being stolen or found dead around Halloween. If you have cats of any color, it’s best to make sure they’re inside safe and sound this time of year. Even trick-or-treating can be a scary experience for our shy feline friends, so they shouldn’t be outside. On a brighter note, October 27th is National Black Cat Day, the perfect time to give one of these misunderstood sweethearts a loving home and celebrate a safe spooky season with the ones you already have.

Featured Image Credit: Reba Spike, Unsplash

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