Myth BUSTER – Black Cats & Dogs

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Myth BUSTER – Black Cats & Dogs

For the days leading up to Halloween on the 31st, the Heritage Humane Society is highlighting black cats and dogs and going above and beyond to find homes for their shelter mates!

“The myths surrounding black cats reach a fever pitch in the days leading up to Halloween,” says Darci VanderSlik, HHS Marketing Manager. “These unfounded black cat myths prevent many wonderful pets from finding loving homes.”

To counter the myths surrounding black cats, the Heritage Humane Society uses the days before Halloween to celebrate black cats and debunk those myths. As part of the celebration of black cats and dogs, HHS is reducing the adoption fees by $31. 

In the spirit of the Halloween, HHS will honor the adoption fee reduction for cats and dogs with any black spots on their coats (tabbies, calicos, torties and tuxedo marked cats, and dogs with any black spots or patterns).

Don’t worry we are HUGE cat fans here at HHS. We’ve done our research, and will be sure these sweet cats will find loving homes! Still not sure about this idea? Check out the studies and research below: 

Black cats are often surrounded by myths of being associated with witches, being evil, and always up to mischief. 

At this time of year, people fear, too many people adopt black cats merely to serve as costume accessories or, worse, as the victims of Halloween pranks or ritual sacrifices.

Every year as Halloween approaches, Katie Lisnik, director of cat protection and policy for The HSUS, sees some shelters and rescues across the country issue proclamations that they will not adopt out any black cats during October. At that time of year, they declare, too many people adopt black cats merely to serve as costume accessories or, worse, as the victims of Halloween pranks or ritual sacrifices.

Katherine Shenar, chief of staff at San Diego Humane Society, shared those fears when she first started working in sheltering 21 years ago. For the first seven years of her career, she pulled black cats from the floor two weeks before Halloween and two weeks after, worried that people who adopted them at that time were doing so for nefarious purposes.

“What we had done was protect the animals to death,” Shenar says. “We had the very best of intentions but the very worst of outcomes. Animals died in the shelters because of rules and policies that were based on anecdotal experiences and no real scientific data.”

While horrible things like animal sacrifice can happen, such incidents are rare, and it’s extremely unlikely that anyone is traveling to a shelter and taking the time to go through the adoption process with that motive in mind, says Lisnik. Moreover, when shelters hide their black cats, they’re inadvertently “perpetuating the myth that black cats need to be treated separately. We’re keeping [these stigmas] in the public eye because we’re the ones talking about it.”

In truth, black cats are just as cuddly and even just as likely to be adopted as any other cat. The claim that black cats are not adopted as often as other cats—that’s another myth (credit, www.animalsheltering.org/big-black-cats).

To view a summary of the 2013 ASPCA study, go to aspcapro.org/blog/2016/10/19/black-still-new-white.