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by Emy Luebbering

Ark-Valley Humane Society

I am writing this on Halloween, night of ghosts, goblins, trick-or-treaters and black cats.

Our ebony felines often receive a bad reputation because they are associated with Halloween, superstitions of the Middle Ages, witches and bad luck. It is an unfair bad rap, a wicked outlook with which many disagree.

Holidays honor them. ASPCA celebrates Aug. 17 as Black Cat Appreciation Day. Oct. 27 is National Black Cat Day.

In many cultures black cats are good luck.

In Japan single women who own them will have more suitors. In Great Britain’s Midlands a black cat is a valued wedding gift because she will bring happiness to the bride and good fortune to the couple.

In Scotland a black cat arriving at your doorstep signals prosperity. In Germany, Ireland and England one crossing your path means good things in your horizon.

Historically, British sailors brought them aboard their ships for good luck and to ensure a safe return. Some black kitties, such as Tiddles, are enshrined in maritime history. He traveled more than 30,000 miles with the Royal Navy.

Black cats are not only lucky to many, they are also more resistant to disease.

Researchers at the National Institute of Health discovered that the gene that causes the black coat is in the same genetic family as genes known to give humans resistance to some diseases. By studying how black cats evolve to resist diseases, scientists can potentially learn how to prevent diseases in humans.

There are 22 black cat breeds, according to Cat Fanciers’ Association. However, the Bombay with its copper eyes and short-haired black coat is what most people picture. It was bred in the 1950s by Nikki Horner, who was enamored with the look of the panther.

This dark coat can rust if the cat possesses the dominant tabby stripe gene. If exposed to heavy sun, the once invisible stripe appears, making the cat look rusty.

The history and beliefs surrounding the black cat are interesting. A recent ASPCA survey shows that more are being adopted, although many are being ignored. 2016 statistics showed black cats were two-thirds less likely to be adopted than white cats and only half as likely as tabby cats.

Perhaps a black coat does not stand out to adopters. Maybe some people still fear the superstitions of the Middle Ages.

If you are looking to adopt, do not let the bad rap influence you and see their true dark beauty. Most importantly, see the ebony ball of love waiting to go home with you and bring you joy, “fur-ever.” At the time of writing this article, there are two black kittens available for adoption at Ark-Valley Humane Society.

Emy Luebbering is Ark-Valley Humane Society outreach coordinator.