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Let’s Debunk the Myth that Black Cats Are Less Likely to Be Adopted

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You may have heard that black cats are less likely to be adopted than other cats. Well, we’re sorry to inform you: you’ve been caught up in one of the biggest misconceptions about animals out there.

And before you write us angry hate mail—we love cats!  This isn’t a diatribe against black cats or any other type of animal.  We’ve seen the facts and think people ought to know the reality to not act on a false belief.

And it’s true that many people probably shy away from adopting black cats because they are so closely associated with bad luck.  We’re trained from a young age every Halloween that crossing the path of these felines is bad luck.  Heck, we’re sure most people are still afraid to open their umbrella inside or live on the 13th floor!

But facts are facts, and, luckily, we have some great professionals to debunk false truths.  In the Summer of 2014, Dr. Emily Weiss wrote a post for the ASPCA website (donate or adopt) showing why people were mistaken into believing that black cats were less likely to be adopted.

Dr. Weiss had access to the ASPCA’s Comprehensive Animal Risk Database (CARDS), which compiled data from 14 partner communities with 300,000 dogs and cats in the data set.

Here are the basic facts:

  • 32% of all cats taken in were black—this is probably the first reason why so many people mistakenly believe that so many more are left behind. There are more of them! Compare this number to 22% for gray cats and 11% for white cats
  • 31% of all cat adoptions were of black cats! Almost the same number as were taken in.  This is compared to 20% for gray cats and 11% for white cats
  • The black cat euthanasia rate was 30% vs. 28% for gray cats and 26% for white cats

Clearly, a slightly greater percentage of these sleek panthers were being euthanized than other cats. So we applaud the effort of people trying to encourage more adoption of black cats.  However, seen another way, black cats are  BY FAR the most popular cats adopted.  Close to one-third of all adopted cats don dark coats. So it’s hard to say that people have a preference for cats that aren’t black!

Dr. Weiss had some great charts in her article worth reproducing here.  If you’re interested in how black dogs fare in the adoption game, she breaks that down as well.

Total cat adoptions for 2013, including black cats

Total intake of cats for 2013

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