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

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You may have heard that black cats are much less likely to be adopted than other cats. You may also have gotten caught up on Twitter in a hashtag frenzy over #BlackCatAppreciationDay.  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 simply just seen the facts and think people ought to know the reality so that they don’t act on 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 a black cat is bad luck.  Heck, we’re sure most people still are 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.  Way back 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 has 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 simply just a lot 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 exactly the same percentage number as were taken in.  This is compared to 20% for gray cats and 11% for white cats
  • The Black cat euthanasia rate is 30% vs. 28% for gray cats and 26% for white cats

Clearly, a slightly greater percentage of black cats are being euthanized than other cats and 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 to be adopted.  Close to one third of all adopted cats are black cats, 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 (again, visit here) that are worth reproducing here.  If you’re interested in how black dogs fare in the adoption game, she breaks that down as well.

010 feline adoptions 2013


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