Are you considering adding a black cat to your family but are worried about the stereotypical ‘black cat personality’? You know the one — black cats are solitary creatures that can even bring bad luck.
But we’re here to tell you not to worry; these are just rumors!
In this blog post, we’ll break down those rumors with eight fascinating facts about black cats. From their inquisitive personalities to their luxurious coats, we’ll show you why owning these elegant felines can be an enjoyable experience for any pet lover.
1. Black cats aren’t a breed of their own
With so many different breeds that can have black coloring, you may be surprised to learn that Bombay cats are actually the only breed that comes solely with black fur.
Bombays not only have entirely black fur from root to tip but also black paws and a black nose. Their striking coat resembles that of a black panther.
Bombay cats also dispel the myths about the ‘black cat personality’. This breed is highly social and loves chatting with anyone who will listen. So, if you think all black cats are standoffish, you haven’t met the Bombay.
2. Black cats have a long history of being good luck
Humans love to speculate on luck and fate. According to a study in the International Journal of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, we use superstitions to maintain a sense of control over the unknown. That’s why, when people think about black cats, their initial thoughts often go to bad omens, witchcraft, or even the devil.
Unfortunately, human fears have allowed the “black cats mean bad luck” stereotype to continue over the years.
The fact is that none of these fears have anything to do with the cats themselves. Instead, witches and black cats had more to do with resisting feminine knowledge and a fear of change (think the Salem Witch Trials). Even if a black cat walked across one’s path during that time, the harbinger of death was actually disease and unsanitary living conditions, not the feline.
While black cats have been the scapegoat for many people’s bad luck over the years, we know many others see these felines as good omens. Black cats were seen as a token of prosperity in Ancient Egypt. They were believed to have magical powers that made them good luck for many sailors and pirates, and if a black cat appeared on your doorstep in Scotland, you would come upon wealth and success.
Wherever you live in the world, there’ll be differences in perceptions of personality traits in black cats. But it’s easy to see they bring more good luck than bad.
3. Black cats aren’t any more aggressive than other cats
Unfortunately, the myth that black cats are more aggressive than others is one reason that black cats are abandoned more frequently and adopted less frequently in the United States.
A black cat’s personality is a mix of innate breed characteristics and environmental factors. Some of these factors include the cat’s experiences, age, and health. So, the idea that all black cats are aggressive and standoffish overall simply doesn’t make sense.
A cat’s temperament still aligns closely with its breed, not its coat color. So, for example, a black tabby cat would still behave as a tabb does.
With 22 different breeds recognized as having at least partially black fur providing 22 different innate groups of characteristics, all black cats displaying a single personality is impossible.
Black cats can be lovable, shy, aloof, aggressive, gentle, curious, playful, and so much more. When considering adopting a cat, we suggest that you place personality and temperament higher on your list of priorities than coat color!
4. Black cats are more resistant to disease
Many people believed that black cats were carriers of disease, such as that spread during the Bubonic Plague. But in reality, black cats are generally quite healthy — they may even be resistant to certain diseases.
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have been studying genetic mutations in cats since the early 2000s.
Though much more research is needed, they’ve discovered a possible link between coat color (specifically the black fur trait) and resistance to feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). This resistance and the black cat’s ability to fight other diseases have ultimately led to a healthier population of cats.
Black cats are even being researched for human health purposes. Similar to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), FIV essentially weakens a cat’s immune system. With the cat genome closely resembling that of humans, scientists are now taking a closer look at the melanin gene (pigment) responsible for black fur.
Ultimately, they’re looking for a genetic connection between the black fur trait and disease resistance to determine whether gene mutations can lead to more breakthroughs in human diseases. Pretty cool, huh?
5. Black cats are known for their survival skills
Black cats’ dark fur gives them another unique survival skill — the ability to blend into their background, especially at night.
Camouflage has always been a helpful survival tool for animals. Cats, both wild and domesticated, are no different.
Whether your black cat is stalking a mouse or hiding from a dog outside, their black coat makes them difficult to see at night. Pair that with a cat’s overall agility and nearly soundless movement, and they become a lethal predator to small animals and elusive prey to larger animals.
6. Black cats can change colors over their lifetime
We all know how much cats of all coat colors love to bask in the sun. Sometimes, the sunlight can fade a black cat’s coat to a rust color. Not to worry, though. Your black cat will return to their original color once they shed their fur and regrow it.
Coat changes in black cats are not just caused by the sun, though. If your black cat gets stressed, for instance, their fur can fade to gray. The same can happen as they age.
You might not think about it, but a black cat’s genetic history can reveal surprising truths through their coat. Because of the many different shades of black and the possible hidden stripes or markings your black cat may have, you may notice different colorings and patterns in their fur over time.
7. Many black cats have followers and fame
For all the myths and legends about how “evil” black cats supposedly are, they certainly have quite a following.
Believe it or not, there are two days each year on which black cats’ popularity is recognized. National Black Cat Appreciation Day, established in 2011 in memory of Wayne H. Morris’ sister and her black cat, is on August 17. Morris’s goal was to dispel the myths associated with black cats.
The second day that celebrates black cats is National Black Cat Day on October 29. This celebration began in 2005 by Colleen Paige, a lifestyle writer who wanted to “recognize the number of cats that need to be rescued each year.”
And it doesn’t stop there. Japan boasts the first-ever all-black cat cafe called Nekobiyaka.
While cat cafes aren’t new in Japan, Nekobiyaka’s exclusively black cat cafe is. The owner, Ms. Yagi, is working to dispel the myths about the black cat personality and increase adoption rates for these furry friends. Cat lovers can choose from a wide variety of beverages while watching and interacting with playful, curious black cats.
And, of course, many black cats are famous for their appearance on TV and in movies. From the character Salem in Sabrina the Teenage Witch to Luna in Sailor Moon, black cats have been featured in many TV shows and films.
8. The black cat personality is more than their color
Remember that there isn’t one specific set of black cat personality traits. But stereotypes and myths are hard to squelch, and this gives the black cat personality a bad rap.
More than likely, you won’t be seeing a domesticated black cat “cross your path” outside. As the infographic below shows, black cats are more likely to be kept as indoor pets than outdoor ones.
Some myths do get a few things right, however. Black cats are great hunters and loyal protectors. And though they might not bring fortune like some believed, they do bring happiness to many pet owners.
Unfortunately, the bad press about black cat personality traits makes many people leery about adopting them. Many animal shelters report that it takes longer for black cats to be adopted than other cats, and longer waits in shelters tend to lead to more illnesses. These reports also suggest that black cats are euthanized at a higher rate than cats of other colors.
To improve black cats’ reputations, you can portray black cats as more than the myths and stereotypes that surround them.
Each of the 22 black cat breeds has their own characteristics, and each black cat has their own personality. The more you get to know the different breeds, the better you’ll be able to gauge whether a particular black cat would suit your household.
Many people are missing out on the experience of owning a loving, friendly black cat — whether it be a Bombay, a Persian, a Ragdoll, an exotic shorthair, or another breed with a black variation.
Visit betterpet.com to learn more about caring for a variety of cute kitty breeds that could be perfect for your family!