Let’s Make Every Day Black Cat Appreciation Day
Today is Black Cat Awareness Day in the UK – who knows why we here in Canada wouldn’t be celebrating this most auspicious of occasions also? This is not to be confused with National Black Cat Appreciation Day, which is celebrated in North America on August 17 or National Black Cat Day celebrated in Italy on November 17. I personally celebrate Black Cat Day every day as black cats (and dogs) need all the attention and help they can get.
Black Cat/Black Dog Syndrome refers to the fact that black dogs and cats often take much longer to adopt out into permanent homes. There are many reasons for this tendency, none of them particularly rational. People tend to associate black animals with silly demonic or superstitious images, with bad luck (or good luck depending on your cultural background), curses and death. It is harder to take good photographs of black animals and some people find a black animal’s appearance menacing.
As a result, many shelters and rescue organizations find themselves with an abundance of black animals, especially cats, waiting to be adopted. Too often however, the longer an animal sits in a shelter, the more likely he or she is to get sick, and eventually killed. It seems like any bad luck associated with black cats is more of a problem for the cat than for any humans in the vicinity.
Black cats figure prominently in literature, both classic and contemporary. A black cat named Pluto is both pet and narrator in Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, The Black Cat, a story I stopped reading immediately after the poor cat’s eye is gouged out. Black cats are often included in children’s books (think Coraline by Neil Gaiman; Black Cat by Christopher Myers and sweet Tom in the Sophie series by Dick King-Smith as well as mysteries (like Martha Grime’s The Black Cat).
Black cats have also been widely featured in graphic novels, comics, manga and anime. Spider-man vs the Black Cat pulls together the early experiences of the character, Black Cat. When goth heroine, Emily the Strange, loses her memory, almost all she can recall is her affinity for cats. Usagi Tsukino is a normal girl until she meets up with Luna, a talking black cat, who tells her that she is Sailor Moon http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDM2806923&R=2806923. And a small black cat named Kuroneko is in every book in the Trigun anime series.
So in honour of the day, read about black cats, dream about black cats or cuddle a black cat. Help a black cat change his or her bad luck by adopting one or two – while some rescue groups prefer not adopt out black cats around Halloween fearing the worst, visit Toronto Cat Rescue (both the cuties pictured above can be adopted through TCR), Toronto Humane Society or Toronto Animal Services to meet your next best friend. There’s nothing sinister about the love you’ll get in return!