Black cats have it rough. Not only do they have to live with the stigma of being the bearers of “bad luck,” particularly as Halloween approaches, they also have a much more difficult time getting adopted in shelters because of their coloring. We’re drawing attention today to the issues that these dark beauties face in honor of National Black Cat Day.

It’s no secret that dark-haired felines have a troubled history, with rumors of their connection to the occult and witchcraft dating back to the Middle Ages. But that superstition still holds true for some even today, leading to the cruel treatment of black cats across the world during holidays like Halloween. We won’t go into graphic detail, but the abuse has led some shelters, like the Queens rescue group, Bobbi and the Strays, to not even allow the adoption of black cats at all during October.

“Halloween and black cats … it’s just not a good thing. You hear a lot of stories, and I don’t want any of them to come back at me,” Bobbi Giordano, owner of the Queens, New York based shelter, told The New York Post in a recent article.

Not only are they plagued by their dark history, black cats to this day have a much harder time finding forever homes. In fact, studies have shown that it takes a black cat 13% longer to find a new home than a more colorful cat. That’s one week longer in care, simply because of the color of their fur. Some believe the problem may be that it’s difficult to connect with a black cat in a rescue center because it blends into the shadows, or because black cats don’t always show up very well in adoption photographs.

Whatever the reason, black cats don’t lack the charm and charisma of their brightly colored cousins and shouldn’t be overlooked in shelters. As Cole, one of the most popular black cat stars on the internet, says: “Some people never adopt a black cat because they think black cats bring bad luck. The only bad luck is missing out on the blessing of having a black cat.”

Black cats are just as wonderful as any other, with the same needs – love and care, in a home of their own. If you enjoy the company of cats whatever their color, please consider adopting a black cat. And if you do so, remember to have them neutered or spayed. Check out our national low-cost spay and neuter program to find a participating veterinarian near you.