Why Black Cats Have a Hard Time Being Adopted on Halloween

Some animal shelters will actually put a freeze on the adoption of black cats around October 31.

black cat laying on kitchen rug
Photo: Grace Cary / Getty Images

Black cats are associated with both Friday the 13th and Halloween, which are two days that highlight all-things spooky and scary. Even though black cats seem rare, one out of every 22 cats is black and 22 breeds of cats have solid black coats, Kanchan Singh, the founder and CEO of Crumbs & Whiskers, says. However, these animals still have a witchcraft-related reputation.

People sometimes associate black cats with evil or bad luck, a superstition that ran rampant during the Salem Witch Trials and continues to this day. "During this time many believed that witches could turn themselves into cats to move around town discreetly," says Singh. "Throughout the years, this belief has been boiled down to the general superstition that when a black cat crosses your path it gives you bad luck. To this day, black cats still can't seem to shake their spooky reputation." And especially when Halloween nears, the fear of black cats is at an all-time high, which means these feline friends have a hard time getting adopted around the holiday.


"It isn't uncommon that black cats have more difficulty. Right now we have an abundance of black cats in our care at both our L.A. and D.C. locations," Singh shares. "In fact, black cats are two-thirds less likely to get adopted than white cats; I think the reasoning behind the lower rates of adoption varies depending on who you talk to." The expert says that some note that their coats don't stand out as much to adopters in relation to other cats. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), some black cats are also being surrendered to animal shelters because they don't show up as well in photos.

What's more, you might not even be able to adopt a black cat around Halloween depending on the rules at your local shelter: Some animal shelters go so far as to put a freeze on the adoption of black cats around Halloween in an effort to protect these felines from those who might just adopt the cat for entertainment purposes on the eerie day. However, these cats are just as loving as other animals, and they deserve loving homes, too.


Even though black cats can be friendly four-legged members of your family, they have trouble getting adopted around Halloween because of the symbolism surrounding the holiday. "Every year, as decorative black cats are lined up next to zombies, spiders, and other creepy decorations, Halloween heightens the superstitions surrounding black cats," says Singh. Not to mention, all cats can experience some issues with adoption because of this superstition. "Crumbs & Whiskers' mission is to save as many cats and kittens from euthanasia as possible," she adds. "By using this time of year to educate our audience that black cats are just as deserving to be adopted, we hope to continue this mission and find these beautiful animals their forever homes." So, during this season, continue to raise awareness about the stigma black cats are linked to and remember that they are amazing additions to any home.

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