Shelters: Black cats have trouble finding homes
By Jane Donahue Sun-Times Media September 27, 2011 4:45PM
Swizzle is a 2 1/2-month-old kitten which, along with littermate Zizzle (in the background), is looking to be adopted. | Jane Donahue~For Sun-Times Media
Did you know?
Some organizations adjust or waive fees for black cats and kittens to aid the adoption process. At this time, The Friends of DuPage County Animal Care and Control Foundation have a program in place. To learn more, visit www.dupageco.org/friendsofdcacc
Updated: November 30, 2011 12:38AM
Laura Ray doesn’t believe it’s a sign of ill fortune when a black cat crosses her path. In fact, the owner of two black cats considers herself lucky when she’s around Kit, 7 and Max, 5.
“I think that black cats are pretty, and the concerns people have about them are just stereotypes,” said Ray of Naperville. “They are the same as any other cat, and really, you could get an orange tabby cat that is mean. You can’t make judgments because of their color, because it all depends on their personality.”
Unfortunately, not everyone shares Ray’s enthusiasm for black cats.
Susan Knight, office manager at Aurora Animal Control and Care Facility, said black cats often go unnoticed by potential owners.
“Sometimes they get overlooked because there are so many of them here,” Knight said. “Many people are looking for more colorful cats, but some people have superstitions about black cats as well.”
Angie Wood, executive director of the Naperville Area Humane Society, shares the sentiment.
“We try to focus on the personality of the cats when helping people find the right match,” Wood said. “When people respond with an apprehension to adopting a black cat or kitten, we talk with them and do our best to educate folks.”
Rich Glessner, operations director at ADOPT Pet Shelter in Naperville, said he too finds that black cats are slower to be selected from their facility.
“There are some people that are superstitious and think having a black cat is unlucky, and some cultures that believe that, too,” Glessner said. “But, most people who have black cats would tell you, they are the most lovable of cats.”
Knight agrees, adding when black cats do find a home, the owners sing their praises.
“Black cats can be as sweet as all the others,” Knight said. “The color of fur has absolutely nothing to do with their personality. There is no behavioral difference at all.”
Glessner added that, when it comes to finding a home, black kittens fare better than older black felines.
“Most people think kittens are adorable, regardless of the color, so it’s not as much of an issue,” Glessner said. “The kitten factor makes up for it.”
Tales of black cats being unlucky date back to the Middle Ages, but Dr. Shaun Fauley, veterinarian and owner of Care Animal Clinic in Naperville, said there is no basis for the negative reputation.
“The whole thing with black cats — that they are a sign of bad luck or witchcraft — that’s been around for ages,” Fauley said. “In reality, no one around here puts any credence into it. We see as many black cats as other cats, and there is nothing to base that fear on.”
In fact, Fauley said at Care Animal Clinic, they have a resident black cat, named Sunshine.
“We took Sunshine in about 14 years ago when a patient of ours couldn’t keep him,” Fauley said. “He has been a great cat.”