Depending on where you are in the world, black cats can be considered good luck or bad luck. They were once considered gods but some superstitions state that they are witches in disguise. As well as superstitions, black cats are the subject of many myths, including the fact that they produce more Fel d1 protein, which is what causes allergic reactions in cat allergy sufferers.
Black Cat Myths
1. Black Cats Are Bad Luck
It’s not entirely clear where this myth originates, and it doesn’t pervade around the world, but in some parts of the globe, black cats are considered unlucky. In particular, it is said to be bad luck if a black cat crosses your path. One possible explanation of where this derived is the fact that the Greek goddess Hera was said to have transformed her maid into a black cat, and the cat then aided the goddess of witchcraft. Subsequently, Pope Gregory IX decreed black cats to be symbols of Satan.
2. They Are Good Luck
On the other hand, black cats are also considered good luck. Good fortune is said to be bestowed on English brides that receive a black cat as a gift, for example, while owning one in Asia is considered good luck and having one appear on your doorstep in Scotland is a sign of impending prosperity. Very specifically, if you hear one sneeze in Italy, you will enjoy a run of good fortune.
3. Black Cats Are Witches
This likely comes from the same Greek story of Hera turning her maid into a cat. However, in America, many early settlers believed witches could take the form of black cats so that they were then able to perform their bad deeds while remaining undetected.
4. Black Cats Aren’t Photogenic
Black cats are photogenic, although it can take a lot more effort and many more attempts to get the composition of a good photo just right. This is especially true of cats with pure black coats because their form essentially melts into a single homogeneous black blob. They can also easily disappear into the background of a picture. With good lighting, preferably natural, and some patience, however, black cats can look just as striking in photos as any other cats.
5. Black Cats Cause More Allergies Than Others
It has long been said that black cats are worse for allergy sufferers than any other cats. The reason cited was that they produce more dander, which was thought to be the cause of reactions. There may be some truth to this particular myth because at least one study has shown that black cat owners are more susceptible to strong allergic reactions.
On the other hand, multiple studies have shown that black cats are no more likely to cause reactions than any other. It is actually the protein Fel d1, which is present in saliva, urine, and sweat, that causes allergic reactions, and although dander and dandruff are easier to see on black cats, they do not necessarily produce any more than white or other colored cats.
6. There Are More Black Cats Than Any Other Color Cat
Genes dictate the color of a cat, and the gene that causes black coloring of the fur is the most dominant color gene. This means that black cats are more common than any other color of cat, which is one of the reasons that black is also the most dominant cat color in shelters and adoption centers.
7. Black Cats Were Once Revered as Gods
While the Pope declared black cats to be a symbol of Satan, they haven’t always had such a negative association with religion. In Ancient Egypt, well known for its love of and reverence of cats, the goddess Bastet was a woman with the head of a black cat. She was responsible for watching over crops and women.
8. There Are More Than 20 Breeds of Black Cat
Cross breeds, or moggies, can be virtually any color, although the dominant gene means that most do turn out to be black. When it comes to pure black cat breeds, there are more than 20 that are recognized and accepted with a pure black coat. Persians, Ragamuffins, and Japanese Bobtails can all be pure black in color.
There is only one breed of cat that must be pure black for it to be considered that breed, however, and it is the Bombay. The Bombay was developed in the 1950s by crossing a black American Shorthair with a Sable Burmese and the two were bred with the aim of creating a domestic cat that looked like black panther.
9. Most Have Yellow Eyes
The same gene that causes melanism, or the black coat color, actually also determines that the cat will have amber or yellow eyes. It is possible for other dominant genes to determine eye color, so a black cat might have green or blue eyes, for example, but most of them do have yellow to amber eyes. The same gene that gives black cats their black coat and their yellow eyes also gives them a stronger immune system.
10. Black Cats Have Their Own Day
Black cats are commonly associated with Halloween, presumably because of their link to witches. However, four days earlier, on October 27th, it is National Black Cat Day in the US. It is worth bearing in mind if you want to adopt a black cat that many foster centers refuse to adopt black cats out during Halloween, so you may be unable to adopt one on their national day, but you should be fine by November.
11. There Are More Black Cats in Rescue Centers Than Any Other Color
When it comes to rescue centers, black cats are the color most often found in centers and least often adopted. There could be several reasons for this. There are likely more black cats than other colors because black is the predominant color in cat coats, which means that there are simply more black cats than any other color. The fact that they are so difficult to photograph might, unfortunately, be a reason that fewer people want to adopt them, and it could also be the reason that fewer of them are adopted because the other cats look better in adoption center photographs.
Black cats are not only sleek and beautiful, but they can make just as loving a pet as any other cat. They may pose more of a challenge to get a good photo, but they bring no more good luck or bad luck than any other cat, although they might try and convince you otherwise.
Featured Image Credit: Leuchtturm81, Pixabay
- Black Cat Myths