Halloween is fast approaching, and as we prepare for all things spooky, black cats suddenly come to mind: one of our favourite creatures and yet, one that is still associated with bad luck and old myths.
So how did all the superstition emerge in the first place? This goes back medieval times − when people believed animals were on earth solely to serve humans, and cats' independent nature challenged these ideas. Black cats in particular were thought of as witches' preferred animal and, in some cases, the embodiment of the devil.
Fast-forward to 2019 and not only are these fears a thing of the past, but there are also days dedicated to all sable moggies, like Black Cat Appreciation Day on the 27th of October.
In all fairness
There's still much to be done, though: stats indicate black cats and dogs are the least likely to find a home. Here at MedicAnimal, we invite you to help dispel unnecessary and harmful myths like black pets are less friendly, tame or beautiful (as if!). Queen Victoria, for one, had an ebony cat as a furry companion, and so did John Lennon and Winston Churchill.
So how can we help? Spread awareness − that's what Black Cat Day is all about: explaining that all animals are precious and equal. Whether it's by using hashtags like #blackcatday or #itsnotfur to shed light on how these animals get overlooked at shelters, or by taking the plunge and opening your home to one.
If you're looking to expand your pet family, give the RSPCA or your local rescue centre a call. Animal shelters are overrun with black cats and other less favoured pets waiting for a chance at adoption. Like senior pets and animals with special needs − all loving by nature and in desperate need of a home.
And if you're lucky enough to have a tiny house panther in your life, make the 27th October special! Be generous with the toys and treats. No harm in showering them with love and cuddles all the way to Halloween − a time when black cats take centre stage and become one of the protagonists. Dressing up as one this Halloween? We'll take that as another way to raise awareness!
A streak of black luck
Ultimately, days like Black Cat Day should be a reminder of how crucial it is to protect all animals and how, as a society, we are becoming more inclusive, kind and open-minded. At a time when so many animal species are on the brink of extinction, we reflect on the role that humans play in spreading positive change through knowledge and understanding.
As Sam Watson (cat behaviour and welfare expert at RSPCA) said: "We would urge people to look beyond an animal's appearance. Their coat colour makes no difference to how much love they have to give".