by Kimberly Wade
Each year, Halloween puts black cats in the spotlight. There are superstitions that they bring bad luck, and rumors that they are or possess “evil spirits”. Some believe that others adopt them to be used in unmentionable cult rituals. Thus, black cats are all the talk throughout October. As an animal welfare advocate, I’m here to offer some education and let you know that this fuss about black cats around Halloween is more myth than anything else.
Nevada Humane Society, along with multiple other successful, lifesaving pet adoption agencies, has seen nothing but success with black cat adoptions. Today, we all know that in order to find our four-legged friends loving homes, we need to be professional enough to screen potential adopters and evaluate the home life to ensure the animal is adopted into a great family. For me, I’ve been in this field long enough to know that most people adore animals and deserve a companion. I’ve heard how happy they are, how grateful they are, and how appreciative they are that we helped them find true love. I’ve seen photos and read testimonies of success stories… from all adopters, including those who adopt black pets.
The truth is, there is no hard evidence that adopting black cats around Halloween poses any greater risk than adopting any other time of year. In 2007, National Geographic penned an article that was titled “Ritual Cat Sacrifices a Halloween Myth, Experts Say.” Over the years, experts on Halloween and cults have found “no confirmed statistics, court cases, or studies to support the idea that serious satanic cult crime events exists.” But we all know that myths die hard, especially with impressionable minds and social media.
There is evidence however, that not adopting cats from shelters will cost them their lives. This not the case here in Washoe County or Carson City. Yet, in cities where there are no lifesaving shelters, when you make the black cats unavailable, you take away their chance to find a home. This possibly forces these cats to end up on a euthanasia list. Hard to hear, I know, but true (not locally) in many cases. Wouldn’t you rather give these cats the chance to find love? Most people are good and want to do the right thing. Most people cherish their pets. Do we really want to assume people are bad? And why would anyone come to a shelter and pay money to adopt a microchipped pet that we can trace back to them if they really had bad intentions?
Nevada Humane Society is smart. We are professionals. We know what to look for during our conversations with potential adopters. We are never going to just give an animal away or pair a pet with a family that is not going to properly care for them. Our goal is to find loving homes for our kids here at the shelter (yes, I said kids; they are just that to us), regardless of whether it is Halloween or any other holiday.
And here’s something else. The truth is that black cats have been viewed as luck bringers and guardians over many centuries and in many cultures. They have been viewed as sacred and are known to bless a home, and to many, black is the color of protection.
The next time that a truism rolls off your tongue in defense, think about whether it is fact or fiction, and think about who you may hurt by simply following the crowd instead of educating them.
*Animal welfare experts include Maddie’s Fund, ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society and UC Davis, all of whom have conducted various studies over the years on adopting black cats at Halloween.