Busting the Halloween Myth

by Kimberly Wade

Each year, Halloween puts black cats in the spotlight. There are superstitions that they bring bad luck, and rumors that they possess evil spirits. Some believe that others adopt them to be used in unmentionable cult rituals. As an animal welfare professional, I can assure you that all of that is just talk. It’s no longer the 1600s folks. People are good!

Nevada Humane Society, along with many other successful shelters, see nothing but success with black cat adoptions. 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. I can personally attest to the fact 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—don’t worry, that’s not the case 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 can force these cats to end up on a euthanasia list. Hard to hear, I know, but true in many cases (I repeat, not true locally). Wouldn’t you rather give these cats the chance to find love? 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 animals regardless of whether it is Halloween or any other holiday.

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.

Upcoming Events: Bring the kids in costume for Safe Trick-or-Treating at Nevada Humane Society on Halloween Night! Happening at both our Reno and Carson City shelters, this costumed, candy giving event takes place from 4pm to 6:30pm. P.S. If you can donate a bag or two of individually wrapped candy to help us feed the kids, we would appreciate it! Drop off to NHS at 2825 Longley Lane in Reno between 11am and 6:30pm this weekend.

Featured Pet: Billy and Buddy are 7 and 9, and are BFFs. Both are sweet but shy, with a dream of nothing more than curling up on your couch and enjoying a good movie (with dog treats). Buddy was born with a unique paw, and though he isn’t able to fully use it, it doesn’t slow him down. He’s just different, and we know he deserves love too. Won’t you meet this dynamic duo today? They’re available for adoption at Nevada Humane Society in Reno.Adoptable Pets at Nevada Humane Society

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