Halloween is nigh. Often what follows are the countless myths about black cats. From being bad luck to the numerous stories told throughout the years about black cats who are used for ritualistic torture, you can’t help but wonder what’s true and what’s a hoax. So how do you determine fact from fiction when it comes to black felines at this time of year?
One myth is that there are those who steal black cats from yards or off the streets in order to use them for rituals, while another myth says black cats are adopted from shelters prior to Halloween to be used for decoration, only to then be returned to the shelter. It is also heavily advised to keep black cats and pets in general indoors because of the nature of the holiday. Any of the scenarios are just as horrifying as some of the scary movies that are released this time of year.
Whether the myths are just rumor or speculation, there are many shelters throughout the country that refrain from adopting out black cats during this time of year as a simple precaution.
However, what’s the truth, and will we ever really get to the bottom of the rumors?
In the article by Dr. Marty Becker, DVM, “Are Black Cats in Greater Danger Around Halloween?” at VetStreet, the concerns are “based on little more than hearsay, that black cats are sought out on Halloween for Satanic rituals” along with the other myths. “In the meantime, people who’d offer perfect homes for these pets may not come into the shelter at all while an adoption ban is in effect.”
For those who blame Halloween and rituals on cats not returning home or being killed, there are typically explanations such as being hit by a car, being poisoned by accident or on purpose, or caught by coyotes, the article said. This is reason enough to keep cats inside the home during Halloween and throughout the year.
According to Becker’s article, Francis Battista, cofounder of the Best Friends Animal Society said, “There is no evidence that black cats are at special risk of abuse if adopted around Halloween.” She added that the “fear-driven policy” only puts cats of all colors at risk of dying in shelters “due to overcrowding.”
In the article, Becker points out that good shelters look for reasons to adopt out their pets. “They recognize that powerful, positive marketing (such as through the Shelter Pet Project and Petfinder) helps get pets into great homes. The shelters that put black cats ‘on special’ are using a ‘hook’ to get people thinking about adoption.”
And that’s no trick. It’s actually the best treat there is!