The problem with black cats: no one wants them

Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:42am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Halloween is a bad time of year for black cats, with their long-standing connections with witches, hubble-bubble and evil.

Reports of deliberate cruelty to black cats rise especially in the weeks around Halloween in Britain, the RSPCA animal charity said on Wednesday.

But it seems that not only do people treat black cats badly in October -- they shun them for the rest of the year too.

Black cats at animal shelters take longer than others to find homes, probably because of all the superstitions surrounding them, the charity said.

"Unfortunately, black cats often do spend longer in our rehoming centres than others as they are frequently overlooked by potential owners," said shelter manager Beverly Leavy.

"But their fur color makes no difference to how much love they have to give," she added. "The cats are ready to make wonderful pets."

The image problem varies from country to country and often involves black cats crossing people's paths.

Historians differ about the origins of the superstitions.

Some point to the ancient Celts, some to folklore tales that liken cats to snakes and cast them as the constant companions of witches, others to a Medieval belief that they caused the black plague in Europe.   Continued...