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October 29, 2013

Jasmine went to her new home a couple of weeks ago and from the moment she left, her one remaining kitten, Jacob, was absolutely bereft! An otherwise confident, funny, playful and loving little character, he missed her terribly and desperately wanted company and someone warm to snuggle up to. Every time I went into the kitchen and he heard me moving around he would shout his little head off – you could even hear him from the street. And if I went into the pen and sat on a blanket on the floor with him he would purr and wriggle and squirm around me for at least half an hour before going off to play or eat some food.

I resorted to inviting all my friends to come in and play with him and keep him entertained – even the central heating engineer who came to service the boiler on Monday had his part to play.

Jacob finds a new friend

Jasmine was an attentive mum

I can’t tell you how pleased I was then when a lovely family saw Jacob last Sunday and decided he was the kitten for them. They will be perfect for him – a busy, animal-loving family who will give him lots of attention and play with him and cuddle him. He found a new special friend with one of the children who has decided to call him Oreo.

Oreo Jacob Hudson is a lucky little chap – he has found his new home-for-life. But he might not have been so lucky. Why? Oreo is a black kitten. Animal rescue and adoption centres will tell you that black cats are harder to home than felines of any other colour.

Black cats and superstition

We don’t really know why black cats take longer to find homes. Many cultures around the world have folklore and superstitions surrounding these creatures, often believing them to be bringers of bad or good luck. The association of the black cat with witchcraft and sorcery led to many being persecuted and killed during the Middle Ages across Europe, and it is thought that the reduction in the cat population (and corresponding increase in the number of rats) at this time contributed to the spread of the Black Death. In this country though, many of the superstitions regarding black cats are favourable and on the Yorkshire coast the wives of fishermen traditionally believe that their menfolk would return safely if they kept a black cat in the house.

It is more likely though that black cats are simply more difficult to present as “cute” when potential adopters come to view them. The dark coat means that the details of their faces “disappear” in the blackness, and they get passed over in favour of a pretty tortoiseshell or ginger tom whose expressions can win the adopter over at first sight.

Celebrities and their black cats

Yet black cats are just as lovable and playful and affectionate as other cats and that same dark coat can be sleek, sophisticated and glossy. Despite the worldwide bias against black cats, there are many famous people who have opened their hearts and homes to cats the color of midnight: Fred Astaire, Edgar Allen Poe, Ernest Hemingway, Nina Simone, John Lennon, John Travolta, Frank Zappa, Zac Efron, Brigitte Bardot, Ray Bradbury, and Marc Bolan to name just a few.

National Black Cat Day

Now that Oreo has found a home, my latest foster kittens are Clyde and Sam. They are also black and the last to be picked from their respective litters and placed in permanent homes. And it is likely that I will have a third black kitten this week. No doubt there are similar “also rans” in animal shelters near you.

October 31st has been designated National Black Cat Day in the UK, and events will be taking place across the country to highlight the “black cat effect” in homing. If you are considering adopting a cat or kitten please give a second look to one that is black.

Oreo Jacob Hudson's gallery

Click on a photo to see it full-size…

Tags: adopted cat


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