What’s the truth about black cats?

For centuries, the black cat has been a symbol–both of bad luck as well as good, believe it or not. Oh, we’ve all heard the usual “it’s bad luck when a black cat crosses your path,” but where did this concept come from and what’s the truth about black cats? Seeing as today is National Cat Day in the US and tomorrow is National Black Cat Day in the UK, we thought it’d be the perfect time to address the topic. Not to mention Halloween’s rapid approach, where black cats decorations often abound!

Much of the misinformation about black cats actually originates from the Middle Ages, when superstitious people began to believe that these felines were acting as familiars to witches. This led to the stigma of them being associated with hexes and curses, and general bad luck. If a black cat was around, evil forces must be at work!

There are three basic colors that a cat is genetically predisposed toward: black, red, and white. Pretty much every cat you see is either purely one of these colors or a combination of them. Black cats have a dominant black gene, but sometimes carry a recessive red gene, leading to the “rusty” look some of them get when in bright sunlight.

Unlike in the US, in Asia and the UK, black cats are actually considered signs of good luck, rather than bad. Though even in these countries, such superstitions can vary from region to region, with some people thinking it’s good luck to own a black cat, but bad luck to randomly cross paths with a feral one. Yes, we know. It’s confusing for us, too!

If you’re taking your black cat to a cat show, you should know there are many different ways to define its color! And certain breeds only have certain types of colors that are technically allowed at these shows. For instance, the Bombay breed is generally only allowed if the fur is solid black. However, 21 other breeds are allowed to have solid black cat entries, but again, the definition of this varies by show. Some “black” cats can’t have a rusty tinge to their fur, or anything but black paws (whereas some have brown paws). Others make a distinction between “coal black” and “charcoal black” or the like.

Fortunately, the truth is that black cats are just like any other–neither good luck nor bad, but equally capable of loving and receiving love. Do you have a black cat in your household? What breed is it? How would you best describe its color? Let us know!

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