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Can you adopt a black cat before Halloween?

Posted by Jennifer on October 26th, 2012

Did you know many shelters and rescues will not adopt out black cats before Halloween, some even banning black cat adoptions for the entire month of October? These homeless cat organizations believe that black cats are the most likely target of Satanic rituals that take place around Halloween, and feel it is more humane to limit black cat adoptions than risk that type of horrible end.  Are they believing made-up horror stories, or are there facts fueling the fears?  How do shelters and rescues that do allow black cat adoptions ensure their black cats are being adopted by loving homes where they will be safe?

The fact is, sadly, animals are killed in rituals in almost every community in the US. I worked at an animal control agency for 10 years where I heard first-hand accounts from animal control officers who were called to investigate ritually killed and discarded animals of all kinds. This was in a suburban area of Los Angeles! Just like other types of animal cruelty, it can happen anywhere. When I first started working at this shelter, they would not adopt out black cats for the entire month of October, telling adopters to come back after November 1st. Unfortunately, the limitation on an easy supply of black cats did not slow down the (rare but ongoing) animal sacrifices. The criminals simply switched to other colors and types of animals they could obtain for free. So the shelter adjusted their black cat policy to allow people to adopt black cats at any time – with the condition that if they adopted them in the few weeks prior to Halloween, they could not pick them up until after October 31st.

In speaking to and listening to shelters and rescues around the country talk about the challenges of adopting out black cats near Halloween, I’ve learned almost every shelter and every rescue handles the situation differently, depending on what they feel works best for their facility and their community. Fortunately  the shelter where I worked had the resources (space & staff time) to be able to set aside black cats adopted in October without negatively impacting the lives of other cats in their care, while trying to keep them healthy and happy during their wait. Other shelters are not so fortunate in their resources, and it is a tough balancing act weighing the welfare of all the cats in their care and once they are adopted out into the community.

What can you do to keep your cat safe, and help black cats in general?

  1. Help bust the myths! One of the most pervasive untrue myths is that black cats are bad luck… actually in England, if a black cat crosses your path, that is considered a GOOD omen!
  2. Help black cats be adopted because black cats are least likely color of cat  to be adopted from a shelters. Especially in darker cages, they are easy for a human’s eyes to pass over. But black cats can be just as wonderful as any color cat! There are even some studies that have found that cats of a particular color often share similar personality traits. Black cats are very likely to be social, gentle, smart, play-loving feline friends. (Living proof: my darling foster cat in the photo above.) Their elegance is undeniable – they are always ‘dressed’ for a fabulous formal party, often with a pair of sparkling emerald or golden jewel eyes as the perfect accessories. Beautiful!
  3. Black cats, just like any cat, are not a decoration. Some shelters who lift their black cat adoption ban find they run into another problem: black cats adopted and then returned after Halloween.
  4. Keep ALL cats and other pets safely inside your home, especially the weeks before Halloween.

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