Do Black Cats Have a Hard Time Getting Adopted from Shelters?

Posted by Tori Holmes

We now know that there is no bias against black dogs being adopted from shelters, but what about black cats?

Researchers from Canisius College recently conducted a study looking at the role the website Petfinder plays in cat adoption. As part of this study, they looked at the adoption rate of cats whose primary coat color was black versus cats of all other coat colors.

After analyzing the adoption records of 892 cats over the span of a year, a few upsetting results were found. Firstly, black cats received significantly fewer clicks per day. Secondly, black cats had significantly longer lengths of availability.

While these results are upsetting, the researchers did find a few other interesting things that could help these black cats get more exposure. When cats were photographed with toys, it played an important role in increasing their popularity. Similar results were found when cats were photographed outside their cage rather than in it.


Conversely, there a quite a few things that don’t improve the chance that a cat’s image will be clicked. Some of these include whether or not a cat’s photo shows only their head or their entire body, whether the image was taken from the front or the side, the size of the cat’s pupils, or the position of their ears.

It’s unfortunate that cats are being discriminated against based on coat color, but the results of this study show that there are a few things shelter and rescue staff can do to help mitigate them.

By taking pictures of these overlooked cats outside of their cage and with plenty of toys, it can help increase their exposure online. The more exposure they have, the quicker they will find the forever home they so deserve.

Do Black Cats Have a Hard Time Getting Adopted from Shelters?