We now know that there is no bias against black dogs being adopted from shelters, but what about black cats? Researchers from Canisius College 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 with black fur 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.
How We Can Help Black Cats Get Adopted
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 are 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.
Ending Black Cat Discrimination
It's unfortunate that cats are being discriminated against based on coat color. Most of that discrimination likely comes from the fact that cats with black coats are traditionally believed to be bad luck. Cats with solid black coats and yellow eyes are associated with Halloween, and even domestic cats with black coats get a bad rap. Cat myths about how if a black cat crosses your path you'll have bad luck only complicate the problem.
Cat breeds with black coats face another challenge in getting adopted: They're harder to photograph. Trying to get a good shot of a mini black panther in a dark cage doesn't often work out well, and black coats can appear washed-out or dull. In the sun, those coats might glisten and grab attention, but most of the photos that shelters manage to capture fall short.
To help mitigate the stigma against these cat breeds, animal shelters need to focus on taking pictures of these overlooked cats outside of their cage and with plenty of toys. Photos that capture a cat's personality can drive adoptions. Some shelters have even begun offering black cat specials where they discount the adoption price for black felines.
National Black Cat Appreciation Day
The issue of getting black cats adopted is such a challenge that a holiday has been established just for them. According to the ASPCA, Black Cat Appreciation Day is an annual holiday on August 17th. On National Black Cat Day, many shelters encourage people to adopt these special cats. Who knows, stopping by a shelter and picking out a black kitty of your own could change that cat's bad luck to good luck.
The more exposure these black cat breeds have, the quicker they will find adopters and the forever home they so deserve.
Do you have a black cat? Show us your best friend in the comments below!
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