13 Black Cat Factoids for Black Cat Appreciation Day

black cat illustration by karen nichols

There’s no better time than the present to adopt a black cat. August 17th is Black Cat Appreciation Day, and if you have some black cat luck, there may be a shelter near you (like the ASPCA’s adoption center in NYC) offering huge discounts on adoptions to celebrate.

Black cats are elegant and mysterious, steeped in superstition since ancient times. Here are 13 Black Cat Factoids that may convince you to adopt your own house panther:

  1. The black fur gene is recessive, so a cat must carry two copies of it to be black. Scientists also discovered that the mutations affect a gene related to one that’s resistant to HIV in humans, leading some to theorize that black cats may be resistant to disease.
  2. The house  in Philadephia where Edgar Allen Poe (a cat guy) wrote “The Black Cat” is now part of the National Park System and is open to the public.
  3. The Egyptian goddess Bast was thought to take the form of a black cat. Egyptian households believed they could gain favor from Bastet by hosting black cats in their households.
  4. According to British lore, a black cat’s presence in a house will bring a young woman many suitors.
  5. The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) recognizes 22 cat breeds that can come with solid black coat
  6. England’s King Charles I was so devoted to his black cat that he insisted that it be guarded 24/7. The day after the cat died, Charles was arrested for high treason.
  7. Scots believe that a strange black cat’s arrival to the home signifies prosperity.
  8. In Germany, some believe that black cats crossing a person’s path from right to left, is a bad omen. But passing from left to right is a good sign.
  9. In the UK, if a black cat walks towards someone, it brings good fortune, but if it walks away, it takes the good luck with it.
  10. In the early days of television in the United States, many stations located on VHF channel 13 used a black cat as a mascot in order to make sport of being located on an “unlucky” channel number.
  11. The black cat—often called the “sab cat” or “sabo-tabby” is associated with anarcho-syndicalism, a branch of anarchism that focuses on labor organizing.
  12. In 2014, the RSPCA reported that 70% of the abandoned cats in its care were black, suggesting a possible reason was that people considered black cats “un-photogenic.”
  13. At least two black cats have inherited multi-million dollar fortunes from their owners: Tommaso, a former stray in Italy, and Blackie, a lucky UK cat.

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