Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Deadly superstition

Halloween is quickly approaching, and while I enjoy the holiday, it reminds me of a sad fact. That fact is that far too many people still believe in silly superstitions. Sometimes superstitions can be harmless, like those that think that whether they sit on their sofa a certain way or if they wear their team jersey will effect the outcome of their team's football game.

I can't help but view that brand of superstition as humorous. Yet, the came kind of thinking can often be deadly for an innocent and unfairly maligned group... Black cats.

We have all heard the superstition that it's bad luck to cross a black cat's path. And this month, we will see black cats presented as stalking beings, with arched backs in fear, or simply as the companions of witches. Once upon a time the ancient Egyptians worshiped cats... even the black ones. But when the middle-ages rolled around, it all went pear-shaped for our feline friends.

Why? Witches. Yeah, people (fueled by the church) believed that there where witches, and that black cats where either their familiar, or the witch herself transformed into the form of a black cat. Because of this, black cats became feared as well as vilified. Over the years, the reasons have slowly changed,
but to far too many, the black cat still symbolizes bad luck.

What's the big deal? Why do I care? Let me give you an example. My wife and I were at the pet  store recently, and the humane society was there doing a cat adoption drive. As we walked by we saw four black cats in cages, and probably six or more empty cages. We mentioned that it was a shame that these last four cats likely won't be finding a home today, since they were about ready to start packing up for the day.

That's when the women working the event heard our comment and told us that the day actually started out very well. All the other cats found homes quickly. But as soon as all the non-black cats were adopted off, interest suddenly dropped. Some families had even approached with interest in adopting a feline friend, but turned away as soon as they found out they only had black cats left. Not the slightest consideration to adopting a black one.  It's sad really.

And it's something that is sadly far too common. If you ask just about anyone working in the pet rescue industry, they will tell you that black cats are almost always the last to be adopted, and well as the first to be euthanized. Why? Because some people are still childish enough to think that black cats are bad luck, or even agents of Satan (I wish I was making this up).

My wife and I have a black cat (as well as other), and after seven years, she has not tried to suck out our souls, killed us, or delivered us to Satan. And if she's a witch in disguise, she's a pretty poor one since the other cats never meet much resistance when they mess with her.

This is obviously what pure concentrated evil looks like...
One of our other cats is a orange and while long hair. My parents have his brother, who is an all black
cat. My parents are still alive and well after six years, and if anything, the orange and white brother that we have is much more of a trouble-maker. Black cats are unfairly singled out for their color, and if they were humans, we'd say that they were to victims of racism.

But the cars as they are show us that they are the victims of silly superstitions, and unfairly so. So if you want to adopt a cat, please consider a black cat as a possibility. To many prospective adopters end up not adopting at all just because their options at the moment are black cat, or no cat. Don't let 'no cat' be your choice and send what could be a loving companion be to a premature end.

-Brain Hulk

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