It’s no surprise that black cats get a bad rap, particularly as they’ve been associated with Halloween, witchcraft, bad luck and misfortune since the Middle Ages.
But vet, Hannah Newbury - who works with MSD Animal Health - is urging potential pet owners to forgo Halloween superstitions and adopt a black cat.
She said: “Despite all the spooky implications and superstitions, black cats actually make wonderful pets. I speak from personal and professional experience, as two of my three cats have been jet black - and they brought nothing but love and affection!”
Recent figures from the charity Cats Protection show 43 per cent of cats given up for adoption at their centres are black, or black and white. But according to Hannah, black cats come with several health and aesthetic benefits that make them great companions, despite being considered ‘evil omens’.
She added: “Although their black colouration has led to negative associations with witches, it actually gives them a competitive edge because it provides them with a very effective camouflage. This is particularly beneficial for staying out of trouble and also helps as the species evolves. It also makes them look glossy and silky, as well as making their green, yellow or blue eyes appear even brighter.”
In some cultures, such as Japan, black cats are actually considered to bring good luck, rather than bad. In Scotland, they’re believed to be a sign prosperity is on the way and in some places it is believed that a lady who owns a black cat will have many suitors.
Despite these positive attributes however, black cats take 13 per cent longer to be adopted than other cats, according to Cats Protection.
For those who make the decision to adopt a cat this Halloween, Hannah recommends a few simple steps to look after their health and welfare correctly.
She explains: “No matter what kind of cat you choose to adopt, ensure it is up to date with its vaccinations and parasite treatment. Keep your cat active by playing with them regularly. Feed them a balanced, nutritious diet that is formulated specifically for cats and groom them regularly, checking for any lumps or bumps.
“If you have any concerns about your adopted cat, or if you notice any changes in your cat’s behaviour, always speak to your vet as they will be able to advise the best course of action.”