Who adopts a black cat on Halloween?
BOISE, Idaho (AP) ” A black cat didn’t cross anybody’s path this Halloween ” at least that was the goal of a northern Idaho animal shelter.
Like many shelters around the country, the Kootenai Humane Society in Coeur d’Alene prohibited black cat adoptions during Halloween, fearing the animals could have been mistreated in Halloween pranks ” or worse, sacrificed in some satanic ritual.
The shelter’s executive director, Phil Morgan, said the policy remained though the risk might have been remote.
“It’s kind of an urban legend. But in the humane industry it’s pretty typical that shelters don’t do adoptions of black cats or white bunnies because of the whole satanic sacrificial thing,” Morgan said. “If we prevent one animal from getting hurt, then it serves its purpose.”
Some animal experts, however, say the practice does more to hurt animals than protect them.
“Black cats already suffer a stigma because of their color,” said Gail Buchwald, vice president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shelter in New York City. “Why penalize them any more by limiting the times when they can be adopted?”
Idaho Humane Society spokeswoman Dee Fugit said that while the temporary adoption bans used to be more common, several years of working in Idaho has proven to her there’s no need for such measures.
“If somebody comes in here and they’re strange enough that we’d question why they’re adopting a black cat on Halloween, then we’re probably not going to adopt any animal to them,” Fugit said. “It doesn’t seem to be a justifiable reason for not adopting black cats. We are absolutely inundated with cats that need homes right now.”
Black cats tend to be adopted less often than other felines, Buchwald said. A study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science in 2002 comparing coat color in shelter animals found that black or dark brown cats were much less likely to be adopted than white, gray or mixed-color cats, Buchwald said.
“Behaviorally, there’s no difference from the color of the cat. It’s tied into this whole mythology about the animal ” don’t let it cross your path or some foreboding or foreshadowing of evil ” and that’s an outdated superstition,” she said.
It’s not clear exactly how many shelters still seasonally ban black cat adoptions, said Kim Intino, the director of animal sheltering issues for The Humane Society of the United States, but it’s a trend that seems to be fading ” along with the once-common bans on bunny adoptions around Easter or puppy adoptions as Christmas gifts.
“If there were people out there performing rituals with animals, then I would think that Halloween would be a time for that, but a good adoption process would tend to weed that out,” Intino said. “There’s going to be incidents of weird abuse that happen no matter what. The remedy is not banning black cat adoptions.”
Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado