Sunday, June 01, 2008

Adopt a (BLACK) Cat Month

June is "adopt a cat month" and while I do not condone the impulsive adoption of a pet (despite doing it ourselves), perhaps I can plant a little seed in your mind that will start with you pondering if you are able to open your homes to a first or additional kitty. Dean and I are in agreement that taking in another kitty while renting an apartment is not a good idea, especially while our lives are in transition. But we are also in agreement that once we own a home, our furry family will grow bigger still.

In case you still weren't convinced that the anemic economy affects literally every aspect of our world, let me assure you that our four-legged friends are feeling the pinch of our pocketbooks as well. The shelters are full and there is a long turnaround time. I have spoken with several rescue groups and no one is taking in new cats for adoption because cats and kittens are not being successfully adopted from shelters. The Humane Society of Tampa Bay alone has a waiting list of 300 cats that will continue to roam the streets until the cats that are already in that shelter start getting homes. With gas prices prohibitively high and grocery prices seemingly following a similar trend, taking on the financial commitment of caring for an animal is the last thing on people's minds. And, as witnessed by feral cat feeders, some people who can no longer afford the pets they have are abandoning them at feeding sites.

So are you thinking about whether or not you can give a loving home to a needy animal? May I suggest a black cat?

My first two cats as a child were black cats, which until I learned more about cats I thought was a coincidence. Both times they were the only kittens left for adoption. It was no coincidence, it seems that black cats statistically have a tougher time finding homes. First, the black pigmentation is a dominant trait among cats and was genetically selected for due to the camouflage it allows while hunting. As I have mentioned before, a good fraction of the dumpster kitties are black, including my favorite one:

I don't usually pick favorites, but this one actually lets me pet her on occasion and will eat from my hands. So not only do more black cats end up needing homes, but fewer actually end up in homes. People generally aren't as excited about adopting black cats and kittens, so they actually get adopted at a slower rate than cats with other types of markings. I'm not really sure why that is, maybe their plain coloring just doesn't grab the attention of perspective adopters. I don't imagine people are still superstitious about black cats, but who knows. And if things weren't tough enough for the black ones, even if you wanted to open your home to a black cat, you likely can't do it if it is October, because most shelters will not allow black cat adoptions close to Halloween (you can thank the cat-torturing psychos for that).

It seems that black cats have three strikes against them, which is why I am having such a hard time finding a place for Oscar. Oscar is a kitty who was dumped at my feeding site. He is all black and extremely affectionate. The kids in my complex named him Oscar and love him because he joins them on the playground everyday after school. But he still deserves a real home with a real family and his own food that isn't served behind a dumpster. That's how I know so many shelters are full. One group I contacted - they are run straight out of people's homes so can always take animals they feel are needy enough - were willing to listen to Oscar's story but promptly rejected him after asking about his coloring. I was so frustrated that I shrill-ly told the lady that animals should be afforded the same rights from discrimination that are afforded to people. She hung up on me.

So, to sum up: The economy sucks. People are not adopting pets. Now is an especially good time to go to and adopt a black cat, so says Allie.


fermicat said...

I can vouch for the beauty (and sweetness) of black cats. My very first cat that I adopted was a black cat named "Fermi". Yes, she is the inspiration for the screen name that I've used on the internet for years. I adopted Fermi along with her sister Pauli, a solid gray cat. Fermi was the best cat I ever had. She was pure delight, and so sleek and beautiful. Had the softest purr, just barely audible . I still miss her - she died of cancer in 2000.

Her picture is here: Fermi

Jeni said...

I'd have to agree with your logic about cats not being discriminated against either due to their color. Personally, I love black cats! Our late great cat, Gracie, was black with gold flecks and was also a big furball -the amount of fur made her look a lot bigger than she really was -but anyway, she was an absolute gem of a cat. But, I am also partial to grey, or white -or spotted, striped -ah heck, most any color cat!

gabrielle said...

One of my most intimate relationships was with a black cat named Boo. Officially, she was given the name of Demeter after the Earth Goddess, mother of Persephone. But before long she became known as Boo, short for Buddha or Boo Radley. Take your pick. She was a confirmed vegetarian, although she preferred exotic vegetables like asparagus, fennel and leeks. Not so much for carrots, you’ll be glad to hear. She left the beta carotene saturated food sources for me. Boo could already see in the dark and I had a rod deficit, so my night vision is vastly lacking. Boo was both a healer and a prankster, taught me a lot.
I too was partial to black cats. That is until Sauvi AKA Madonna came into our lives. As her name suggests., Sauvi (abbreviated for Sauvignonon), is pure white. In fact, when Natalie first found her wandering around the apartment complex, she looked as if she had scabies. It turned out to be sunburn. Anyway, one of Sauvie’s unconditional clauses is that she be an only cat. One of her many…uhhum…quirks…is that she does not tolerate the presence of other cats. In fact, that is why it was so difficult to find a home for her. Because most cat lovers who would consider adopting a 3 year old cat quite set in her ways, already have a cat family.
I did grasp the urgency of this blog. So we convened a family quorum. Sauvi stands fast to her prenups.
I do hope that these very special cats find loving homes.

Dianne said...

You already know how I feel about adoptions, rescues, and the overall subject of animal care and rights!

So I'll tell you about one of my first cats. His owners had pretty much abandoned him, the new wife didn't like him so the ball-less husband allowed her to leave him outside all the time. My brother told me about it and I went to get him.

They called him Jinx but I changed it to Jinxie since he was such a good guy. He was about 6 when I got him and he was with til he died from liver disease at 9. This was 20+ years ago and my son still has his picture on his dresser. He was a joy.

I'm going to blog about Adopt a Cat Month too!

Mi and Si send hugs

Hot4Teacha said...

I don't get people. I don't get how they treat each other, and I don't get how the treat animals. It is amazing that there are people like you, Nat, who do what you do...and know what's right.

Beth said...

The best cat I ever owned was a long haired black cat with orange eyes. He had an amazing personality and was so super smart. Mojo. Still miss the big guy.

dr sardonicus said...

Never had a black cat. I might consider one if the opportunity arose, but Tara will not permit any more cats in her house as long as she's still around.

Minnesotablue said...

I love black cats. They remind me of smaller version of a sleek panther. Of course Gram Irene still carries around the superstition that they are bad luck.

magnetbabe said...

fermi -
I remember that your online namesake was your black cat. She was beautiful and I loved the names you gave to her and her sister!

jeni -
Gracie sounds beautiful. Like you, I am partial to every kind of cat, but with that in mind I urge people to add a black one to their family.

gabrielle -
I'm sure you know, but we had a black cat that liked eating pumpkins. She made quite sight around Halloween. It is too bad that Sauvi insists on being the only one, a black cat would add a Yin Yang effect to your household, but as you mentioned, her preferred solitude is why it took her so long to find her perfect family. There is no doubt it was worth the wait for her.

dianne -
If you haven't done so already (I haven't stopped by in a few days) post a picture of Jinxie! I can't wait to read what you have to say about adopt a cat month. Its a crucial time for adoptions right now and I worry more cats are going to either be euthanized or left on the streets becuase of our human economy.

hot4teacha -
Thanks, and you are right. If people would just think before they act and abide by the golden rule with respect to humans AND animals, this world would be a much better place. And I wouldn't have so much work to do. ;)

beth -
I like long-haired black cats. They have a very different look than short-haired. And Mojo is an awesome name.

dr. s -
And Tara deserves to have her wishes respected after the story you told about her! I hope if the opportunity arises you remember what I wrote about the need to find homes for black cats.

minnesotablue -
Yes, every time I see a big black cat (like at Big Cat Rescue), I'm reminded of our little black cat. She was very very sleek, but now she's getting a little chunky. Her human dad spoils her rotten, but she's still gorgeous!

Scott said...

I don't know if I told you this story yet, but one of my dad's friends who lived in Idaho (I'm not knocking the state by the way, wonderful place) would take cats from shelters just so he could "run" his hunting dogs. I was horrified to find out what this meant. There are some really whacked out and heartless people in this world.

MyUtopia said...

Never heard of adopt a black cat month, weird.

TheWriteGirl said...

I am in a cat-free phase at the moment. When I put Sweetie to sleep about a year and a half ago, I decided to take a cat break. It's the first time 20-something years that I have not had a cat in the house. I have to say, while I sometimes miss the company, I'm enjoying the change. I know I will have cats again. But for a while, it's lovely not to have hair on everything or the occasional barfed-up hairball underfoot, it's nice to be able to go away without worrying about who's going to feed them and empty the litter box while I'm gone. It's also nice for my brother, who is very allergic to cats. He can now come to my apartment and not have to take antihistamines. I think it won't be too much longer until a new cat comes along. I'm starting to get that "need a cat" feeling again.

LL said...

Any cat around these parts has a built in death sentence. I don't run my dog with them... she does that all by herself. Never had a dog that was so hard on cats before...

Hot4Teacha said...

Puder ALMOST caught a squirrel last night - it was a laudable attempt, but nevertheless, she was thwarted by the squirrel being more agile in the tree-climbing dept. Has all its claws, ya know, as opposed to Ms. Back-Claws-Only. She's probably spawning ideas right now on how to de-tree said squirrel upon her next foray into the wild.

La Petite Chic said...

There's actually the same problem with black dogs. They call it BBDS, Big Black Dog Syndrome. Also, it's harder in general to take a picture of a black animal and be able to show their personality and their features for those wishing to adopt them. It's so sad. I can proudly say that all of our dogs are black.