As anyone who’s ever seen Sabrina The Teenage Witch knows, black cats and sorcery go hand-in-hand, which makes these inky creatures the perfect (unofficial) Halloween mascot. Nothing gets a spooky celebration going on Oct 31 like wowing your friends with fascinating facts about black cats, and this year you’ll be the life of the party.
Legend has is that witches could shapeshift into black cats, and maybe even come back to Earth after their deaths in the form of a feline, according to Bustle. Cats are nocturnal creatures that roam freely at night (this kind of creeps me out to think about, but I’m not really a cat person so… sorry). The thought was that black cats could easily sneak around because they blended so seamlessly into the dark night. This is something I can attest to; I have a black dog who I accidentally step on basically every time I go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, and then subsequently feel terrible about it.
So whether or not you’re one of those people that dresses as a cat every single year (guilty), or you're the type to cross the street when you see a black cat on roaming freely, having this collection of 8 black cat facts at your disposal can come in handy.
1. Black cats can gray with age
Cats, they're just like us! As they age, a black cat's fur may start to look gray or even white, per Catster. This is caused by a loss of pigmentation in the hair follicle, which is what happens to humans, too.
2. They're considered good luck in some cultures
Black cats sometimes get a bad rap, but certain cultures consider them good luck. For example, in Japan, if a single person owns a black cat, it's thought to attract a mate, per Four Paws. Legend also has it that the wives of fisherman would keep a black cat at home, which they thought would help ensure their spouse's safe return, according to Animal Foundation.
3. It's not true that black cats are less likely to be adopted
It used to be a widely held belief that black cats had a tougher time getting adopted due to their spooky nature. That isn't totally true, however the genes that make up black coats are dominant, so there may just be more black cats in shelters than any other kind. 31 percent of cats adopted are black, according to a 2014 article in The Cut.
4. It matters what direction they cross you, according to Germans (and pirates).
In Germany, if a cat crosses in front of you from right to left, that's a bad omen, but crossing left to right is a good sign. Pirates thought a black cat walking toward you was bad luck, per Petco, but walking away from you was good luck (and I think I agree with the pirates on the one).
5. There are a ton of superstitions about them
6. There's more than one breed of black cat
Most black cats look basically the same, but there are actually many different breeds. The Cat Fanciers' Association (a must read for anyone who does indeed fancy cats) lists 19 distinct cat breeds that may be black. Now try to spot the differences.
7. They may make you rich, according to Scots
In Scotland it's said that if a black cat shows up on your porch or by your front door, it will bring you wealth, per Reuters. I actually have a cat that keeps showing up at my house, but it's orange, and I have a suspicion my fiancé is feeding him... Anyway, if you see a black cat at your door, consider yourself lucky, at least in Scotland.
8. There's a black cat café
Cat cafés have been popping up all over, but there's only one devoted entirely to black cats called Nekobiyaka in Himeji, Japan. You can look at the cats, but not pick them up, according to Mental Floss, and they each wear a different color bandana. Is that not the cutest thing ever?
The point is, cats with black coats are definitely more fascinating than creepy, as these fascinating facts show, so don't feel like you need to run away the next time you cross one's path.