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The Mystery Of The Black Cat

Black cats are adopted at a slower rate from animal shelters than any other color of cat. Why?

If a black cat crosses your path you are probably standing in the Kitty Motel at LifeLine Animal Project.

The Kitty Motel is a cage-free, feline-friendly area where LifeLine houses homeless cats who are up for adoption at their Avondale Estates rescue. You can see the cats through the glass doors and window of the "motel" while sitting in the reception area of LifeLine's low-cost community spay and neuter clinic. The cats can see you, too.

There are cats of every size and color playing, eating and napping, but there seems to be a surplus of mostly black, or all-black, cats and kittens.

This is not unusual, according to Mickie Blair, who serves as LifeLine's field coordinator and cat adoption counselor.

"Black cats get adopted at a slower rate than any other color of cats, " she said, "They stay in the shelter an average of two-three years."

Why?

"It could be they often don't photograph well because they are so dark and people can't see their expression in pictures on the website, or because some people are superstitious and think they are unlucky," Blair said. "People just don't look at them.

"We have black cats with green eyes, black cats with gold eyes and more. There's nothing wrong with them! They are so pretty and in my experience, black cats often have the best personalities," she said, "They tend to be talkative and playful."

Take Ike, for instance.

Ike is a homeless black cat with a crooked tail and a lone white whisker nestled among his dark whiskers. Blair reports that Ike enjoys nibbling on people's feet.

Ike has a brother named Spike, another ink-colored and friendly fellow.

Daisy is a shy, sweet-natured black cat who came into LifeLine with a large gash under her front leg. She's healed now and ready for a home.

Salinger is a calm and curious cat, almost all black, with a broken line of white marking his nose. He likes to approach visitors and then sit and wait to be noticed -- and hopefully, petted. 

Salinger was once an abandoned cat living with a colony of other outdoor cats. The management of an apartment complex where the colony lived decided to have all the stray and feral cats removed. It is thought the cats that they caught and took from the property were all destroyed. Salinger was captured with a rabies catch pole and he somehow escaped with the pole still tightly caught around his neck.

LifeLine rescued Salinger. Once the veterinarians fixed his neck wounds he moved into the Kitty Motel and is still a resident there, over two years later.

There are other black cat stories at LifeLine's Kitty Motel, about 15 of them at present. Blair is perplexed at how potential adopters can keep from falling in love with these unique, but much maligned, felines.

"They are just adorable!" she asserted, "They are just the best cats."

All the cats and kittens in the Kitty Motel are up for adoption. To learn more about them, please contact mblair@atlantapets.org.

Karen Willis September 15, 2011 at 01:44 AM
I have two solid black cats, and one mostly black cat--a tuxedo cat. I absolutely adore them. They are smart and funny, and very talkative. Black cats are excellent lick to whoever has them.
Therra C. Gwyn September 15, 2011 at 02:29 PM
Karen, I have heard that from several people who have commented about their own black cats. Seems that many of them are kissers!
sarah long July 13, 2012 at 01:38 AM
Therra, I know it has been awhile since you wrote this article, but is Ike still available for adoption?
Therra C. Gwyn July 13, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Yes, he is! He's a special and very funny cat. Mickie Blair at LifeLine said she will be happy to introduce you to him if you want to meet him. Please e-mail mblair@lifelineanimal.org

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