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Gray Matter: Ban on Black Cat Adoptions

I’m torn about bans on black cat adoptions around Halloween. It’s such a Gray Matter for me that I didn’t want to blog about it. But, by popular demand, here are my thoughts for all you Animal People who’ve e-mailed me.

Let’s deconstruct:

  • The premise is that, because of various wives’ tails and urban myths about black cats, including that they are more likely than other cats to be sacrificed in satanic rituals and abused in Halloween pranks, they shouldn’t be allowed to be adopted for the couple of days around Halloween. This is the "better safe than sorry" camp. Sounds good to me.
  • Naysayers, other than saying "Nay," say that the bans do more harm than good. "Black cats already suffer a stigma because of their color," says Gail Buchwald, VP of the ASPCA. "Why penalize them any more by limiting the times when they can be adopted?" Hmmmm. She’s got a point. The naysayers say the bit about the sacrifices and abuse around Halloween is itself an urban legand, and that if there are abusers, the adoption process would weed them out (do they have a questionnaire that says: "Check this box if you plan to use the animal in a ritual sacrifice?"). I’m not so sure about this part.
  • One thing’s for sure: black cats are adopted less frequently. The same is true for black Greyhounds. In fact, I purposely adopted a black cat (my husband named him Lars Axl Fokker) and I intended to adopt Stealth, a gorgeous black Greyhound, but the adoption people asked me to take Charles, as he was in greater need of a home.

Here’s what I get out of the articles about this topic:

  • At least people are becoming educated about what some lunatics think is "fun" during Halloween, and if nothing else, we should all keep our companion animals inside, starting this afternoon, and ending on November 1.
  • Don’t dress up your companion animal. It’s stupid.
  • Don’t allow your companion animals access to Halloween candy.
  • Put your dog in a separate room and close the door tomorrow night. Put on some nice music. Don’t drive the dog nuts by having her run back and forth to the door all night. It also gives her the opportunity to run out, and possibly into a very small child. They dress ’em up younger and younger every year.
  • Whether or not your shelter bans black cat adoptions, think about adopting a black cat (or a black Greyhound–they’re spectacular!) as your next animal friend.

And finally: Buy candy that you don’t like, so you don’t eat it!

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