01 of 07
Black Cats are Often Revered or Feared
Black cats pose an enigma to people who have never been up close and personal with one. People who share their homes with one or more black cats love them beyond measure. Others who may or may not have crossed paths with a black cat sometimes fear them to the point of irrationality.
Fear of black cats most likely stems from folklore held over from the middle ages, when black cats were thought to be witches' familiars. The common phrase "witch hunt" arose from the fanatical fervor with... which witches and their "familiars" were hunted down, tortured until they confessed their sins, and killed, usually by burning at the stake.
Today, lovers of black cats bear no resemblance to witches but are normal men and women who happen to love the stark beauty of all-black cats, along with their personalities, which seem to vary from cat to cat.Continue to 2 of 7 below.
02 of 07
Some Very Black Cats are not "Pure Black"
Black is one of the three basic colors of cats which I would call "pure." The other two are red and white. All other colors and color patterns of cats are a combination of any two or three of these basic colors.
The differences are all a matter of genetics, a very complicated study of the genes which are carried down from cat-to-cat. Cats with a dominant black gene are often (but not always) pure black in appearance. A cat with two parents, both possessed of a dominant black gene, will almost... always be pure black. However, if either of these cats has a recessive red gene, the kitten may also carry it, a fact which accounts for why sometimes black cats appear "rusty" in the sun.Continue to 3 of 7 below.
03 of 07
Black Cats Are Considered Lucky in Some Cultures
A popular belief in the western hemisphere holds that black cats are unlucky. This superstition is not universally held, however. In Asia and the U.K., a black cat is generally considered lucky. The exception is that in most of the U.K., it is unlucky to cross paths with a black cat. But there are exceptions to every rule, including exceptions to exceptions! In Yorkshire, England, it may be lucky to own a black cat, but it is unlucky to have one cross your path. (One wonders how one handles the... latter if she lives with black cats.) Superstitions, like genetics, can be a very confusing subject, indeed.Continue to 4 of 7 below.
04 of 07
The Bombay Cat is the Only Recognized Black Cat Breed
While many recognized breeds have been around for years or are the result of naturally occurring genetic mutations, the Bombay is a result of years of selective breeding in an effort to develop a black "Parlour Panther." It is the only recognized cat breed whose only acceptable color is black.
Although stunning as sleek, black show cats with mesmerizing copper eyes, the Bombay is easily adaptable as a pet who will play fetch, guard your house, or even venture out with you on a leash.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
CFA Allows Solid Black in 22 Breed Standards
In addition to the Bombay, listed above, The Cat Fanciers' Association allows solid black as a color option in 21 other breeds. The color description is fairly standard for all those breeds:
- BLACK: dense coal black, sound from roots to tip of fur. Free from any tinge of rust on the tips. Nose leather: black. Paw pads: black or brown.
The exceptions are:
Continue to 6 of 7 below.
- Oriental - EBONY: dense coal black. Free from any tinge of rust on tips or smoke undercoat. Nose leather: black. Paw pads: black or brown.
- Sphynx -... BLACK: black. One level tone from nose to tip of the tail. Nose leather: black. Paw pads: black or brown.
- Ragamuffin - Although black is not specifically mentioned, the standard allows for "any color, with or without white," so technically speaking, an all-black Ragamuffin would be allowed under the breed standard.
06 of 07
Black Cats Are Not Always Named for their Color
While we once had a black cat named (unimaginatively) "Blackie," I've noticed a lot of black cats named for their color, such as "Salem," "Sable," "Ebony," or "Boo," (for the Halloween connection). I was curious to learn how others chose their names for black cats, so I held a short survey.
Surprisingly, while I found "Pyewacket," "Midnight," "Salem," and other names associated with black cats, there were an equal number of non-color-specific names, such as... "Charlie," "Pablo," "Olive," and "Jasmine."Continue to 7 of 7 below.
07 of 07
Black is Arguably the Most Popular Solid Cat Color
Since I could find no specific answer when I did a 'Net search on "what is the most popular cat color," I decided to create a short survey on my site. I included the three basic colors (black, red, and white), and added blue, which does appear as a solid color.
With over 100 preliminary votes, black was in the lead, followed closely by blue, and white. While that poll has been deprecated, there is a new poll on the Facebook Group All About Cats, hosted by several of our former forum members.... Readers are encouraged to join us.
One thing is beyond denial: People who live with black cats are crazy about them!