Black Cat Facts And Myths

Did you know that black cats are so remarkable that they have their own special day of celebration?

It’s not Halloween - it’s Black Cat Appreciation Day, celebrated every year on August 17th by shelters, rescues, and cat lovers alike.

These mysterious and captivating felines have captured our imaginations for centuries, inspiring myths, legends, and superstitions. But what do we really know about black cats?

In honor of Black Cat Appreciation Day, let’s explore some fascinating facts about these beautiful creatures. And don’t worry, we’ll also delve into the myths and superstitions surrounding them.

Black Cats - The Real & Fascinating Facts

close up of black cat with green eyes on dark background

Here are some pretty cool facts about our beautiful black felines.

1. The Role of Eumelanin in Black Cat Hair Color

The black color of a cat's hair is due to a pigment called eumelanin, which is produced in the hair follicle. Black cats produce a coat that's rich in eumelanin, which gives their fur a deep, dark color.

Eumelanin is also responsible for the color of human hair, skin, and eyes, as well as the feathers of birds and the fur of other animals.

2. Dominance of the Gene for Black Coat Color in Felines

The gene for black coat color in cats is dominant, which means that a cat only needs one copy of the gene to have a black coat.

However, this also means that a black cat may not necessarily produce black kittens, as the other parent may carry a different coat color gene.

The dominant gene for black coat color is called B, while the recessive gene for non-black coat color is called b.

If a cat inherits one B gene and one b gene, it will have a black coat. If it inherits two b genes, it will not have a black coat.

3. The Fascinating Truth Behind Solid Blue/Gray Cats

Solid blue/gray cats are actually black!

gray cat lying on furry cicular white cat bed

They carry the black coat gene, but also a secondary gene that dilutes the concentration of pigments. This unique combination creates the beautiful slate blue shade of solid gray cats.

The dilution gene, which is called D, causes the eumelanin pigment to be spread out more thinly across the hair shaft, resulting in a lighter color.

Cats with two copies of the D gene will have a very light coat color, while cats with one copy of the D gene will have a diluted coat color.

4. Tabby Genes & Their Presence in Black Cats

Some black cats also carry the tabby gene. The black color usually covers the tabby pattern, but in some felines, tabby markings can be detected under the right lighting.

 black tabby cat on black background

This means that black cats can have subtle stripes or spots that are not visible to the naked eye. The tabby gene, which is called T, produces a pattern of stripes, spots, or swirls on a cat's coat.

The dominant form of the gene, T, produces the tabby pattern, while the recessive form, t, produces a solid coat color.

5. Color Changes in Black Cat Coats Over Time

A black cat's coat can change color over time. As the cat ages, its coat may show gray and white shades, especially around the face.

In some cases, a "rusty" brown shade may also show up, particularly along the tips of coat tufts. This change in coat color is due to a decrease in eumelanin production as the cat ages.

The rusty brown shade is caused by a different type of pigment called pheomelanin, which is produced in smaller amounts in black cats.

6. The Irrelevance of Coat Length to Feline Coat Color

The length of a cat's coat is unrelated to its color. Black cats can have long hair or short hair, and their coat length is determined by a different gene than their coat color.

black cat reclines on a chair, gazing up at its owner

The gene for coat length is called L, and it has two forms: a longhair allele, L, and a shorthair allele, l.

A cat with two copies of the L allele will have a long, flowing coat, while a cat with two copies of the l allele will have a short, sleek coat.

A cat with one L allele and one l allele will have an intermediate coat length.

7. Black Cats: Breeds & Coat Color Variations

Black cats can be of certain cat breeds but they can also be more common domestic shorthair or longhair cats (of no particular breed).

You can't tell a cat's breed just by its coat color and pattern. Some breeds don't have a black coat as part of the repertoire. Bengals, Russian Blue cats, Turkish Vans, and many other breeds cannot be black.

However, many breeds such as Oriental Shorthair cats, Persians, Maine Coons, and others can come in practically all patterns and coat colors, black included.

8. The Bombay Cat: The Only Breed with Exclusively Black Coats

bombay cat laying on the floor with its eyes and mouth wide open

The Bombay Cat is a breed of cat that was developed in the United States in the 1950s.

The breed was created by breeding Burmese cats and American Shorthairs in an attempt to create a cat that looked like a miniature black panther.

The breed was named after the Indian city of Bombay, which is now known as Mumbai, due to its resemblance to the black panthers that were once found in the forests surrounding the city.

The Bombay Cat is known for its friendly, affectionate personality and is a great choice for families with children or other pets. Despite its name, it has no connection to India or the city of Bombay.

9. Historical Persecution: Black Cats & Witch Hunts

Black cats were targeted during medieval witch hunts in Europe. They were believed to be demonic entities that helped witches perform their dark spells.

An adorable black kitten, costumed as a witch with a hat and broom, sits in a cauldron

This superstition has persisted to this day, and black cats are still sometimes associated with bad luck or evil.

However, in many cultures, black cats are considered good luck. For example, in Japan, black cats are believed to bring good fortune and prosperity.

Despite their association with witchcraft, black cats are actually just like any other cat. They come in all shapes and sizes, with different personalities and temperaments.

Black cats can make wonderful pets, and they deserve to be loved and cared for just like any other animal.

So much for actual facts. As for superstitions, many surround black cats and are often quite local and not easy to trace accurately.

Many cultures view cats as emblems of mysterious forces, black cats even more so. Here are a few superstitions about black cats from around the world:

  • Black cats are said to bring good luck in the UK.
  • In Jewish culture, a black cat crossing between two people means they're likely to get into a conflict.
  • In the Edo period in Japan black cats were believed to cure tuberculosis.

Are Black Cats Less Adoptable?

Man holding black cat

Many sources claim that people tend to skip over black cats in shelters and adopt cats of other colors more quickly.

Actual fact, or just a myth? It's hard to tell. Not all shelters keep the relevant data, and those that do can't offer a conclusive statement.

The best study to date was conducted by Dr. Emily Weiss of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

According to Dr. Weiss, the shelters sampled were indeed putting more black cats to sleep compared to any other color.

However, they were also adopting more black cats than any other color.

The bottom line is, the shelters were taking in more black cats than any other colors simply because it's a very common coat color in that area.

According to the ASPCA, once in the shelter, these cats faced similar odds as cats of other colors.

We also checked with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), the UK's leading animal welfare organization, and asked them if black cats were harder to adopt.

According to their data, black cats do wait longer than average in the shelter before going to their new homes. On average, a black cat spends 33 days in the shelter before being adopted.

That's more than most other colors. Only dark tortoiseshell cats share that record. By comparison, gray tabbies spend an average of 23 days in the shelter, and ginger cats only 20.

Why such a difference? Could it be local cultural biases? It's hard to tell. The additional data does suggest that black cats may be at a real disadvantage, possibly depending on local trends.

Consider Adopting A Black Cat!

Three little black cats sit on street

If you're looking to adopt a new cat, please consider cats of all colors and patterns. Don't overlook the black cats in the shelter.

Many members of have wonderful black feline companions and they can all attest to just how wonderful having a black kitty in your life is.

Each black cat is special. To celebrate Black Cat Appreciation Day and our love for black cats throughout the year, here's a special gallery of beautiful black cats.

If you're a regular in our forums you'll probably recognize at least some of them! And if you're not a regular, then join us today and submit your own photos of your cats - black or not!

Black Cats Gallery

Take a few moments to enjoy these photos submitted by our members and appreciate the beauty of black cats. Please share this with your friends, too, to increase awareness of these special felines.

black cat laying with its chin down and eyes widely staring in front

black cat laying in a white bed with brown printed paws

black cat laying outside in a stone

black cat laying in a comfy place with one arm stretch


black cat sitting outside the balcony or in the railing of the wood deck

close up of black cat face with green eyes

black cat laying on the couch

close up of a laying black cat's face with orange eyes staring somewhere

black cat laying besides the the window glass

close up picture of cat's face

a black cat with red collar sitting and staring up

a black cat laying

black cat lay on the white towel

close up photo of black cat near the door

a black cat in the hammock

black cat with fierce look laying on a mirror

close up of cat's face with yellow eyes

black cat in the woods

two black cats laying in the floor

close up of cat's face with light green eyes

black cat laying on a comfy bed beside the white curtain


You might also like:
The Mystique Behind Black Cats

Does Coat Color Affect Cat Personality?

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35 comments on “Black Cat Facts And Myths

Apollo March 9, 2022
There’s an adorable black cat in my neighborhood, his name is Bruce. I was on a walk with my friend and Bruce came up to us and it was so cute.
bilou October 10, 2019
Our black cat is very vocal too, he follows me out in our country house for few hundred meters and answers and comes when I call him. Our second cat couldn’t care less and she’s a real spook
DreamersRose October 8, 2019
I love my black cat. He's smart and a loving companion. He's very vocal and answers any question I ask him.
calicosrspecial October 8, 2019
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE my black cats (and all black cats). They are incredibly sweet, get along really well with other cats, and love people and dogs. They are truly special. I can say they have brought a lot of love to me so they are good luck. I wouldn't be whole without my black cats! I am way better off with them in my life.
geodevos October 8, 2019
My dear old golden retriever Yeller had his own big black rescue cat named Dinque, (dinky) Actually Dinque had Yeller for his pet. Dinque stayed close to Yeller except when hunting rodents which he did successfully. Dinque ate his fill and brought the rest to Yeller which Yeller happily enjoyed. After years of this beautiful relationship, injection site cancer in his shoulder took Dinque from us. It was the weekend before Halloween. Yeller and I went to the shelter to find him another kitty. There a lovely coal black lady cat with a pink ribbon clearly asked me to rescue her but the manager would not let me adopt a black cat because it was Halloween weekend. I was offended but I planned to return for her after Halloween. On the way home we found an orphan tortie kitten in a box at Walmart's front door. She was the last ugly drowsy kitten no one had taken. She needed a friend. When introduced to Yeller all was peaceful so she became his new kitty. She had extra toes, so her name was Pollycat. I often wish I had also rescued the sweet black ladycat at the shelter. I hope she found a home. Every year, Halloweeen reminds me of her.
CrazyCatSusu June 8, 2018
My black cat ‘Grisabella The Gothic Glamour Puss’ is a very affectionate girl. She doesn’t stray far from the house either, I only have to shout her name once and she comes flying inside. Im from the U.K (Scotland) and the belief regarding black cats is mixed. Some believe they’re good luck others believe they’re bad luck.
Candybee May 11, 2018
I was once very fortunate to own a beautiful black cat I named Baby Bear. He was born in my house so I had him all his life. Unfortunately it was a very short life of just 10 yrs as he died of cancer. The night he was going to pass away my other cat, his litter sister Cookiepuss, and I snuggled next to him in his soft bed. While she lovingly licked and groomed his fur I stroked his beautiful coat and sang softly to him. His eyes stared up at me adoringly the way he always did when he wanted to be petted and loved on. I have this beautiful memory of him burned into my soul. His coat was black but it was more of a sable black with hues of varied color you could see as the light hit it. Because of him I always look at black cats and think about my beautiful, sweet Baby Bear!
geodevos April 11, 2018
All three of my black cats had exceptionally friendly affectionate temperaments, while at the same time being deadly hunters, regularly bringing home "gifts" of mice and occasionally large rats. My last black cat adopted my golden retriever and they were inseparable. The retriever, Yellerdog, was the bodyguard of Dinque cat who brought presents of rodents for Yeller to eat. They were such an unlikely pair of cronies I spent a lot of time just watching them. Yes, black cats do rule and some even have their own dogs.
Tristanwitch March 20, 2018
The very 1st day I went to volunteer in our no-kill shelter------ as soon as I walked in the door this tiny little jet-black kitten ran up and wrapped herself around my ankles------never left me the whole 4 hour shift; when I was leaving the owner said it looked like she has adopted ME ...!!!! I did adopt her and took her home and named her SPOOKY ................ She is the LOVE of my life ............. xoxoxoxoxoxo
Alejandra Rico November 19, 2017
Alejandra Rico said:
Hey, poor Melanistic Bengals, have you forgotten about them? They are essentially super cool black cats!
@buttons, Bengal cats are descendants of the outcross of the Asian Leopard Cat (a small and timid feline, of the size of a domestic cat) an the domestic cat. So there is no actual influence of the black panther or the Leopard, even though they clearly look alike un their pattern.
Buttons2014 November 19, 2017
my black cat came after a internet wichcraft love spell believe it or not it said that we have done the love ritual and said if it did not work something will come your way, if not happy we will re try the spell, anyways a few days later i got a black randomly picked kitten which was the last one of the litter from a corner store, ever sense then this cat will not leave my side its like a dog, it even plays fetch, could be one heck of a coinsidence, but it could be from the spelli idk. but i am very happy with my new love companion :) actually am glad it failed it would be to scary if it was from the spell. lol and when i say t plays fetch, it plays fetch better then most dogs, it has a very squshy soft heart toy it likes which was a stress reliever thing so he ill not have any problems seeking its teeth in to, he dropps it right in my palm.
Buttons2014 November 19, 2017
Alejandra Rico said:
Hey, poor Melanistic Bengals, have you forgotten about them? They are essentially super cool black cats!
that is a beautiful black cat i did not even know they existed, i wonder if it came from the black leoperd/black panther tree or something
master tabby November 18, 2017
Bagheera's mamma said:
My mini panther is black with big old ears and gorgeous green eyes!!!!!! I love black cats so much!!! I will definitely be celebrating black cat day tomorrow!!!
I was going to name my black cat panther as well, not a spot of a different color. But his real name came up right away when I got him home. His name is Shadow, partly because he is my protector and follows me when he can. The other, he hides in the shadows. He is a stinker and he likes to pick on my bigger orange tabby who is now a senior cat and doesn't like to fight where Shadows does. He gets his ass kicked but he doesn't give up. After I hear stress in my tabby's voice I break them up. I kept telling Shadow, one of these days Tiger my tabby is going to have enough. It came one day, heard them fighting then no sound, Tiger had Shadow by the throat and Shadow on his back. No tails wagging and neither is moving, I told Tiger let him go I don't want you to kill him. Shadow is just a stinker, and very smart. And one more thing, Shadow knows how to turn on my printer. I know if I left the lid up, he would put out a 100 selfies of his butt if I did. Black cats are cool.
Lmiller November 10, 2017
Black cat appreciation day is the same as my birthday, my black cat is my whole world!
davidc59 October 27, 2017
Hi ,today is Black Cat appreciation day(27/100) over here in Britain. Can't say i am appreciating my black cat sooty at the moment. He didn't come in tonight until 11.45pm ,little sod. He is curled up asleep on the chair in my bedroom .
Alejandra Rico October 25, 2017
Alejandra Rico said:
Hey, poor Melanistic Bengals, have you forgotten about them? They are essentially super cool black cats!
It is not a "hybrid", but a melanistic Bengal cat, as I said...
2BlkKitties October 25, 2017
I absolute LOVE my two black kittens. They're the best. Wednesday is a Polydactyl! Her brother isn't a poly but he's just as unique as she is! I am excited that there is a black cat day, but every day in my life is black cat day!
Burlews October 23, 2017
mama africa said:
Beautiful pictures !!! My very first cat was a black one and she was gorgeous. She was still very young when some lunatic shot her.
Horrible and sad to hear.. Hoping lunatic has had karma worse than your baby.. Love and thoughts for you. ❤
Tdizz11 October 20, 2017
I adopted my first black cat, Dalton, 2 years ago and this summer adopted another black boy, Bodhi, because I felt Dalton was bored while I was at work. After 2 days, they were snuggling together. They are both so loving and talkative. My black boys are the best!
xdimples October 16, 2017
I really want a black cat cause I think it will get along with my tom cat, Mustache.
master tabby October 15, 2017
Alejandra Rico said:
Hey, poor Melanistic Bengals, have you forgotten about them? They are essentially super cool black cats!
Hybrid of some wild cat, good looking cat though. You will either do a DNA Test, or wait til full grown and still would have to DNA test to see what family. But looks hybrid to me.
Lylith Raven September 21, 2017
I did not know that a Black Cat Day existed lol. I just missed it, oh well. Black cats are the best :3
master tabby September 16, 2017
I have had a number of black cats in my life. About 3 yrs ago I went to our local shelter and asked for a black kitten. They had one and he adopted me right away. He is great at hiding and some times in plain sight. But he slept on my keyboard and I forgot to shut it down. In the morning I find 6666666666666666 going on for pages. He sometimes goes a little nuts, but he is my protector. I think he is American Bombay, he is all black, and if you see white that's his skin. His pads are black as well, a short hair, but the hair is very coarse. And his eyes change colors, yellow, green and blue depending on the lighting.
mazie August 30, 2017
As you can tell by my avatar, Black cats Rule!:thumbsup:
davidc59 August 27, 2017
Hi ,got 2 black cats from the same litter ,one has longer fur than the other one ,in certain lights you can see ginger brown patches on them .
Alejandra Rico August 23, 2017
Hey, poor Melanistic Bengals, have you forgotten about them? They are essentially super cool black cats!
sparkie August 22, 2017
My husband and I are both totally smitten by (and owned by) fluffy black cats! We make it a point to adopt them when we can.
jules10 August 19, 2017
I adopted a black kitten (with a white spot on her chest) in Nov. 2016! She has been a gift to have after the tragic loss of my other cat in June of 2016. I've never had a black cat before but the one I have now is beautiful, just beautiful! She has the sleekest shiniest coat you've ever seen. Every vet that has seen her is stunned by her beautiful coat! She was sick when I got her but after doctoring her for the past several months, she is now 100% & NO she did not have feline herpes. Some vets will tell you anything for a buck, that is the sad part of this story! Adopt a black cat! Your luck will change for the better!! :)
rascalshadownj2 August 18, 2017
I agree! I have two male black cats, and they are very smart! They are good cats too, and while they are not friendly with strangers, they get along well with me and my mom. I would definitely recommend people adopting black cats from shelters. We acquired ours by way of a tabby female, so we got ours "free." ;) But I'm glad to have my cats. :bigeyes::bigeyes:
betsygee August 17, 2017
Happy Black Cat Appreciation Day! :blackcat2:
Bagheera's mamma August 16, 2017
My mini panther is black with big old ears and gorgeous green eyes!!!!!! I love black cats so much!!! I will definitely be celebrating black cat day tomorrow!!!
mama africa August 15, 2017
Beautiful pictures !!! My very first cat was a black one and she was gorgeous. She was still very young when some lunatic shot her.
nahui August 15, 2017
Hooray for black cats! :clap2: My two, Gato and Tita, will be getting a special treat to celebrate their day for sure!
LSpector August 15, 2017
I know the shelter in my hometown offers reduced adoption fees on black cats, so the superstitions (at least where I am from) are alive and well, unfortunately. It's a shame because I find most of the black cats I know have the BEST personalities!! My mom has a black cat and I swear he is more human than feline :D

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