Colour bias in cat adoptions
Large or small, young or old, short-haired or long-haired, tortie or tabby, here at Caring for Cats we adore all the rescue animals that come through our doors on their way to a new and happier life. They all have their own delightful little personalities, quirky habits and endearing ways of ‘talking’ to you. Which is why we are always dismayed when we see our equally special black-coated rescue cats frequently overlooked in favour of their more colourful counterparts. This is so much so, that we constantly run campaigns to raise awareness with adopters – see banners right and below.
Slow adoption rates for these unfortunate animals is so prevalent in rescue shelters it even has its own name – Black Cat Syndrome – and sadly often extends to black and white cats too.
Is it ancient and irrational superstitions of bad luck that still persist? Is it our human nature to desire something that is different and unique, so that the pet we choose becomes a reflection of our own individuality? Or could it simply be that due to their colour the faces of black cats are harder for us to read and make an emotional connection with?
Rose Atkin, charity coordinator, says that solid black and black & white are the most common cat colours in the UK, and regularly make up over 50% of the homing centre population.
“Sadly our black cats are often seen as too common, dull or simply not pretty enough. I always say to visitors not to come with any preconceptions about a cat’s appearance. What is most important is matching the cat’s personality with the family and their lifestyle. Getting these factors right makes for the happiest and most successful animal adoptions in the long-term.
When it comes to homing kittens, we know that if we have a litter of five mixed-colour kittens, it is always the little black one left till last.”
If you are considering adopting a new cat or kitten, we hope you will come and give all our adorable animals – irrespective of colour – an equal chance of the loving home they so desperately need. As you never know, you may be missing out on the best feline family member you will ever have!