Thursday 31st October is National Black Cat Day. It’s a tribute to black domestic cats and perhaps some of my wild feline cousins too. It’s intended to help dispel age-old superstitions about black cats that have led to people being less inclined to take one of these dark creatures home. There are hundreds of homeless black cats in Cat Protection’s care and an apparent reluctance to adopt them. This has led the charity to organise an annual event to raise awareness of their plight. So if you want to celebrate black and black-and-white cats, you can download a free black cat pack which includes posters and masks and fun ideas.
Here are a few fascinating facts to peak your interest! Black fur is a result of melanism which is the development of the dark coloured pigment called melanin in the skin and is the opposite of albinism. It is linked to the process of adaptation in the animal kingdom because it allows the animal to be better camouflaged. Dark individuals are therefore better adapted to survive and reproduce in their environments. I can vouch for that! My sleek dark coat allows me to crouch in corners hidden from view while I practice my stalking techniques on my toy mouse and John’s feet.
Melanism is most prevalent in male cats and is seen in 11 of the 36 wild cat species. It produces yellow irises, as demonstrated by my sparkling golden eyes, and can make some species less noticeable to predators, while other species such as the majestic black jaguars or leopards use it to their advantage during night hunting. There is also evidence to show that having a black coat is associated with resistance to some viral infections.
So there are lots of reasons to appreciate black cats. Here are a few photos of some of my black and black-and-white cat friends and cousins. They come in all shapes and sizes, and all characters and temperaments, from amicable and affectionate to petulant and proud. You will also see a few exclusive images of me, looking rather buff, showing off my glossy and gleaming silky black coat. Go on, give black cats the love!