Maybe you've heard of National Kitten Day, but have you heard of National Black Cat Appreciation Day? Since 2011, August 17th has been marked as National Black Cat Appreciation Day. Are you wondering why black cats have their own special day? Well, there are a few reasons behind the national holiday, but in summary, the day is an effort to dispel the myths and superstitions surrounding black cats. For instance, the idea that it's bad luck when a black cat crosses your path.

While these myths and superstitions are just that – myths and superstitions – to many of us, these tales can have real world consequences for black cats. Therefore, National Black Cat Appreciation Day was established in an effort to raise awareness of how stigma surrounding black cats can affect them. Below is a brief history of National Black Cat Appreciation Day and some of the ways the special day is helping black cats now.

History of Black Cat Appreciation Day

In 2011, Wayne H. Morris established National Black Cat Appreciation Day to memorialize his sister and Sinbad, her twenty-year-old black cat, both of whom died that year. Since that year, observation of National Black Cat Appreciation Day has grown in the US. Today, Morris's Black Cat Appreciation Facebook page has more then 400,000 followers.

Origins of Superstition

Since at least the times of ancient Egypt, cats have carried divine associations. As far back as the 13th century, black cats have been associated with the occult. In the year of 1233, Pope Gregory IX declared black cats an incarnation of the devil. Black cats' association with witches developed over the medieval period. Witches were pagan practitioners whom the Church saw as competitors for the hearts and minds of the people. Black cats were thought to be witches' companions or witches in disguise. The persecution of witches coincided with the stigma of cats as omens of bad luck.

Fighting Stigma

Unfortunately, that stigma and that negative association continues to this day. Despite their glowing eyes and sleek beauty, black cats can have a great deal of difficulty when it comes to getting adopted because of these old and outdated views. Despite being the most dominant color among cats, black cats face lower adoption rates when compared to cats of other colors and markings.

Shelters that have black cats have taken two approaches to fighting the stigma that black cats face. On one hand, some shelters waive adoption fees as a way to promote black cats and their well-being during the month of October. But because of their historical association with evil, black cats face the potential threat of harm from would-be adopters, especially near Halloween. This risk has led some shelters, on the other hand, to bar the adoptions of black cats during the month of October. Because of the harm that black cats face around Halloween, experts recommend keeping black cats indoors.


In some cultures, black cats are actually considered good luck, but in the U.S., proponents of black cats have had to work to dispel the stigma associated with black cats. No matter their color, all cats deserve the same love and affection and are as every bit as sweet.

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