I recently had a family who was looking to adopt a female kitten. They wanted someone friendly and loving for a companion for their son. I offered what I thought was the perfect kitty for them–one who loved people, purred when touched, and was going to be an “outside” kitty before we decided to help her find a home. I sent the family to PetSmart to meet Heidi and when I excitedly inquired what they thought, I got this response back:
“We don’t like black cats.”
It didn’t matter about Heidi’s personality, her loving nature, or how well socialized she was even though she came from a bad situation. All that they could see was her color.
Happily, Heidi found a wonderful home with former adopters who were looking for a black cat. They’d always had a black cat in their lives and they knew how hard it was to find homes for black animals. They wanted to help out and adopt a kitten that perhaps others would not want.
I have never understood why people will bypass the friendliest dog or cat just because they are black. But it is a fact that the animals most commonly euthanized in shelters are black. In fact, if you were to look at the cats we have listed on our Petfinder site, you would see that approximately 1/3 of those are black cats. People just overlook them time and again in favor of cats of a different color. Any color. Just not black. I read once that the reason there are so many black cats is because they get along so well with other cats. That feline friendliness leads to more black cats being produced. Black cats are the same with their humans too–loving, easy going, and laid back.
These loving, but unwanted black cats will purr and rub against the staff at kill shelters even as they are being prepared to be euthanized. It makes me sad.
Petfinder knows that some cats and dogs are “less adoptable” and they are celebrating those animals with “Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet” week from September 17-25. Not only are black animals chosen less, but also animals with special needs, those that are older, and cats that have tested FIV positive.
Our poor Exodus! He has a ton of things working against him. Even though he is the nicest cat around, he is black, FIV+, and special needs. Three strikes against him! His special needs label comes from the fact that his jaw was shattered when we first got him. Although it has since been fixed by Dr. Tom Klein, his mouth will never close completely, and he will always need to eat soft food, because his jaw just cannot accommodate hard food. He isn’t the prettiest cat around with his torn ears and tongue sticking out of his mouth, but he is a lover. You can click HERE to see photos of Exodus and read his story.
Petfinder points out some of the pluses of adopting “less adoptable” animals:
Older pets are mellower – you don’t have to worry about your lamp getting knocked over!
Physically challenged pets are often unaffected by their handicap – but you still look like a hero!
“Bad reputation” breeds – you get the chance to prove people wrong with your great dog!
Dark-furred pets make it easy to accessorize – black goes with everything!
Pets with behavioral issues allow you to form a tight bond as you overcome obstacles together!
Big dogs are easier to find when it is time to go to the vet!
So if you are looking to adopt, please consider an animal that perhaps no one else wants. And, although no one else may want that cat or dog, believe me, that cat or dog wants you desperately.