For centuries, they have faced hostility and even death for being an unlucky omen. Now they’ve got a new challenge on their paws.
The RSPCA has reported that 70 per cent of all abandoned cats are black, or black and white – and “generation selfie” is to blame.
The charity reckons the problem is partly because black cats don’t photograph well, and the ever-growing trend of posting cat pictures on social media has compounded the matter.
At the RSPCA rehoming centre in Ribbleton Lane, Preston, there are currently four completely black cats, plus 12 black and white felines, out of 40.
Centre manager John Wareing said monochrome moggies have always been unpopular.
He said: “These cats have always been overlooked. When you take a picture of them, all of their features - their jawline, their nose, their body - all disappear and you’re left with a silhouette.
“The world now revolves around Facebook and Twitter, and people take photos of every aspect of their lives, including their pets. But why would you take a picture of a black cat on a sofa if you can only make out a shape?
“Like everything, if people come in looking for a cat and they’re going to have it for 20 years, then they want it to look right. It’s a shame, but that’s the way it is.”
He added: “Also, non-descript cats tend to be more likely to be left out to roam, and those cats are mostly unneutered.
“If lots of black stray cats have kittens, then the kittens are likely to be black, and the problem gets worse. Then when the kittens end up at a re-homing centre, no-one wants them.”
Jessica Powriess of the centre added: “It’s such a shame, because black cats tend to be really affectionate, and people are missing out.
“For instance, one of our young male black cats, Jeffrey, he goes out of his way to cuddle you.”
Two year-old Bob also loves to be stroked and fussed over, despite arriving at the centre with a badly injured tail that vets originally thought would have to be amputated.
All the cats needing a new home can be viewed on the branch’s website: www.rspca-preston.org.uk
Send us pictures of your black cat and we’ll print them in the paper firstname.lastname@example.org