Saturday, November 6, 2010


Halloween was celebrated with much enthusiasm in many Western countries like US and Canada last week. A fun and haunted atmosphere is created with people donning scary costumes, sharing ghost stories, displaying jack-o-lanterns and recreating other scary myths spiritedly during Halloween festival. 
Re-creating mythical characters and stories is fun, as long as it is kept in the domain of fiction. The issue arises when fiction and reality merge into one another leading to problematic consequences. I am talking about the black cat and its plight during Halloween.
The Evil Cat(wearing the witch hat)  
Halloween is the time when many animal shelters stop giving black cats for adoption, fearing that they may be tortured, put to wicked uses or subjected to dangerous pranks.Such fear stems due to misinformation about the black cat among people. Many still harbour false notions and look at the black cat as unlucky and evil as illustrated in old stories and myths. 

The Humane Society of New York was one such organization that had banned the adoption of black cats during the Halloween time.There were other organizations that were equally apprehensive about the fate of the black cat during Halloween, but instead of a ban, they tightened the adoption measures, making them more strict.

“I think the first fear some agencies have is of black cat sacrifice in satanic rituals,” says Holly Staver, president of City Critters, a New York cat adoption group. “Second is the idea of the black cat as a holiday accessory.” And yet, they don’t place a ban on adopting them during Halloween because, according to Staver, City Critters is a “small, very community-engaged group” and they spend a lot of time interacting with and screening potential adopters. For shelters that don’t have that luxury, she says, “holding onto their black cats for a few days over Halloween and into November sounds wise to me."(New York Post)
Why blame a black cat for ill-luck and treat an innocent creature badly?
The irony in the tale is that while a portion of the population believes the black cat to be an embodiment of evil, there are others who consider the creature to be lucky. Hence, they are more in favour of adopting one during Halloween. 

There's no problem at all, if black cats are adopted for the good reasons. I personally find them very cute, adorable and intelligent. Even though many others view them otherwise and not adopt them. Firstly, because they are black and secondly, they are cats(and less cute than dogs) and thirdly, because they are both. Studies show that they are 50% less likely to be adopted in comparison to other pets. Halloween only adds to the superstitions, lessening their chances.
But what about those who genuinely like them and want to adopt them during Halloween to provide them a comfortable home? Adoption centres for their (the cats' and adoptives') benefit, should have stringent checking measures and verify the intentions of the adoptive families before giving the cat out for adoption.

But then safety of the cats should be of utmost importance. There are chances that black cats may be injured out of the spirit (misinterpreted) of Halloween and be subjected to ill-treatment through dangerous pranks. A ban during this period may be a healthier option in that case.


  1. i totally agree with you. I love black cats but the condition of donkeyies and dogs are worse especially in asian countries. they are subjected to ridicule and inhuman treatment despite being a great service to the mankind.

  2. Exactly! It is ironical. You pointed out correctly that donkeys and dogs are of great service to mankind, yet they are subjected to ridicule especially in asian countries.
    You must have noticed how on 1 hand, we call dogs loyal, adorable and get donkeys to carry the heaviest burdens, on the other hand, the most insulting abuses in our culture involve dogs(kutte) and donkeys(gadha). I really wonder why that is. Why is it that we ill-treat them so much, cause them so much pain(like during festivals) for our own amusement?