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A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere.

Groucho Marx

A whole host of superstitions surrounding the feline with sable fur have been developed over time, and the one stating that your luck is going to have a downward turn if you have one walk in front of you is the most prevalent.

This should serve as a reminder, however, that it’s probably more likely that Groucho Marx knows what he is talking about. In truth, all it really means when a black cat walks in front of you is that the animal is clearly going somewhere. In this case, perhaps it should either be pet, be given treats, or left well enough alone. None of these choices is going to have an effect on your luck, one way or another. 

But that’s just one message being touted by International Black Cat Awareness Month! The month of October–all thirty-one days of it–is all about being aware of those interesting creatures, the black cats.

History of International Black Cat Awareness Month

The superstition about black cats being bad luck is believed to have started sometime around the Middle Ages in Europe through folklore. Some people think black cats are a sign of death, others believe that they are witches in disguise. An association with the color black probably comes from the same ideas that relate black crows and ravens with things of the darkness.

The creation of International Black Cat Awareness Month came about after its creator, Layla Morgan Wilde, noticed that while there are two days dedicated to black cats in the world (one in the UK, one in the US) there wasn’t anything dedicated to them on a national level.

Wilde realized that such an observation was desperately needed. This was because superstitions surrounding black cats had gotten so out of control that shelters wouldn’t even adopt them out during October any longer! Too often the cats were being adopted as part of the Halloween holiday mystique, and would later be abandoned (or worse) after the holiday passed. So Wilde wanted to do something about it.

Throughout the rest of the year, it can often be more difficult to get black cats to be adopted. How much more difficult? Black cats are adopted at a rate 50% lower than any other color of cat, which is very difficult for a cat lover of any sort to understand at all. A sable furred cat is perhaps one of the most beautiful animals to walk the earth!

So the month of October has been designated as the time to pay heed to black cats with the aim of giving a loving home to those that need them.

How To Celebrate International Black Cat Awareness Month

Consider these ideas for celebrating Black Cat Awareness Month on your own or with a group of cat lovers:

Dispel Myths About Black Cats

The first and best way is to do your part in dispelling the myths surrounding black cats and their supposed luck-altering abilities. In fact, one interesting tidbit to share is that in ancient Egyptian times, black cats were often viewed as divine creatures in whom the gods lived. At one point, the Irish believed that finding a black cat on the porch was good luck, and the Japanese also tend to hold black cats in high esteem–as symbols of prosperity!

But, really, any cat lover knows that black cats are not witches in disguise or evil in any way. In fact, they’re absolutely no different than any other color cat. They’re adorable, lovable creatures that need love and attention from kind humans!

Adopt a Black Kitten from a Shelter

For those who are thinking of going to a shelter to adopt a kitten, consider adopting a black kitten to ensure they find their way into a good home. And if it’s a black kitten with special needs, it’s even that much better! (Special needs cats get adopted at rates below that of even healthy black kittens, so special needs black kittens are especially in need of love!) 

Bringing the love of a new black furbaby in your life, or helping another one get adopted, is the best celebration they could hope for during Black Cat Awareness Month.

Volunteer at an Animal Shelter

Not just for this month but for all the year-round, get started volunteering to help out at a local animal shelter. Many shelters take in cats and dogs and need help with cleaning cages, taking care of the animals, and giving them the love and attention they so deserve. 

They might also need office staff or help with arranging to adopt out the animals to new homes. Check with a local pet shelter to see what kind of volunteer help they might need.

Raise Awareness for Black Cat Awareness Month

Share the plight of black cats with friends and family members who might be interested in adopting a black cat or kitten of their own. In fact, one of the reasons that many people like to adopt black cats is the fact that black cat shedding is less obvious than cat hair of other colors. Plus, it’s a great way to be sure that black cats are kept safe during the Halloween season!

Get excited about Black Cat Awareness Month and help out these creatures that are otherwise helpless–but completely loveable!

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