Silky, smooth, shiny and lovely, black cats are like little panthers right in your very own living room! Although these raven kitties have gotten a bad rap over the years, they are most certainly undeserving of it. Do you have one of these amazing cats in your life, or has one ever left a special little black paw print on your heart? I’ve dug up some super cool and fun facts about black cats for you to enjoy and share with your friends who love black cats, too!
1. Paint it black, but in many shades
A cat that is black my be a different shade of black when compared to another cat that is black. So yes, black cats are unique and rarely identical to one another. Black coats can come in a wide variety of cat breeds, in both longhair and shorthair variations, from domestic shorthairs, Persians, Oriental Shorthairs, Turkish Angoras, and Maine Coons.
But there is only one breed of cat that is exclusively black in color, and that’s the Bombay cat breed. These gorgeous mini-panthers have coats with a dramatic black shine, and their eyes range from gold to copper. A cross between sable Burmese and black American Shorthairs, these cats named after the popular city in India actually have no connection to the country aside from their name.
2. Consider yourself lucky to have one of us in your life!
—In Japanese culture, women who own a black cat are considered to be more attractive to their male counterparts. It’s also said that if a black cat crosses your path, this is considered to be good luck in Japan. Some Japanese people will even go as far as to tell the cat “konichiwa” as they pass by!
—Back in olden times, pirates and sailors considered them to be good luck and would often bring them onboard before setting sail on the high seas
—Stage performers consider black cats to be synonymous with good luck, especially on opening night of a play. Their belief is that if a black finds its way into your audience during this time, your show will have a long and prosperous run.
—In Chinese culture, it is thought that black cats are believed to ward off evil. And due in part to their “good energy” as believed by Feng shui enthusiasts, these dark felines possess the ability to “frighten away demons, evil energy, and stalkers”
—Freya, the goddess of love, fertility and beauty in Norse mythology was said to have driven a chariot that was pulled by two black cats. Farmers would leave bowls of milk for the cats to win the favor of the powerful goddess, and in return, she’d bless their fields with a bountiful harvest.
—The French have long since believed that black cats literally pave the way to wealth. Long ago, the French peasants had a belief that if a black cat were to appear at a crossroads where five roads intersect, following this lucky black cat would lead them to treasure. In southern France specifically, black cats were once referred to as “matagots”—meaning magician cats—and the people would give these cats the first mouthful of food and drink at every meal, because they believed it would repay them with a solid gold coin come morning.
—In Scotland, should you open your front door and a black cat be sitting on your doorstep, this is symbolic of prosperity.
—Throughout olden times, English people would gift black cats as wedding presents to wish the bride a long and happy marriage
—Italians believe if you are to hear a black cat sneeze, this means that you will be graced with a lucky streak
3. Better protected against disease
Okay, this fact is just amazing if you ask me! According to research out of the National Institutes of Health, it was discovered that cats with exclusively black coats have a genetic mutation in their DNA which better protects them against the threat of specific diseases.
And what’s even more interesting is that this mutation they possess controls the same genes that offer HIV resistance to humans. Therefore researchers are able to study these raven kitties and see how they’ve evolved, adapted and survived as we humans are also mammals and can suffer from similar health issues. Further research and examination of these healthy black cats can help give us insight and hopefully discover ways to combat major health concerns facing us humans.
Fun black cat fact: There’s a cat cafe in Japan that’s dedicated exclusively to black cats. Check out Nekobiyaka in Himeji, Japan to learn more!
4. Popular fixtures of pop culture
Black cats are common fixture in pop culture, whether it’s cartoons, movies, or television. And despite the fact that many people preach low adoption rates for cats of this coat color, that is not the truth. According to veterinary experts, it seems that there are simply more black cats in comparison to cats of other colors. But we will agree, black cats can be difficult to photograph, which is a common point of concern when it comes to advertising their images online to potential adopters.
But despite all of this, black cats are loved by many cat people the world over and have cemented themselves as a favorite among many feline advocates. Some of our favorite famous black cats include: Salem of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Binx from Hocus Pocus, Snowball from The Simpsons, Cole of Cole and Marmalade fame, and Lucifer from Cinderella.
5. Careful, kitty will “rust”
So, although we simply see black when we look at black cats, next time you are around one try and carefully observe their coat in the sunlight if possible. Even to the untrained eye, you can see variants of black across their fur, and some regions in which the black almost appears as if it has stripes. In order for a cat to have a black coat, science has told us that the cat’s parents must both possess the coat gene that carries black. And this specific color gene, AKA an allele, is referred to as B for black coat coloring.
For this genetic coding, there are three specific variants of the black fur gene: cinnamon, solid black, and brown; the hue works in conjunction with the pattern. If a cat with a solid black hue also has a dominant tabby striped gene in its genetic makeup, then prolonged exposure to the sun can cause the eumelanin pigment in their fur to reveal a rusty tone.
But the reason a black cat will become rusty actually relates more to a deficiency in tyrosine, which can come as a result of protein deficiency in their daily diet.
Did you learn any new facts about black cats that you didn’t already know?
Share with us in the comments if you have any fun facts to share with us about these dark and lovely felines!