Black cats of course. What’s not to love? Black is always in fashion and slimming to boot (though wearing your cat at all times could be a tad challenging). And what could possibly be cooler than living with a sleek miniature panther?
Sadly not everyone agrees. If cats have an image problem, black cats are in need of major crisis management.
While statistics are hard to come by, the need for black-cat-specific adoption events and groups like “Black Cat Rescue” speak for themselves. I’ve even read of facilities killing* black cats (and dogs) upon intake because homing them is so challenging.
The goal of National Black Cat Appreciation Day (today) is to bring attention to the plight of black cats in society through education, and find ways to attract adopter to cats they might otherwise overlook.
WHY do these animals have such a bad rap? Superstitions and stereotypes aside, black pets seem to have it harder due to two major misperceptions. The belief that they are:
- Ill tempered – aggressive, unpredictable, unfriendly
- Less unique – viewed as more common and “generic,” due to lack of markings and hard-to-read facial expressions
As anyone who’s loved an ebony pet can attest, neither of these are valid, but how to convince others? Turns out our black-coated furry friends and single women 35+ share a common foe. Bad lighting.
With both the dating and adoption worlds migrating online, a good photo makes all the difference when it comes to getting your foot in the door – and ultimately getting a mate or forever home.
Not enough light and Fluffy looks like a dark blob with floating eyes. Use flash, and that shiny coat reflects light, blowing out detail and creating creepy glowing eyes!
In doing my research I picked up a few photography tips for those working with animals looking for homes (or singles looking for a date!).
- Natural lighting works wonders
- Make sure the light source is in front of you and/or kitty
- Don’t use flash (you’ll need a steady hand or something to lean on for support)
- Color is your friend (stay away from dark backgrounds and use colorful props like toys, collars - or clothing if the subject is fur-less – for contrast)
- If you’re working with a shelter, avoid taking photos in cages, or cover the bars with a colorful blanket (If you’re a straight furless male, never take photos of yourself shirtless – especially not a photo of the reflection in your bathroom mirror)
Another good suggestion is the use of video to convey an animals temperament and personality. Have any other photo tips? Leave a comment!
As it turns out, black cats might be lucky after all. Scientists believe dark fur has its benefits. Not only has it served cats well as camofloge in the wild, but the genes responsible for black fur might also make them more resistance to disease.
So if you’re wondering what you can do to help black cats and dogs find homes, it’s easy. Be a good brand ambassador. Tell friends and family considering adoption to give a black cat or dog a chance. Many people are unaware of the difficulties they face based on the color of their coat.
And remind them of that well known saying. Once you go black, you never go back.
If you want to see more beautiful photos and paintings that do black cat’s justice, check out fellow cat blogger Bernadette Kazmarski’s site, The Creative Cat. Close to five years ago she took in a pregnant black cat Mimi) who went on to give birth to four black kitties (The Fantastic Four). They all live happily with Bernadette. Yay Bernadette!