No member of catkind is more vicious than the black cat. At best, they are lamented as lackluster photography issues; in the worst case, they are considered harbingers of real bad luck. But there is much to love about these Furballs, as the holidays prove in their honor (the ASPCA annually celebrates the Black Cat Appreciation Day on August 17 and the National Black Cat Day on October 27) and the following facts.
. 1 In some cultures, black cats are lucky.
In some regions of the world, they may not have a great reputation, but there are many places where black cats are unlucky. If you are a single woman in Japan, having a black cat increases the number of applicants. When you are in Germany and one crosses from right to left, good things are on the horizon.
. 2 You are the best friend of a sailor.
Cats were not only welcome aboard British ships to hunt mice, but the sailors generally thought that especially a black cat would bring good luck and ensure a safe return home. Some of these kittens are anchored in seafaring history, such as Tiddles, who has traveled more than 50,000 kilometers while at the Royal Navy. (His favorite activity was playing with the wind.)
3. There is not a single black breed of cat.
The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) recognizes 22 different breeds that may have solid black coats ̵
. 4 Black cats can be adopted just as easily as cats of other colors.
It is common to think that black cats in shelters are the last to find their home forever, but a recent ASPCA survey suggests something else. Although the number of euthanasians in black cats was among the highest, their total adoption rate of all shades was also the highest. The veterinarian who conducted the study argues that there may be more black cats than other colors.
. 5 The coat of a black cat can "rust".
The color of a black cat all comes down to a genetic peculiarity. There are three variants of the black furs gene (solid black, brown and cinnamon), and the shade works in conjunction with the pattern. If a cat has a solid black hue, but also the dominant tabby-stripe gene, strong sunlight can cause the eumelanin pigment to disintegrate in its fur and reveal its once-invisible streaks (another potential cause: lack of nutrients) , What used to be a black cat is today a rust brown cat.
. 6 The gene that causes black coat could make these cats disease resistant.
Although their coloration gives them a bad reputation, these cats can still get the last laugh. The mutation that causes a cat's fur to turn black is part of the same genetic family as genes known to give humans resistance to diseases such as HIV. Some scientists believe that the color of these cats may have less to do with camouflage than disease resistance. They hope that we will come one step closer to curing HIV as more cat genomes are mapped.
7 You can visit a cat cafe dedicated to black cats.
Step through the doors of Nekobiyaka in Himeji, Japan, and get ready to make your wildest cat-dream come true. Black cats are the stars of this café and visitors are invited to pet (but not lift) those supple cats. Each of the identical looking black cats of Nekobiyaka wears a bandana in a different color to eliminate catastrophic confusion.
. 8 It is difficult to photograph them – but it can be done.
Today's mystery faced by black cat owners is not bad luck but bad lighting. In a world full of people sharing photos of their pets on Instagram, black cats may look like a dark spot in the photos. The advice of a photographer? Minimalist backgrounds to make your subject stand out and focus on natural light sources (but keep them away from bright sunlight!). When taking pictures on your iPhone, tap the face of your cat and use the sun symbol to lighten the photo.
Bonus: Black Panthers have spots.
Technically, there is no black panther – this term is used for any big black cat. What we call black panthers are indeed jaguars or leopards, and yes, they also have spots. Their hair strands produce too much melanin thanks to a mutation in their agouti genes responsible for the distribution of pigments in the fur of an animal. If you look closely, you can see the spots of a panther when the sunlight hits them in the right way.
This article was originally published in 2016.