Why you can't adopt a black cat for Halloween ...
My name is Poe, read the sign on the front of his temporary home. I am a 7-month-old, neutered male, and I am the Purr-fect Halloween cat.
But the weeks leading up to Halloween can mean bad luck for black cats.
Some city pet shelters and adoption agencies ban black-cat adoptions this time of year fearful the felines could be used for religious or sacrificial purposes by groups engaged in witchcraft and paranormal communication.
We dont adopt any black cats for most of October, said Kiri Blakeley, a volunteer at Kitty Kind, a weekend adoption service located in the back of the PetCo store at Union Square. We have a black out.The lore surrounding black cats goes back perhaps further than the traditions of dressing up, carving jack-o-lanterns and trick-or-treating.
Black cats became associated with evil in the Middle Ages when it was believed the animals were witches reincarnated. Black cats maintain their Halloween mystique, but most people who work or volunteer in animal adoption agencies couldnt tell you what a witch might actually do with a kitty.
Still, Antonia Kwalick at Hope Veterinary Clinic recently used her feline instincts to thwart a potentially scary situation. A woman came into the clinic, hoping to swap her two tabbies for two black kittens.
Kwalick turned her away.
She was a little too freaky, a little too out there, Kwalick said, adding the clinic maintains a rigid screening process.
I dont know what they would do with the cats, and I dont want to know, said Kwalick, who has two black kitties herself.
According to the ASPCA, which files thousands of animal cruelty cases annually, there has yet to be a case involving a black cat on Halloween.
Gail Buchwald, senior vice president of adoption services at the agency, said prospective owners are finicky when it comes to adopting black cats. Theyre usually the last to be given homes, while their grey, black and white, orange, and tabby brothers and sisters get adopted first in that order, according to one study.
Theres a lot of crazy taboo about black cats crossing over, said Buchwald.
Linda Hanley, the executive director of the Northeast Council of W.I.C.C.A, said witches have no interest in harming cats of any color.
When a cat gets hurt on Halloween, its not the witches, wiccans, or pagans, she said. Its the kids.
For pagans, Halloween is a celebration of the new year. We have private ceremonies to honor our ancestors who have crossed over, explained Hanley, adding that wicca honors all life, including the lives of animals.
Really, black cats are the same as any other cats, she added.