Black cats wait (and wait) for adoption

Bebe the black cat is in the top cage for better visibility behind Jennifer Fritz, vice president of New Beginnings Animal Rescue. PHOTO/ERIC SOKOL

OU News Bureau

Black cats remain at shelters longer than pure bred cats or those with patterns.

Research from peta2 found that black cats are two-thirds less likely to be adopted than white cats and half as likely than tabby cats because their fur does not stand out.

The Animal House of South East Michigan, a no-kill animal rescue located in Royal Oak, experiences the difference in adoption rates for black cats.

“It takes them longer to be adopted out,” said co-founder and vice president Julie Tirony. “They just catch your eye a little bit less. They’re easier to overlook at the shelter.”

The solid black color of the cats makes them less noticeable alongside other variations.

“Our eyes naturally go to patterns and colors,” said Jennifer Fritz, vice president of the New Beginnings Animal Rescue in Royal Oak.

Having the cats in cages at eye level makes a difference in visibility.

“We do try to make sure we put them someplace where they are going to be seen,” Tirony said.

Volunteers at facilities make an effort to help black cats get adopted.

“We try to highlight them as much as we can,” Fritz said.

The time of year makes a difference for the ages of cats that come into shelters.

“In the late spring and into the early fall, we have a lot of kittens,” Fritz said. “We do tend to have periods of time where it seems like we get a lot of black cats.”

Julie Tirony

The Animal House location within PetSmart has a positive effect on the adoption rate.

“They’ve really given us the exposure that we didn’t have just as a small rescue that’s foster-based,” Tirony said. “Having them here all the time gets them adopted because people are able to come in and meet them and interact with them.”

Animal House fosters cats from metro Detroit.

“They come from all different places,” Tirony said. “We’ve pulled from Sterling Heights, Madison Heights, Hazel Park. Those communities have small animal control facilities where they just might have a handful of cages.”

New Beginnings Animal Rescue focuses on giving cats from existing households another chance.

“We only take cats who can’t stay in their homes anymore,” Fritz said.


Black cats have been viewed as evil since the Middle Ages according to Mental Floss. Pilgrims who settled in Salem, Massachusetts, believed black cats had a relation to witches.

Black cats still face superstitions and sometimes take longer to be adopted. PHOTO/ERIC SOKOL

The stigma against black cats is lessening, though some shelters remain cautious.

The Animal House does not adopt out black cats leading up to Halloween.

“We remove them from the cages during the month of October,” Tirony said. “We just don’t want to risk it.”

They take precautions to protect their black cats from those who would do harm.

“I guess the fear is that they’re going to meet a bad end from somebody doing something weird,” Tirony said.

New Beginnings Animal Rescue adopts out black cats no matter the time of year.

“Our policies, our procedures don’t change at all,” Fritz said. “If you pass our adoption protocol, whether it’s March 10th or Friday the 13th or Devils Night, it’s all the same.”

Adoption processes are thorough, which helps ensure that the cats go to dependable owners.

“We ask a lot of questions — a three-page application,” Tirony said. “That right there can screen some people out.”

While some may not want a black cat for personal reasons, others do not mind.

“I think the people who are not superstitious don’t think about it,” Tirony said.


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Posted by on Dec 6 2017. Filed under Featured article, Oakland County. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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