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posted: 11/7/2013 9:30 AM

Debunking the stereotypes of black cats

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  • Tufts

    Courtesy of The Buddy Foundation

  • Misty

    Courtesy of the Buddy Foundation

By Mary Hayashi

As a cat coordinator with The Buddy Foundation, I get to promote Buddy's felines to potential adopters, which is no easy task because all of us that routinely work in the building have our favorites, myself being no exception.

As I show visitors our felines, a few common comments have presented themselves in a negative way, and after all these years with Buddy, I have to say that I surprise myself about my reaction to such comments.

When I hear some of these statements, I cannot help but feel miserable for our black felines. Comments such as "I want to adopt a cat that needs me, but anything but black, I want a cat of color," or "How come Buddy has so many black cats?"

The main answer, in reality, is stupid superstitions and selfishness. If you want a cat that really needs you, you should be looking at the black cats, cats of age or cats with medical issues.

The comment that really unnerves me, though, is "All black cats look alike, how can you tell them apart?" I am going to put a stop to that erroneous platitude right now.

Black felines are magical, sleek little panthers or puffy balls of fluff. They are anything but "bad luck." It's time for people that profess to be cat lovers to come out of the Dark Ages and find black cats to be what they are -- elegant, exotic, entertaining and, for some, vocal pals.

The eyes have it in black felines. Eye color contrast to their black bodies is striking. Eye color can range from orange, copper, gold, aquamarine or blue/violet. Eye color can be so unusual because most black cats are hybrids of American and British shorthairs, Burmese, Bombay or even some Siamese, hence the vocalization.

Do you still think of black felines as ordinary now? I bet not!

Body style can range from sleek to cobbey (muscular built). The body usually dictates the shape of the head. A sleek, panther-like body usually has a more angled head associated with oriental felines. A more muscular, bulky body is more apt to have a rounder head and face.

Our ebony-coated felines are also more likely to be interactive. Black cats seem to sense instinctually that they have to charm a person to get a home. They also tend to be very interactive felines with their owners.

Black felines tend to be entertaining housemates. They also tend to be loyal cuddlers. Who needs an electric blanket when you can have a black feline sitting on top of your head when you are at rest?

The Buddy Foundation has just lifted its Halloween ban on adopting black cats and, not surprisingly, all of today's "Featured Felines are black or mostly black.

Featured Felines

• Misty is a 4-year-old, domestic shorthair who was found wandering the streets of Mount Prospect. Misty likes being petted and is very playful, but could be temperamental at times. Misty will sit with you and sniff your hair. She loves to play with Tufts, who is one of our other featured cats.

• Tufts is a black-and-white tuxedo cat who came to Buddy in 2010. Tufts loves to be petted and will sit with you while you watch TV. He loves playing with string toys, especially with Misty. He is one of our greeters when you first enter the cat room and would love a home of his own.

• The Buddy Foundation is a nonprofit (501c3), all volunteer, no-kill animal shelter dedicated to the welfare of stray, abused and abandoned cats and dogs. The shelter is at 65 W. Seegers Road, Arlington Heights. Call (847) 290-5806 or visit