It’s not uncommon for people to think black cats are bad luck. This superstition spread centuries ago when Puritans settled in what would become the United States. It was during the period of “witchcraft hysteria” that led devout Puritans to reject anything associated with witchcraft. And since legend had it that witches could transform into black cats and were possibly reincarnated as black cats, it didn’t bode well for the reputation of our black furry friends.
Since then, black cats have been permanently associated with all things magical and dark. For example, when Halloween comes around we see black cats everywhere – on the back of a witch’s broom, on themed plates, in movies. Who doesn’t love Binx from Hocus Pocus? It’s no wonder people still feel superstitious.
And as fun as our imaginations are, it’s not completely harmless. For years, 3 to 4 million cats enter shelters with nearly 71% put to sleep – the majority being black cats. Why? There are numerous reasons for this:
- Some view black cats as bad luck
- Some prefer tabby or white cats
- The color black is a dominant color, therefore there may be more black cats than other colors
Whatever the reason, the amount of these furry beauties lost per year is staggering. That’s where Black Cat Features comes in.
How Black Cat Features Began
The Instagram account @blackcatfeatures was started on Friday, September 13, 2019 by Misty of @webbyandmisty with the goal of changing people’s negative perceptions of black cats by sharing stories and pictures of them.
At the time, Misty had been on Instagram for over a year and had seen her brother Webster (Webby) honored by being selected as an admin for a Tuxedo Cat features account (@tuxedofeatures) earlier that year. After observing how pawsome it was for Webby to get to meet so many cool members of the #coicommunity and share their stories to a wider audience, she decided to create a similar community for #blackcats where people could come to see the beautiful pictures and learn the ameowzing stories of this often maligned group of cats.
She thought that Friday the 13th would be the purrfect day to kick off the new endeavor since it tends to have negative superstitions around black cats. Instead of viewing it as another bad luck day, she looked at it as a day to start celebrating her fellow #minipanthers.
To help get the ball rolling, she reached out to Lillabet of @nelson_and_lillabet, a like-minded panther who is the sister of Webby’s @tuxedofeatures admin furriend Nelson, to be both the furrst feature and admin. These two were the sole contributors in the initial weeks while they added a carefully selected group of panther enthusiasts from around the world to be admins and help expand the reach of the account.
Since then, Black Cat Features has grown to nearly 10,000 followers and counting. Their community of 8 admins is able to focus on both large accounts and highlight micro accounts, even those with fewer than 100 followers. Additionally, Black Cat Features has shared posts in French, Dutch, Portuguese and Russian with the goal of loving black cats wherever they are located.
Admin Salem (@salemmtl2015) did the first multilingual feature, Black Kitty Boo, which ended up getting over 7,000 likes. Admins Jazz Cats (@the_jazz_cats) recently featured Vinny Van Gogh which garnered over 13,000 likes. Raymond the Quake Cat (@raymondthequakecat) was an early feature and the 2nd Admin and has done a meowvelous job with BCF’s global reach featuring cats from AU and NZ in addition to many others.
Black Cat Features is fighting negative stereotypes and creating a mutually supportive community of black cat enthusiasts.
Contributor and Admin, @realshopcat says, “I joined BCF to promote the adoption of black cats in honor of the kitty love of my life, a black cat named Shop Cat, who at age 15, sat at the shelter for over 6 months. I hope that through our daily features celebrating black cats, we’re inspiring more people to consider adopting one. The goal is to raise awareness so that someday these wonderful cats will not be so overlooked in shelters.“
Admin @jenniferandjustin had similar sentiments: “The loves of my life are two little black cats. I didn’t realize that people still had superstitions and biases against black cats prior to adopting Jennifer and Justin! Soon after adopting them, I realized that changing people’s misconceptions would become a personal mission of mine. What I love about BCF is that we feature beautiful black cats from all around the globe with the same mission – changing misconception and increasing awareness and awwws!”
Admin @nelson_and_lillabet said, “It was very important to me that we didn’t produce another repost site but build a Black Cat Community. We have achieved this by contacting our features each week and interviewing them and finding out what makes each Panther unique.“
“This has allowed Black Cat Features to connect with our followers on a deeper and more personal level. Each of our Admins has a unique voice and their own storytelling style, which resonates with all our Purveyors of a Fine House Panther.“
What Makes Black Cat Features Stand Out
Rather than just re-posting photos of black cats, BCF creates an in-depth interview for each cat featured to help share their story with the hope of changing negative stereotypes. Each admin gets a day of the week and some of them have taken on a specialty of their own.
Admin @realshopcat specializes in black cats that belong to bigger families. To honor them, he highlights those pet families with #bcf_familyfriday. This means showing the other cats, dogs, and other pet species living in the household.
Admin Lillabet @nelson_and_lillabet is from Australia and is extending the group’s reach into the Antipodes.
Taking it a step further, admin @cathy_permakitten creates a special Mini Feature with a newspaper cover, headline, and a short Q&A.
How You Can Make a Difference
Spreading the word about the amazingness of black cats is a great way to debunk their outdated reputations and help to increase more adoptions. You can help the cause by using the hashtag blackcat_features and following @blackcatfeatures. Using the hashtag also might score you a full exclusive feature with one of the admins.
Black Cat Features shares more than just a photo, they share stories because each and every cat has one.
This article was a guest post prepared for us by Sarah Loughry – a writer and editor based in Morgantown, WV. Her love for writing is only matched by the true joy she gets from watching her daughter discover something new, taking her dog for a long run, and traveling around the world. Read more about Sarah.
What a wonderful article! We love this account, and they’ve featured my beautiful baby, Spook. (@spookothecat) Thank you for for the black cat love!
I love Spook! 🙂 I’m a huge fan!
I have a black cat named Shadow and have had seveal blacfk cats n the past
Can one join this group if not on Instagram or Twitter? We have two wonderful black cats and only adopt black cats. I’m on Facebook but have no desire to be on these other social media groups (one is enough). Thanks.
Hi furriend, we don’t have a Facebook presence yet. It might be something we consider in the future, but right now we’re focusing on telling the stories of housepanthers.
Black cats are my favorite. My first kitty as an adult that I had for nearly 19 years was black – Mamms – and she was the love of my life. I took here everywhere. She rode to New Mexico, Arizona, and California and nearly got into McDonalds through the drive through window when we stopped for breakfast. When anyone invited me over she want along – I had a small portable litter box and she never made a mess in anyone’s home. She loved dogs – her best friend was a German Shepard, Dilly. She even went camping with me once and we used her harness and she had a great time. Black kitty’s have such fantastic personalities. She loved riding in the truck with me and being with me all the time except when I was at work. She was truly the best friend I ever had and I still miss her and her warm body on top of my legs in bed even though she was a tiny girl, 10 pounds and still have dreams that she is back with and she has been gone 13 years.
I LOATHE this evil superstition and say those who started it and keep spreading it are the truly EVIL ones! I rant about it at every opportunity, especially on social media and websites where I see it, even as funny memes around halloween, etc. Though it seems to have some traction in european and european-derived societies, it has never had any credence in my background and even in the european countries, some societies do not believe in it, but rather the opposite.
Black cats have always been my favorites aesthetically speaking, though of course I love ALL cats of all colors, sizes, and species. I’m not on Instagram and not planning on opening an account there, but I am glad to see the popularity of @blackcatfeatures. Keep on speaking truth to the very evil power that keeps this stupid, senseless, harmful superstition going, until it is GONE!
I love my black cat Boogie ❤🐾🐱🐾❤ she is the most beautiful & awesome & amazing cat! Black cats are awesome!!
My first cat as a child was a black cat that I picked out from a litter at a farm. That cat, Candy. was with me until my son was in college, was the most wonderful pet and best friend to my entire family. I now have a black cat that came to us as a feral cat, we named him Jack, with the help of a local feral cat group, I was able to trap him, have him neutered, get shots and then was released back to us. The feral cat group hoped he could be socialized and might be adopted, kept him for a while but too wild. He has been living on our deck for 5 years, has a cat house, is well fed every day and night, been semi-socialized, sits with my husband and I while out during the warmer seasons; we have two indoor Siberian/Maine Coon mix cats that he seems to enjoy seeing but he will probably always be an outdoor cat. Black cats hold a special place in my heart and they are so very beautiful!!!
I still love black cats! Oddly enough, on September 13, 2019, I went for surgery to have my right index finger re-fused — after a cat bite (through the joint) in 1986. Over 4 months in the hospital and 4 prior surgeries, this being the 5th and hopefully final. It has always been painful. BUT, the cat that bit me so hard, through the joint, was my own cat, a 24-pound black beauty with sky-blue eyes and no tail. (I think he was not part Manx, but part bobcat as he was the only one in the litter and huge and breech when he was born, his mother was my cat and that was her only litter). I was stupid enough to be watching a neighbors kittens – 6 month old brothers who were not neutered, and Harley, not being neutered himself at the time (the vet wouldn’t do it) decided he was going to do what male cats and “go after them.” And I was foolish enough to stick my hand in front of him…. I tossed the neighbor’s kittens into a bedroom with food and litter box and went to the hospital. But still, loved him for what he was and eventually took him to a neighboring town to have him neutered. That was long ago! I’ve had another black cat since then, our sweet and “innocent” black Pearl. Oddly enough, when I am looking for a cat, I have a hard time finding black cats, and the shelters do always seem surprised that I want one!!
Black cats are my favorite color cat! My Mr. Lucky is the love of my life. He simply adores me…and sleeps with me when the mood strikes him. I had read years ago in a Cat Fancy Magazine survey that black cats were the number one favorite color!
These accounts are great! Black cats are such beauties. There are people who prefer them. All those I’ve known in the gothic community love them. My rescues are tuxedos and I adore them. If they had been all black I would still love them and appreciate the privilege of having them in my life.
Have always lived with black cats. Three now! Love the his feature.
Absolutely LOVE this – I thought of making an IG page for my fur babies – y’all definitely have inspired me even more so. Bastet is my beautiful black kitty, we also had Pharaoh (he crossed the rainbow bridge in 2018) he was a gorgeous Bombay. We love black kitties and I’d rather have a black kitty over any other color, but hey any kitty that is rescued is a happy kitty. That’s where all of our kitties are from Rowdy a Russian Blue is a rescue and Nefertiti a Mainecoon mix is also a rescue –
I am a huge fan of black cats. In fact they are my absolute favorite…of course I would never turn away any furry purring four legged friend. My cat, whose name is Bean, showed up in my backyard one day five years ago. She was about 4 or 5 months old then and decided she liked it at our house more than where she came from. She is SPOILED ROTTEN !!!!! 😻😻😻