Zanda came to RAPS back in 2002 when his mom, Sky, was brought in with her kittens. The other kittens were adopted, but nobody took the black one. When Leslie told me this as she introduced me to Zanda last month, she didn’t sound too surprised. And she shouldn’t be. Not because there’s anything wrong with Zanda – he’s lovely, by the way – but because black cats are classically the hardest to adopt out.
Just Google “black cats” + “adoptions” and you’ll come up with a number of articles posted by various humane societies in North America talking about how the adoption rates for black cats are lower than those with other colours and markings. The old idea of black cats being bad luck is given as one reason, but superstition takes a back seat to the idea that they simply lack distinguishing features. People feel they don’t easily stand out from other black cats, that’s they’re less unique than an animal with clearly identifiable markings, or even just that it’s “harder to see expression in a dark face.”
Even among new volunteers at the sanctuary, the number of black cats wandering around the front courtyard alone can be a bit overwhelming when it comes to making friends. It’s too easy to mentally apply of generic label of “black shorthair” to many of them and leave it at that.
But – spend a little time getting to know one of them, and the personality soon starts to shine through any notion of generic labelling. Take Zanda: still on the shy side even after being at shelter for the past 8 years (again, how many people target one of the multitude of black cats to be the object of affection and target of socialization?), he’s quite comfortable around Leslie and will contentedly allow himself to be stroked by others… particularly while Leslie’s nearby to keep his confidence up.