With Halloween just around the corner, well-intentioned animal supporters are warning against the dangers of black cat adoptions on October 31. Some even advise animal welfare agencies against performing any adoptions of black cats the entire month of October. They fear that black cats will become victims of ritualistic abuse or sacrifice.

So is there any truth to this?

According to experts at the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), the Humane Society of the United States, Best Friends Animal Society and many others, the answer is a resounding “no.”

In 2007 National Geographic published an article titled “Ritual Cat Sacrifices a Halloween Myth, Experts Say.” The author found “no confirmed statistics, court cases, or studies to support the idea that serious satanic cult crime even exists.”

But old myths die hard, especially when they are perpetuated by well-meaning animal supporters. “Every October, we have concerned people posting on our Facebook page, pleading with us to cease all black cat adoptions near Halloween,” says KHS Communications Director Andrea Blair. “They have the very best intentions, but the unintended consequences are the perpetuation of the myth – which leads to black cats spending even more time in shelters.”

Black cats already have it hard in shelters, according to Andrea. “Because of their common color, they are the cats who are most likely to be overlooked in favor of cats with more varied color patterns,” she says. “Black cats often take two to three times longer to get adopted. The last thing we want to do is put up barriers that make it even harder for them to find loving homes.”

But that doesn’t mean that shelters should give cats away without first getting to know the adopters. “We have a very thorough adoption process at the Kentucky Humane Society,” says Robin Vincent, shelter operations director. “Each potential adopter meets with an adoptions counselor for about an hour. Our counselors get to know each adopter, which helps ensure that every pet is adopted into a home that truly wants them.”

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