When people go to the Humane Society or animal shelter looking to adopt a pet, they are more than likely going to leave with one that is a lighter color or one with interesting markings. There are no hard scientific studies as to why black cats and dogs are left behind, often never being adopted, but there are a lot of good theories. This is often called Black Dog Syndrome, though it applies equally to cats.
Why Black Dogs and Cats Are Harder to Adopt Out
It’s not usually a conscious decision on the part of the potential pet owner. There are often other factors that come into play.
Black Pets Are Harder to See
The simplest reason is that black fur is harder to see. In animal shelters, the lighting may not be all that great, and a dog or cat with lighter or colorful fur simply stands out better. People often fall in love at first sight with pets, so the easier-to-see pets have a far better shot at getting picked up and going home.
People Love Facial Features
Dogs and cats with all black faces, and no other markings, are at a real disadvantage because it’s very hard to see their facial features and expressions. So, people tend to assume they lack personality.
People Love Color
Our eyes are drawn to colors and patterns, so a cat or dog with multiple colors is going to get our attention before an all black coat will.
Black Dogs are Often Big Dogs
This is a problem for two reasons: One, some people simply want a smaller dog for whatever reason. And two, some people believe big black dogs are scary — possibly because that’s how they are portrayed in movies. Lighter colored dogs get the loveable leading roles (Lassie, Old Yeller, Shiloh, The Shaggy Dog) because they are easier to film and we can read their facial expressions. Big black dogs play the villains because they are so much easier to make look scary — in dim lighting with only eyes and teeth showing, they can look very menacing.
Black Cat Superstitions
Even in this day and age, there are some people who believe that a black cat is bad luck, or is associated with witchcraft or evil. Black cats, especially those with no other markings, can look kind of ominous with their eyes glowing. But people who own black cats can tell you that they are just as sweet and adorable as any other cat. But in an animal shelter, a potential pet owner may avoid the kitty that looks a little eerie, and gravitate toward the ones that are radiating cuteness without even trying.
How Pet Owners Can Help Black Cats and Dogs in Animal Shelters
As a pet owner, you have influence on potential pet owners. When family, friends or co-workers mention plans to adopt a dog or cat, encourage them to choose a black pet. You could also consider fostering a black dog or cat. A fostered pet has the opportunity to meet your friends and neighbors, and even strangers, and display his personality. Of course, when you are ready to add another pet to your family, consider adopting a black cat or dog from a shelter.
Featured HSCAZ Pets
The following black or mostly black pets are currently available at the Humane Society of Central Arizona animal shelter. All of them are considered Lonely Hearts because they have been waiting so long for loving homes. Please consider adopting one of these wonderful, deserving animals today. The HSCAZ shelter is located at 605 W. Wilson Court (just south of Main Street); hours are Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information, call (928) 474-5590 or visit us online at humane societycentralaz.org.
Sammi is one of the sweetest cats we have. She is very affectionate and loves to cuddle! She gets along great with other cats and loves children. Sammi is playful and energetic too. She has been with us now for almost a year. If you are looking for a cat to add to your home, you should consider Sammi. She would do best going to a home that has another cat that is friendly and playful, as she loves to cuddle and play with other cats. If you don’t have another cat, you should consider adopting Sammi and one of her friends. Two cats may seem like a lot, but really it’s double the love and double the fun! Sammi has been with HSCAZ since 04-25-12.
My name is Day Day and I sort of had a rough life prior to coming to the humane society. I came to HSCAZ because of an abuse case, but once I got to the shelter, I started to realize that life isn’t always bad. I get along well with other dogs and like to play. I am very well behaved, but can be a little shy until I get to know you. All I need some patience, and plenty of love and exercise. I know many basic commands and am eager to learn more. Due to my history, I should not go to a home with small children. I promise to be loyal and loving, and even a little playful! I have been at the shelter since 10-04-11.
BIG TEDDY and STUD MUFFIN
Big Teddy and his buddy Stud Muffin were brought in to HSCAZ after their owner abandoned them. These two guys have been together since birth and are a bonded pair, which means they need to be adopted together. Two dogs may sound like a lot to take on, but these guys are worth it. They will bring twice as much love, loyalty and affection into your life! Big Teddy is an easygoing dog who likes to just hang out and spend time with people. He is potty trained and knows basic commands. Stud Muffin is outgoing and affectionate. He loves to go for walks and is potty trained. Big Teddy and Stud Muffin have been with HSCAZ since 08-20-12.