Black Cats: Facts and Fame

These mysterious, inky felines are a classic Halloween symbol, and are often associated with bad luck and witchcraft. Superstitions aside, black cats make great companions and deserve loving homes, just like any other domestic cat.

Read on to learn fascinating facts about these dusky kitties and get to know some of the most famous black cats in human history.

Fact 1: Black Cats Are Considered Lucky in Some Cultures

Not all cultures see black cats as bad omens.

  • In Latvia, seeing a black cat in the grain silos is considered good luck, as black cats are often associated with the Latvian God of Harvests, Rungis.
  • Japanese single women used to believe that they could attract more suitors by owning a black cat.
  • English Midlanders believe that giving a black cat as a wedding gift will bring good fortune and happiness to the bride.
  • In Scotland, a strange black cat’s arrival at a home is an omen of good luck and signifies future prosperity.
  • Black cats were once popular among the Irish sailors, as having one on board their ship was an assurance that sailors would return home safely from the sea.

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Fact 2: Most Black Cats Have Golden Eyes

The high melanin pigment content in their bodies gives black cats their sleek, dark coats and causes most of them to have golden or amber eyes.

Fact 3: Black Cats Are More Resistant to Disease Than Cats of Other Colours

According to researchers at the National Institutes of Health, the evolution of melanism may offer black cats more resistance to diseases like FIV and a higher resiliency against illness. The gene mutations that cause cats to have black coats were discovered in three types of black cats – the domestic cat, jaguar and South American jaguarundi.

Since cats suffer from many of the same medical disorders as we do, studying black cat genetics may help in learning more about human resistance to disease and may potentially provide researchers with clues to solving human ailments.

Fact 4: The Bombay Was Developed to Resemble a Mini Black Panther

In the 1950s, The Bombay was developed by an American breeder named Nikki Horner by crossing a sable Burmese with a solid black American Shorthair. The breed was named Bombay, after the city of Bombay in India where the black panther is from.


Here’s a list of 5 notable black cats – some, icons from the past, while some rose to fame recently.

1. Gladstone

This Domestic Shorthair is the current Chief Mouser of HM Treasury at Whitehall, London. Before assuming the position of Chief Mouser in late June 2016, Gladstone was a stray and was rescued by the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in May 2016.

2. India

India “Willie” Bush belonged to former U.S. President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. Although the Bushes’ Scottish Terriers, Barney and Miss Beazley, received more attention from the press, India was very much loved by the family. She passed away at the White House at 18 years old.

3. Hodge

Hodge was not English writer Samuel Johnson’s only cat, but he was presumably his favourite. Johnson would personally purchase oysters for his cat and when Hodge was very ill, he bought valerian to ease Hodge’s suffering. In 1997, Hodge was immortalized with his own bronze statue, located outside Johnson’s house in Gough Square, London.

4. Trim

When Matthew Flinders led the first inshore circumnavigation of Australia in 1801 – 1803, Trim accompanied him on his voyages. In 1809, while still being held captive on the Isle de France, Flinders wrote a biographical tribute to Trim.

5. Oscar

An incident involving a combine harvester caused Oscar to lose both his hind paws in 2009. Peter Haworth, the veterinarian who first treated him, referred him to neuro-orthopaedic surgeon Noel Fitzpatrick who performed a pioneering surgery on Oscar to add prosthetic ‘feet’. Oscar holds the record for being the first animal with two bionic leg implants.

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