By Rebecca White. New York Post. October 26, 2013
Milo and Gianna are 10 years old and the very best of friends. They love each other so much, in fact, that they must be adopted together. This pair would be perfect for a family looking for a double dose of black-cat bonding! To learn more, visit aspca.org/adopt or call the ASPCA Adoption Center at 212876-7700 ext. 4900.
Consciously or unconsciously, many would-be cat owners avoid taking in black cats, leaving animal shelters with more kohl kitties than other colors. Louie Knowles, 26, is not one of those people.
The Williamsburg resident, who works in credit-card processing, has had several black cats in his lifetime, and he embraces their spooky reputation. Three years ago, he adopted his current dark-haired feline from the ASPCA and, in a nod to his dark sense of humor, changed her name from Elvira to Casey Anthony.
Casey Anthony lives up to associations people might have with black cats, and Knowles wouldn’t have it any other way. She tends to hide in Knowles’ closet and only show affection to him, not his girlfriend or anyone else.
“I want a cat that only likes me,” Knowles says. “She’s weird and a lot like me.” Although adoption centers note that it can be hard to find homes for black cats, many of those that own them embrace and enjoy their inky coloring and the connotations that come with it.
“I love black cats,” says Sean Casey, 32, who runs the Sean Casey Animal Rescue shelters in Brooklyn. He confirms that, sadly, black cats are statistically harder to adopt out than other kitties. “Maybe it’s superstition,” he says. “To me it’s silly.” Black cats have long had a spooky reputation. For the most part, “it dates back to the 17th century and the prevalent ideas of witchcraft [with which black cats were connected],” explains Dr. Janja Lalich, professor of sociology at California State University and an expert on cults.
“A lot of superstitions have persisted for generations,” she adds.
Besides associations with witches dating back to the 1600s, Italians in the 1500s believed that a black cat would trigger death if it lay on a sick person’s bed.
In modern times, the belief developed that a dark kitty crossing one’s path brings about bad luck. And, Lalich says, there are still “young people that dabble in satanic ritual” that are drawn to black cats for use in sacrifices.
Laura Casey (no relation to Sean), 34, and a researcher, was drawn to her black cat for more benevolent reasons.
Three years ago, she adopted him from a BARC shelter because she found him simply adorable.
“He had some really cute snaggle teeth,” she recalls.
She named the cat Ghostface Killah after the Wu-Tang Clan rapper, and he hasn’t brought about any bad luck or drawn strange reactions for the most part. People “seem to accept him no matter his color,” quips Casey, who lives in Crown Heights.
But she does have one friend who has seemed disturbed by the pet. “He’s a little weird, he’s also into Kabbalah and astrology,” she explains. “His verbal reaction was ‘Oh! Black cat!’ ”
–Additional reporting by Hailey Eber