Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Agency is holding back its black cats

To protect black cats from any human mischief, many animal shelters do not adopt them out during the Halloween season.

Times files (2006)

To protect black cats from any human mischief, many animal shelters do not adopt them out during the Halloween season.

The black cat is one of the iconic images of Halloween — peeking out from behind a jack-o'-lantern, perched on a witch's broomstick, or alone, back arched with a puffed-out tail.

It's that identification with Halloween that makes some cat lovers especially protective of black kitties around this time of year. For the Friends of Strays, that concern translates into a ban on the adoption of black cats during October.

The moratorium was instituted years ago over fears that black cats might be adopted and subjected to pranks or worse. Or that they'd be adopted, used as props for Halloween parties or displays, and then returned to the shelter the day after Halloween.

"We can't put our cats through that," said Peggy Fadden, director of public relations for Friends of Strays. "They've been through enough. They were strays."

Friends of Strays is only one of many shelters across the country that holds off on the adoption of black cats in the days and weeks before Halloween because of fears the animals will be abused. But it's unclear how realistic that fear is.

"It seems like a bit of urban lore," said Marissa Segundo, spokeswoman for the Pinellas County SPCA. Her agency, she said, sees no more cruelty directed at black cats during the Halloween season than at any other time of the year.

Nor does the SPCA place a moratorium on black cat adoption during October. The screening process for adoption is so rigorous, Segundo said, that the SPCA thinks a moratorium is unnecessary.

"Black cats are fabulous cats," Segundo said. "We encourage people to adopt black cats."

Fadden agreed that the tales of black cat abuse may be urban legend, but her organization does not want to take any chances. Black cats take enough of a bad rap from some superstitious people who think they're bad luck at any time of the year, so it's better to be safe during the one season when they are especially tied to witches and spooky characters.

The moratorium does mean that black cats tend to accumulate at Friends of Strays during October. So, during November, the organization has Black Beauty month, when the adoption fee for black kittens and cats is cut to $20 each. The usual fee is $40 for a kitten and $25 for a cat.

And there are plenty to choose from.

Of the 325 or so cats at Friends of Strays, 56 are black cats or kittens. And the SPCA has more than 100 cats. About 10 percent of those are black.

"We are overwhelmed with cats right now," Segundo says.

Agency is holding back its black cats 10/28/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 29, 2008 10:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up


    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  2. Tampa Bay Times honored for top investigative story in Gerald Loeb annual business awards


    The Tampa Bay Times was a co-winner in the investigative category for one of the highest honors in business journalism.

    Tampa Bay Times current and former staff writers William R. Levesque, Nathaniel Lash and Anthony Cormier were honored in the investigative category for their coverage of "Allegiant Air" in the 60th Anniversary Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism. 


  3. Pasco woman gives birth to child fathered by 11 year old, deputies say


    A Port Richey woman was arrested Tuesday, nearly three years after deputies say she gave birth to a child fathered by an 11-year-old boy.

    Marissa Mowry, 25, was arrested Tuesday on charges she sexually assaulted an 11-year-old and gave birth to his child. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399
  5. St. Petersburg showdown: Kriseman faces Baker for first time tonight at the Rev. Louis Murphy Sr.'s church

    Local Government

    A standing-room-only crowd packed a Midtown church banquet hall Tuesday to witness the first face-off between Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker in what is a watershed mayoral contest in the city's history.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.