By Sam Cubbison
Black cats have been the trusted companions of many a witch, but they are also quite loyal to non-magical owners. Thanks to some miraculous genes, black cats have become a good omen and potential boyfriend magnets across the globe. Check out these top black cat facts to throw your superstitions out the window, along with that pinch of salt.
For a cat to be black, both of its parents need to have a specific gene.
This means that these kitties are pretty special! The color gene is called an allele (B), and the cat must also carry a recessive gene called non-agouti (A) for it to turn out black and not tabby, which is the outcome if the non-agouti gene isn’t carried. This means that sometimes your black cat will show classic tabby patterns in its fur when exposed to direct sunlight.
There is no “black cat” breed.
In the 1950’s, a kitty enthusiast named Nikki Horner loved panthers so much that she bred the cat that we know now as the “Bombay.” Most people think that all black cats originate from this breed, but because of the genetic mutation mentioned previously, there are many non-Bombay black cats.
They can “rust.”
The sun can also break down pigments of a black cat’s fur, creating a discolored effect. If you see a black cat with an “M” on its head or a orange tinted pattern running through it’s fur, don’t panic. The cat doesn’t have water damage; it just loves sunbathing.
Black cats have a higher chance of fighting disease.
As winners of the genetic lottery, black cats have a higher immunity to fight off feline illnesses such as FIV (feline AIDS). It is very similar to a genetic anomaly found in humans that can prevent HIV. The mutation affects the MC1R gene found in cats, which helps bulk up cell surfaces for . The same goes for black-coated animals in the wild; who, due to their immunity, have a better chance of passing the gene on to their young.
Sailors love them.
In the water, a cat can be a sailor’s best friend when it comes to catching mice. Black cats are especially welcome among English ships, because they are believed to bring good luck to the voyage. The admirable Tiddles, a legendary black cat sailor, traveled over 30,000 miles while working with the Royal Navy.
They are considered a good luck charm in some cultures.
Especially in Japan, black cats are said to deliver good fortune. This is especially true for single women looking to find a man. In Germany, if a black cat crosses your path from right to left, it is seen as a sign of a bright future.
Black Cats Are Superior Hunters.
This one isn’t much of a surprise, considering the fact that their coat is like that of a ninja. As black cats are primarily nocturnal hunters, their dark looks allow them the element of surprise. This doesn’t mean that your cat will be particularly skilled in ninjutsu, though.
So come Halloween, don your pointy hats and maybe pick up a new familiar, because black cats are in this season. And if you already own a black cat, hopefully this list helps you connect to your little buddy a little more. What are you waiting for? Get on the black cat bandwagon right meow!