If you have ever watched “The Aristocrats,” probably the one song that stands out is “Everybody Wants to be a Cat,” and you cannot help but sing along. It does not specify the color of the cat everyone wishes to be, but the film attempted to represent various fur colors perhaps, in essence, informing the viewer that all cats are equal regardless of their coat color.
Black is considered elegant and maybe given a chance to be a feline, you would opt for black. However, you would still have to choose the exact breed and then be spoilt for choice seeing that there are many different types of black cats. So, exactly how many different types of black cats are there? Let’s take a look as we also delve into what causes the fur to be black and why black cats are considered ominous.
Types of Black Cats
According to The Rover, there are many types of black cats, and topping the list is the Bombay. This breed is often mistaken for the Burmese but the American Bombay instead is a cross breed of the Black American Shorthairs and the Burmese. When breeder Nikki Horner created it in 1948, she intended for the Bombay cat to be a domestic feline that closely resembled a black panther.
This breed is known for its distinctive black coat that starts from the roots and covers every inch of the body, including the paw pads and nose. While most Bombays have green eyes, some stand out from the rest with eyes whose colors can range from gold to copper. It is understandable to assume that the cat is named “Bombay” due to a connection with the Indian city. However, the only reason they adopted the name is that the black panthers from which this cat breed was bred are mainly found in Bombay.
Cuddly Black Cats
When looking for a cat to keep you company as you laze on the couch, you cannot go wrong with a black Persian cat. this breed is so lazy that it carved a nickname for itself as “furniture with fur,” since all it does is look for the ideal spot to sit. The Persian cat is acclaimed as one of the oldest cat breeds – it is so old that it was in the first Cat Show. According to Untamed, black Persian felines could have come from Persia, modern-day Iran, hence the name. They were introduced to Italy and gradually made their way to other continents. Surprisingly, the current black Persians that are recognizable from their chubby and flat faces barely resemble those from the past.
Black Maine Coon is rare to find in the Maine Coon breed since for a cat to be entirely black, it has to be bred from pure Maine Coon felines. Most Maine Coons span different colors but should you come across a Black Maine Coon cat, you will notice that the black color is present in all the layers of its fur. The name is sourced from the cat’s native state of Maine, and it has consequently been regarded as the official state cat.
The Maine Coon has quite a reputation seeing that the first place in the North American Cat Show held in 1895 went to a female Maine Coon cat. This type of black cat costs between $1000 and $2500 due to its rarity. Still, having one around is sure to bring a smile to your kids’ faces because the Maine Coon is considered the gentle giant of domestic cats. It also is the largest cat breed and holds several Guinness World Records for this trait.
What Causes Fur to Be Black?
With so many types of black acts, you must have wondered what causes the fur to be black, yet other cats have various colors. Well, Catster explains that it is all about genetics. Cats have color genes called alleles that can be dominant or recessive. A black dominant gene is known as “B,” and other variations such as chocolate and cinnamon are represented by “b.” The color pattern considered the dominant for a cat is tabby, caused by the dominant agouti gene. The recessive gene known as the non-agouti determines if the cat’s coat will be black.
For a kitten to be born black, its parents must carry the black color gene, B. For it to be entirely black, the kitten must also have the recessive gene, non-agouti, that ensures the tabby color does not appear. If a cat carries the agouti gene, it will seem to have the tabby patterns when basking in the sun. On the other hand, if a cat has a red gene, then most likely the offspring will have a slightly reddish appearance on its coat when in the sun or any other bright light. All the same, you should not be mistaken about the causes of black fur in felines because the genetics behind black domestic cats is not the same as the one associated with wild cats.
According to Genome NewsNetwork, the black fur in domestic cats is due to mutation of a gene called ASIP whereas, in wild cats such as jaguars, it stems from the mutation of a gene known as MC1R. MC1R falls under the same gene family as CCR5, the human gene that allows HIV to enter human cells. Humans also have the MC1R, and anyone with red hair and pale skin has a mutation of this gene. Due to this research, scientists believe that in big cats, the MC1R is overactive, and the black fur is due to two different mutations of this gene. The researchers opine that the mutations of this gene enabled the wild cats to survive in the jungle, and perhaps it could cause resistance to some diseases.
Does a Cat’s Black Coat Influence Personality?
We say that we should not judge a book by its cover yet draw the line when it comes to judging cats by the color of their fur. Black cats are seen as carriers of bad luck and unfriendly, but this could not be further from the truth. A survey conducted by the Dallas Highway Animal Hospital about how a cat’s coat color influences personality concluded that black, gray, tabby and white cats have the lowest aggression levels. The study also found that orange, calico, gray-and-white, and black-and-white cats were the most aggressive. However, this was quite a contrast to another survey that concluded that orange cats were the friendliest.
In the end, it was concluded that a cat’s personality is rarely dependent on the color of its coat. Usually, a cat’s personality is determined by the environment it is nurtured in, such that if you socialize a kitten early, it is unlikely to become aggressive later. Usually, aggression stems from fear. Another factor that could determine personality is the inherited traits from its parents. Having friendly parents translates to kittens that will also be comfortable around humans. It is therefore a myth that black cats are more aggressive than others; you might even find them more affectionate than white or tabby cats.
Are Black Cats a Bad Omen?
Despite the many types of black cats being used for good such as to advance research aimed at understanding resilience to diseases, there are still many people who believe nothing good could ever come from black felines. Many theories have been floated around to explain why black cats are not held that dearly in people’s hearts compared to their counterparts with lighter coats.
One myth dates back to Greek mythology when Zeus’s wife, Hera, tried to prevent the birth of Hercules by sending two witches to Alcmene. Alcmene had gotten pregnant by Zeus when her husband, Amphitryon was away. Of course, Hera was enraged and thus planned to kill Alcmene’s son. Fortunately, Alcamene’s servant, Galinthias, thwarted Hera’s plan by tricking the witches so Hera punished Galinthias by turning her into a black cat. The goddess of witchcraft then took Galinthias under her wing as an assistant, resulting in black cats being associated with witchcraft.
Black Cats and Halloween
With Halloween being less than two months away, black cats are in danger as superstition reigns in the streets. According to USA Today, the appearance of different types of black cats in movies such as “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” and “Hocus Pocus” does not help the case for such felines. Reportedly, outdoor black cats are in more danger of being killed during Halloween than at any other time of the year. The mistreatment of the felines is so bad that some animal shelters restrict the adoption of black cats around late October. Even owners of black cats are forewarned to keep their pets indoors during Halloween to protect their fur babies from those who intend to use the felines for evil.
Fortunately, such beliefs are slowly fading as people realize that cats are still adorable regardless of the color of their fur. If we are to go with ancient Egypt, then you would realize black cats were held in high esteem due to their resemblance to Bastet, the cat goddess they worshipped. In some modern cultures, black cats are said to bring good luck. Cattitude Daily published that among the Japanese, women with black cats as pets are thought to be more attractive. Hence, they are more likely to find their Mr. Rights much faster.
Additionally, you can start counting your lucky stars once you stumble upon a black cat in Japan because good fortune is bound to come knocking. The belief that black cats bring good luck is also in China, where subscribing to Feng Shui includes putting a black cat’s bed in the doorway to ward off evil. Besides, if prosperity has been constantly evading you despite your efforts, perhaps it is time you tried having a black cat in your home and watch the riches overflow. Of course, this is only applicable if you believe in Japanese superstition.
Special Days That Celebrate Black Cats
While it may take some time for myths surrounding black cats to be dispelled, there are still efforts to debunk such beliefs. Different days have been set aside for the sole purpose of appreciating the black cats in our lives and helping others understand that black cats do not bring bad luck. One of them is the Black Cat Appreciation Day observed on August 17, every year. This special day was created by Wayne Herbert Morris in 2011 in honor of his sister and her black cat, Sinbad.
Upon Morris’ sister’s passing, Morris’ father did not want Sinbad in the house because it was black. As a result, Morris saw it fit to start letting others know that black cats are felines like any other. His dedication, to creating awareness was not in vain as many black cats were adopted and although Morris passed away on July 13, 2022, the work he began will continue as it remains part of his cherished legacy.
National Black Cat Day
There is also National Black Day which falls on October 27. It was created in 2011 by Cats Protection after noticing that black cats took much longer than other felines to find forever homes. According to Days of The Year, Cats Protection realized black cats took a week longer to be adopted. Following this discovery, the organization launched a campaign to create awareness that the felines were not different from the rest. Consequently, one of the ideal ways to commemorate the day is by adopting a black cat. If your landlord has qualms about keeping pets, you could inform others about the plight of black cats through social media so that those with extra space in their homes can adopt them. Alternatively, share beautiful photos of different types of black cats and melt the hearts of potential cat parents who can choose from the many options.