Why Shelters Should Adopt Out Black Cats at Halloween

Halloween and black cats. We do things differently at Pets Alive!

Every year I see big discussions from shelters about closing down their black cat adoptions near and on Halloween.

Halloween and black cats....sigh. Well, we do things differently at Pets Alive Westchester!

We will be promoting cats on Halloween for $31 and black cats for $13 (all black cats over 1-year-old). People started telling us all about the Satanic cults out there that adopt to kill the animals. Many shelters won’t adopt out cats at ALL during the ENTIRE MONTH OF OCTOBER!! I want to shake these people. I presented a scenario.

Please review:

It is two days before Halloween. An elderly woman walks in. She lost her cat a few weeks ago. He was 21-years-old and she had him almost his whole life. She is heart broken. She did everything she could for him and she shows you pictures as she cries. She decided that she needs another cat in her life, life is not the same without one, and since she is older she is looking to adopt a senior cat. You show her your cat rooms and you watch as she wanders from cat to cat, room to room, petting and cooing softly to the cats. After some time, she decides on the cat that has captured her heart. It is Shadow. A black cat. So you go out and tell her to come back in a month or pick a different cat.

Does this make sense to anyone? Really? Because it is close to Halloween and Shadow is a black cat she must be denied. Shelter policy. HELLO??? HELLO? Does anyone see a HUGE disconnect here?

These sort of archaic policies need to be put to bed and left there. EVERY adoption, every person goes through the SAME process, whether it is Halloween, or Christmas or Easter.

The holiday does NOT change that if you have common sense and if your adoption team is decent and educated. If a woman came in dressed as a witch and said she wanted to adopt a black cat, any black cat, it didn’t matter – would you give HER one? Or a 15-year-old boy? No, but they would fail for OTHER reasons having nothing to do with the holiday.

The first person because we don’t adopt “ANY” animal to “ANYONE."

We wait to see a connection and love blossoming on the face and a healthy interaction between person and pet. That woman that just wanted “any cat” wouldn’t pass that. And the 15-year-old boy? Well, he has to be 21, so he fails automatically.

Additionally animals being harmed at Halloween is mostly a myth. Does it still happen? Sure, just like it does every OTHER day of the week. If we see animals that were tortured on Dec. 20 do we say it was a result of the Christmas holiday? In April is it a result of Arbor Day? No, but if it happens anywhere in October it is attributed to Halloween.

I have spent considerable time this week researching the number of animal torture, mutilation and abuse cases in the course of a year. Know what I found? That October does NOT show a higher percentage of these at all. The media just HIGHLIGHTS it more. The media also continues to do “Keeping your pet safe on Halloween” stories every single year, but yet statistics show that there are no increased cases of this.

In fact more animals are injured, lost or traumatized during July 4!

But I worked in media at one point and it was always an assignment every year. Halloween and protecting animals. We never thought to question it, just pulled up archaic stories and gave out tips. People – let these die, they aren’t real. But shelters use these stories to “protect” their animals from adoption.

In 1996 a news crew did an intensive study around Halloween to see if any more animals were harmed THEN, than any other time. Result? No. No increase or stories of any cruelty to any animals. And really, let’s face it…do people intent on harming animals need to come to a shelter, give their drivers license and ID, home address and phone numbers, vet information, personal references, and pay an adoption fee to get a cat?

Umm, no, you can walk outside most supermarkets and adopt a kitten or go to any feral cat community and trap one. People are not coming to us, knowing we will be doing follow up calls to check on the pets in a few days and then again in a few weeks, and handing over all this personal information so they can mutilate the animals.

If it isn’t logical and it doesn’t make sense, then it probably isn’t a real threat.

So the bottom line is this. We love our animals. ALL of them. We are careful with EVERY adoption. Holidays and every day of the week or month. We constantly try to find good homes, we constantly try to market our animals better and we constantly try to save more lives. We are always on the side of the animals.

We always will be.

So shelters please stop denying your animals home. Trust your adoption staff. Let your black cats go home.

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Dina Sciortino October 11, 2012 at 06:04 PM
I've always wanted a black cat!
Stefani Kim October 11, 2012 at 06:19 PM
I never knew this was an issue. I could see shelters being wary about people adopting pets specifically for the holiday (for a party perhaps) then dumping them right after because they didn't really want a long term pet after all.
Doreen Lavista October 11, 2012 at 09:33 PM
adorable - you couldn't have planned it - great name ;D
Pets Alive Westchester October 12, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Doreen, I know of no Wiccans that dress as witches and I know many. The point was in regards to halloween costume witches. Not religious witches.
Pets Alive Westchester October 12, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Stefani, Shockingly it is wide spread. In fact MOST shelters will NOT adopt out black cats the entire month of Halloween. Others will not adopt out any cats at all. It is completely insane.


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