August 17 is Black Cat Appreciation Day. That counters the myriad black cat negative myths. Of course, those folks who share their lives (and pillows!) with a special black cat know better. Sadly, too many black cats remain in shelters rather than being adopted.
In fact, some evidence supports the notion that black cats (one of the first “mutations” of wild coat color), actually enhanced what I call the feline friendly factor. Black cats often seem to be much more agreeable and love spending time with their chosen human. And the cute black cat pictures here can attest, these kitties love attention!
Maybe that’s why so many of the so-called witches were associated with black kitties. Read more about black cats and Halloween here.
Picking Your Perfect Black Cat
People have more difficulty picking cats because they assume all felines are exactly the same. And because usually, cats pick us.
More than 40 cat breeds and ten times that number of “mixed” variations represent the feline nation. They all meow, hiss, and purr—more or less; they all sport fur coats, in some form or fashion. And yes, many of these various breeds and mixes wear BLACK fur!
And like dogs, they ALL need time and attention. I can hear dog folks snickering, but it’s true. You get out of a cat relationship exactly what you put into it, so allow at least an hour a day for basic training—teaching the cat her name, for example. Add another two hours daily for teaching claw etiquette, the rules of the house (staying OFF countertops), and bathroom manners in the litterbox. Kittens and cats learn toilet techniques very quickly, and done correctly you’ll not need much cleanup time for any accidents.
Does Sex Matter?
Sex and looks tend to be the first considerations for most folks adopting a cat. Neutering your pet evens the behavior playing field in almost all cases, of course, but there are some gender differences.
Felines range in size from the five-pound Singapura to the 20-plus pound Maine Coons and Ragdoll cats, and male kitties usually get bigger than the girl kitties. It’s hard to predict size or personality in nonpedigree kittens. When choosing your black cat friend, engage with a wand toy and see how the baby (or adult cat) reacts. Maybe you prefer a sedate adult man-cat, or instead a rambunctious and slinky panther companion. There is no one answer.
Fur, Glorious Black Cat Fur!
Coats vary from long and thick, to short and silky, curled, fluffy, or peach-fuzz bald. As a general rule, more fur means increased coat care. However, the Sphynx (bald) cat also comes in any color (even black!) but requires sunscreen, and extra baths to fight oily skin secretions that stain the upholstery. And remember, the Persian’s glorious coat requires daily attention, while any longhaired feline quickly turns into a matted mess without lots of work. That means combing, brushing and/or bathing on a weekly (or oftener) schedule.
Remember, grooming includes ear care, eye care, teeth cleaning, and claw trims. Yes, you CAN bathe a cat but if you don’t want to attempt such things, rethink your cat choice. So for longhair cats add another half-hour grooming time each day.
Exercising Cats & Attention Time
Cat breeds vary much less in activity levels, compared to dogs. But the high-energy felines challenge owners as much as their canine counterparts. Your black cat companion may enjoy swinging from the drapes and emptying your sock drawer if not given something constructive to do.
Invest in two to three half-hour sessions a day interacting with Sheba. Entertain her, or she’ll find something to amuse herself, such as knocking china off your mantel. At our house, we call that “gravity experiments.”
Any size cat seems able to claim the lion’s share of the sofa, and demands pillow space—alternatively, sleeps on your head. Cats in multiples claim major bed space and may squabble over lap time.
Allow a minimum of thirty minutes daily ‘schmoozing’ time—that’s the nose-to-nose, cheek-rubbing, butt-scratching, sweet-purring, secret-sharing, quiet communing cat lovers do as a matter of course. The stronger the bond, the more time you spend schmoozing.
How Much Time for Perfect Cats?
So far, our weekly cat time commitment conservatively totals 35 hours—multiplied by the number of cats you have. We often make do with less, and our cats suffer. Ignore Sheba and spend little time training and interacting, and you’ll end up with a cat who ignores you, has her way with the sofa, and sleeps her life away.
Therefore, my ultimate secret to obtaining the BEST cat ever–black cat, white cat, or multi-hued–is to devote as much time to Sheba as you would for those things that matter most to you. As you teach, care for, and love her you will create the cat of your dreams.
So, do you have a black cat? What’s s/he like? Did you choose, or did Kitty choose you?
I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book giveaways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!
Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!