This Halloween, protect black cats, dogs and other animals and here’s why

Black cats are just as affectionate and cuddly as cats of any other color.

On Halloween there are figures that represent evil that are often mentioned. One of them is the black cat, which since literature and cinema has been the faithful companion of witches or is linked to the world of witchcraft. The cat Salem Saberhagen, Sabrina’s pet in the American comic book series Sabrina the Teenage Witch from Archie Comics, is an example, only better. This story, for example, has been transposed to television, and many surely remember this talkative black cat, who is in fact a 500-year-old witch, condemned to spend 100 years in animal form for having dared to conquer the world.

The relationship between black cats and the evil one began in medieval times, when rumors circulated that women (witches) were turned into black cats. At that time, Pope Gregory IX declared them to be the reincarnation of Satan, and in 1484 they were excommunicated and burned.

“At that time, it was thought that women were concubines of the devil, that they were fragile. If they saw them in the company of black cats, they assumed it was their animal form. In the United States, in 1620, several cats were also sacrificed by the witches of Salem,” explains Mario Arenas, lecturer in the Department of Humanities at CES University.

These animals have not always been hated. Although it is a contradiction, in Egypt, long before the Middle Ages, they were appreciated because they helped eradicate pests and diseases by keeping rats and mice away from crops. Owning cats meant prosperity in agriculture.

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They were so valued that the Egyptian goddess Bastet was depicted in the form of a woman with a black cat’s head, as the kinder, more loving, and more beneficial side of the goddess Ra, the Sun.

This dark episode to which the black cats are subjected ends in 1630 with the mandate of Louis XIII, king of France and Navarre. However, the myths could not be dispelled and were passed down from generation to generation, which is why some people still associate them with evil today. Nothing could be more wrong.

Fewer blacks are adopted

We need to put these ideas behind us, experts say, because these fears make them the ones people embrace the least. Veterinarian Santiago Henao Villegas knows this, and describes a common scenario: families arrive looking for cats, but on one condition: they can’t be black.

There is no difference, says the expert, with cats of other colors. Their behavior is not related to their color. They are just as loving as the others.

“If you come across a black cat and he behaves aggressively, it’s not because of his color, but because rejection and abandonment cause him stress and affect his behavior,” explains the veterinarian. It also depends on whether they are feral (non-domestic) cats or have little interaction with humans.

These cats develop agonistic reactions, that is to say aggressiveness or rejection when they are threatened.

Blacks continue to be attacked. According to the vet, it has become apparent that they are more poisoned, more attacked and arrive at veterinary clinics in a delicate condition.

What people don’t know is that the black coat is far from a disadvantage. In terms of health, they are less prone to disease, like all other animal species with black coats.

The black coat (defined by the amount of melanin in the animal’s genes) is an advantage. Black makes them more resistant to pathologies linked to ultraviolet rays or the sun, explains Santiago Henao Villegas, who is also a research professor at CES. Diseases such as skin cancer, sunburn, solar dermatitis and others tend to be more common in animals with white or lighter coats.

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