Dark-coated kitties have a harder time getting adopted than their more colorful cousins, but Black Cat Rescue is changing that.
When Jennifer Stott and Samantha McDuffee adopted a black cat, they were surprised to learn that dark-coated felines are much harder to find homes for than kitties of other colors. “And when cats are not adopted quickly, they are often euthanized,” says Lisa Jean Treacy. “Jen and Sam feel this practice is both unfair and unethical, so they founded Black Cat Rescue.”
The no-kill non-profit organization was established in 2007, and Lisa Jean is its social media coordinator. “As far as we know, there are no concrete reasons why black cats have a harder time finding homes, but there are lots of theories,” she explains. “One is that black cats are associated with bad luck, witchcraft and the occult, which may turn off adopters. Another theory is that black cats may not catch a potential adopter’s eye among the more brightly colored cats in a shelter setting. It could also be that black cats are harder to photograph and advertise because of their dark coats, or that people simply think black cats aren’t as friendly as others.”
As the name indicates, Black Cat Rescue (blackcatrescue.com) is devoted to finding forever homes for these unfairly-maligned felines. “We are made up strictly of volunteers,” says Lisa Jean. “We have a core team of seven volunteers and approximately 25 foster homes. We take in cats from individuals and shelters across Massachusetts.” She adds that each cat receives any veterinary care he needs, and goes into a foster home, where he remains until he is adopted. “When necessary, our foster homes will also spend a lot of time making sure the cat is socialized, and will work with him to train away any bad habits he may have, like jumping on counters or playing too roughly.
“Every potential adopter is thoroughly screened,” Lisa Jean continues. “When approved, they visit the cat in the foster home and have the opportunity to chat with the foster parents and learn as much about the cat and his habits/ personality as possible.”
Black Cat Rescue is funded entirely by donations. “We hold a few fundraisers every year where we take donations and also sell animal rescue merchandise and raffle tickets for prizes donated by local businesses. We also work with a number of partners like Amazon Smile and the ResQwalk app so our supporters can help black cats as part of their daily routines. We are a relatively small organization, but we’ve experienced a lot of growth just in the past 18 months, and we’re looking forward to launching some new initiatives this year.”
Asked about her favorite rescue story to date, Lisa Jean admits there are almost too many to choose from. “The one that comes immediately to mind involves Oliver, who came to us as an obese, sickly 13-year old cat in September of 2013. We discovered he had diabetes, but with insulin and a new diet, he lost weight and his disease actually went into remission! Now, his blood sugar is completely managed through a healthy diet and he no longer requires insulin.”
Lisa Jean adds that Oliver is also arthritic and unable to groom his back, which meant his fur had become greasy and matted. “With occasional pain medication and a brand new lion cut to give his back a break, he was like a brand new cat at 14 years old.”
By the fall of 2014, Oliver was ready for adoption. “We held ‘Ollie October’ to promote him on social media, with daily posts of his adorable face and super cute new ‘do’. On the first week of November, Oliver went to his new home with an amazing new family who will spoil him rotten for the rest of his days.”
Lisa Jean, Jennifer, Samantha and the other volunteers of Black Cat Rescue are passionate about what they do. “While black cats may have a harder time being adopted overall, we have discovered a dedicated base of black cat fans who swear they are the best felines and who would never consider adopting one of any other color,” says Lisa Jean. “Plus, black cats look like miniature panthers, which is super cool!
“The most rewarding part of working with Black Cat Rescue is the impact we can have on a cat who comes into a foster home scared and shy, and blossoms to find an adoptive family who will love him and appreciate his unique personality.”