Black Cat Appreciation Day: Banburian Edition

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The Banburian often features the hashtag – #DogsofBanbury – not out of any anti-cat position but because the people of Banbury love bringing their dogs to the many fab events featured in the town’s annual calendar. It’s the kind of thing that doesn’t really feature highly in the life of a domestic feline pet.

Gumbo says events are not his thing and wake him when you are done talking about dogs.

No, our love of dogs leaves plenty of room for our love of cats and it is about cats – black cats specifically – that we want to touch on today.

Black Cat Appreciation Day (Aug 17) is a US counterpart to Black Cat Day here in the UK (Oct 27). But both days are meant to highlight to same thing – black cats are adopted at much lower rates than cats of other colours simply because of silly superstitions about bad luck, cultural symbolism or myths that mark them as evil omens or witches’ familiars.

Gumbo says he and his friends are actually good luck in some places – such as Scotland (where they are a sign of prosperity) and Japan (where a black cat crossing your path is a good omen). We know the ancient Egyptians worshipped cats – black, white, all of them. But black cats also figure in Norse mythology – as companions to Freya, the goddess of love, fertility, and beauty. She is often depicted riding on a chariot pulled by two black cats. Gumbo doesn’t know about this whole being yoked to a chariot thing but he is very much in support of the tradition among Norse farmers of leaving out bowls of milk for Freya’s cats in return for a good harvest.

He also points out that he isn’t familiar with any witches – to the best of his knowledge – and that it may have been that whole ‘cats are nocturnal’ thing that started that rumour.  Gumbo says you shouldn’t judge people by the hours they keep. Unless those hours involve his people not getting up at a decent hour to serve him breakfast. Then he’s all Judgy McJudgeface.

There’s another obstacle to black cat adoption and rehoming that gets mentioned quite a lot – that black cats don’t photograph well or that it’s hard to get a decent photograph of an all black cat so they catch fewer eyes than other photos on adoption sites. Gumbo doesn’t think it’s that much of an obstacle.

Gumbo is the Banburian’s Black Cat Appreciation Day poster boy. He thinks all his sides are his good side.

Because they are adopted at lower rates for all these ridiculous and seemingly pointless reasons, they spend longer in shelters and (obviously depending on the shelter) are more likely to be put to sleep than their lighter coloured compatriots. Utterly senseless, ridiculous and sad. Other cats don’t care what colour other cats are; why should we?

Miss Thing, who can be fussy about a lot of other things, thinks black cats are cool and Gumbo is especially so. She’s not wrong.

So I say to my local Banburians – if you’ve been thinking about getting a cat and have always wanted a mini-panther of your own, no need to wait until October. It may be that your next cat is ready now and is one of the lovely black cats at B.A.R.K.S. (Banbury Animal Rescue & Kindness Service), such as these fabulous felines below.

If you are thinking of adding a feline family member, definitely look at rescue cats.  If you’re in Banbury, check out  B.A.R.K.S. And don’t overlook that shadowy form in the corner or that darkly sleek shape peering at you from atop the cat tree. Black cats are very much like any other cat and shouldn’t be overlooked because of silly superstitions.

Black cats may be hard to find in the dark but their colouring goes with almost every decor. They move around like they are channeling their inner panther but can be just as goofy as any other cat. Even if they end up being a TEENY tiny overdramatic … like Gumbo.

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