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Black Cat Appreciation Day brings Utah closer to being a no-kill state

Best Friends Animal Society, a collection of no-kill animal shelters, and other shelters across Utah are celebrating Black Cat Appreciation Day on Tuesday in an effort to bring Utah closer to become a no-kill state.

Best Friends Animal Society, a collection of no-kill animal shelters, and other shelters across Utah are celebrating Black Cat Appreciation Day on Tuesday in an effort to bring Utah closer to become a no-kill state. (Best Friends Animal Society)



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SALT LAKE CITY β€” Best Friends Animal Society, a collection of no-kill animal shelters, and other shelters across Utah are celebrating Black Cat Appreciation Day on Tuesday in an effort to bring Utah closer to become a no-kill state.

Black Cat Appreciation Day was created in an effort to recognize black cats who are often overlooked in shelters and rescues. A study investigating "black cat bias" found that black cats experience the highest euthanasia and lowest adoption rates compared to cats of other colors.

Temma Martin, with Best Friends Animal Society, said that celebrating black cats by adopting them or posting pictures of them on social media could help combat that bias, and possibly bring Utah closer to becoming a no-kill state. The state is about 800 animals shy of the title.

Shelter volunteers aren't sure why black cats are often overlooked but some theories include the superstition surrounding black cats. Rescues and shelters have in the past refused to adopt out black cats several days before and after Halloween due to alleged abuse of the animals. But Martin said that practice has stopped in recent years. She has another theory on why black cats are overlooked.

"We, of course, know those things not to be true. Black cats are not shapeshifting witches or anything else that was believed in the Middle Ages, but what does happen is people β€” when they go into a shelter or even look online for a pet to adopt, black cats don't stand out as much as cats that have flashier colors," Martin said.

Martin added that choosing a feline friend or any other animal based on external characteristics isn't the only thing an adopter should consider.

"It involves a little bit more of an emotional investment to choose a black cat. However, staff at shelters and rescue groups know these cats well and know their personalities, and they're always very happy to help," she said.

Martin added that local shelters have been experiencing an influx of kittens and cats and encouraged anyone looking to adopt to invest in a black kitten or cat.

"There are a lot of things about black cats ... they have great personalities and they're very sweet and loving. They deserve that extra bit of time to get to know them so that you can choose them based on their personality," Martin said. "They're beautiful, both on the inside on the outside."

Outside of celebrating Black Cat Appreciation Day, Martin said Best Friends Animal Society is working to spread awareness about spaying and neutering animals to save lives. In becoming a no-kill state, the organization works with shelters to remove animals when the shelters or rescues become overcrowded.

"There are still shelters in various places in Utah that do kill animals because of space issues and this is really a community issue and it requires a community effort. We ask that people step up to adopt and step up to foster and, certainly, get their pets that they have at home spayed or neutered so they're not adding to that problem," Martin said.

Best Friends Animal Society currently works with about 60 No-Kill Utah coalition partners throughout the state and has a mission to end the euthanization of pets within shelters across the country by 2025, according to Martin. She added that currently, Best Friends Animal Society has about 3,300 shelter and rescue partners across the country working on that goal.

To adopt or foster a black cat you can visit bestfriends.org or celebrate your black cat by posting them on social media with a #blackcatappreciationday.

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Ashley Fredde covers human services and and women's issues for KSL.com. She also enjoys reporting on arts, culture and entertainment news. She's a graduate of the University of Arizona.

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