Ian Somerhalder says black cats and dogs are often unadopted because of superstitions.
by Jennifer Mishler
Categories: Animals, Causes
Tags: .
Photo: Ian Somerhalder Instagram

Millions of dogs, cats, and other animals wait in shelters in need of homes. According to the Humane Society of the United States, 6-8 million dogs and cats enter shelters every year, while 3-4 million are adopted and 2.7 million are euthanized.

Some cats and dogs are, unfortunately, less likely to be adopted than others. Black cats and dogs are among the unlucky animals who often go unadopted, partly because of long-held superstitions.

Actor and animal-lover Ian Somerhalder posted a photo of him and his black cat friend to Instagram, and asked people to lose their fear of these overlooked animals. “It’s HALLOWEEN! Will you go adopt a black kitty or pup? Please? Black dogs and cats are last to be adopted & the 1st to be euthanized…Why? Superstition,” he writes.

Somerhalder adds, “Silly humans – my little black one has done NOTHING but bring me amazing energy & shit-tons of love – in the words of Stevie Wonder – ‘When you believe in things that you don’t understand then you suffer, Superstition ain’t the way.’ For unconditional love go to your nearest shelter – like tomorrow.”

Petfinder reports that the reluctance to adopt black pets, what is known as “Black Dog Syndrome,” can often be caused by the animals’ “size, unclear facial features, dimly lit kennels, the ‘genericness’ of black pets, and negative portrayals of black pets in books, movies and other popular media” and because “black cats are readily associated with witches, superstition, and bad luck.”

Having known and loved a black “unadoptable” shelter dog (that’s Belle below), I second Ian’s call for an end to the fear and the start of more adoptions for black cats and dogs!

Photo: Bill Kauffman

Photo: Bill Kauffman



About Jennifer Mishler

Jennifer Mishler is a writer, and a vegan and animal activist. When she's not writing, you can often find her volunteering or advocating for animal, environmental and human rights causes. Along with writing for Ecorazzi, she has contributed writing for nonprofits like Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and enjoys blogging. She resides in the Washington, DC area (and loves all the vegan food it has to offer). Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @jennygonevegan.

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  • Maleficent

    I adopted a gorgeous black cat when he was a kitten from the local SPCA, and let me tell you – he lives up to the superstitions! He is our guard cat, to say the least. I pity any would-be burglar. This cat would end them.


    Love my black Neapolitan Mastiff. He came from Neo Rescue. He’s awesome!

  • Bobthegoodman

    I adopted a black dog from the pound 3 years ago, and she is always a surprise and delight. She is easily the smartest dog I have ever owned, and is athletic, beautiful and good-natured.