9 interesting facts about black cats: many of them are secretly tabbies

Hangai Lilla

2024. February 7 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

Thank goodness they are no longer persecuted for bad luck and witchcraft, but they are still harder to adopt from shelters, for example. Of course, there are also those who are attracted to or repelled from back cats by some strange magic. Just like us.


Whether you like them or treat them with reservations, read on! Find out some hair-raisingly interesting black cat curiosities about the little voids.

1. Black cats are the new dating gurus, not Will Smith

In Japan, single ladies are encouraged to get a black cat to help attract potential suitors. And believe it or not, it makes sense! There is some scientific evidence already supportig the idea that having a furry friend makes you more socially active, and makes it easier to form healthy human relationships. And this is just the beginning.

2. They are usually males

Not quite as likely to be males as a calico or tortoiseshell patterned cat is a female, but due to some interesting – and yet unknown – genetic factor, there are far more black tomcats than females.

3. It’s not a catch 22

The US Cat Fanciers’ Association recognizes 22 cat breeds that have jet black fur listed in their breed standard. Examples include the Persian, the Norwegian Forest Cat, the ragamuffin, the oriental shorthair or the Japanese bobtail. Only the bombay cats are exclusively black.

Bombay cat

4. Are they carrying the spirit of Satan?

The negative reputation of black cats may have originated from an ancient Greek myth. When Hera, the wife of the god Zeus, turned her servant into a black cat as punishment, the cat helped Hecate, the goddess of magic, darkness and night, and the mistress of witches.

As Christianity spread across Europe, it seemed to the leaders that pagans were turning to the Devil, so they sought to condemn their practices. Pope Gregory IX., taking on his attitude towards witches, declared that black cats are the symbols of Satan. Even since 1233, they have failed to completely wash this off… It was then believed that dark-haired cats were demons in disguise or the helpers of demon worshippers.

If you like reading, we recommend Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. Not only is it a masterpiece, but it also features a giant black cat, Behemoth, who is the Devil’s right-hand man. And even so – it’s impossible not to like that cat.

5. As opposed to Hungarian superstition…

…in most of the UK, black cats are considered lucky. Especially when they cross someone’s path. They also have a long tradition of being a great gift for newlyweds in the hope of good luck.

In Germany, they are also considered lucky if they cross people’s paths from right to left.

The sailors also held them in high esteem for their lucky charms; if they wanted to get lucky, they would take a black cat on board. In fact, it was worth it for their family to keep a black cat at home to double their luck.

In many Asian countries, such as China and Japan, black cats are not only considered good luck, but also a means of attracting wealth. That is why you see many black Maneki Neko.

Scots consider it lucky to see a black cat on your doorstep. Recently, a Scottish bingo hall recruited several black cats to improve the luck of its players.

6. Black is the most dominant hair colour

While the tabby hair gene is the most dominant pattern in their DNA, the black colour gene is the most dominant when it comes to overall coat colour. This means that if two cats with the black coat gene produce offsprings, these genes will overwrite the tabby pattern gene. And the result will be black-coated kittens. This means that there are more black cats than any other colour.

Oriental shorthair

7. Colour-changers

Another gene must be present in the cat to completely override the tabby pattern. This means that a lot of black cats are secretly tabbies! Watch them next time they are basking in the sun. This lighting makes the hidden pattern visible if it is present.

These undercover agents can even change colour! The longer they are exposed to sunlight, the more likely it is that the black colour will turn brownish-red. Sunlight can break down pigments in both cat and human hair.

8. The black coat may have evolved for survival

Like jaguars and leopards, the ancestors of domestic cats probably evolved their black fur to hunt more effectively at night.

The same gene that regulates black fur also affects the animal’s immune system. Researchers discovered that these cats have stronger immune systems, and have increased resistance to certain diseases, such as FIV.

9. The yellow eye is a permanent accessory

Because of an excess of the melanin gene that causes black colour, these cats usually have distinctive yellow, bronze or amber eyes. Bombay kittens are bred specifically to ensure that this eye colour is inherited by all individuals.

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