#164 Sleek & Sinuous

#164 Sleek & Sinuous
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October 27 is National Black Cat Day

Nation­al Black Cat Day was cre­at­ed by Cats Pro­tec­tion on Octo­ber 27th 2011. When the cam­paign was launched, sta­tis­tics revealed that black and black-​and-​white cats took, on aver­age, sev­en days longer to find a home com­pared to cats of oth­er colours.

Thou­sands of peo­ple backed the UK’s first-​ever Black Cat Aware­ness Day – as it was known then – on Octo­ber 27th, which drew atten­tion to the hun­dreds of home­less black cats in Cats Protection’s care and the appar­ent reluc­tance of peo­ple to adopt them.

In most West­ern cul­tures, black cats have typ­i­cal­ly been looked upon as a sym­bol of evil omens, specif­i­cal­ly being sus­pect­ed of being the famil­iars of witch­es, or actu­al­ly shape-​shifting witch­es themselves.

Most of Europe con­sid­ers the black cat a sym­bol of bad luck, par­tic­u­lar­ly if one walks across the path in front of a per­son, which is believed to be an omen of mis­for­tune and death. In Ger­many, some believe that black cats cross­ing a per­son­’s path from right to left, is a bad omen, but from left to right, the cat will bring good luck.


October is Black Cat Awareness Month

A whole host of super­sti­tions sur­round­ing the feline with sable fur have been devel­oped over time, and the one stat­ing that your luck is going to have a down­ward turn if you have one walk in front of you is the most prevalent.

This should serve as a reminder, how­ev­er, that it’s prob­a­bly more like­ly that Grou­cho Marx knows what he is talk­ing about. In truth, all it real­ly means when a black cat walks in front of you is that the ani­mal is clear­ly going some­where. In this case, per­haps it should either be pet, be giv­en treats, or left well enough alone. None of these choic­es is going to have an effect on your luck, one way or another. 

But that’s just one mes­sage being tout­ed by Inter­na­tion­al Black Cat Aware­ness Month! The month of Octo­ber – all thirty-​one days of it – is all about being aware of those inter­est­ing crea­tures, the black cats.

History of International Black Cat Awareness Month

The super­sti­tion about black cats being bad luck is believed to have start­ed some­time around the Mid­dle Ages in Europe through folk­lore. Some peo­ple think black cats are a sign of death, oth­ers believe that they are witch­es in dis­guise. An asso­ci­a­tion with the col­or black prob­a­bly comes from the same ideas that relate black crows and ravens with things of the darkness.

The cre­ation of Inter­na­tion­al Black Cat Aware­ness Month came about after its cre­ator, Lay­la Mor­gan Wilde, noticed that while there are two days ded­i­cat­ed to black cats in the world (one in the UK, one in the US) there wasn’t any­thing ded­i­cat­ed to them on a nation­al level.

Wilde real­ized that such an obser­va­tion was des­per­ate­ly need­ed. This was because super­sti­tions sur­round­ing black cats had got­ten so out of con­trol that shel­ters wouldn’t even adopt them out dur­ing Octo­ber any longer! Too often the cats were being adopt­ed as part of the Hal­loween hol­i­day mys­tique, and would lat­er be aban­doned (or worse) after the hol­i­day passed. So Wilde want­ed to do some­thing about it.

Through­out the rest of the year, it can often be more dif­fi­cult to get black cats to be adopt­ed. How much more dif­fi­cult? Black cats are adopt­ed at a rate 50% low­er than any oth­er col­or of cat, which is very dif­fi­cult for a cat lover of any sort to under­stand at all. A sable furred cat is per­haps one of the most beau­ti­ful ani­mals to walk the earth!

So the month of Octo­ber has been des­ig­nat­ed as the time to pay heed to black cats with the aim of giv­ing a lov­ing home to those that need them.

How To Celebrate International Black Cat Awareness Month

Con­sid­er these ideas for cel­e­brat­ing Black Cat Aware­ness Month on your own or with a group of cat lovers:

Dispel Myths About Black Cats

The first and best way is to do your part in dis­pelling the myths sur­round­ing black cats and their sup­posed luck-​altering abil­i­ties. In fact, one inter­est­ing tid­bit to share is that in ancient Egypt­ian times, black cats were often viewed as divine crea­tures in whom the gods lived. At one point, the Irish believed that find­ing a black cat on the porch was good luck, and the Japan­ese also tend to hold black cats in high esteem – as sym­bols of prosperity!

But, real­ly, any cat lover knows that black cats are not witch­es in dis­guise or evil in any way. In fact, they’re absolute­ly no dif­fer­ent than any oth­er col­or cat. They’re adorable, lov­able crea­tures that need love and atten­tion from kind humans!

Adopt a Black Kitten from a Shelter

For those who are think­ing of going to a shel­ter to adopt a kit­ten, con­sid­er adopt­ing a black kit­ten to ensure they find their way into a good home. And if it’s a black kit­ten with spe­cial needs, it’s even that much bet­ter! (Spe­cial needs cats get adopt­ed at rates below that of even healthy black kit­tens, so spe­cial needs black kit­tens are espe­cial­ly in need of love!) 

Bring­ing the love of a new black furba­by in your life, or help­ing anoth­er one get adopt­ed, is the best cel­e­bra­tion they could hope for dur­ing Black Cat Aware­ness Month.

Volunteer at an Animal Shelter

Not just for this month but for all the year-​round, get start­ed vol­un­teer­ing to help out at a local ani­mal shel­ter. Many shel­ters take in cats and dogs and need help with clean­ing cages, tak­ing care of the ani­mals, and giv­ing them the love and atten­tion they so deserve. 

They might also need office staff or help with arrang­ing to adopt out the ani­mals to new homes. Check with a local pet shel­ter to see what kind of vol­un­teer help they might need.

Raise Awareness for Black Cat Awareness Month

Share the plight of black cats with friends and fam­i­ly mem­bers who might be inter­est­ed in adopt­ing a black cat or kit­ten of their own. In fact, one of the rea­sons that many peo­ple like to adopt black cats is the fact that black cat shed­ding is less obvi­ous than cat hair of oth­er col­ors. Plus, it’s a great way to be sure that black cats are kept safe dur­ing the Hal­loween season!

Get excit­ed about Black Cat Aware­ness Month and help out these crea­tures that are oth­er­wise help­less – but com­plete­ly loveable!


Other days of celebration for the sleek & sinuous black cat (& fluffy fat black cats too) are:

Black Cat Appre­ci­a­tion Day August 17

All cats are celebrated on these days:

Hug Your Cat Day June 4
Glob­al Cat Day Octo­ber 16
Nation­al Cat Day Octo­ber 29
Cat Herders Day Decem­ber 15

And if you love big cats:

World Lion Day August 10


Production notes for #164 Sleek & Sinuous:
Original size: 20x30 inches
Program: Adobe Photoshop
Font: none; Maryam
Ampersand: cat just showing off his awesome tail
References & images:
Illustration: deslns, deposit​pho​tos​.com (modified by Chaz DeSimone)
Text credits as noted
Note: &” replaces “and” in most or all text, including quotations, headlines & titles.
You may repost the image & article. Please credit Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster suitable for printing & framing, click on the image.

Visit DesimoneDesign.com

Chaz DeS­i­mone is the cre­ator of Amper­Art and own­er of Des­i­mone Design. He was adding ser­ifs to let­ters when he was just a lit­tle brat scrib­bling on walls. Now he’s a big brat and his entire career is design, so long as each project requires the most sophis­ti­cat­ed, log­i­cal, cap­ti­vat­ing results. Con­tact him at chaz@​desimonedesign.​com to dis­cuss your project, pick his brain, or just talk shop.

Chaz sez...

Who banned the ampersand?

Whoever thought up the syntax for Universal Resource Locators (URLs) was 100% coder & 0% copywriter. No foresight whatsoever! We can’t even use common punctuation in a URL except for the hyphen & underscore. It sure makes my AmperArt URLs ugly and hard to understand. 
This is just one of the rants on my blog, chaz sez.
Rants & raves mostly about design, sometimes about the universe.
An occasional bit of useful advice.
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