We have a cat at work right now. We always have one homeless cat, looking for adoption. His name is Shadow which, I think is a terrible name. I call him Kingsley which some among you may also think is a terrible name, but at least it's a slight bit more distinctive than Shadow. Shadow is a black cat. When people come in and see him their black cat prejudices often come out. They say things like: "Stay away from me black cat" or "I don't need any black cats near me" etc. One person broke trend by saying they had heard black cats were good luck. That's cool. Kingsley/Shadow is unquestionably a beautiful cat. He is very tall and lean. His legs are extremely long and he is short-haired. He looks like a panther, thus Kingsley because he has this sort of king of the jungle look about him. He is also quite self-possessed. He does not shrink back from prodding hands or hulking dogs. When he and my husky were introduced he didn't hiss or run away but rather allowed her to smell his bottom in a very dignified and gentlemanly manner. I imagined taking him home to be my cat. I imagine this about every cat that comes into the store.
Black animals, I've heard are the hardest ones to find new homes for. I assumed that this was because of the old black cat superstition but apparently it's because they're lacking in distinctive markings and have less "personality" in their looks. This is what I've been told, at least, and looking at the photo collage of all the cats we've adopted out it's true that the handful of all-black cats are very similar looking and somewhat difficult to tell apart.
Kingsley has been hanging on a bit longer than the last few cats we've had, it's true. But I think it might be due more to intimidation than anything else. He is beautiful and talkative and likes to be pet and cuddled but he also has a penchant for scratching and biting. He isn't vicious but he's a bit bossy and likes to direct you with his teeth. When it came time yesterday for me to put him in his crate for the night he immediately assumed a fighting position: belly up, teeth ready and claws out. He is big and strong and I was going to get scratched from whichever angle I grabbed him. After several fearful and aborted attempts I was forced to just go for it and when I grabbed him he let out a terrible hissing scream that made my stomach lurch and he gave my one hand several long red scratches. I was convinced that I had just completely destroyed our up-to-that-point entirely pleasant cat-human working relationship, but once on his perch he settled down immediately and stared at me for just a moment before settling in for a nice long self-grooming.
UPDATE: Kingsley was recently adopted by a construction worker who has never owned a cat before. No joke. Happy story, the end.