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This Halloween, protect black cats, dogs and other animals, and here’s why

Black cats are just as loving and cuddly as cats of any other color.

On Halloween, there are figures representing evil that are often mentioned. One of them is the black cat, which since literature and film has been the faithful companion of witches or is linked to the world of witchcraft. The cat Salem Saberhagen, Sabrina’s pet in the American comic series Sabrina the Teenage Witch from Archie Comics, is an example, only better. This story, for example, has been transposed to television, and many probably remember this talkative black cat, who is actually a 500-year-old witch, sentenced to spend 100 years in animal form for daring to conquer the world.

The relationship between black cats and evil began in the Middle Ages, when rumors circulated that women (witches) were transformed into black cats. At that time Pope Gregory IX declared them to be the reincarnation of Satan, and in 1484 they were excommunicated and burned.

“At that time, it was believed that women were the devil’s concubines, that they were fragile. If they saw them in the company of black cats, they assumed it was their animal form. In the USA, in 1620, several cats were also sacrificed by the witches of Salem,” explains Mario Arenas, who teaches at the Department of Humanities at CES University.

These animals have not always been hated. Although it is a contradiction, in Egypt, long before the Middle Ages, they were valued because they helped eradicate pests and diseases by keeping rats and mice away from crops. Owning cats meant prosperity in agriculture.

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They were so valued that the Egyptian goddess Bastet was depicted in the form of a woman with a black cat’s head, as the kinder, more loving and more beneficent side of the goddess Ra, the Sun.

This dark episode to which the black cats are exposed ends in 1630 with a mandate from Louis XIII, King of France and Navarre. However, the myths could not be eradicated and were passed down from generation to generation, which is why some people still associate them with evil today. Nothing could be more wrong.

Fewer blacks are being adopted

We need to put these ideas behind us, experts say, because this fear makes them the ones people least embrace. Veterinarian Santiago Henao Villegas knows this and describes a common scenario: families arrive looking for cats, but on one condition: they can’t be black.

There is no difference, says the expert, with cats of other colors. Their behavior is not related to their color. They are just as loving as the others.

“If you come across a black cat and he behaves aggressively, it is not because of his color, but because rejection and abandonment causes him stress and affects his behavior,” explains the vet. It also depends on whether they are feral (non-domestic cats) or have little human interaction.

These cats develop agonistic responses, that is, aggressiveness or rejection when threatened.

Blacks continue to be attacked. According to the vet, it has been shown that they are more poisoned, more attacked and arrive at vet clinics in a fragile state.

What people don’t know is that the black coat is far from a disadvantage. In terms of health, they are less prone to disease, like all other animal species with black fur.

The black coat (defined by the amount of melanin in the animal’s genes) is an advantage. Black makes them more resistant to pathologies associated with ultraviolet rays or the sun, explains Santiago Henao Villegas, who is also a research professor at CES. Diseases such as skin cancer, sunburn, solar dermatitis and others tend to be more common in animals with white or lighter fur.



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