(By: Tammy Thomas) - There are many superstitions and tales surrounding black cats. Some people see them as bad luck while others feel their an omen of good luck. While most people focus on the folklore, there are also some interesting characteristics of black cats. Here are some facts and folklore that you may find intriguing.
Black cats eyes are usually golden or yellow. This is due to an over-production of melanin that gives their fur its deep black color. It often causes the cat's irises to reflect the melanism in the pigment of their eyes creating the golden or yellow color.
High exposure to sunlight can make their fur temporarily appear rusty reddish-brown. This is common when the cat has is missing an enzyme called tyrosine.
In parts of Ireland and England, if a black cat crosses your path, its considered good luck.
Its considered a sign of prosperity in Scotland if a strange black cat arrives at your home.
Ancient Egyptians felt that cats were sacred and lucky. They were considered a symbol of the goddess of protection, Bastet, who has the head of a cat.
Black cats were associated with witchcraft in the Middle Ages. Any single elderly women that cared for cats were considered witches and the cats their accomplices.
Studies indicate that black cats may be more resistant to some diseases like Feline HIV. It also shows their immune system may benefit from their genetic makeup.
It is considered good luck to give a bride a cat in the English Midlands of Great Britain.
Single Japanese women look at black cats as good luck. They feel this makes them more attractive to prospective suitors.
Black Cat Appreciation Day is held on August 17th.
Its considered bad luck if a black cat passes under a ladder.
Pirates consider a black cat approaching as bad luck. If the feline walks up to the ship then stops and decides to leave, it is considered an omen that the ship is going to sink.
Fisherman look on black cats as good luck. They let them stay on their ships or live in their homes to keep luck on their side.
There are more than 19 different breeds of cat that have black as a color. This is recorded in the Cat Fanciers Association directory. The only all black cat is the Bombay cat. They are often called miniature panthers.
In Russia, any cat is considered a sign of good luck.
Those in Germany, claim it is good luck if a cat crosses your path walking left to right. They also claim, it is bad luck if they cross from right to left.
True black cats were born to parents with the black color gene. This gene is actually a recessive gene, so not considered common. Most cats have a tabby gene, which is suppressed by the black gene in true black cats. If the gene is not fully suppressed, you will be able to see faint striping on their legs or tails.
Whether you believe in all the folklore or not, these are beautiful felines. Growing appreciation of them has lead to more adoptions of black cats. Remember there is work when you get any cat, but the rewards far out weigh the work.
As a lifelong owner of at least one cat, each ones individual characteristics has made them unique. From they way the "talk" to the way they look, they continue to bring joy and entertainment to our family.