Friday also happened to be the 13th of October which means … well … it was Friday the 13th.
If you’re superstitious, this day might freak you out. One of the symbols for Friday the 13th (and for Halloween in general) is a black cat. When 9NEWS posted a seemingly innocuous photo on Facebook about what day it is, a few viewers reached out to us with concerns.
Specifically, they had concerns about what this day means for black cats.
One viewer sent us a message asking about a rumor she heard that because of imagery depicting black cats in a “scary” light during Halloween, many of these animals flood shelters during October.
Another asked if shelters really don’t adopt out black cats on Friday the 13th and near Halloween because of concerns they are used by satanic cults and tortured.
Snopes looked into the latter issue a while back, and didn’t find any hard evidence these claims have any merit. A few other news organizations picked up reports that a shelter in Chicago was limiting black cat adoptions for this very reason.
9NEWS reached out to multiple animal shelters in Colorado and all of them said they do not see an influx of black cats during October and are not doing anything special when it comes to adopting out these animals around Halloween.
“We have not seen, and I do not believe we have ever seen, any kind of outpour of black cats into our shelter at this time,” said Patrick Short, the director of operations at the Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue in an email.
He wrote in many cases of occult/abuse, the cats are strays or taken from neighborhoods -- not adopted from reputable shelters.
Short says the Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue evaluates adopters during October the same way they do year-round.
Lydia Jordan, a spokesperson for the Fort Collins Cat Rescue, called the use of black cats in satanic rituals a “spooky myth.” She does say it harms black cats who need a home, because there are shelters that refuse to adopt them out in October (we didn’t find any in Colorado with this practice).
She says her shelter also doesn’t see an influx of black cats on Friday the 13th or Halloween.
Kerra Jones, a spokesperson for the Denver Animal Shelter, says it also adopts out black cats all month, every month.
“Our adoption counseling process is pretty robust and we counsel every adoption with an eye toward success in the home,” Jones wrote in an email. “Black cats are no exception.”
The Denver Dumb Friends League also doesn’t see an influx of black cats on Friday the 13th or during October.
Joan Thielen, a spokesperson for the Denver Dumb Friends League, says while she has heard rumors of black cats being adopted for occult activity, she believes that they’re just a myth and that the shelter does not change what it does because of it.
“As an open admission shelter, we accept any animal, every day of the year,” she wrote in an email.
Like the other two shelters, the Dumb Friends League, makes matching the right person with adoptable pets a priority, Thielen said.
“Black cats make wonderful pets anytime of the year,” Thielen said.
Short made a good point, that sensationalizing these rumors about black cats isn’t good for the ones looking for a family.
“I’m sure somewhere in the Grand Ol’ USA there will be something that happens this month, but it really is no different from animal abuse that happens any other time,” he wrote. “If anything, sensationalizing these sporadic instances in October just makes life hard for the animals that need a loving forever home.”
Thielen says if you have any concerns about animal abuse – at any time of the year – to call Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867.