17+ Surprising Black Cat Facts

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Want to know more about black cats? Heard the unfortunate myths and unlucky associations, and want to learn more about what black cats are REALLY all about?! Then you’re in the “totally purrfect” place. Here’s 17+ surprising black cat facts to remove the “bad rep” they’ve once had, and instead – see how awesome they really are!

17+ Black Cat Facts (You May Not Know!)

In no particular, here’s 17+ cool facts about black cats, that you may not know! In fact, COMMENT BELOW to let us know, how many of these facts you did and didn’t know before! 😉🐈‍⬛

1) There’s Lots Of Different Types of Black Cats

So first up, black cats are a type of cat, based on the color of their coat.

But there are actually many different types of black cats… In fact, to be specific about it – there are 22 recognised black cat breeds, according to the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA).

This means, of the 40-70 total cat breeds, as a whole, 22 of them can come with solid black coats!

2) … BUT There’s Only One EXCLUSIVELY Black Cat Breed

Within all these different types of black cats – did you know that there’s actually only ONE cat breed, that comes exclusively in black?!

Uh huh. 21 of the black cat breeds have different color variations – and black is just one of the different colors that these breeds can come in. However, it’s the Bombay Cat that is the only black cat that comes in the color black and black alone!

Essentially – every Bombay cat is a black cat, but not every black cat is a Bombay cat!

It may therefore come at no surprise that Bombay cats are quite a rare black cat breed. But it’s a good black cat fact to know; especially if you’re looking to get your own little black cat / kitten to bring home!

interesting things about black cats

Black Cat Facts…

3) ALL Cats Are Genetically Born Black and/or Red

“When it comes to cat colors, all cats are actually black, unless they have inherited the sex-linked orange masking gene, in which case, they are known as red!” – Reference: Joan Miller, the Cat Fanciers’ Association.

Ultimately, cats are born with only two colors—black and/or red. All other coat types are variations of these colors…

Now of course, other factors – like dilutions, masking, or other genes – change the appearance of a cat’s fur patterns and coloration. That’s why we don’t simply get JUST black or red (i.e. orange / ginger) cats about!

But, genetically, it boils down to the fact that – cats are either red, black, or a combination of these two colors.

Now is this not just one of the most mind-blowing black cat facts?!

This means that whatever cat you get – there’s a 50% chance it’s a black cat “at its core” (or so to speak anyway!) How surprising is that?! On a similar note…

4) Black Cats Can Actually be Tabby Cats In Disguise!

Now we know that cats – at their core – can either be black and/or red, but did you know that black cats can also actually be tabby cats in disguise?! See, some black cats, have black pigments that are so strong, they hide the tabby markings!

This means, you may THINK you have a black cat, but you actually have a tabby cat instead! (MIND-BLOWN, I KNOW!)

The faint tabby cat lines and markings may show up faintly in certain lights, and this is how you know… But it’s hard to spot. And sure comes as a surprise! (Who’d have thought, hey?!)

Facts about black cats

Facts About Black Cats…

5) Black Cats Typically Have Amber Eyes…

Ever wondered what makes a cats eye color the eye color that it is? Well, it’s all about the melanin.

Black cats produce a lot of melanin. This is why their fur is so dark. Melanin is a pigment and it’s this pigment that also contributes to many black cats having their beautiful amber-colored eyes.

See a black cat with green eyes? Then it means they have less melanin.

What about blue eyes? Well, the only black cat breed with genuine blue eyes is the Ojos Azules. (Talk about unique, hey?!)  But this is incredibly rare… 

In fact, the first Ojos Azules cat was found in 1980 and in 1992, only ten were known. So it’s crazy to think that within that rare breed, there even stands a black eyed version of them, right?!

Black Cat Facts

Funny Things About Black Cats…

6) Even Black Cats Get Grey Hairs!

So here’s a funny fact about black cats… They can indeed, get grey hairs! How sweet is that?! Just like we can go grey as we get older, cats can get grey hairs too… Only with black cats, their grey hairs show up far more clearly!

See, that’s a black cat fact you may certainly want to know, as doesn’t it make you feel better about your own grey hairs coming through?! 😉

What causes it? Well, it all goes back to that melanin. As a cat gets older, they produce less melanin. Melanin is what create a cats black fur and – as a result – as black cats age, their grey hairs start coming through!

7) Black Cats Can Change Color!

Keeping on the topic of fur, did you know – black cats can change color?! Uh huh. They pretty much “rust” in the sun! Here, look at this crazy example on Reddit! How epic does this rusty black cat look?!

Why does it happen? Well, it’s similar to how your hair can get lighter in the Summer… The same lightening effect applies to the fur of black cats, which may have light red or orange highlights when they spend a lot of time in the sun.

The sun bleaches the pigment from the fur, causing it to lighten. Now, since fur isn’t alive but is a structure of keratin, it will stay bright until it is shed. Crazy huh? I bet that’s one black cat fact you probably didn’t know!

NOTE: Although this is a cool black cat fact, it’s also been said that a black cats fur can also change color due to nutritional deficiency… Cats require the amino acid tyrosine to produce eumelanin, you see.

This is another pigment that creates their black fur. If a black cat has a tyrosine deficiency, their fur can change color, so if you have a black cat and this happens to them – be sure to get this checked out with a vet!

Things you need to know about black cats

Black Cat Facts…

8) Black Cats Are Better at Fighting Diseases!

What else is pretty cool about black cats? Well – research from the National Institute of Health  shows that the gene that causes their fur to be black also protects them against certain diseases…

This means that your black cat is scientifically less likely to fall ill with certain diseases. Wow, wow, wow.

And – it gets even more impressive… See, since cats suffer from many of the same diseases as humans (e.g. cancer, feline AIDS, and diabetes) researchers are hopeful that studying black cat genetics may help in learning more about human resistance to disease. How about that then?!

Black cats are indeed advancing our studies through their super cool genetics. (So cool!)

9) They’ve Got a “Bad Rep” As You May Have Heard…

The thing is, as you may have heard before – back in the 13th century, Pope Gregory IX issued an official church document saying that black cats were an incarnation of Satan.

(Extreme or what?! Although it didn’t seem like it in those days.)

It’s why a devil is now one of the most popular halloween costumes for cats – although this is now done with LOVE, not hate.

These negative beliefs, back in the day, also led to the other common superstition that a black cat crossing your path will bring you bad luck…

Ever wondered how that came about? And why that would even make sense? Well, during the Mediaeval times, people believed that witches could take on the form of a cat, and you wouldn’t want something like that crossing your path.

“Talk about bad luck!” But it was really just bad luck for black cats…

history of black cats

The History Of Black Cats…

10) Black Cat Views Have Changed Over The Years

Black cats views have changed over the years. See, just like black cats were favoured in the Early Middle Ages, there are again many parts of the world where black cats are considered good luck.

In Scotland for example, a strange black cat arriving at your home is believed to bring prosperity. In the rest of Britain, a black cat crossing your path is considered good luck. (Woohoo!) And the same goes for Japan too.

In fact, in Japan, if a single woman owns a black cat, it’s believed to increase the number of her romantic interests!

Of course, we’ve heard more about the NEGATIVE misconceptions and myths about black cats, unfortunately. And these do, of course, still remain today.

The saddest truth is that they still influence the treatment of black cats in other countries. Jean Paul Mbarga, for example, talks here of how black cats are still a “bad omen” in Cameroon, which is incredibly heartbreaking. Similarly…

Cute things about black cats

11) Black Cats Take The Longest To Be Re-Homed

Whether it’s influenced by this or not, today, black cats take the longest to be re-homed in a shelter, taking 7 days longer than tabby cats, and 11 days longer than orange cats. This is shown to be true in both the UK and the USA.

12) … But Could That Just Be Because There’s More Black Cats?

Now, according to a 2013 ASPCA study, black cats actually are adopted from shelters at the same rate as other cats…

They seem to think that it’s just because there are more black cats than any other-colored cats, it can appear as though they’re being overlooked by adopters.

See, the study found that 33 percent of all cats coming into shelters were black. Is this because there’s more black cats around than other coloured cats, or because more black cats are being given up for adoption?

It’s an interesting debate and we hope it’s the former, rather than the latter…

13) In Fact, There’s Plenty Of Them About!

See, it’s predicted that around 18% (1 in 5.5) cats are black cats. So black cats are pretty common. But, this isn’t a bad thing. After all…

are black cats popular?

Black Cat Facts…

14) Studies Show Black Cats Are Heaps of Fun…

So here’s a cool and different fact about black cats that you may not know. See, anyone who’s had a black cat before is likely to have a soft spot for them and – of course – think that they are just the best!

But did you know, that there have been studies exploring cat coats and personality traits and while it’s difficult to determine – black cats do indeed tend to be especially active and bold!

This means they’re always up for playing different games and are the purrfect candidates for taking on some of these cool cat challenges!

It’s also practically PROOF that they are indeed the no.1 fun, playful and energetic furry friend! What other great skills and qualities do black cats, specifically, have? Well…

15) And They’re Excellent Hunters Too!

Black cats are also fully set up to be EXCELLENT hunters! Since cats often do most of their hunting and exploring at night (or in the early hours of the morning when it’s still dark), it makes sense that black cats have an advantage…

After all, their fur color makes them even harder to be seen!

In fact, when it comes to WILD black cats – black-footed cats are astonishingly active and successful nocturnal hunters…

One scientist’s observations show they make a hunting attempt every 30 minutes, and are successful 60% of the time, making them one of the world’s most efficient predators!

So can you see why our lovely domestic black cats are just as good?! You’ve got your own miniature version of that! Just don’t be surprised if their wild side comes out when taking your cat on a walk! See…

Cool things about black cats

Facts About Black Cats…

16) Black Cats Are Related To Black Panthers & Jaguars!

Black cats, are indeed, related to big cats (like panthers and jaguars!) Now that’s a pretty cool black cat fact you’ll definitely want to know, right?!

Since all cats – from our furry friends at home, to lions and tigers out in the wild – belong to the same family of animals; the Felidae family, we can indeed say that black cats are basically related to panthers! (Well, they’re descendants from them anyway

Ever fancied having own of these in your home (if they were cute and cuddly of course!?) Well now you’ve found out you have the next best thing!

17) Black Cats Are – Deservingly – Celebrated!

Last but not least, let’s end these black cat facts on a positive note! See, after everything black cats have been through over history, we can happily now say – black cats are CELEBRATED (and so they should be!)

National Black Cat Day is actually a thing. It was created by Cats Protection on 27 October 2011 “to help celebrate the majesty of monochrome moggies and beautiful black cats.”

See, people are working hard to protect black cats and to spread love and positivity around them… And hopefully this article has played a small part in doing this too!

That’s All For This One

So there we have it, that rounds up our 17 surprising black cat facts.

We hope you’ve found this interesting, insightful and thought-provoking. Be sure to comment below with the things YOU learnt new… plus, any cool extra black cat facts that you know of, which haven’t been included!

Black cats are amazing. We hope you all agree. So SHARE this post and let’s keep this black-cat-love flowing! 🫶🐈‍⬛

Black Cat Facts
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Ell is the Founder of Totally Purrfect & Cat Mom to Cody, The Maine Coon. Her areas of expertise lie in Cat Care, Enrichment & Training.

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