An L.A. photographer hopes to change the stigma attached to black cats by professionally photographing them at the West Los Angeles animal shelter.
Casey Christopher is a video editor and photographer who’s been volunteering her talents with the shelter since last December when she adopted her own cat, Imogen. Once or twice a week, she photographs the cats for the shelter website and its social media pages. But recently, she’s had an interest in black cats — mostly because, due to superstition and backward stigma, black cats (and dogs) are the first to be euthanized and the last to be adopted.
“As of yesterday, there were 36 cats available for adoption at the West L.A Animal Shelter and 10 of them were black,” she told Today.com. She added that at the West Valley branch, of 71 adoptable cats, 35 were black.
Christopher believes that part of the reason why black cats aren’t adopted is because they’re just not as photogenic as, say, their calico counterparts.
“You just can’t see the black cats as well, especially not when they’re in a dark cage,” she said. She has a point. Petfinder reports that the reluctance to adopt black pets is known as “Black Dog Syndrome,” which can often be caused by the animals’ “size, unclear facial features, dimly lit kennels, the ‘genericness’ of black pets,” as well as negative stereotypes associated with witches, superstition, and bad luck.
So, in order for them to look picture purrfect, Christopher uses an external flash and also lightens the cats’ faces during editing.
However, Dr. Emily Weiss, vice president of research and development at The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, says there are more black cats in shelters simply because there are more of them, period.
“Black is a dominant genetic trait, so there’s a better chance [a cat with the gene] will have a black coat color than another,” said Weiss.
Whatever the reason, these cats definitely need a home, and with Halloween around the corner, the timing is great to adopt a black cat.
And thanks to Casey for promoting these beautiful cats!