There’s a lot to be said about cats having some of the most attitude and personality out of the pets, but unfortunately black cat breeds face an unusual amount of discrimination.
Many people are fearful of these animals, or choose not to adopt them in favor of a more brightly colored feline.
But there is much to love about the black cat breeds, especially once you actually know the difference between them. In the United States alone, there are over a dozen breeds that have their own quirks, hairstyles, and personality traits. They are full of catitude and make excellent pets for anyone.
But just what are the various black cat breeds?
Most black cats will be shorthairs. These felines are less prone to mats and tend to have easier to maintain hair, making them a perfect choice for individuals who prefer low maintenance animals with little shedding.
The American Shorthair is probably the most common domestic cat. They descended from original European varieties that were brought over on ships to help keep rodents away from the food.
These cats are perhaps the most versatile and adapt well to living in families with children and other pets. Despite being shorthairs, their coats are quite dense and will need brushing at least twice a week.
The Bombay is a beautiful cat with great personality and a distinctive look. This cat, named after the Indian city, has a solid, short black coat and striking yellow eyes. They have low maintenance and love to cuddle and be active.
The British Shorthair is one of the oldest cat breeds, dating back 2,000 years. Some of its ancestors roamed the Roman Empire, while most lived on the streets of the countries in the United Kingdom.
This cat has a soft coat and is calm and family-oriented, making them a great pet for homes with children.
The Cornish Rex is an absolute sweetheart of a black cat, possessing a super short coat and loving to go on adventures. This felines enjoys the outdoors and being active with humans. They also travel well and are ideal for individuals who are constantly on the go.
The Devon Rex has hair so short that the underlying skin tends to be exposed. They need baths twice a week to stay healthy but are super playful and loving.
This cat has cute pixie features and is a bit of a goof, liking to entertain and cause mischief.
This shorthair is related to the more well-known Persian but has a shorter, thicker coat. They tend to have bright yellow eyes and are another playful breed.
They do have some special maintenance, requiring brushing twice a week and cleaning around the eyes to help prevent tear stains.
This bobtail is one of the oldest breeds and is steeped in traditional and mysticism. Japanese folklore described them as bringing good luck, and this cat is quite vocal and happy to spend quality time with their family.
They will need to be thoroughly brushed twice a week because of their thick undercoat.
The Oriental was once the official cat in the palace of Siam, now Thailand. They have short coats and broad, round ears that give them a distinctive appearance, especially with their lanky bodies.
These felines are vocal and have a tendency to bond with one special person in particular, making them great companions. They are feisty and love to play as well.
Although they have short coats, Oriental cats should be rubbed down with a damp cloth once or twice a week to maintain hair and skin health.
The Scottish Fold is distinct and adorable, but wasn’t discovered until the 1960s. It has wide, large eyes and ears that fold forwards over a round face. These cats can have long or short hair, but short hairs are more common.
This breed doesn’t have too much maintenance and is highly intelligent, often bonding with one member of a family. They are thus excellent companions.
The Sphynx is the ultimate shorthair because it literally has no hair, just luxurious wrinkly skin that requires a twice the week rubdown or bath to get rid of oil buildup.
This breed is highly intelligent and longs for companionship. They are inquisitive and good-natured, and tend to surprise people because they aren’t Egyptian. They actually were bred in Canada in the 1960s.
Longhair breeds are cats that tend to grow long, luxurious coats that require weekly or semiweekly maintenance. They can develop mats and tangles, and they shed a lot, so brushing is of the essence. Once their coats are maintained, though, these felines are cuddly, soft, and absolutely gorgeous.
The American Bobtail is one of the most popular breeds because of its long hind legs and short tails. Each one has a tail that is only ½ or 1/3 of the size of other breeds. When one of these cats doesn’t have a tail at all, they are called a rumpy. They tend to be extremely playful and friendly and are full of energy.
The American Curl actually developed out of a genetic mutation from other breeds. What makes this cat unique is that its ears curl backwards beginning at around three weeks and settling into shape over the next four months. The Curl is another energetic and friendly breed and is surprisingly great with children, making them popular for families.
The only downside is the Curl does need regular dental care and checkups because they are prone to gum disease and losing teeth.
Maine Coons have been popular in the United States for centuries, and it’s easy to see why. These handsome beauties possess long, fluffy coats and are excellent mousers. They enjoy attention, cuddling, playing, and are often considered the ‘dog’ of the cat world.
Because of their bushy coat, they need to be brushed and groomed regularly to control shedding and the development of mats. They are loving and work well in cold climates.
Norwegian Forest Cat
The Norwegian Forest Cat has been around for 4,000 years. Yes, 4,000 years.
This breed is elegant and playful, having once been used to control rodents on ships and around granaries. They are friendly to children and very lovable, but require high maintenance because of their dense, water resistant coats.
In Norse mythology, this cat even pulled one of the goddess’s chariots. They were highly valued members of culture and society.
Everyone will recognize the Persian at a glance because of its flat face, snub nose, and regal long hair. It was introduced to Europe by merchants from Iran around the 1500s and immediately became popular as a status symbol.
However, these cats are also elegant and sweet, working wonderfully in quiet, older homes are adults and elders. They tend to be docile and don’t play much, but do require high maintenance on their coats.
This cat is another ancient breed, tracing its ancestry back 1,000 years. They have triple thick water resistant coats designed to withstand cold temperatures, making the Siberian a hardy feline. They love running water and will go nuts around a faucet.
They need some high maintenance when it comes to brushing and grooming their coat, but are happy, smart, and friendly overall.
The Turkish Angora stands out for being a longhaired cat that enjoys swimming a lot. This breed dates back for centuries, even being mentioned by the Prophet Mohammed in the religion of Islam.
This breed is extroverted, requiring tons of attention and entertainment. They bond with their owners, making them a great family pet.
Why Aren’t Black Cats Adopted?
Unfortunately, black cats faced centuries of persecution, especially in European and broadly Western countries.
The color of their coat is associated with witchcraft, evil, and bad luck even though black cats can actually be some of the most sweet-tempered pets.
In some cultures, killing or sacrificing a black cat was even seen as necessary to stave off disaster, lift curses, and stop bad luck.
This unjustly earned reputation means black cats – and indeed other black animals – just never were adopted as much as their more colorful counterparts.
Pawsitive Cultural Connotations
Thankfully, black cats aren’t reviled everywhere. Lots of cultures and countries actually enjoy the attitude and appearance of black cat breeds and ensure they have a special place.
In Egypt, these creatures always had a good reputation because they were associated with the goddess Bastet, who took the form of a woman with a black cat’s head.
In Japan, women who own black cats are considered more attractive in media. Does Sailor Moon and her pet ring any bells?
In the United Kingdom, it’s actually considered good luck nowadays should a black cat cross your path.
In Norse mythology, the goddess Freya’s chariot is drawn by black cats, and special favor is granted to anyone who leaves out milk for them.
In Great Britain, sailors actually wanted black mousers on their ships because it meant the vessel would return home safely.
A New Leaf for the Black Cat
Besides these cultural connotations, black cats have also earned a special place through popular culture, especially in the United States. Many remember Salem, the intelligent and sarcastic cat from Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and animal shelters reported a huge number of black cat adoptions following the release of Black Panther by Marvel.
According to the ASPCA, for the last three years, black cats are actually more likely to be adopted than their brightly colored counterparts. Professionals think this is backlash from the perception that black cats are adopted less, which was true for centuries.
So if you want to enjoy the attitude of these black cat breeds, you might want to drop by the local shelter and scoop one up fast!
How to Properly Care for a Cat
Part of owning a cat, whether it is a black breed or not, is figuring out how to properly care for it. All cats have the same basic needs: good grooming, a healthy diet, and a clean place to go to the bathroom. Throw in a couple of toys and the cat will be happy for the rest of its days.
Keeping a cat’s hair clean, their nails trimmed, their ears checked, and their coat free of tangles is all part of ownership. Regular grooming should be done on a weekly basis, while feats like trimming nails should be monthly.
Not all cats tolerate being groomed, and unfortunately there is no way to tell until you try. No breeds are predisposed to being grumpy, so it all comes down to individual personality.
Brush your cat regularly and use a special clipper to trim nails. Do NOT cut to the quick as this will hurt the animal.
If you’re unsure of what to do, bring the cat to a professional vet or groomer who can help with the process.
The proper diet is essential to ensuring a cat has a long, healthy, and happy life. Unfortunately, people have the tendency to overfeed their animals or give them foods that are bad for them. One of the worst offenders is milk – cats don’t actually need it!
To keep a cat healthy, remember to feed them a regulated cat food. The average animal only needs between 25 and 35 calories per pound. So, a 10 lb. cat only needs 250-350 calories a day.
This actually isn’t a lot when it comes to cat food. Animals need less than a single cup a day, and owners have a tendency to give them much more than that.
Instead of keeping a full bowl, read the portion size on your cat food and then give your cat half of its food in the morning and half at night.
Try to keep a schedule, as cats are good about remembering when they are fed and will start to get antsy if dinner is late.
There has been a recent trend to try and feed cats vegan or vegetarian diets. This is a TERRIBLE idea. Cats are carnivores and need meat to provide them the proper nutrition to remain healthy.
Finally, ensure the cat always has access to a clean litterbox. This means scooping out poop and changing the litter on a regular basis, usually every 1-2 weeks. You enjoy having a clean bathroom, and so will your cat.
There is a black cat breed out there for everyone. These lovable felines have faced a lot of stigma over the centuries, but are actually sweet and attentive, craving affection and family.
Check out these lists and find the right one for you today.