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Are you superstitious about a black cat crossing your path?
For centuries, black cats have been negatively associated with witchcraft, bad luck, and all things spooky, prompting would-be owners to overlook noir felines in favor of calicos or tabbies when adopting. But one Tumblr user says the release of Marvel blockbuster Black Panther may be having an unintended impact. Black cats at her nearby animal shelters are being adopted at a staggering rate, and it’s not mere coincidence. She says owners are naming their new pets after characters from the movie.
The tumblr post reads:
“Unexpected Benefit of Black Panther: my local pet shelters went from having something like 50-60 black cats between them to having NONE, because they’ve all been adopted out and named after the characters. “T’challa” is the most popular, but there are a fair number of “Okoye’s and “Shuri’s” as well.
…and one very confused Elderly Humane Society Volunteer wondering why someone would name such a sweet cat “Killmonger”.”
While the evidence of this trend is anecdotal, it’s still a positive sign.
Every year three to four million cats enter shelters and due to overpopulation, according to the National Kitten Coalition, and as many as 70 percent of them are euthanized if they are unable to find a home. Because black cats are stigmatized, many of the felines that are put down are black. Despite constant attempts to get the public to see past the myths, people remain wary of adopting them.
However, the movie that has knocked down barriers for black actors and allowed for better representation for people of color in Hollywood may very well have another less expected benefit. Instead of associating black cats with fear and superstition, people may start seeing them as tiny, lovable black panthers. Afterall, it would be pretty hard to resist T’Challa in pet form. And who wouldn’t feel safer in a home with Killmonger on the prowl?
The Daily Dot reached out to the Humane Society to see if shelters around the country are experiencing a black cat adoption increase since the release of Black Panther. We’ll update this story if and when we receive a response.
Tiffanie Drayton is a geek culture and lifestyle reporter whose work covers everything from gender and race to anime and Xbox. Her work has appeared in Complex, Salon, Marie Claire, Playboy, and elsewhere.