As dramatic as it sounds, but there's literally a cat living on the fifth floor of a building right next to ours, all alone. The building isn't finished yet as its construction stopped midway, and a mother cat lives there because we feed her. I, along with my family, am absolutely drawn to the cat and whenever we talk about it to some people, they find it amusing too until they see the cat. Why?
Because the cat is black. Prejudice against black animals and choosing them as pets have been prevalent for a long time, so much so, that we often can't even pinpoint it.
The colour of the fur of an animal plays a huge role when they are picked as pets. When it comes to cats, most of the people steer clear from black ones due to the superstition that they bring bad luck and are connected to witchcraft and evilness. Aside from that, people hold a misbelief that black cats are more aggressive and are not well behaved.
All these wrong ideas lead them to barely opting for black cats as pets, or even generally adoring them. And when they are taken as pets, some people will even see it as a disgrace and try to criticise it.
Medha Tarannum, 18, shares her experience, "I had adopted Kale when he was a baby. I was afraid to bring him home at first. With time, however, my parents started liking him but even then whenever any relative would come over, they would repeatedly criticise me for choosing Kale."
Rifah Nanjiba, first year student at North South University, tells us the same about her pet rabbits, adding how the negative behaviour shown towards animals affects them. "Among my four bunnies, there's a black one: Phoebe. I adore her just the same as the other three. But whenever my friends or family come over, they adore the white ones and ask me with disgust why I picked the black one too and pass negative comments about her. It breaks my heart since after they've shoved her off, it takes a lot of time for Phoebe to become normal," she shares. A lot of time people even think that black pets are less photogenic and don't go for adopting them.
With people being aware of colourism now and coming forward to uprooting it from society, it's also important to identify this aspect of colourism shown towards animals and trying to break through the barriers of adopting black pets.
Stories like that of fellow SHOUT writer Fatima Jahan Ena's little gorgeous cat Jiji show that people are slowly but surely coming across the opposite side of the spectrum too. "Whenever I post pictures of Jiji on my Instagram, people always appreciate him. Even when people come over, after they are past the initial dismay of his black fur, they actually say he is cool like a little panther," Ena tells us. "And that sort of mentality is really important for us to break the stereotypes and adopt black pets and love all animals in general."