With October 31 right around the corner, we’re seeing lots of black cats out and about. Sadly, most of them are Halloween decorations instead of actual kitties. TBH there’s a bit of a stigma surrounding cats with black fur, and it dates all the way back to the Middle Ages when the hysteria surrounding witchcraft began. Back then cats, especially black ones, were often associated with women accused of witchcraft. I guess you could say these women were the original cat ladies, which is pretty amazing. What’s not so amazing is that even now, hundreds of years later, black cats are still trying to shake their bad rep.
While we’re guessing that most folks no longer think black cats are evil or that seeing one is a bad omen (at least we hope people don’t believe this anymore), the sad fact is that black cats have the lowest adoption rates and are more likely to be euthanized than cats of any other color in animal shelters in the U.S. The same holds true for black dogs, actually. The phenomenon even has a name— “Black Dog Syndrome.” It’s a thing. But Los Angeles photographer and shelter volunteer Casey Elise is hoping to change that.
Casey has been taking photographs of black shelter cats in an effort to remove the stigma surrounding these gorgeous animals and to help them find forever homes. The images she’s managed to capture are just beautiful.
We chatted with Casey to find out more about this amazing art project and the cats she’s been photographing. Here’s what she had to say . . .
HelloGiggles [HG]: We love your pictures! Can you tell us a bit more about how you began photographing the cats?
Casey Elise [CE]: I started volunteering at the West L.A. shelter in January, and have been photographing cats once or twice a week for the shelter website and its social media pages. There are almost always a lot of black cats available, and I figured with Halloween approaching I should try to advocate for them. I shot all these photos last week and will continue shooting at the West L.A. shelter and any of the other five city shelters that are interested in being a part of this project.
HG: Did you have a favorite black cat that you photographed?
CE: My favorite cat in these photos is Eloise. I got to name her, and she’s such a sweetheart with a great personality. I want her to get adopted really bad. She’s actually in three of the photos in this series and only she and Nancy, who is also amazing and really fun, are available for adoption right now.
This is Eloise . . .
And this is Nancy . . .
HG: Do you own a black cat yourself?
CE: I do not have a black cat, but I have a gray and white grumpy-faced cat named Imogen who I love more than life. I adopted her from West L.A. last December and she’s the reason I now volunteer there.
Imogen even has her own Instagram @imogenthekitten, where you can see more of Casey’s exquisite photography.
We salute Casey and her commitment to black shelter cats this Halloween with her meaningful and lovely project. Here’s hoping all the glossy black kitties out there find forever homes.
We’re especially pulling for Casey’s models, Eloise and Nancy.
Seriously, won’t somebody please adopt them? (Don’t make me drive all the way to California from Texas, guys!)
For more information on adopting Nancy and Eloise (or any of the other gorgeous animals at the West L.A. shelter) check out their website.
[Images via Casey Elise by permission.]